Samoa and Tonga

Beer of the moment : Vialima (Samoa), £1 for a 750ml bottle, Ikale (Tonga) £1 for a 330ml bottle

Friday 1st - Tuesday 5th October

Before the hire car was returned on the 1st, Allan and Stephen used the car to fill up our jerry cans with diesel. They got the fuel from a petrol station where they thought it would be good quality. It turned out to be poor quality diesel with at least a litre of rubbish per 20 litre jerry can.

On Saturday evening we visited the local yacht club with Dreamweaver and Trade Secret where Bev made friends with a very beautiful cat. It had once been a stray and had been adopted by the Yacht Club owner. On the way back we asked the taxi driver to drop us at RSA which is apparently a very happening local club. He refused to take us, telling us it was too dangerous for tourists (apparently the Samoans get drunk and fight themselves but never tourists) and instead took us to Tropicana, a nightclub in the country. It was a great venue with a fantastic live band and dancing. It was full of Samoans (the whole spectrum of ages was represented) and a few yachties enjoying themselves. Samoans love to socialise and party and it was great to be at a local event.   

On Monday we took a trip up to see Robert Louis Stephenson's (the well known Scottish author of books like Treasure Island, Jekyll and Hyde and Kidnapped) house which has now been turned into a museum with Trade Secret. He chose to spend the last years of his life on Upolu. The house is truly magnificent with amazing grounds and views down to the sea. It still has all his original furniture, his writing desk, lots of photographs and memorabilia.  Its fascinating to see and we were taken on a personal tour by a local guide.

Robert Louis Stephensons House 

Afterwards we walked up Mt Vaea to see his grave. The trail takes at least an hour each way and is a pretty steep climb all the way up. Given the humidity it was quite a strenuous trek and we had to stop many times to gasp (literally) for breath !. The view from the top over the island was amazing.

Our last day in Samoa was fairly frantic. Bev did a load of washing at the local launderette ( amazing value at 60 pence a wash but the only option was cold water) and met a very interesting local lady who had just had a film crew staying with her. They were making a documentary about life in Samoa and how it is influenced by the climate etc... She told Bev how great life was. They had everything they needed (schools, hospitals, great weather etc...) in Samoa but had none of the bad things experienced by other countries (terrorists, dangerous animals, disease etc...). Bev asked about the typical size of a family as we had seen a lot of children about. She said that most couples would have 7-8 children but 12 was not unusual. She talked about how important religion was to Samoans, how much she enjoyed living in an open sided Fale as it was cool and how they cooked their meals in an umu oven - basically using burning wood and rocks underground. It was fascinating talking to her. 

Meanwhile Allan checked out at the various offices with Stephen and managed to get some duty free wine and rum. The wine was £7 for 4 litres of Australian wine, the rum £2 for a 1.125 litre bottle !. Then we stocked up on some last minute provisions and had an early night as we needed to get up early the next morning.   

We really did love Samoa. We hadn't originally planned to go there so had little understanding of what it had to offer. It far exceeded our expectations and we have many fond memories of it. It is an incredibly beautiful place with many tourist attractions (but few tourists), it's people are extremely friendly and welcoming, it retains many traditions that have long since disappeared from other places and best of all it has great food/bars etc.. at cheap prices which meant that we could get ashore and enjoy ourselves rather than being on the boat. Everyone that came to Samoa stayed twice as long as they had planned too and were very reluctant to leave which is always a good sign. 

Wednesday 6th - Sunday 11th October

We left Samoa for Tonga - a journey of 320 miles - after first light, just behind Trade Secret. Our original plan was to break the journey in Niutoputapu, 160 miles south of Samoa, but friends had a rough journey from there to Vavau in Tonga due to the swell direction so we decided to skip it.

The first part of the journey took us along the coastline of Upolu and then we cut South through the passage between Upolu and Savaii. The charts in this part of the world seemed to be a little out versus the GPS so we were glad that we were doing this part in daylight as there were one or two small islands to avoid on the way. It was great to see the land though as it makes the journey much more interesting rather than just seeing sea.

