Goodbye Pongy Pongy
Monday 21st October 2013
It was with some trepidation that we raised the anchor this morning. We had been ashore early to check out – once again, a no-hassle operation with cheerful, friendly officials, bought some bread and eggs and had egg McMuffin and pancakes for breakfast, and were ready to leave by mid-morning. Mike on Cherokee Rose was on standby in his dinghy, with camera in one hand and knife in the other, ready to clear our anchor chains of any rubbish we might dredge up from the bottom.
We decided having two disabled boats at the same time might be just a bit too much excitement, so we waited until Sheer’s anchor was safely up, bringing with it, among other miscellaneous items, a rocking horse (!), and then we lifted ours. Mike freed our anchor chain of a length of fabric, then a tangle of fishing line, a very brightly coloured duvet cover, and then, just as the anchor came up, the dreaded spinnaker reappeared. There was still some wrapped around the chain, but only about a metre or so hanging off it, so Mike was able to cut it off and put it safely in his dinghy where it could not foul our prop (or anybody else’s) again.
With much less trauma than might have been the case, we bade Mike and Anita farewell and headed out of Pongy Pongy harbour. Once through the gap in the reef we set a course for Vava’u in the Kingdom of Tonga, some 330 nmiles to our south-west. No running downwind on this passage, it should be a reach the whole way. We hope to make good speed as a low is due to hit Tonga on Thursday afternoon. With good winds we have an outside chance of getting there before dark on Wednesday, but will more probably have to slow ourselves down to arrive first thing Thursday morning. Worse case scenario would be light winds delaying our arrival until Thursday afternoon – or – the forecast low arriving earlier than expected. The alternative was to wait at least another week in Pongy Pongy. Didn’t take long to make that decision.