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.

WARM SPINGS

The birds started their dawn chorus at 03:20 this morning.  I know this because an uncomfortable wind was blowing into the anchorage so I started keeping an anchor watch in the early hours.

Baranof Hot Springs dock.Photo Ray Penson

I am now receiving Sitka radio on AM and they kept me company in the early morning hours.  But why is country music so depressing, they should sing about happy things not just lost dogs and sweethearts.

We depredated Red Bluff Cove early morning and picked up the forecast South Easterly winds.  We started sailing in the right direction at a good rate.  However, after twenty minutes the wind died and we were left wallowing in a murderous mix of confused sea.  We rolled our guts out, the worst seas this trip, just small short waves.  I had to bring out the elephant skin (rubber matting) to prevent things flying around.  After a couple of hours of discomfort, we rounded the headland into Warm Springs Bay.

Immediately on entering the bay the weather improved and the air felt warmer.  There is a huge waterfall discharging into the head of the bay and a free floating dock to tie up to.  Here I met up with another Kiwi sailor, Steve on his beautiful yacht Rhapsody.

Natures Hot Infinity Pool. Photo Ray Penson
Natures Hot Infinity Pool. Photo Ray Penson

Ashore is a delight, there is a trail leading to a beautiful lake and some natural hot springs and bathing pools overlooking a spectacular waterfall.  There are also some hot tubs near the dock with fabulous views out over the bay and mountains.  I took a beer into the hot tub and lay soaking in wonderful hot water looking out at the snow-capped mountains beyond.  Magical.  It was so good I went back again in the evening for another soak.

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I now feel warm all through, right to the core.  I smell a bit like a rotten egg, which is probably an improvement.  In the woods by the lake I found salmon berry bushes full of fruit, lovely sweet fresh berries.  Last night I was invited onto an American boat for dinner and had a great time in the company of Bob and Steve.  I am enjoying this place and may linger a while to explore more and enjoy the free heat.  Total voyage distance 1,135.5 miles.

Logged 17th June 2016