Just after we had cleared the islands Bev went below to have a nap. Shortly afterwards Allan saw a squall approaching on the radar but it looked as though it would miss us. How wrong he was. It seemed to shift course at the last minute and came heading straight for us. He woke Bev up just as the rain came lashing down. The wind shot up and the rain was torrential. We managed to put a few reefs in the jib but got absolutely soaked in the process and it was a bit of a struggle. We have never had so much rain from a squall before. The water swarmed over the seats in the cockpit and the drain holes struggled to cope. The squall was enormous - at least 20 miles long by 8 miles wide. It continued this way for a couple of hours and made sailing very difficult as the wind kept changing direction.

We saw a few more squalls that first night but luckily none hit us. After that the rest of the passage was quite pleasant except for the last night when the Southerly swell made things a little uncomfortable. The only other problem we had was that we noticed some faint white smoke coming out of our starboard engine not far into the journey. As a result we only used our port engine where possible as Allan couldn't easily see what the problem was. As our starboard engine is our charging engine we had to be very careful with our use of power for the rest of the journey.

Our first sight of Tonga was impressive. The Northern or Vavau group consists of 34 islands (20 inhabited) having a total land area of 45 square miles and a population of 16,000, two thirds of which live on Vavau. The land steeply rises to a uniform 50 meters above sea level and is very green. We could spot lots of little sandy bays and inlets on the way in. Vavau is a renowned cruising ground because of this and its also pretty enclosed and protected from swell. We headed for the main town of Neiafu which lies at the end of a sheltered waterway some five miles in land. 

We arrived on Saturday 9th at 11.00 am but due to the fact that Tongan time is GMT +13 we were actually a day ahead and had missed Saturday altogether. Tonga isn't officially over the date line but it has aligned itself with New Zealand and Fiji which are. Tonga is therefore the first place in the world to see the start of a new day.

The Mermaid

We tied up to a mooring buoy and were pleased to spot Pamina and Eaglewing in the distance. We had a relaxing afternoon and headed over to Eaglewing at sundown for a celebratory drink. It was great to see Luc and Emma and Henri and Connor again as we hadn't seen them for some time. Later that evening we headed over to The Mermaid, a popular waterfront bar for a taste of the local brew. The bar was packed with cruisers, many of whom we already knew. The local brew is Ikale and is definitely a little ropey and variable in standard. Flat beer or beer with sediment floating at the bottom is not uncommon and comes at no extra cost! Prices were also more expensive than Samoa at £1.50 a pint. We had a great evening catching up on all the news and saying goodbye to Eaglewing who were heading for Australia via New Caledonia the next morning.

Monday 12th October

Next day we knew we had to check in - something we weren't looking forward to doing. In Tonga you have to take your boat alongside the wharf so that all the local officials can come on board. The wharf is pretty high and we were advised to wait for high water as a few boats had got their guard rails stuck under the wharf's large fenders. To make matters worse it rained all morning. So we waited until after lunch and then ventured over. Stephen and Connor luckily helped us with our lines and we tied up without any major problems. We were there for an hour or so whilst the Immigration, Customs, Agriculture and Medical guys all came on board with their myriad of forms to complete. Ukulele helped us with our lines as we departed. Leaving was more hairy than arriving as we had boats all around us and were being blown on to the dock but Allan managed to spring us off from the stern.

We were glad to be in Tonga knowing we had just one sail left before we reached New Zealand. 

Tonga is an independent Kingdom with some 170 islands (134 are uninhabited) and 101,000 inhabitants. It became independent in the mid 70's and is the sole remaining Polynesian Kingdom.

