On July 4th, Tonga celebrates their King’s Birthday and he was in Vava’u for it.
Around the same time, a week-long Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga Conference was being held in Vava’u. Many brightly dressed church-going Tongans from the various island groups flocked to attend. The inter-island ferries were frequently sold out and the hairdressers were fully booked!
Free feasts were held twice daily, so lots of food had to be supplied to feed the many XXL-sized Tonga attendees. The produce and fish markets had very little to offer as everything was snapped up as soon as it arrived. We had a hard time provisioning while the conference was in town. Even eggs were in short supply. The conference area had long tables jammed with baskets filled with soft-drinks and junk food but, no doubt, there was a lot more on the menu than I could see. Some were lucky enough to enjoy roasted pork!
The day before his birthday, when a military tattoo and other festivities were planned, we sailed south to the Ha’apais. It was more important to us to take advantage of a good weather window for the passage and the Ha’apais were calling!