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Oceania » Tonga » Vava'u
June 26th 2009
Published: June 30th 2009
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June 22nd
TONGA
The 3hr flight to Tonga was uneventful - which is what I like. I arrived in Tonga and it was raining, windy and cold. My flight to Vava’u in Northern Tonga was cancelled and I had to wait for the later flight. I sat in the domestic airport - the equivalent of large shed - the only saving grace was the restaurant which sold hot and cold drinks and food. I had numerous cups of tea to keep me warm. While in the airport I struck up a conversation with an American girl work for VPO in Tonga. She explained some of the traditions and customs of Tonga. One of which was the grass skirts that a few men and women wore over their dresses or skirts (yes men as well as women were wearing skirts). She explain the wearing of grass skirt was equivalent to wearing a tie in the western world esp seen in people in mourning

I arrived in Vava’u about 5.30pm we did two approaches as it was really windy - I was glad I was in an aisle seat so I couldn’t see the approaches. Brain the Captain of Wyuna was there to met me - again it was raining and cold. We took a taxi to the Dinghy and Brian told me of the awful weather they had that morning 50k winds and boats as well as mooring dragging. On board I met Carl American who is also and avid shell collector. We had dinner chicken in a sauce over rice - I was hungry and it tasted delicious. I fell into bed early. Brian explained we had to leave Tonga the following day as the weather was suppose to be bad at the weekend and it would be another week before we could go. The weather for our trip to Wallis Island was favorable 20-25k. The following morning we cleared customs, immigration and port authorities - bought a few veggies and said good bye to few friends and were away by lunch time.

TRIP TO WALLIS ISLAND
Once we were clear of the channel we set the Genoa and were sailing down wind in 20-25k - Quite a lot of rocking and rolling. Brian threw over a line and within ½ hr he had caught a 40lb tuna which we had on sandwiches for dinner. I think it tasted delicious but I really was in the mood for food. The seasickness tablets were only just working. We had an easy night averaging 7 knots. The following day was OK I was finally chumming over the side. The following night was OK until about 5.30am when the winds picked up and there were engine problems. We had to run the engine daily to keep the freezer cold. The impeller was not drawing in water to cool the engine. After several attempts Brian located the problem and was able to make temporary repairs. The other engine issues Brian was able to deal with. By now the winds had increase to about 30k with gust to 40k and we were averaging 7.5-8k. We calculated that we could get to port by 5pm - no one wanted to stay another night at sea - so mid morning Brian started to manually steer the boat and we motor sailed for the rest of the trip. Due to the large swells (30-40’) the intake value would take in air and not water so Brian was constantly fixing that so the engine didn’t over heat. Wallis Island is a group of islands entirely surrounded by reef except for 20m gap - difficult by day - impossible by night. We finally found the entrance and were able to safely negotiate the channel. The huge waves were breaking over the reefs on either side of us - we thought we thought we were home free - wrong. We started to take down the roll a furling heading into the wind of 30k. It jammed and wouldn’t move. Brian went forward while I steered the boat (reefs everywhere and sail flapping violently in the wind) and took it down. My quick actions prevented the halyard being wrapped around the propeller. The sail is now tied securely to the port side of the boat. We anchored in about 14m of water and put out 70m of chain. We still dragged slight so Brian added ????. We had a well deserved shower and then quick dinner of omelets with tomato and basil - it tasted delicious first proper meal in 2 days. We all had a great night’s sleep.


Sorry no pictures today

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