What a great night’s sleep. The weather was calm and Truce lie quietly to the mooring without a sound. It was a cockerel crowing on the shore that work me early morning. It took a few seconds for the unfamiliar sound to register before I realised where I was.
Breakfast was fresh Papaya with lime. Then it was a brief tidy up of the boat and getting some urgent laundry out of the way before going ashore to explore.
Once ashore we were surprised by how many people were walking about – then we saw that a cruise ship was close by ferrying passengers ashore by tender. Most of the passengers we came across seemed to be Australian. One of the main tasks for us was to get internet access and get a flight out of Nuku’alofa booked for Jessica. I also wanted to download and send emails that have been backing up for a month. We found good internet at the Tropicana Cafe and after a couple of hours had exhausted our passion for being online.
We spent the rest of the day wandering around (its not a big place), looking in stores, buying some food items (Anchor long life milk!) and chatting with strangers. In between we managed to find the Bella Vista Café for excellent BLT’s and the Aquarium café for dinner overlooking the harbour. Fish again for dinner – it’s so good. We finally ended up in the Mango Café where the Pig was parked for a final cocktail before heading back to Truce.
The rain had set in, as it did yesterday, in the late afternoon. We had to bail some water out of the pig before setting off and were both quite damp by the time we got back on board. Fortunately, its quite warm and being damp is no hardship for a short while.
Jessica is departing from Nuku’alofa on the twenty ninth of August so we must start heading south without delay. Tomorrow morning we will buy some fresh provisions before checking out with the authorities and turning the bow towards the south. I am not sure what our next destination will be – we will go with the weather and plan to suit.
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.
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.