This morning we headed into Neiafu to clear into Tonga, arriving at the main wharf at eight. Customs opened thirty minutes later and we started the clearing in process. This consists of completing around ten forms, answering the same questions multiple times. The whole process took a while, there was a flight arriving and available manpower had been diverted to the airport. Finally, at one in the afternoon the last check, Sanitation, was complete and we headed off to find an anchorage.
The anchorage turned out to be a mooring buoy just off the dinghy dock at the moorings, a convenient spot. Without delay we were moored and the pig in the water. By two in the afternoon we were sitting on the Mango Café deck snacking and drinking cold beer. A fitting end to a long voyage from Christmas Island of 1,648 miles over 13 days.
We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around town and soaking up the Island pace of life. In the morning, when getting cash for the clearance, I left my credit card in the ATM. In the afternoon I went back to the bank and retrieved the card which had been handed in. Honest people here.
WiFi access was on our shore list as we haven’t had any connection since leaving Honolulu a month ago. We found WiFi at a price but it was so slow we couldn’t download the information we wanted. Priority tomorrow will be to find decent WiFi and book Jessica’s flight back to Melbourne.
In the evening we came across a good café overlooking the harbour. The fresh fish looked good so we went that way. Jessica tried the Ota Ika (raw fish in coconut with veggies), it was superb. I had pan seared tuna, also excellent but too much to finish in one go. We both felt very relaxed as the sun went down over the harbour. I am sure we will sleep well tonight, securely tied up to a mooring. Total voyage distance from Kiritimati to Neiafu 1,648 miles.
Another day of light winds. Nothing we can do about that – just sail as best we can and enjoy the trip. I had hoped to arrive in Neiafu early afternoon Monday and clear customs. Now it looks like we will arrive late evening. If that is the case I will hang back so we arrive in daylight on the 22nd.
Most of the last twenty-four hours has been spent with the jib poled out to port and the mainsail boomed out to starboard. A very comfortable way of sailing, we managed to make some progress this way overnight. This morning we sailed west to find some more wind as promised by the weather prediction. So far, we have found a couple of small squalls, a refreshing shower, but no wind yet, just slating sails in the sunshine.
At lunch time we passed over an area indicated in the chart as having volcanic activity. We were hoping to see some bubbles, pumice, volcanic stuff, smell rotten eggs – but nothing, just sea like the surrounding area.
Now that Tonga is just a weekend away we really want to get into port. This has been a long trip from Honolulu, made longer I think because we couldn’t get a real break in Christmas Island. We both wanted to get off the boat there and explore ashore, the strong trade winds and exposed anchorage prevented us from getting that break. So, it almost feels like we have been sailing nonstop since Honolulu.
Last nights movie was ‘Once were Warriors’. An iconic New Zealand movie. I only saw it myself last year and it was Jessica’s first time. Well worth watching once – even if its to see what the Auckland southern motorway looks like with light traffic. Total Voyage distance 1,241 miles.
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.