back to French Polynesia log (Marquesas, Tuamotus and Society Islands) 05/03/2001-06/03/2001

Tonga Log (initially the Cook Islands Log)

Monday June 4th, 2001

1AM: The moon was very bright when I started my shift, but it has clouded up. The wind is good, we are averaging over 6 knots with a double reef in the main. -SLC

The port engine started spontaneously last night during Jo's watch. Then during my morning watch I discovered that there was a large, unexplained draw on the port battery bank. I quickly determined that it was the port engine that was drawing the current and turned off the main port battery switches. I spent most of the day investigating. -DWH

9AM: A fishing boat came very close during this shift. Jo assured me he was small enough to maneuver around us, but it seemed like he was still coming closer. After a while we figured that he should have passed in front of us, but he was long lining so he didn't want us to hit his lines if he went in front of us. So he slowed down just enough to pass with in a half mile behind us. We could see people on deck with the naked eye, that is pretty close. It is very odd... if they intended to pass in front of us we could have slowed down to give them space. If they intended to pass behind us we could have sped up to give them space. But it is best to stay on course if their actions are unclear. In retrospect maybe we should have used the vhf radio to figure out what they were doing. -SLC

1:35 PM: I had set out the fishing line during my morning shift with Guy's brand new lure. The lure is made from the plastic wrapper of a chocolate bar. I was very pleased to be woken up from a nap by Dave when he asked me if I wanted to see the Dorado that Guy had brought in. I guess he saw the fish jump while he had the hand line in his hand. How exciting. It was 27' inches long. Dave filleted the fish, and I fried it up for sandwiches. EXCELLENT!! What a way to start a passage. -SLC

I'd made the lure the previous evening. Most of our squid lures have gone - been eaten by big fish - and so we now have a collection of hooks and weights to play with. Jo and I had just finished eating a Cadbury's Dream chocolate bar. I cut the wrapper into thin strips and tied them around a hook and a couple of weights I'd put onto a tracer. I was going to call the lure "Guy's little beauty" but in the end I settled for "The Big Dream". I'd just finished driving and sat down next to the line and started tugging at it. I wanted to create the illusion of a shredded chocolate bar wrapper in distress. (Fish can't resist a shredded chocolate bar wrapper in distress.) I hadn't been tugging on the line for more than 10 minutes when I saw two Dorado leap out of the water off the port hull and head straight for where the lure was. I only had a second to think and in that second I asked myself if I should continue to tug at the line or keep it steady so the fish could catch it. That second was too quick for a decision and one of the Dorado struck. A short fight later I had the 27 inch fish on deck. -Guy

Tuesday June 5th, 2001

Further investigation of the situation with the port engine indicated a problem with the cable between the engine and engine controls at the helm. This seemed very unlikely, but I later found that it was actually two cables connected end to end with a connector in one of the cockpit lockers. I took the connector apart and found a lot of corrosion. I eliminated the connector and crimped the individual wires and then sealed the whole mess really well so it stays completely dry. After doing all this things looked better, but the engine still didn't start. We may have fried the solenoids and or starter motor. I will continue investigating tomorrow. If all else fails at least we have a hand crank. -DWH

The Big Dream Lure attracted a seagull today. The first time it dived for the lure I shouted at it. It then circled around the boat and came back for another look. It dived again and both Stacy (who was driving) and I shouted at it and it flew off. We don't eat seagull on Ladybug. No fish fell under the charm of The Big Dream today. - Guy

During my night shift a flying fish joined me on deck. Sometimes they scare the hell out of me and other times they just frighten me. I'm usually reading or watching the stars or the shadows of the clouds the moon makes across the waves. I'm always in a relaxed state - this time I was day dreaming. Sometimes they whiz by your ear and clear the deck on the other side. You then wonder for a while what happened. This time it came from the back, over the transom, and hit the saloon door like a cricket ball fired from a cannon. It then proceeded to flap about on the deck, almost as fast as my heart was flapping about in my chest. Once I'd recovered, regained my composure and stopped jabbering, I picked it up and threw it back in the water. -Guy

Wednesday June 6th, 2001

I was really beat at the end of the day yesterday. I've been working on the boat way too much, first on the tank in Tahiti and now on the problem with the port engine. Guy decided that I needed a good night sleep and did not wake me up for my 9pm to 11pm watch. I slept soundly and felt good when he woke me up at 5am for my 5 to 7 watch. We had sailed comfortably all night with the spinnaker. It was so beautiful this morning. The nearly full moon behind the spinnaker really lit it up as it danced before me. And it was very quiet even though we were sailing between 5 and 7 knots. -DWH

