On June 13th, Christy and Brian, friends from Vancouver/Whistler, arrived at the Fua’amotu Airport in Tongatapu.
It was like Christmas for us as they had brought some things we had had sent to them as well as lots of things they had shopped for us. We are so grateful for the parts and goodies that can’t be found or easily shipped here.
We did a tour around Tongatapu shopping at the market, bakery, frozen meat store, Chinese grocer and Italian food and wine shop. We had to stock up as we would not shop again for about 10 days in Vava’u.
A couple days after their arrival, we sailed to the Ha’apais. Brian and Monty did a little fishing along the way.
The first night in the Ha’apais, we anchored just off Nomuka Iki. It is a pretty sunset spot.
We moved around in the Ha’apais looking for a calm anchorage, but it was so windy all week, going ashore or doing much off the boat was challenging. Fortunately, they both had books to pass the time.
The next day, we anchored off Uonukuhihifo Island. Brian and Christy paddled ashore and checked out the beach. We all decided to go snorkelling. We had a devil of a time finding the bommies Monty and I had seen on our last visit. It was quite windy and the tide was high, so the visibility was not great. We did see some cool fish though.
We moved about 10 miles north to Uoleva. It rained hard for a time. When it finally cleared up, we all went for a walk to the eastern side of the island and checked out the kiting spot known as Kite Surf Tonga situated at the northern end. With the showers and cool temperatures, Monty was not very enticed to kite there, at least not this time.
It was a beautiful day for a beach walk but we were tired after our three hour stroll. The sand is like quick sand in some spots, you sink down several inches which each step.
It was Father’s Day and someone had etched a greeting into the sand!
The little resort had no clients at the time. It was still off-season, as the whales don’t start showing up until July normally. The staff did not seem interested in having customers for lunch so we went back to the boat.
The following day, we headed to Pangai. On the way, we caught a glimpse of a whale. We anchored off Haapai Beach Resort and had lunch there.
We walked into town, checked in with Customs and bought a few provisions from the Chinese store.
On our short 6nm motor up to Foa Island, two mahimahi decided they liked our lures!
We dropped the hook off Nukunamo Island, just north of Foa. We dinghied in to Matafonua Lodge for a visit that afternoon but got pretty soaked with waves crashing over the bow head on.
The winds were blowing about 25 knots and the seas were very rough so it was an unusually restless night for all of us as it.
For a few days, Monty and I had a debate about when to leave for Vava’u, with safety the primary concern. The winds were very strong and the seas rough, now both from an easterly direction, not ideal for heading north-east. In another day, the winds were predicted to die out but go northerly. If we waited, it would mean motoring the whole way which is not much fun. So we left early the next morning knowing we faced strong winds forward of the beam.
It was too rough to fish. For a time, Monty dragged the Teaser (a large squid like lure with no hook) to try to attract a blue marlin but we didn’t see any.
It was a rough day with 2 1/2 to 3m swell and 20-25 knot winds, from about 40 to 50 degrees apparent. Brian (prepared with some Stugeron) and Christy loved the sail. We arrived in Nieafu in about 12 hours, averaging 8.5 knots while sailing. We had to motor for the last 3 hours, as we approached Nieafu, with the wind blocked by the islands.
After socializing and dining out with some other yachties at a few restaurants, doing some more provisioning and seeing a bit of Nieafu, some clear calm conditions had finally set in. We decided to try to show Brian and Christy on our favourite anchorages, Kenutu. We had good visibility, needed to navigate the reefs on the way there.
Our next stop was Mounu Island. We grabbed their mooring (which we had booked) and went to the resort before sundown and a wonderful dinner, as prearranged. We had the place to ourselves, just two very pleasant staff, their new chef and us.
On the way, we stopped by Swallows Cave. Christy and Brian jumped in and checked it out.
We had a lot of fun with Brian and Christy on board. We appreciate all the efforts they made to help us before they arrived and throughout their stay. They now have some insight into the highlights and challenges of the “cruising life”. We hope they enjoyed themselves on Whistler, cruising from Tongatapu to Vava’u, and that they will join us for another visit sometime-somewhere!