TONGA IN SIGHT

For the past forty-eight hours we have been sailing with the jib poled out to port and the main to starboard.  I haven’t touched anything, neither sails or self-steering – we have headed relentlessly down the track to Tonga.  It’s almost as if Truce is saying she has had enough of me messing around – just leave me to get on with it.  I am happy with that arrangement – an easy way to chew up the miles.

At two this afternoon we saw Tonga in the distance off the port bow.  Just a few more hours sailing and we will be in the lee of the island, where we can loiter around until tomorrow morning to enter and clear inwards.  I expect we will pick up some radio soon (I guess they have a FM station) and then the smells of the land.

This morning I ran the engine for thirty minutes, partly to give the batteries a top up but also to check everything is ok for entering port tomorrow.  Don’t want any surprises.  Later this afternoon I will complete and print out the paperwork required for clearing into Tonga, as soon as we near land the bureaucracy starts again.

Another great night for watching movies in the cockpit.  Tonight’s choice was ‘Blood Diamond’.  It’s quite a long movie and the computer battery ran out of juice half way through.  We will watch the second half this evening.  Total voyage distance 1,606 miles.

THE PENULTIMATE NIGHT AT SEA

We have both got the channels – even worse than yesterday.  Last night the discussion turned to food again and the dishes we were going to eat in Tonga.  Then Jessica started showing me photos of the food she had been eating in Vietnam.  We both seem to be slightly obsessed with the food thing now.

Well, the sailing has been good if not spectacular.  We have been sailing in beautiful weather, (Inc. occasional rain shower), with the jib poled out for the last twenty-four hours.  The winds have been light overnight and filling in this morning to around twelve knots, a slow night but perfect sailing weather now.  I have not touched the self-steering or sails, we just keep heading down the track.  Almost as though Truce knows the way, like a horse sniffing the stables.

Our arrival time at Neiafu is still Monday evening.  I will slow down as we reach the coast and enter at daylight, hopefully going direct alongside the dock for our clearance into Tonga.

Last night I did have something on toast as predicted.  At the back of the cupboard I have two tins of kippered herring skulking about – they went to Alaska with me last year.  I thought it was time to try one.  It was dreadful and ruined perfectly good toast.  I will try and barter the other tin with some gullible person for something edible.

Fishing is slow.  The smaller lures I have been using are not catching anything.  Another lure has lost its hooks to something.  The small lure strategy is a failure.  I have concluded we have the wrong line and the wrong lures.  I will replace both in Tonga and then start catching fish like a pro.

The wind was light and the sky clear for last nights screening in the cockpit.  We watched ‘Snatch’, a UK film.  Very humorous if not a bit violent.  Not suitable for everyone, having a British sense of humour is helpful.  Total voyage distance 1,470 miles.

TRUCE CREW GET CHANNELS

Jessica has the channels, that strange malaise seafarers get after being at sea for some time and approaching port.  She is restless and constantly talking about what food she is going to eat.  Of course, the condition is contagious, I am now is a similar state.

We still have plenty of food on board – but nothing we want to eat.  Tinned food and dried stuff is OK for a week or so but gets boring after a time.  The knowledge that we will have access to fresh fruits, vegetables, meats after the weekend makes it even harder to eat pasta again.

A mixed bag of a sailing day some good winds and then going light and rain showers.  We are not going to make arrival on Monday so just taking it easy to arrive on Tuesday morning.

After lunch the wind allowed us to go back to poled out jib and mainsail.  We are now comfortably running down the track to Neiafu with little fuss and an easy motion.  That has led to a flurry of baking, muffins first and now the bread is in the oven.  We love the smell of fresh bread, although the oven makes the cabin too hot for comfort in this climate.  No doubt we will have something on toast for dinner this evening.

The movie showing in the cockpit last night had to be moved indoors due to rain.  We watched ‘Be Cool’ with John Travolta.  A good movie but it went on a bit too long, I only had a short sleep before my watch at midnight.  I managed a cat nap in the cockpit later but was woken up when heavy rain arrived in a small squall.  Total voyage distance 1,353 miles.