1. day - 23/10/2007 - TuesdayCrossing the date line we arrived at Vavavu Islands of Tonga on 23rd. It was still dark before the sunrise but we did not need to use the radar, the moon was strong. We were going very slowly and waiting for the sunrise. We were sailing among the islands and we had a little bit of feeling like we were sailing in Croatia. There was no swell or anything. Well sheltered water with small and rocky islands (limestones) around. We went first to Neiafu to the town and we tied to the quarantene zone of the
shore. Martin came from Dingo and gave us pangas (tongan dollar) for the clearance. We checked in with the VHF then the customs, the health officer and later the immigration officer arrived. They looked like a delegation with their traditional clothes. They were wearing skirt and a waistband. They greeted us in the Kingdom of Tonga.
Then we picked up a mooring before the town and here we met with our friends Dingo, Muline, Yagoona and Hafskip. There were other boats too waiting for the weather window to sail the last 1300 miles to New Zealand.
Tonga is constitutional monarchy ruled by the king. Religion is important in the country so Sunday is church day and you are not allowed to do any work on that day.
On the shores there are some bars, restaurants, diving bases and other clubs owned by foreign investors (some of them used to be sailors). There more charter companies around and the place is ideal for sailing.
09:30 18-38.80S 174-04.39W log= 24126.4
2. day - 24/10/2007 - Wednesday
Today Geza and Martin were mounting the shift of SV Dingo. It was not possible to buy a new part to it so they tried to fix it and put together. There is a workshop here and they allowed us to use their tools.
In the evening we had BBQ party with Dingo, Yagoona and Muline in a local restaurant..
3. day - 25/10/2007 - Thursday
The work was continued today too, but first a new driller needed to be found. Finally there was one in the Ministry of Employment.
By the night the shift was finished and we invited Dingo on Rotor for a dinner after the hard day..
4. day - 26/10/2007 - Friday
There is a local net every day at 8.30am. They offer some programmes around the islands. We thought to go to anchorage 11 so we gave our reservation at Aquarium Cafe.
First we made a trip to the hill not far from the town and we had a nice bird eye view to the islans of Vavau. Then we sailed to anchorage 11 which was only 11 miles from the town. There was not any wind so we filled the batteries and used the engine. In the night we had a nice local dance show and lots of traditional Tongan food on coconut and bamboo plates. It was very nice fully packed table..
5. day - 27/10/2007 - Saturday
There was Helloween party tonight on anchorage 7. So we went there. Actually it is interesting that all the anchorages are numbered here. They were numbered by Moorings Charter Co. and it is used by every sailors.
In the last few weeks we were sailing more than 100 miles between the anchorages in high waves and strong winds. Here the islands are so close so we sail 3-10 miles. It is much more comfortable and there are no swells or waves. For the Fullmoon party we made some costumes to the other sailors too..
6. day - 28/10/2007 - Sunday
Although on Sunday it is not allowed to do anything we were far away from the civilisation on the anchorage. Geza and Joost (from Hafskip) went for spearfishing. Not too much luck this time.
In the afternoon Yagoona came and asked some help. They had virus on their computer and their navigtion softwares died. Meanwhile Geza fixed their computer they took us to the caves near anchorage 8. One of the caves has an underwater entrance which is not easy to find.
In the evening we made a small party on Rotor with our friends..
7. day - 29/10/2007 - MondayToday we had to do the maintenance works on our engine. In the evening Yagoona invited us for a nice dinner on their board.
It seemed that the first weather window appeared on the 22nd to New Zealand. However we thought it was too early. Our intuition was proved to be true, the weather window was not perfect and there was too strong wind with high seas, called a squash zone appeared. We were glad we did not started and anyway we still have things to prepare on board.
8. day - 30/10/2007 - Tuesday
We thought earlier that Tonga is the perfect place to sail. Now we think only the weather should be adjusted a little. The rain is sometimes heavy here and lasts for days.
We have our arrival package to New Zealand that we picked from one of the shop here (it was free). Now we are checking everything on the boat from the list. We try to get rid of things they list as a biological hazard and such kind of things (such as egg-stands, corns, shells etc). We have to make a short notice for the NZ immigration and customs before we leave from Tonga in e-mail. We have to send them the crew list and other data and details of the boat including the storages. We prepared the
paper documents too, which took around 2 hours.
We also planned the route to NZ in the computer and loaded to the GPSs.
In the evening we were playing card game on Hafskip with Ilse and Joost.
9. day - 31/10/2007 - Wednesday
Today was raining again all day. But Joost and Geza shot 2 parrot fish this time. So we grilled it and ate it with them on Rotor..
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