Crossing to Kingdom of Tonga via Niuatoputapu Island, 396 Nm, 19-22 July

Sans Peur
Grete & Fred Vithen
Fri 26 Jul 2019 20:28

 Niuatoputapu Island 19-20 July (206 Nm)  15 56 43S 173 46 09W


No winds whatsoever! We left at first light (around 7) towards Tonga following another boat from the marina. 
Unfortunately, this will most likely not be a sailing crossing but more of a motor crossing due to the lack of winds … 

As usual we prepared the fishing line and after a quiet and calm motoring the sail winch which that the fishing line is attached to went crazy and we all woke up from our sleepy mode and got excited to see what we would catch. Unfortunately, it got off the hook but Alex thinks he saw a long slick looking fish and thought it might have been a Sailfish or a Wahoo. Sadly it got away but in with the hook again to see if we will get lucky again.

Later on we only heard 2 ticks on the ‘fishing sail winch’, turns out it was a very small skipjack tuna that had taken the very big lure (compared to him). He must have been very hungry as he was not very big but he became a very nice and fresh sashimi platter for us. Hopefully we get another nice fish tomorrow - we are not picky but we would like to have something else than Skipjack Tuna especially after eating delicious Yellowfin Tuna.

We arrived next morning at 2:30pm. The narrow shallow passage through the reef was a bit tricky. A lot of corals everywhere.

This is the first time we motored the whole length of a passage, 32 hours.
Kingdom of Tonga flag. 

Niuatoputapu 20-21 July 

At anchor. 

Most yachies refer to this place as ‘New Potatoes’ and looking at the spelling of the word you can probably understand why… But once you get help to pronouns the place it is not too bad: New-ya Tow-poo Tah-poo.

We arrived to Niuatoputapu at around 2.30pm and prepared a nice lunch with a cold beer before we took the dinghy in to the island. Normally you shouldn't really leave the boat without permission but as it was Saturday we took our changes to see if we could find customs.

There are so many pigs and piglets here running around and eating the grass. They are so cute! 

A lady and her family drove passed us and asked if she could help. We told her that we wanted to see customs and she informed us that they are closed but that she could potentially call someone but that we had to wait at her place. We also informed her that there were 2 other boats that also arrived today.

Her name was Sia and I had read about her somewhere before and that she helps yachts when they arrive here. She was very nice and told us that someone will come around 4.30pm.

We jumped back into the dinghy and went back to the boat made and enjoyed a fairly nice drink with rice vodka (the picture on the bottle had a strong man on it...) that we bought in Samoa - not too great I have to admit but you could usually hide the taste and get used to it.

At around 5.00pm there was a man shouting at the pier and dad went to speak to him. He was one of the authorities that we needed on the boat but they would be with us last due to us leaving tomorrow morning. Finally, they came to our boat - 2 women and 1 man ("the boss”).

Dad asked if they wanted something to drink - big mistake haha - the man without hesitation said 'do you have rum and coke?', I think we were all taken back by this comment and mom said I think I only have 1 cold beer, water or Tang (in Swedish saft). The women were happy with Tang and he drank the beer very quickly. In the end of it he had drunken 3 beers and wanted more - I think he was a bit drunk already before coming onto our boat. I can't imagine what he asked for at the other boats!? Anyway, we were all done and now we didn't have to clear in again in Neiafu, Va’vau  .

We had nice dinner and slept like babies in the calm area of the bay. It's a bliss to sleep when you are not in the rocky sea and you truly take this for granted until you go sailing. But we still love the freedom of sailing and completely understand why people do it.


Crossing from Niuatoputapu to Vava’u Island Group 21-22 July (190 Nm)

Early start today again. The voyage towards Vava’u continues. We felt that it was no use to stay at this tiny island on a Sunday when everything is closed and because Alex and I do not have too much time left. So upp with the anchor and off we went!

Once we were out of the bay and away from the reef, we threw in the fishing line and hoped that we would get something yummy.

It was not very rough seas during the day but we still had the winds against us so a lot of motoring with some sails out to ensure that we move forward faster and avoid to much roc’n roll.

I went to the beach (aka the bow) for a little while to top up my tan and relax with my book.

Suddenly, I hear dad and Alex shout “Fish!” I ran back and got the camera ready along with a bowl and the knife. It was another beautiful and good size yellowfin tuna - yey! A bit sad that we didn't get a wahoo or a mahi-mahi but we know that Yellowfin is delicious so we were happy.

It was such a nice day and we managed to relax a bit with not too much rockiness. However, late afternoon when we had our 'happy hour' on the boat the sky started to become dark and we hit a squall which obviously changed the weather - stronger winds, rain and waves. It was not as pleasant weather from then onwards... It's crazy how quick the weather changes!

Cooking food was a bit of a struggle but we managed to cook a decent meal as usual and had to eat in rounds.

The night watch was okay, but it was not going very fast for us - at some points we were only doing 1.9 knots. Not going fast at all! Luckily it was only in the end of our shift so dad could do something about it and I think he put the cutter and a bit of the main out to get a little more speed. I think mom had an okay watch this time but still not a lot of speed.

I was struggling during the night watch and had problems keeping the dinner in which made the watch very exciting. At least we could sit outside as it was no longer raining. I think I cannot handle a certain way Sans Peur moves when it is rough weather.

I was very happy when we woke up in the morning as it meant we were closer to Vava’u. Unfortunately, I was still not feeling that great so I was pretty useless during the next few hours until we came into the leeway of the islands. Everyone else felt fine, reading and fixing on the boat.

We approached the small main town, Neiafu.

Boy oh boy I was happy we finally got there at around 3pm and we were on a lookout for a buoy in the bay. Great team work and we were hooked and safe and happy to be there.

We had really nice yellowfin tuna sashimi and a beer - at this point I could actually drink and eat. It was decided that we would have a quick walk around and see what is going on in the small town of Neiafu and to visit customs to ensure they had the paperwork they needed. 

Next stop was the small supermarkets and we bought some local Tongan whiskey and rum and finished with a beer at Mango which had free WiFi and was right by the water - it seems like all sailors want to be next to the sea even when they are off the boat. And we as well!

Finally, Vava'u.