We arrived in Vavau, Tonga, after having been bashing around in 30 knots of wind on the last two days of sailing. Fortunately, the waves almost disappeared on the lee side of the island, and we entered the well protected harbour shortly after sunrise.
Tonga is formed of four island groups of which Vavau is the second from the North. With well protected anchorages, it is a very popular charter and yachting base. Once moored in Neiafu, the capital, it was hard to imagine that the wind was really blowing out there.
By now, we have a pretty well established routine when we arrive in a new place after a long passage: clearance, shopping for fruits and vegetables, shower, cold beer, laundry, internet. When all this was done, we moved on to a quieter anchorage not far from Neiafu, Port Murelle.
The weather was grey and rainy. So we spent most of the time underwater, checking out some caves along the shore. Gaspar also took the chance to make good progress at drawing the storyboard for the comic and painting a watercolour for yacht Love, our anchor neighbours.
A week or so later the wind calmed down a bit and so we went on an overnight sail to the island of Nomuka Iki, in the Haapai group, roughly 80 miles to the South. This small island is divided in two, the South side is home to many cows, chickens, pigs and horses and one caretaker, whereas on the North side there is what looks like a summer camp, but no one was there when we went ashore. We walked around to find beautiful beaches and many papaya trees.
The snorkelling there was fantastic with so much live coral and plenty of colourful fishes and squid, as well as black tipped reef sharks, who stuck around the boat after we cleaned the fish Gaspar had catched for lunch.
A couple of days later we set off to Nuku Alofa, the capital of Tonga, where we have been preparing the boat for the passage to New Zealand. We are at anchor in front of Pangaimotu island, home to the Big Mama Yacht Club, together with another 15 boats or so, all about to sail on the same route as us. The main subjects of conversation amongst cruisers are weather and passage planning. If the wind stays as forecasted we will set off tomorrow morning on a 1000 mile trip to Opua, NZ, with a possible stop at Minerva Reef, a reef in the middle of the ocean.
Finally, the good news of the week are that the book “Cirrus en Voyage” will be re-printed by its author and previous owner of Cirrus, Maud Atamaniuk. In it, Maud illustrates their adventures sailing Cirrus in the North Sea and accross the Atlantic. If you are interested, you can get a copy on her website: http://www.cirrus-en-voyage.com. We already got ours onboard and are working hard on the second part of the story, Cirrus en Voyage II 😉.