The Kingdom is bordered on the East by the deep Tongan trench that lies at the extremity of the continental shelf. It is an area of great structural instability and vulcanism. Some of the islands are more active than extinct volcanic cones should be. One, Falcon island in the Vavau group, has a unique up and down quality. When it is active, lava and ash rise above sea level, forming clearly visible land. When the eruption is over, the unconsolidated pile is destroyed by wave action and the island disappears until the next eruption.

Archaeological evidence indicates that Tonga has been inhabited since 2500 BC. The first Europeans to sight Tonga were the Dutch in 1616. Captain Cook visited in 1773 and 1777 and gave the archipelago the name Friendly Islands because of the gentle nature of the Tongans that he encountered. In 1789 the famous mutiny on the Bounty took place in the waters off the Haapai group - central Tonga.

For most of the twentieth century Tonga has been quiet, inward looking and somewhat isolated from developments elsewhere in the world.  The Tongans have retained their old traditions including respect for nobility. Historically each male was constitutionally awarded 8.5 acres of land on reaching age 16 but increasing numbers have now made this impossible. The economy is largely based on agriculture and fishing.  

Tuesday 13th - Thursday 15th October

On Tuesday morning we took a trip ashore to look around the town. The town has several small shops where you can find most of what you need. There is also a great fruit and vegetable market where you can buy lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, onions, carrots, potatoes, coconuts, bananas etc... Its all grown locally and interestingly the stall holders are all women. The vegetables are all heaped into bundles which sell for 2-3 panga each - approx 75p-£1.  You can buy a decent basic white uncut loaf for 30p and if you get up early enough can buy more specialist bread from an Austrian Bakery. 'Pete the Meat' sells the best meat in town and you can get anything you want from him including fantastic thick cut bacon and chicken breasts albeit at premium price. His shop is basically his front room. He has a number of very tame piglets running around his front garden which he has got too attached to and has therefore sold them to someone for breeding purposes only rather than meat. Its nice to meet a sentimental butcher. 

There are a couple of internet shops in town. We discovered after many frustrating hours that its better to use the shop that is twice the price as it actually works out cheaper in the long run. The service is often down and the Coconut Cafe puts out regular broadcasts to let you know when its up and running !

Tonga reminded us in some ways of the British Virgin Islands - except its much quieter. Most of the small number of tourists here are on Charter Boats through Moorings or Sunsail and radio traffic is continuous. The people are very different however. Tongans are thick set like the Samoans and are very conservative. The national dress is a skirt, worn ankle length by women and knee length by men. Over it they sometimes wear a long woven mat called a taovala around the waist as a sign of respect for one's elders and the royal family. Apparently they get handed down through the generations so the older and tattier it is the better. Like Samoa they also have rolling eye syndrome here but we have discovered that if you ask for help and the Tongan person doesn't know the answer they feel it is a sign of shame that they can't help you. Apparently the sense of shame will go far deeper than is shown. Tongan culture is very complex and it is often said that even if you think you are getting to grips with local norms and customs you will then find that there is another layer to unearth.

The Mermaid is the hot place to meet followed by Ana's next door. Both are fairly basic bars which serve food but have a lively atmosphere and dingy docks. Both sell great home cooked chips with ketchup for about £2.00 for a VERY large basket. Most night's would find us there for a drink or something to eat as it is a great place to mix with other cruisers. Prices are not as cheap as Samoa but OK. 

The great thing about Neiafu is that they have the most amazing dingy dock in the centre of town. Its built like a mini marina with floating pontoons. We think it was probably meant to be a marina at one stage as there is a brand new unused toilet and shower block next to it, but whoever designed it made it far too small. It would be too small for a yacht to navigate into and as a result is like a luxury dingy dock. Fantastic but very odd in such a relatively isolated place.

