Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Heading to Town - Neiafu

After our first trip through the Ha'apai we headed up to the capital of Vava'u: the town of Neiafu.  With population of 6,000 it is the second biggest town in Tonga and the centre of most of the "yachtie" and tourist activities.  A bit of a shock after the quiet Ha'apai.

The mooring field

At this point we are by the blue fish and chips house run by a guy from Winnipeg.

Essential repairs to Benjamin's F-14 Tomcat

and repairs to my toys - fixing the SUP pump.

and lots of laundry.

I remember STS Picton Castle was in the news a bit with a Transport Canada report when I was posted to Halifax so we were keen to see her close up when she arrived in Neiafu.  Although registered in the Cook Islands she is based out of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and doing a circumnavigation.

We did not mean this close up though.  Our anchor chain actually runs under her stern and then off to her starboard side.  They needed to use their tender to push their stern aside when we decided that they were just too close for our comfort and needed to reanchor further away.  Johnathan went out in our RHIB too in case we needed to push Fluenta off that steel hull.

Kind of close.  Was impressive to watch them do the downwind anchor drop though.  One of the crew actually stopped me on the street to apologize for anchoring too close but I never did get a reply back from my polite note to the ship.




Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Reef Photos

As family we spend a fair amount of time in the water snorkeling or spearfishing.  This year I have tried to take more detailed photos of what we see.  Here are some of the photos of the small fish and coral on the reefs.  Leopard sharks to follow in a later post.

Little fish are hard to photograph freediving as they just do not stay still and cooperate.
The kids are easy to photography even if they too rarely stay still
My favourite Christmas Tree Worm photo to date.
More Christmas Tree Worms.  If you get too close they close up.


Giant clam

Coral close-up




Soft coral.

Details of a starfish.





Coral close-up
Coral close-up








Coral close-up

More giant clam


Clownfish






Monday, 17 September 2018

Into the Ha'apai - In Photos - The First Visit

After the capital of Tongatapu we headed north to the Ha'apai group.  It is similar to the Tuamotus yet does not seem to be much visited by cruisers compared to the busy Vavu'a group to the north.

We only had a month immigration visa out of Tongatapu so we were a bit time constrained on this first visit to the group.

Johnathan up the mast guiding us in between the reefs
His view down to Fluenta.

Time for a drink Island-style

Time for a drink Island-style

Time for a drink Island-style with our new friends from Kitenga

Anchored off Don MacIntyre's HQ on Nomuka Iki.  We met Don briefly when we were in Tonga four years ago.  He has either been on an adventure or sponsoring adventures for the last few decades.  Interesting guy.

Unfortunately Don was not home as he is rather busy running the Golden Globe Race.
Canada Day and, as usual, Victoria and her helper have been busy.

Canada Day and, as usual, Victoria and her helper have been busy.

Canada Day and, as usual, Victoria and her helper have been busy.

Tongan cupcake.


Not all beaches and parties though.  Benjamin doing French.

but still time for lego

close reaching between the islands in Ha'apai.

and Trickle is launched in Uoleva.
A great anchorage at Uonukuhifo (Lobster Island).



We actually found a message in a bottle.



Liz's yoga helper.

The great sandspit between Uonukuhifofo and Uonukuhahaki Islands

The north end of Uonukahahaki Island to do some kite surfing


Bonfire time

Marshmallows !

and of course some stick fighting at sunset

Benjamin fell and headbutted one of the big winches.  Lots and lots of blood ("Dad, my blood is leaking out").  Cleaned up here.

Benjamin showing off his steristrips.  It was reassuring that the mum on Kitenga is a nurse so we had some oversight.

Great big anchorage and hardly any boats in the whole group yet this catamaran decided to anchor right beside us.

A rainbow runner for the fridge.  Tasty.

Heading to the Pangai market.  A little sparse compared to Tongatapu.

Victoria and I waiting in Pangai for Liz to get back from shopping. Not very busy in town.