Today we lost The Big Dream. There was a hit on the line and when Jo pulled it in he said: "I have good and bad news for you. The good news is that the fish still want the lure. The bad news is that they're too big for us." And so it's back to the drawing board to create The Big Dream II. - Guy

It might have been full moon last night. If it wasn't it was very close to full moon. The evening's sailing was magnificent and the moon was bright enough to read a book by - only just though. I ended up using a torch to help illuminate the pages as the moon was just not quite strong enough. I was so impressed with the moon's strength that I thought it might be charging the batteries through the solar panels. I checked the meters - it wasn't that bright. - Guy

Not much luck with the port engine. It looks like the problem is with the starter motor. Since we didn't think we could fix it without parts, we decided to try hand cranking the engine. I cut a hole in the bulkhead to insert the crank (crank specially modified by my buddy Kurt Nelson to fit through the bulkhead). Then I discovered that there was a pin missing on the shaft on the motor. Jo and I managed to get a bolt in where the pin was supposed to be and tried to crank it, but the compression is too high and we sheared off the bolt. We looked for a decompression lever, but this engine is not fitted with one even though the manual shows it. We had originally figured it wasn't needed because it's such a small engine. Wrong. Jo replaced the sheared bolt with a slightly larger bolt, but it's just too tough to crank. We will try to take the starter off tomorrow and see if we can fix it. -DWH

9pm: Wind has died. Sails are down, and we are drifting west at about 0.5 knots. It is a beautiful night despite the lack of wind. -DWH

Thursday June 7th, 2001

We had a discussion last night about our engine situation. We are still headed for Aitutaki, Cook Islands, but if we can't get the port engine working we will pass it by and continue on to Tonga. The pass to get into Aitutaki is 1/2 mile long and, according to "Charlie's Charts of Polynesia", only 40 feet wide (man made). That gives us only 10 feet of clearance on each side. I'm just not comfortable with that with only one engine. The boat just does not handle that well in tight quarters with just one engine. In this case it will tend to want to turn to port and is difficult to turn to starboard. If we get a cross wind or current, we could be in trouble very quickly.

Stacy and I did a man overboard drill this morning. I lost a bucket overboard while getting water. Stacy quickly reversed her course, and I was able to grab the bucket from the transom. The bucket was back on board in less than 2 minutes.

2pm: We are stuck on the engine front. We don't have a big enough allen wrench to remove the starter motor for further investigation. I'm sure that situation will be corrected the next time Jo or I sees a hardware store. Since there was no hope on fixing the starter motor, I turned back to trying the hand crank. It is really difficult without the compression relief lever (which must have been optional). Rather than doing pushups, I extended the handle by 6 inches to allow me to apply more torque. Unfortunately that was still not enough, and on second thought trying to crank it by hand in this situation might not be too bright. The fuel is injected before top dead center. If we did get ignition, it might actually turn backwards which would be bad for the boy holding on to the crank. So Tonga here we come. It's funny. Here we are on a 600 mile passage, and it's no big deal to pass up our destination and go another 1,000 miles. That would not have been true a year ago. And I'm in a fantastic mood. I've stopped focusing on fixing it. Instead I'm having fun sailing again. -DWH

Friday June 8th, 2001

We sailed in light winds with the spinnaker until 5am. By then the wind had died to the point that we just couldn't keep it flying. Since we needed to charge the batteries anyhow we motorsailed with the jib until 7am. By then the wind had come up a little and was out of the north, so we raised the main. We are now slipping along at about 4 knots.

I had John Gorka going through my head all night. As a matter of fact, he's been going through my head for the past couple weeks. His music is so pleasant. It's the kind of music that I expect to hear on my favorite radio station, WOJB out of Reserve, Wisconsin, or on "Simply Folk" on Wisconsin Public Radio.

*** Hey Howie! If you get a chance call WOJB and ask if they have John's "Out of the Valley" CD. If they don't could you order a copy and send it to them. Tell them it's from the sailing vessel Ladybug. Explain that we are in the South Pacific and miss their most excellent radio station. If you could do this for me I would gladly buy you a case of your favorite bock the next time I see you.