Neiafu harbour

On Wednesday Allan went over to Sailing Safari's who run the only boat yard here to see if an engineer could take a look at our engine. They were incredibly busy so asked Allan to check the thermostat himself first. Next they got him to check the air filter but it all looked OK. As he couldn't sort the problem out himself they sent an engineer over - Henry. He was actually a fellow cruiser (Canadian) from a boat called Real Earth who had been doing some contract work for Sailing Safari's. Luckily he was a field engineer for a diesel generator company and knew a lot about diesel engines. He noticed that the starboard engine wasn't running as smoothly as it should be and adjusted the valve clearances but it was still not right. He then worked out that one of the injectors was not spraying correctly. Luckily he was able to negotiate the purchase of 3 refurbished one's from Moorings for 250 panga, about £80. They no longer had boats with our engines and therefore had some old spare parts. The engine was now running more smoothly but was still emitting smoke. Henry thought that this may be steam from a slight over heating of the engine. He looked at the sea water impeller and found this to be cracked and worn out. Luckily Allan had a spare one. So after 3 hours work and 3 problems the engine was fixed and we could really tell the difference. He only charged 90 panga for his work through Sailing Safari's - about £30. It was amazing value so Allan gave him 30 panga as a tip. A new injector alone would have cost us $300 US. We felt incredibly lucky to have had the engine fixed in such a remote place for so little cost.

Henri and Conor decided to leave early for New Zealand so we stopped by their boat on the Thursday evening to say goodbye. Following recommendations, we had decided to do a dive course the next day with Dolphin Diving. It was just £150 each for a 3 day PADI course. Allan had been wanting to go diving for some time but had never found the right place. Bev was a little more apprehensive as she can get a bit claustrophobic but decided to give it a go as well, As a result we both had an early night.

Friday 16th October

Next morning we headed over to the dive centre for our course. There were 4 of us on the course including Alfred from  Iron Horse and Ann Tigue from Windrose. Our instructor was an Indonesian Kiwi named Joseph. He was very good and before we knew it we were kitted up in all the gear at the bottom of the swimming pool. It all felt very strange. He put us through our paces by making us take our breathing apparatus out of our mouths and then put it back in and clear out all the water. Next we had to fill up and clear our masks and then take them on and off several times under water. He also had us taking off our gear and weight belts and putting them back on under water. All very necessary training but quite hard to do when you are inexperienced. That afternoon was the same again. We both had our panicky moments and Bev found it hard to stay neutrally buoyant under water - she kept wanting to rise to the surface. We finished the day with a 300 meter swim and then 10 minutes treading water. By the evening we were exhausted and had another early night.

Saturday 17th October

Next day we took a trip to the doctors before the class started to get our required medical approval. Unfortunately Bev had a load of wax in her ears which the Italian doctor tried to remove without success - and boy did he try to get it out !. He would not sign her fit to dive until he had got this out as she would be unable to equalise the pressure.  As we both wanted to do the course together we decided to postpone. Alfred had hurt his back the day before and was in a lot of pain so he decided to postpone as well. So it was all re-arranged for Tuesday.

We were glad that it was just ear wax that we needed to get removed - although the Doctor was lovely - we definitely wouldn't want to have a major illness here. 

We decided to use the opportunity to head out to one of the anchorages. We motored for about an hour to Port Mourelle which is a nice protected bay. A number of other boats were there but it looked very pretty so we found a spot and started to drop the anchor. Unfortunately as the anchor dropped a load of metal shavings flew off the windlass. The anchoring problem that we had had in Samoa had obviously bent something. So we pulled the anchor back up and headed back to the main town to avoid any further damage. We were disappointed to have broken free of the town and to be back so soon. 

We took a trip over to Ana's that evening for one of their speciality burgers - complete with egg, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato and pineapple ! Ana's and the Mermaid were both quiet that night so we left early. Friday's is a big night here as there is a yacht race around the bay followed by a live band at Ana's so people seem to take a night off on the Saturday.

Sunday 18th - Monday 19th October

Tongan's are very religious people and therefore everything (bar the Mermaid and Ana's which are for tourists) closes on a Sunday. The streets are deserted and all that can be heard is the magnificent sound of singing from the churches. They put their all into singing and the sound is outstanding.

