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.
Time has flown by but it’s a month today that I became the owner of Truce. It has been a time of learning, discovery, fixing, installing, repairing and maintaining.
We have not done much sailing due to lack of or contrary winds, what little sailing we have done has been a pleasure and Truce is clearly a boat that is built to sail. I like just about everything about the boat, she is well built, stout and staunch. She needs some TLC in some areas but there are no urgent projects and I will work to improve and maintain. What I don’t like is the dinghy – renamed the ‘Angry Pig’. It nests beautifully on deck as a good dinghy should do.
The problem is it weighs a ton and is built so solidly it damages just about anything or anyone who gets in its way. Launching the pig is impossible without the use of a halyard and winch, not fun when the wind is blowing. Because its so difficult to launch and retrieve its either spends too much time in the water or on deck, it takes courage to launch and retrieve single handed.
Once in the water the pig tries to attack the stern, rudder and anything else within range. Often when at anchor it will clatter into the side of the boat for no apparent reason, it seems to take pleasure in doing bumps at two in the morning. I am not a fan of inflatable rubber duck dinghies. But unless I can come to terms with the pig, she may be replaced with a rubber ducky.
Today we had a Maintenance Sunday, both boat and personal. The bilges, pumps, batteries, engine and all essential systems get checked on Sunday. As for myself, I had a ‘sanitation Day’ as they say in Nigeria. Beard trim, haircut, cockpit shower and even some deodorant. So all in order, we had an easy motor from Burial Cove through the Chatham Channel to Cutter Cove.
Again we are the only boat here and have the place to myself. This is a very tranquil cove with abundant wildlife swimming and flying around. It’s also supposed to be good for crabbing so my crab pot has been deployed. I am not too hopeful as the crabs don’t seem to like Walmart cat food but we will see the results in the morning. Total voyage distance 229.6 miles.