DRINKING RUM WITH OLD FRIENDS

The rain from yesterday evening continued overnight, finally giving way to some sunshine mid-morning.  I spent a few minutes bailing out the pig before we could go ashore – amazing how much water collected overnight.

By ten I had visited the customs and port office to clear out from the Vava’u group.  The tonnage dues came to less than ten dollars, all up the clearance into and out of Neiafu cost one hundred and thirty-one dollars.

Next on the ‘to do’ list was getting some fresh fruit and veg Fresh veg, eggs and topping up on a few dry goods.  The market down by the wharf has an excellent selection of fresh produce where we also got fresh eggs.

On the way back to Truce we decided to have an early lunch at Indigo café.  Our favourite café as they also seem to have decent WiFi.  Eggs and bacon for me and BLT for Jessica.  The bacon here is so good – unfortunately we forgot to buy some in the store.

Just after one in the afternoon we dropped the mooring and headed out of Neiafu harbour with a stiff breeze behind us.  We headed to Tapana Lagoon where a friend, Steve, was moored.  I met Steve last year at Warm Springs Bay, Baranof Island in Alaska.  Steve is also headed back to New Zealand but at a far more leisurely pace than mine.

At three in the afternoon we entered Tapana Lagoon and saw Steve’s lovely yacht ‘Rhapsody’ tucked up in the corner, nicely sheltered.  We were fortunate to find a vacant mooring close alongside and before long we were securely moored in a beautiful peaceful little bay, completely sheltered from the easterly trades.

The evening was spent on Rhapsody, chatting, eating and drinking Rum.  We were joined by Linda, a charming Australian lady who is sailing her yacht single handed.  Steve produced a surprisingly good Spaghetti Bolognaise – a great night was had by all.

Tomorrow morning we will rise early to head south towards Pangai in the Ha’apai Group.  We need to keep heading in the direction of Nuku’alofa to make the connection with Jessica’s flight back to Melbourne on the 29th.

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.

A DAY OF TWO HALVES

As they say in football – today has been a day of two halves.  From midday to midnight we romped along, reefed down, in twenty knot winds doing a comfortable six knots.  At midnight, we had clocked seventy plus miles and all was good.  After midnight we ran into a rain squall (probably a front) and after a brief flurry the wind disappeared.

Since midnight we have been ghosting along and now have the jib poled out to port and doing three to four knots in glorious weather but not much breeze.  The forecasters wanted to give us twenty knots again today – oh how wrong they got it.

It looks like this light weather has blown our planned ETA for the 21st in Neiafu, we will most likely arrive on Tuesday now.  Just another day to wait for a cold beer – maybe I should drink an extra one to compensate.

Last night we watched ‘Men in Black 3’ in the cockpit.  Great movie – they don’t need to make any more MIB’s.  The weather is still hot but absolutely no complaints.  Two fishing boats turned up last night, the first vessels we have seen since leaving Christmas Island.

At lunch time today we used the last of our eggs.  One was a floater so went over the side to Davie Jones.  Fresh food is almost finished now, all that is remaining is a large onion from Honolulu.  It still looks in perfect condition so suspect it has a similar upbringing to the atomic (never go ripe) tomatoes I experienced in Alaska.  Total Voyage distance 1,130 miles.