We headed over to the Mermaid on Sunday evening and Connor, Stephen and Karen came back to our boat afterwards. On the way back Karen had a slight accident. As she was trying to get back onto her boat, she had her hands on its side and her feet on the top of the dingy. Unfortunately the dingy started to drift away but she stayed holding onto the boat with her feet still on the dingy until she was nearly horizontal. Next minute she was in and still hanging on to the boat trying to pull herself up. She had jeans and her waterproof jacket on which quickly filled with water and got heavy. Stephen dragged her back into the dingy and then howled with laughter. He rang us straight up on the radio and we have to admit we howled too !

The funny thing is that a night or two later Karen got her revenge when Stephen stepped into the dingy with one foot but didn't move quick enough. The dingy drifted away and he went in himself !

Monday saw us back at the doctors to get Bev's ears syringed. They certainly needed doing ! The cost was just £3 ! 

Allan also managed to fix the problem with the windlass. He used Sailing Safari's vice to bash the bent bracket straight again. We would also need a small part when we got to New Zealand but for now that could wait and we were mobile again.

Unfortunately Allan had developed a cold and all his sinuses were blocked so he was concerned about whether he would be fit enough to dive the next day.  We had another early night with no alcohol just in case.

Tuesday 20th October

Unfortunately Allan felt much worse the next day so we had to go and cancel our course for a second time. Luckily the instructor was very laid back and flexible. The good news was that we would now be able to go to Will from Finale's 40th Birthday Party.  He had planned a beach barbeque and was also going to use the occasion to celebrate Karen's forthcoming 30th as well.

We stopped by the market for some salad and by Pete the Meat for some chicken breasts and set sail for Nuku. We were unable to get bread as there was no flour left on the island and wouldn't be until the supply ship arrived on Thursday.

We were the second boat to arrive and had the pick of the spots. It was a gorgeous place and we anchored in about 10 meters off a white sand beach. Around us we had a fantastic panoramic view of the islands including Nuku a short dingy ride away. Nuku is a tiny island with a gorgeous white sand beach that very gently slopes into the sea. As a result the sea beneath is a turquoise blue. We were straight into the water for a refreshing swim.

Nuku beach

By 4.00 all the boats had arrived and we went ashore to find Will and Tom (Will and Kate's oldest son aged 7) building the fire in readiness. We brought our barbeque grill to lay on the fire. There were probably about 15 of us - Finale, Trade Secret, Upspirits, Ukulele, Neltje and Copensis. Everyone brought something to share and their own meat. Bev made a large fresh salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Drinks were passed round - rum mixed with something being the drink of choice or necessity :) Kate had baked a fantastic chocolate birthday cake made into a yacht.  Having children she definitely knew how to make a great cake :) Ukulele also made an equally great cake for Karen.

We had a great evening in an idyllic location until we noticed that 2 of the dinghies had drifted off. By this stage it was dark but several other dinghies set off to find them. Ours would have floated off on the rising tide if it hadn't been for our dingy anchor. Luckily and amazingly they were both retrieved so we all stopped for another drink and to toast our success. By this stage it was late so we started to clear up the beach and a few people left. It was then that Dave from Neltje noticed that his dingy had now gone missing as well. We had no fuel left so Stephen took Dave out in his dingy to look for it.

Nuku BBQ

They came back after half an hour or so to re-fuel and then headed back out taking Karen with them. Stephen was a little worse for wear and at one stage fell out of the dingy and had to be pulled back in. He was then relegated to lie on the floor and they headed back to the boat only to resume again at first light. Luckily for Dave his dingy was found washed up some distance away on a beach. It had negotiated several coral reefs and didn't have a scratch on it. 

Wednesday 21st October

That afternoon we went with Trade Secret and Ukulele to search for whales in our dinghies. Tonga is renowned for the fact that Humpback whales come here year after year for a few months to breed and give birth to their young in the warm calm waters. 

