In harbor Lifuka 50S 174W

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Wed 6 Aug 2014 02:22
When we approached Tongatapu, the most southerly island of Tonga,it was geting dark. We really did not like the idea of getting in
through all the corall reefes even though they have their markings. The markings are not always up to date and they are changed with short notice.
Here in Lifuka for example , the entrance markings are not a  bit like the chart
We continued up North with a wonderful half wind and a smooth sea, since we had reefs and islands on our starboard side almost all the way.
As the sun came up it was time to move into the Hapaai archipellago and we saw so many wales we stopped counting. This must be the greatest showplace on earth for sperm wales. They bring their calves and do they play? You wonder how much muscle power it takes to bring a whale up in the air, make a flip and land with an enormous splash.
It is wonderful to get here because there are so few boats that go to this group. Most probably because you have to be alert on the weather, if you check the islands on Google earth you will find the most spectacular and strange looking islands and reefs.
Find Tonga and look for Hapaai, the group betwwen Vavau and Tongatapu.
We sailed all the way up to the little village that is the "capital" of Hapaai, the name is Pangal. It was a quite poor village when we visited it last year, but now it is devastated. A hurricane came in here 6 months ago and ripped everything but the concrete buildings, on those it took the roofs.
When you walk in the village there is trash every where and the beautiful trees are stripped down from their branches and some are torned out with their root system.
Tonga is not a rich nation and you can tell by the standards, for instance when you do all your paper work in the immigration office, their official stamp does not go beyond 2011, so they have to correct every stamp and make a signature. The chairs they sit on are left owers from the Kings coronation, they are red and beautyful and were made for the guests that attended the celebration. Afterwards the chairs have been distributed to all official offices to save money.It looks really great, an office where everything feels like it was brought there 1925, grey and no paint left. And by the desks there are this purple red velvet chairs with the big insignium of the king in gold on the backrest.
When you go in with Salsa to the "port" in town, you set her alongside a concrete dock, and that´s it,she is the only boat in harbor and nobody else can go in.Feels very unique.
The journey from Whangarei to Hapaai took 11 days and nights. Quite a trip, the last 24 hours being a dream.
Now we have dropped anchor and are totally exhausted after the 4 hour shift going on 24 hrs a day for 11 days.
Salsa, thank you very much for taking good care of us. We love you.