*** Hey Cheryl and Kerry! Could you send our old friend Judy Rose an email. Maybe the next time she has a request show she could play "Flying Red Horse" for all Ladybug's friends back in Wisconsin.

*** Hey anyone else! If you see John Gorka, give him two thumbs up from us.

Hit a squall line around 10am. It blew and really rained hard for a while. Jo was at the helm. Guy and I managed to wash all of our cloths with rain we collected off the main sail. Stacy stayed inside and made a courtesy flag for Tonga. Now it's almost 1pm. The wind is off and on, but it's still raining. It looks like it's "well set in".

At 1pm our position is 19:57 S, 159:23W. We have about 873 nautical miles to Tonga.-DWH

Saturday June 9th, 2001

During my morning shift (3 to 5am) I heard an engine running. I couldn't see anything on the horizon and so I got out the binoculars and scanned the sea to see if I was missing something. Still nothing. I then realized that I could only hear the engine when I was inside the saloon. I knew it wasn't the water pump but just in case I switched it off and then back on again. Furthermore the sound of the engine kept on waxing and waning. Further investigation led me up to the bow of the starboard hull and I discovered that engine that had me so worried was actually Jo snoring. Satisfied, I went back out on deck and with a torch continued reading and steering. At about 4:30am Dave came out on deck and look around. "No ships?" he asked me. "Nothing," I said forgetting about the engine noise I'd heard earlier. This afternoon I was relaying to Stacy and Jo my discovery of an extra engine on board, and Dave overheard this. Later he confessed that the reason he'd come out on deck before his shift was to check that no ship was bearing down on us as he'd also heard the engine. -Guy

7am: This morning we have a gray sky and almost no wind. We've been motorsailing and charging the batteries since 5am. Our position is 20:21S, 160:20W. We are now 820 nm from Tonga. Our progress in the last 16 hours is only 53 nm. This is still more fun than working.

The problem with the port engine has caused me to think a little about some of the electrical changes we've made to Ladybug. First of all the battery monitors we added have been very useful. It's nice to know exactly what is going on with he batteries (Volts, Amps, Amp Hours remaining, etc.). It was by checking the current on the port bank that I first identified the problem with the engine. The solar panels have also been a great addition. We were without engines to charge the batteries for over a week in Tahiti, but it was no problem. We had to be a little more conservative with our computer time, but the solar panels kept both banks charged up. And now the panels are both switched to the port bank. If we get sunshine that keeps that bank charged. The last couple days have been cloudy though, and the jumper switch between the banks (like a permanent jumper cable) that I added not long after we got the boat is proving to be very valuable. It allows me to charge both banks from one engine. The one thing that hasn't worked out is the hand crank for the engine. When we were buying spare parts we decided that the hand crank was better than buying spare solenoids and starter motor. Anyhow, I would still like to be able to hand crank the motors, so we will need to see if we can add decompression levers. I suspect there is an overpriced upgrade kit. -DWH

There was practically no wind until the end of my shift at 1pm today. On the horizon, on 3 fronts, we could see very dark clouds and rain. Dave took over and the wind picked up. It's now 3:30 pm and we're moving along at around 7 knots which is a great change from the 1 to 2 knots we were doing this morning. We had a fish hit the line after we picked up speed but at 7 knots it stayed on the line for about 3 seconds before coming off. If we get a hit at this speed we have to stop the boat pretty quickly if we don't want to loose the fish. -Guy

5:15 pm: What nice sailing from 1 to 3pm. We were cruising along at 7 knots with the jib and double reefed main. Ladybug was steering herself nicely. At 3 Stacy took over and the wind seemed to be slowly picking up. About 4 we had another fish hit. We pulled in the jib and Stacy steered to slow the boat while Guy hauled in a 47" dorado. What a beautiful fish! Imagine a musky sized fish that fights and jumps with the enthusiasm of a small mouth bass and has all the colors of the rainbow like a coral reef fish. And it didn't stop fighting after I'd gaffed it and we'd pulled it into the cockpit. It still had plenty of fight and even found its way into the saloon for a short while. It reminded me of John's story about the dorado that ended up in his bed. After cleaning the fish and cleaning up the cockpit and saloon we struggled with exactly what to do with this fish. We've all just stuffed ourselves on Stacy's burritos not long before so nobody is hungry right now. In the end we decided to cook as much as we think we can eat in the next 24 hours and try salting the rest. I've read about salting dorado and have wanted to try it for a long time. There is just one problem. The instructions are to "rub the fillets with salt and dry them in the sun all day............". Right now it's overcast and blowing at least 25 knots with crashing waves and spray everywhere. Guy is still giving it a shot. We'll have to wait to see the outcome.

