Quatsino II Blog update

Quatsino II
Lorna Saunders
Sun 23 Oct 2016 19:05
Dear Land lubbers and Seadogs
position 18 40’S  173 59’W
Course over ground (COG) 0
Speed over ground (SOG) 0
Departing Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga
Destination – Opua, New Zealand
After  2.5 months in these amazing islands, the time has come to say farewell, and pick our way through the weather down to New Zealand for the cyclone season.
It will be our first time on this boat being in the Eastern Hemisphere, which will be strange. However Tonga moved the time Zone a few years ago so we moved  to being “ahead” of European time when we arrived here. (quite frankly all rather confusing).
We have completely fallen in love with these islands, the people, the culture and their climate. To such an extent we have changed our cruising plans and will spend another “season” out here next year, so that we can return to Tonga.
The Kingdom of Tonga is a very proud place, and strictly ruled by their king. He owns all the land, but every Tongan is given a fair sized plot to build on and live. Foreigners are, at the Kings discretion, allowed leases of 100 years, which they are entitled to build on, but at the end of the lease it all goes back to the King. As such there are no chains of hotels, bars, restaurants, outlet shops etc etc.
The main town of Neiafu is small, unspoilt and unsophisticated. The Chinese seem to have the monopoly on the “supermarkets” and the Palangi (white foreigners), run most of the bars/restaurants (well all 5 of them). The only aid here is in the form of Foreign aid mainly from NZ, Australia, USA and China. No EU handouts here.
The local Tongans are so very kind and gentle. Money is not a priority for most. They are happy to mix with us tourists and invite us to their homes and their food tables. In return we give them basic medical supplies, clothes, educational and toys for the kids. Digicel is the main mobile phone provider here, but try and call someone and who knows who you get on the other end of the line!
We so hope they don’t change, and we are informed that is very very unlikely. Wonderful.
We had sooooo much fun with our friends who came all the way out to share our time here. El Tel, Socks Sarah and Tim Richards. Thank you for all your generosity and fun. See we weren’t joking when we said there are NO bars out island. But we will remember some of the most entertaining nights ever, with just wonderful food, out at La Paella on Tapana island.
So we are a little apprehensive about going back to the “real world’ with busy shops, rushing cars, crowded bars in NZ, but then again we are ready for a little civilization. Ummm to be let loose in a supermarket. We wont know where to start.
Hope you all had a wonderful summer, and I know many of you are heading back out to the sun again. We will miss the Caribbean season with you.
Fair winds to you all and we hope the new Fennella and her merry crew have a fab transat.
Love from George and Lorna