NUKU’ALOFA TO NEW ZEALAND

This morning it rained cats and dogs.  My walk to the internet café to check the weather was a soggy affair.  Good news, the weather seems to be easing off on the route to New Zealand.

I went shopping for fresh fruit and veg and topped up on additional beer, the stocks were running low after such a long time in port.  I stopped for lunch and had fish and chips – a final Tonga treat.
After lunch I visited the Customs to get the boats clearance outward.  After some repetitive form filling I finally had the required piece of paper and a stamp in my passport.  All ready to go.

Just after three in the afternoon I let go the lines and we were on the way home.

We are now clear of the island of Tongatapu and sailing in a westerly direction – hoping the wind will back around and we can sail more to the south in the morning.  I am heading in the general direction of Minerva Reef.  A stop at the reef may be necessary if the weather blows as forecast on the eighteenth at the top of New Zealand.  We shall see in the next few days.

Its good to be back at sea again after waiting for so long in port.  Beautiful fresh air and a clear horizon.  At the moment the wind is a perfect ten to fifteen knots.  I have reduced sail for the night and we are doing a comfortable five and a half knots.  I hope it holds until morning.

VISIT TO CAPTAIN COOKS LANDING PLACE

Today started out wet with the northerly wind dying down.  By nine the rain had stopped and the outlook seemed fine for a few hours.  I decided it was time to get out and about the island of Tongapapu.

First, I set off to Captain Cooks landing place where he set foot on Tongapapu in 1777.  It’s quite an unimpressive site, run down with a closed-up café and non-functioning toilets.  The water side is dirty with old junk lying around.  The Queen and Prince Phillip visited the site in 1970 – I bet they spruced it up before she turned up.

Ha'amonga a Maui.photo Ray Penson jpg.
Ha’amonga a Maui.photo Ray Penson

Then it was off to look at some old royal terraced tombs.  After the tombs I headed out to see Ha’amonga ‘a Maui.  This is a stone monument, much like a mini Stonehenge.  I am not sure the history of the thing as there was no information available.  It appears that the cut vegetation lines mark out the summer and winter solstices, although the monument does not seem to line up.

This part of island where Ha’amonga ‘a Maui is situated is to the far east.  There is a nice fresh atmosphere about the place with clean fresh air coming off the ocean.    There’s Mango, Cassava, Plantain, and Banana everywhere.  The land here looks very fertile and reminded me of Nigeria just stick anything in the ground and it will grow.

Captain Cooks Landing Place - cafe closed. Photo Ray Penson
Captain Cooks Landing Place – cafe closed. Photo Ray Penson

Alongside the roads there are stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables.  Not the bland, perfectly formed, irradiated supermarket type, but real out of the soil and off the trees produce.  I bought some, it tastes good.

Captain Cooks Landing Place. Photo Ray Penson
Captain Cooks Landing Place. Photo Ray Penson

Around midday the heavens opened again, heavy tropical rain, I headed back to Nuku’alofa for a decent coffee and light lunch at Friends Cafe.  After lunch I visited the internet café to check the weather – still not looking very flash for sailing to New Zealand.  The weather up north is light and down south very windy.  I will be waiting a few days more.

Sunday tomorrow – everything shut apart from the churches.