5:40 pm Our current position is 20:15 S, 160:57W. We are about 780 nm from Tonga. We are going about 7 knots with just a double reefed main. -DWH

Sunday June 10th, 2001

9am: 11.69 knots is the new top speed with the main double reefed and the jib. -SLC

The brisk weather continued through the night. I've heard that on the average people overestimate wave height by about 50%, but I'm confident that we have had waves of up to at least 12 feet. This is based on the fact that when I'm sitting at the helm my head is at least 8 feet off the water, and some of these tower over me as they approach (and leave, but that doesn't make me as nervous). I have to admit that I'm pleased with how the bug handles these conditions though. It's noisy inside and there is some pounding, but I've experienced the same in monohulls. Moving around can be a little tricky, but we're still able to cook proper meals and the boys can pee standing up (don't try this in a tippy boat!). We are also making 7.5 knots velocity made good which is not bad for how loaded we are and the fact that we are actually sailing quite conservatively.

On another subject, the sea floor between the Cook Islands and Tonga must be very interesting. It is pretty much 4000 to 6000 meters deep (2.5 to 3.5 miles) all the way, with a few exceptions. It's these exceptions that can eat boats. Every once in a while there is a small reef that rises up from the deep. In one case there is a small patch on the chart that is about 3 miles in diameter that is marked 6 meters. Everything around it is 4000 or greater. That must be an incredible undersea mountain. The chart indicates that this reef was reported in 1916 and that the exact position is doubtful. We made sure to clear it with lots of room to spare. Another spot shows a small reef with no depth indicated but just "breakers reported (1945)". We've read that at least a couple yachts were lost in this area. These places are not just dangers because of the possibility of hitting the reef, but also because of the huge breaking waves that can occur when a deep sea waves hit a sharply rising sea floor. Needless to say we've marked all known danger areas and will stay well clear of them on our way to Tonga.

At noon our position is 20:21.8S, 163:24.1W. We are 652 nm from Tonga.

2pm: We have a new best for distance made good in a 24 hour period. Since 2pm yesterday we have 181 nautical miles made good towards Tonga. (we don't have our noon to noon distance because we did not record our noon position yesterday) -DWH

Monday June 11th, 2001

I finished "Sailing Alone Around the World" by Captain Joshua Slocom. It is amazing how well he was able to get his boat, Spray, to hold a course. On his downwind passage from Thursday Island to Keeling Cocos Islands, which was 2,700 miles and took 23 days, he claimed to have spent only an hour or two at the helm. Not bad in the days before autopilots and windvanes. I read his explanation of how he set the sails. He had his very large main out as far as she would go and the jib sheet pulled tight amidships. In this way the main provided the driving force and when she tried to round up the jib pushed the nose back around. This seems to make sense. And since we have been struggling to keep the autopilot working as we head downwind, I decided to try to apply his method on Ladybug. Unfortunately our stays are angled back which severely limits how far we can let the main out, but I did oversheet the jib. This seemed to help, and I was actually able to get Ladybug to hold a course on her own (no autopilot) for 3 to 4 minutes at a time. And while I could not leave it unattended, it certainly made it much easier for the autopilot to do it's job.

At noon our position is 21:03S, 166:04W. We are 516 nm from Tonga. -DWH

I checked the water tanks today and put bleach in the port tank. The starboard tank is 60% and the port tank is 80% full. I also put bleach into the 4 jerry jugs and the cooler. -Guy

Tuesday June 12th, 2001

The gray, squally, lumpy weather that we've had for the last several days seems to be breaking up. We have a little sunshine today. Jo and Guy put up the spinnaker this morning, and now we are moving along at 7.5 or 8 knots. It feels good.

At noon our position is 20:43S, 168.26W. We are 374 nm from Tonga. We have sailed over 1100 nautical miles since leaving Tahiti, which makes this our second longest passage so far.

