The fleet has set sail from Tonga to Fiji. About 1/2 of the boats left
on Tuesday, but we left on yesterday morning with the rest.
Jo has now flown home, so there are only 4 of us onboard. It will be
strange for me to carry on sailing without her after such an amazing 9
month voyage together, but I won't be far behind.
Some time ago - before Bora Bora, in fact, the high pressure hose on our
watermaker burst. My brother Steve quickly sourced a new one and sent
it ahead of us. You wouldn't believe the hassle involved in actually
getting package delivered. After arriving in Tonga from Fiji on 6th
June, it took a further 2 weeks, innumerable phone calls and emails, 2
trips to the airport and some more money before I finally got my hands
on it on Tuesday. Perhaps I appreciate it more because of the effort
involved in getting it. Anyway, it's fitted now, and we're all happy
that daily showers are now allowed - perhaps even encouraged!
We're now about 100 miles from Tonga, 200 from Vanua Belavu - the
island in the Lau group of Fiji where we clear customs. Customs
clearance is not normally possible here, meaning there are few
visitors so we're looking forward to visiting some pretty remote
Monday, 17 June 2019
Sunday, 16 June 2019
Tonga is traditionally very religious and on Sunday most people attend church, then relax and have a family feast. We went to St Joseph's Cathedral this morning and witnessed the most beautiful uplifting harmonic singing from the congregation. Everyone is dressed in their formal finery. For men this is a colourful shirt and a long skirt with a rush mat tied around the waist. The women were in smart dresses and wore decorative rush belts, with beautifully braided hair and flowers behind one ear.
Saturday, 15 June 2019
Today we had a visit to the 'Botanical Gardens' - actually privately owned, with a tour by the gentleman who had planted most of the garden over many years. Very colourful with some very large spiders. His 'safety briefing' started with the instruction not to stand under palm trees in case of falling coconuts!
The walk ended at a restaurant at the beach where locals were collecting seafood at low water (cockles/ clams I thought) and we were invited to try kava, given lunch and then a demonstration of Tongan style dancing by some of the young people of the village. Curiously, Tongan dance moves for women typically require the girls feet to stay in the same spot, involving lots of gentle hand movements and swaying but no actual movement below the knees. The boys appeared to have much more fun, and clearly all the Tongans watching really enjoyed the show. Photos to follow...