niafu tonga arrival

tony zwig
Fri 6 Jul 2007 06:54




At 9am local time (gmt+13 or Toronto+17 hours) we tied up at the Niafu town wharf in Va’vau, Tonga.  We cleared customs, immigration , quarantine, and health in a blistering 2 hours and were then free to visit Tonga.  We fueled and watered up and washed the boat next to the Moorings setup and then went to the mooring which will be babelfish’s home until September.  This is really anend of the world place.  Also maybe out of time, or just so far away.  Everyone gets along, local Tongans and white Aussis and Kiwis, but references to someone’s “boy” is jarring, and emphasizes isolation.  The Aussis/Kiwis have this sort of colonial aura as projecting they are bringing their better skills and ways to this outpost.  All very friendly.  Also, references to not wanting to visit not tourist towns.

We spent the afternoon in the yacht club; really a charming tumble down bar with a beautiful view of the bay, boats and sun.  It was empty until 4 when the new Moorings crowd along with assorted old salts (all from Oz or NZ)   with their  tall stories, showed up.

The town reminds me of Caribbean roadsteads, a little decayed, except everyone seems genuinely happier and more engaging.  Babelfish has now completed 6500 miles from LA and nothing was broken this leg.  Hooray! We have about 1800 to go to get to New Zealand via Fiji, but that is for later in the year.

Babelfish will now have a well deserved rest.