Pangaimotu Island Paradise

Wed 13 May 2009 05:59
Position,  21.07S  175.09W
A bit slack today in doing the blog thanks to 28 degree temperature and a couple of beers at lunch time. Ben and John deny that there was any stress as we navigated our way through the reefs at dusk, something we would never done had we not had a local on board.but  my state of anxiety was even greater than normal as we heard a 'panpan' distress call from a yacht that had gone on a reef just as I was reading the dire warnings on the electronic chart of reported uncharted reefs near to our position. We knew from our trip to Tonga last year that the charts could be very unreliable and that many of the navigation beacons would not be working. As Ben hand steered, relying on his memory, we found that the charts on our new chart plotter were accurate, which was an enormous relief.
We anchored off Big Mamas 'resort' on Pangaimotu Island, owned by the King and run by the famous Anna and Earl. Ben had actually managed the island for a couple of years, so when he called them up on the radio saying "Guess who?", there were squeals of delight from Anna aka Big Mama. When we went ashore we took her a wahoo which we had caught earlier in the day, which earned us a lot of brownie points and several free Kingfisher beers. Big Mama produces top notch hamburgers served by her Gaugin lookalike niece from the Niua Islands right at the north of Tonga from where you can see Samoa.
Apart from doing a massive pile of laundry today, we spent most of the morning receiving Customs and quarantine officials who were visibly disappointed that we didn't have a mahimahi to present to them. They were in luck, though, as they got to share our wahoo  which Anna had made into ota-ika--the Tongan version of the Tahitian poisson cru. We've also been receiving lots of curious visitors who are dying to check out an ocean trawler now that they know it's possible to make an ocean passage under motor.