3pm: Jo's homemade peanut butter cookies and 8 knots under the spinnaker, what an excellent afternoon! -DWH

We've been going pretty fast today. In fact I've become very anxious that my record speed of 13.45 knots (on the speed log) set on the first day out from Panama will soon be broken. Dave clocked up 13.06 knots and then later Stacy recorded 13.04 knots. A GPS reading while Jo was driving gave us doing a SOG (Speed Over Ground) of 19.1 knots (Note: This is cool but does not mean much as the instantaneous speed from the GPS is very inaccurate - DWH). I've decided to starve myself such that I'll be ultra-light when it comes to my chance to drive again. With a new skeletal light frame I should be able to set an unbreakable speed. -Guy

I've subsequently discovered that Jo has set a new speed record on the log of 13.61 knots. I think that today was some of our fastest sailing although it only lasted for around 5 hours. -Guy

Just before sunset we decided that we should bring the spinnaker in for the night. We switched to flying just the jib and were cruising along at a peaceful 4 knots with everyone anticipating a quiet night. Then we hit the thunderstorms - lots of lightning and rain but not much wind. Guy and I got soaked. Now it's Stacy's turn, but the rain has died down. The wind has also died, and we are motoring along at just a couple knots. -DWH

Just before the storms hit us I was attacked by another flying fish. I swear that they are picking on me. This is the third in as many nights. This one landed in my lap (I was sitting at the helm) and wildly flapped about there while I tried to get rid of it. It fell down one of the drain holes next to the sliding door. Bloody fish. -Guy

Wednesday June 13th, 2001

7am: There is no wind. The sails are down. We are drifting. We made 40 nm from noon to 5pm yesterday. Since then, in the last 14 hours, we have done 28 nm, and a fair chunk of that was motoring last night.

9am: Spinnaker up. There still isn't much wind, but we're moving.

At noon our position is 20:47S, 169.48W. We are 299 nm from Tonga.

We hit a squall line about 3pm. We had been watching it for quite some time, so it was no surprise. We had the spinnaker down and double reefed main and jib up before we hit it. The temperature started dropping as we approached it. It had started at about 86 degrees and ended up at 72. Stacy was just taking over the watch at 3, so she got some good sailing as the wind shifted and picked up, but she also got wet. After that we took out the reefs and were sailing along at a good pace until about 9pm when the wind dropped and shifted south and it started to rain again. It is now 11pm, and we are making about 2.5 knots in the rain. -DWH

Wet, but still having fun!!! -SLC

Hare Krishna Haircut. -Guy

Thursday June 14th, 2001

1am: Cold (73 degrees) and wet, not much wind. We are still progressing west, only 2 knots. -SLC

The squalls continued through the night. At least we have wind.

At 1pm our position is 21:15S, 171:42W. We are about 176 nm from Tonga.

9pm: It's a clear, starry night! -DWH

Tonight's flying fish came straight over the bow. It was heading straight for my face and I saw it just in time and ducked. It glanced off the roof of the saloon, hit the underneath of the bimini and then landed on my (ducked) head before bouncing into the water over the transom. -Guy

Friday June 15th, 2001

1AM Stars are out! And it is a balmy 80 degrees! We will arrive in Tonga on Saturday, which will really be Sunday local time because Tonga is on the other side of the International Date Line. -SLC

It is a beautiful, sunny day. It's been a while since we've had one like this. Now we just need some good wind to carry us to Tonga. Right now it's light and right on the nose.

At noon out position is 21:18S, 173.30W. We are about 85 nm from Tonga.

We are passing over the Tonga Trench today. I'm not sure of the maximum depth, but one spot we passed is marked on the chart as being 10587 meters deep. That's over 6.5 miles! -DWH

At 4:00 PM We crossed into another day -Jo

We estimated that the date line runs around 173W at this particular latitude and so me must have crossed it this afternoon. That means that Friday suddenly became Saturday. The dateline runs along 180 W/E but makes a special detour to run east of Tonga making it the first nation to see the dawn of each new day. So from here (Friday afternoon) we skip forward...

Saturday June 16th, 2001

...and land on Saturday afternoon in a few easy keystrokes. -Guy

After a most excellent Pizza party we reefed the sail at sunset since we had some ominous clouds in the horizon. Echo and Foxtrot landed on our Bimini to take a brake from fishing. Echo is a booby and Foxtrot is some kind of black seagull, they seem to be content to just sit there on the solar panel and enjoy the sunset.

