Pigs wander the streets and open spaces

Dick and Irene Craig
Thu 10 Jun 2010 02:46
We left Niue soon after 10.30 on the morning of Friday 4th June. Before we could leave, Dick had to go ashore to check us off the island and to pay the fees for using the mooring buoys beyond the 3 days which had been provided at no charge to us.
Oisin took Dick ashore and brought the rib back to the boat, awaiting Dick to call on the VHF when he was ready to return. It was easier than using the dinghy lift, especially when operated by one person and this morning, he would have just tied the rib next to another set of steps, except a freighter had arrived and was utilizing the space.
There was only 5knots of wind as we left and although we hoisted the mainsail, soon dropped it again and just used the engines.
At lunchtime we ate rolls which I cooked yesterday. I made double portions of bread dough, finding it as easy to make the dough for the equivalent of two loaves, as it is for one loaf. When cooked, the bread and rolls not needed for that day can be popped in the freezer. I could probably make greater volumes but that would require more galley space than I have easily available, as well as using valuable "meat and fish" space, in the freezer.
Some people think that we must get bored when we are on passage but I hardly have time most days to sit down, let alone pick up a book. Today for example, I got up at 7.30 and made pizza dough before changing the bed and putting the linen in the washing machine. I then called my mother in the UK. It was now time for the SSB net and with the other net controllers already in Tonga, I assumed responsibility for that role. There is just time for breakfast before I hang up the washing in the cockpit and then I am on watch from 10 till noon. I had to pop down at 11.30 as the bread dough was about to overflow the bowl. Dick stood in for me while I kneaded the dough, made a pizza base and put the rest of the dough in the fridge, managing to get back on watch 20 minutes later, just 10 minutes before Oisin was on duty.
Once off watch, I prepare the topping for the pizza, make the fruit salad, bring in the dry washing and cook the pizza for lunch. After lunch while Bev did the washing up, I have a cup of real coffee and treat myself to the last snicker bar before taking half the dough from the fridge and making a pizza base for the freezer. The remaining dough I will cook and freeze tomorrow morning when I come off watch. I then prepare a pudding and make the casserole for supper, clearing up as I go along. I update my excel provision list and bring the blog up to date.
Time now to relax for an hour before switching on the oven and cooking supper, which we eat at 7.30. I am on watch at 8pm so Dick will do the SSB listening watch for me between 8 and 8.15 Niue time. As I come off watch I put the snacks out in the galley for the night watches. Then to bed, hopefully to sleep before getting up at 5.45 for the 6am watch.
I have a number of bites on my arm which I believe must be from those flying ants. I don't usually react to bites but my arm was red and swollen for at least 2 days and then I was left with six huge lumps. I hunted round the cockpit checking again under the cushions and in the edges of the lockers and found eleven which sadly had to go. I found another on the chart table and Dick also found a couple inside the boat. When I filled the kettle, there was a dead ant stuck to the inside, just below the spout. I had hoped that we had now eradicated them but two days on, I am still finding a few.
I need to have another blitz on the flour as I found a live weevil this morning. I cannot believe that the amount of time they have been in the microwave that they could still survive. I know other people have put flour or rice etc.in the freezer and this gets rid of them but I don't have that much available freezer space.
I went to bed on Saturday, after my watch and when I got up to do my watch on Sunday, it was already Monday. We had crossed the date line.
We tied up alongside the dock, when we checked into Vava'u on Monday morning, then moved onto a mooring buoy. There are so many jelly fish here and they have been causing problems blocking the water inlet for generators. One of the boats had to change 2 impellors.
Friday was a public holiday in Tonga and according to a recent law, if a holiday falls on Thursday through Sunday, the holiday will be held on the Monday. So, although we had delayed our arrival so that overtime wouldn't have to be paid to the officials, we were thwarted anyway, or rather the WARC organizers were.
Monday night was party night and we were all ashore for the sumptuous buffer supper, prize giving and entertainment. Tucanon won a prize for being the first catamaran in group 2, to arrive in Vava'u, on corrected time. Ciao won the prize for the first monohull in group 2, to complete leg 7, on corrected time. I think they tend to win all the legs. They are such good sailors.
Coming back in the dark using a torch, the water was so still, the reflection of the boats in the water was absolutely amazing. It was also a bit like wall-to-wall jellyfish and several were killed by the propellers as we made our way back to our boat.
Tuesday morning a bus, plus 2 taxi's took us to Ene'io botanical gardens where we had a guided tour and live demonstrations of mat weaving from pandanus leaves, coconut husking and the making of coconut milk and oil, the production of tapa cloth from paper mulberry, the preparation and tasting of kava and the processing of nonu juice. We then went to the on-site restaurant where we feasted at a Tongan banquet, complete with suckling pig. After lunch we were entertained by dancers, all school children from the local village, and then we strolled along the beach and snorkeled in the water protected by a reef.
Pigs, of all colours and sizes, from pregnant sows to new born piglets, wander around the streets and open areas but in the evening, return happily to their home. The dogs don't give them a second glance.
Late afternoon Tuesday, Dick went ashore to the skippers briefing and I was in charge of the generator and water maker which had been switched on. Before the meeting even started, the generator switched off, the temperature 94º. A jellyfish had obviously clogged the water inlet. Oisin bravely had a look but could find nothing and when Dick returned from his meeting, although nearly dark, he also checked it out. It looks as if the suction of the intake caused the jellyfish to cover the aperture and when the generator automatically closed down, the jelly fish fell off.
Wednesday morning we walked to the market and bought some fresh fruit and vegetables which included Taro leaves, similar to spinach, french beans, pineapples, papayas, satsumas which were supposed to be sweet but were quite sharp, perhaps they will sweeten up as they ripen. We bought onions, potatoes, bananas and passion fruit but there was only lettuce and tomatoes to make a salad, I guess we will have to cope without for the immediate future.


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