We went some way out and had nearly given up hope of seeing any when we spotted a mother and baby near a whale watching boat. We kept our distance but were still only 30 meters or so away. It was amazing to see them swimming - they are so large and graceful.

On our way back we saw them again and this time the mother breached a couple of times. She was about 20m long. Her tail was huge and slammed the water around her. We didn't know whether this was a sign to keep away but we did anyway.  You only want to get so close to a large whale in a small dingy :)

It had been amazing to see them - a real highlight. 

The way back was against the swell and was a little wet and jumpy to say the least. We felt that we had done a full work out whilst trying to drink from a fireman's hose by the end :)

That evening Rodge and Ange from Up Spirits invited Trade Secret and ourselves over for dinner. We decided to take a white wine box over which we had been chilling in the fridge. Unfortunately as Bev was going down the steps at the back of our boat the bottom of the box split open and the wine bag fell out exploding on impact. What a disaster and a big loss of 4 litres of decent wine :( Luckily Ange was a great cook and saved the evening. She had made a Red Snapper Thai Coconut curry and it was fantastic. We had a great night.

Thursday 22nd October

A quiet night and day was had by all in preparation for Karen's 30th Birthday the following day.

Friday 23rd October

The weather on Karen's Birthday started out bleak so we decided to head back into town with Up Spirits. Karen was busy saying goodbye to some of the boats in the anchorage which were leaving when Will ( who was on our boat) and Allan noticed that Trade Secret had broken free of her anchor and was drifting quickly away. Allan called them on the radio and Will got in his dingy. Luckily disaster was averted but it was not a nice experience for them as they hadn't dragged before.

By 11.00 we were all tied safely to a buoy and were eating a full cooked mega breakfast in the Mermaid whilst Karen opened her presents. We had bought her a trendy tee-shirt with a picture of a whale on it which luckily she liked and fitted perfectly. A fantastic way to start the day.  

Karen headed off to the internet and we used the opportunity to put up our courtesy flags on Trade Secret and Stephen made a Happy Birthday sign. The boat looked fantastic and Karen was thrilled. Its the way sailing people celebrate a special occasion. 

That afternoon Roger offered to race Up Spirits in the weekly sailing race around the bay for fun. We were to be his crew. There were about 8 boats in the race and with the wind gusting 25 knots we made good speed with all the sails up. Most of the boats were from the Moorings and Sunsail base and much larger than us. We had a good start and were keeping up when ahead of us a Moorings Boat hit a Sunsail boat putting a hole 1 meter by 1.5 meters in her hull. Ouch ....! 

We managed to complete the course without any damage but had a close call with the same boat that had caused the damage earlier. They tacked right in front of us onto a starboard tack which meant that strictly speaking we should have given way. We knew we would struggle to get out of the way in time and forced them to tack again at the last minute, narrowly avoiding a collision.

It was a great race and extremely exhilarating to be heeling over so much that there was water over the toe rail. We are so used to sailing carefully in our boats as they are our homes that we sometimes forget what they are capable of.

After the race we headed back to Bagpuss for Margarita cocktails all-round. Stephen had bought a huge bag of ice earlier. We had had the Tequila for years and Stephen and Allan had bought the rest of the ingredients in Samoa in readiness for Karen's birthday. It surprised us all but boy did they taste good.

Then it was back over to Ana's for the prize giving. It turned out that the normal rules of racing did not apply. The boat that had caused the damage was still placed ahead of us along with a boat that had done a shorter course. We did start to complain but then discovered that the boat that had come first, Bliss won the smallest prize because they won every time ! Up Spirits won a tee-shirt customized with your boat name which they gave to Karen as a Birthday gift.

Each Friday there is a small cabaret act with local dancers - most of whom are children - after the prize giving. They were fantastic and dressed up in their traditional costumes. They use their hands a lot and their dancing appears to be a cross between traditional Polynesian and Thai. It was magical to watch. Mind you we did think that one of the fire dancers looked likely to singe his eyelashes at any moment !

We then headed up to the Rolling Rooster, probably the best restaurant on the island. We had some Thai fish cakes to start which were fantastic - all washed down with a glass of bubbly. Next Stephen and Karen had a huge plate of surf and turf, Allan had Steak, Ange had lobster, Rodge had Thai Fish curry and Bev had sweet and sour Red Snapper. It was all absolutely fantastic and could not be faulted. Stephen was extremely generous and paid for the lot. We had ordered a lemon birthday cake for Karen on behalf of Stephen from one of the local bakeries and the staff then brought it out with all the candles lit. It was a great cake (Karen's favourite) and had fresh lemon chopped into the filling. Many people declared it the best cake they had ever tasted. The guy that had made it happened to be eating at the restaurant at the same time so he was bought a drink by way of thanks for a top cake. 

After dinner we headed back down to Ana's to listen to the live band. Whilst we were there we got chatting to a local woodcarver called Joseph who showed us a great wood carving of a dolphin and asked us to come and see more of his work in his van. We headed up the hill and before we knew it had bought the dolphin, plus a large whale (which is stunning) and had a King God statue thrown in for good measure. We didn't have enough cash so left a deposit and agreed to return the next day. It had been a fantastic day and we now had several wooden objects to remember it by !

Saturday 24th October

Next morning we awoke to the wooden objects and Bev became concerned we had bought quite so much. She never thought she would ever own a large upright wooden dolphin ! She suggested to Allan that he might take it back but Allan refused saying a deal is a deal and went to pay the guy. He is a really great wood carver and I am sure we will grow to love them all in time :)

That evening Stephen and Karen invited ourselves and Ange over for dinner. Karen cooked some great pork chops for us with apricot sauce and mashed potato. She even managed to magic up some octopus for Ange who doesn't eat meat. Fantastic. 

Sunday 25th October

Bev joined Karen at Adventure Backpackers on Sunday morning to do some washing. It was the only place open and only had one machine. Luckily you could hang the clothes up to dry whilst you were waiting. Cost was £1.50 a wash in cold water only. It doesn't do much for any stains but certainly freshens everything up. By late afternoon the rain had set in so Bev headed back to the boat and hung it all inside to finish drying.

Monday 26th - Saturday 31st October

The weather in Vavau had turned pretty windy and wet due to a low pressure area so we spent the rest of the week doing jobs and visiting the internet. We had a couple of nice evenings out with Up Spirits and Finale and a few quiet evenings in by ourselves. On Thursday night there was a great live band at The Mermaid to celebrate the departure of a couple of the Sunsail guys; many of whom got up to do a number themselves :) 

On Friday Roger bravely entered the race again so we went along as crew. There were only 4 boats in the race this time as Sunsail did not have permission to race due to last weeks accident. We came last but did pretty well considering we were the smallest boat - we were 37 feet - most were 50. It was a bit wet and drizzly and we got wetter still because one of the boats proceeded to pelt us with water balloons every time we passed ! The theme of this weeks race was Halloween and many of the crews had dressed up accordingly. Ana's was all decorated with spiders webs and pumpkins adorned each table. We won a tee-shirt which Ange got and Bev got a fantastic carved necklace.

We had hoped to set sail for Southern Tonga by now but the winds and swell have been too bad to set sail. Luckily we are tucked up safely in Neiafu so will just need to sit it out until we get a better weather window. Still there are worst places to be stuck and at least here you can get off your boat here. The temperature is still around 27 degrees but the pressure gauge keeps falling and is at 1006 when its normally around 1011.

Bev and Karen have both decided to go on a health kick and have stopped drinking for a few days. Luckily you can get some great fresh fruit smoothies here for about £1.30 a glass made from fresh watermelon, mango and banana. They are absolutely delicious. Allan and Stephen are however still drinking the beer despite the gut rot that it gives you:) 

 

© Copyright Allan & Bev Dornan 2016