Watching them come in to land was like watching fighter jets land on an aircraft carrier. Echo is obviously a practiced professional as he managed the task first time without any problems. Foxtrot, however, is a complete amateur and had to abort his first two landing attempts before finally making a successful touchdown on his third approach. -Guy

Sunday June 17th, 2001

1AM I couldn't sleep so I got up and started to drive at 9 pm (Dave's shift). I had a little wind and rain, then calm. I have been motoring since 10:45. The 2 birds are still perched on the solar panel, amazing with all the noise from the boom. Time for a little sleep after the Date Line Party and a 4 hour shift. -SLC

To our surprise, the birds were still there in the morning!

It's 4AM and we're motoring along as the wind has completely died. At 3:40am I saw a saucer shaped orange moon lift out of the sea. I was expecting the Owl and the Pussycat to swan in front of it but no such luck. I've just been outside to check on Echo and Foxtrot. They've both gone to sleep with their heads under their wings. Like our visitor Charlie, during the Galapagos/Marquesas trip, their heads are under their left wings. Do all birds do this? Do they ever put their heads under their right wings? At dawn tomorrow I'm going to ask them for their tickets. They've got a surprise coming if they think they're getting a free ride to Tonga from us. -Guy

7:54AM: Land Ho! I can see Eua Island to the southwest. This is not the island we are headed for, but it's higher so it's the first to be spotted. We are headed for Tongatapu which is not visible yet even though it is closer. Now it is really a race against the clock. We are currently 23 nm from our next way point, but from there we have 20 additional nm to go to pass around and through the reef and make our way to the anchorage. We are currently motorsailing with a very slight breeze. If the wind picks up we can easily make the anchorage before dark, but at our current pace it's going to be close.

We made it. Anchor down at 6:35PM (still Tahiti time). The bug ship shape by 6:50. Still plenty of time to enjoy our first sunset in Tonga. -DWH

Monday June 18th, 2001

We had a very peaceful night. The water was light glass and the boat was very still. In the morning we did a major clean up on the bug and then called customs. They instructed us to enter the harbor where they would clear us in. (While on the way to the harbor, we watched a Canadian naval ship pull away from the dock and head out. We later heard the ship broadcast that it was going to be doing firing exercises, but no shells would go higher than 5000ft. Cool.) The harbor itself is very small with yachts med moored along the outer wall. It is very tight and getting tied up required careful maneuvering. Since we only have the starboard engine and even that was sputtering, I felt a little uncomfortable. We motored back out of the harbor get better prepared. Jo changed the fuel filter on the starboard engine (no more sputter), Stacy and Guy pumped up the dingy and put on the outboard, and Jo and I made a plan. Once everyone was clear about the plan we headed back into the harbor Jo and Guy used the dingy to take lines to shore and to place the anchor while I held Ladybug's position. Then with everyone on board we pulled her into place. We worked really well as a team, and there were no exciting moments. We actually looked like we knew what we were doing. The customs agent showed up just as we were finishing. Everything went smoothly with him. He said that immigration would come by after lunch.

Immigration officer and agriculture inspector showed up about 4pm. The agriculture inspector took our garbage and confiscated our potatoes, onions, and garlic. This is the first country where we have ever been boarded during the check in process. Everyone was nice and in the end the only fee was $15US to take away and dispose of the foreign produce and garbage.

After finishing the formalities, we all headed into town. We found an internet cafe attached to a nice restaurant. Local beer is good and about $1US/bottle. We met several backpackers and locals and in general had a most wonderful night. We also found out that the Peace Corp has volunteers here. I see a boat party on the horizon.

We ended the evening at the Billfish Bar. The staff is friendly, and the beer is cheap. Within about 15 minutes we felt like we were "home". -DWH

Tuesday June 19th, 2001

Happy Birthday Dean !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jo bought a 10mm allen wrench and took the starter motor off. We need new brushes as the very least.

Some of the backpackers that we met last night invited us to join them for a dinner at the Tongan cultural center. It turned out to be quite a night. See story and photos Tongan Feast.

After our most enjoyable dinner at the cultural center, we were of to the Billfish. It ended up being another crazy night, including Karoeke!

(LBF: L5,M46.683,DS60.820) -DWH

Wednesday June 20th, 2001

Jo found some brushes that he was able to file down to the correct shape. Once we got them installed we gave the port engine a try. No luck. It looks like there are a couple other problems with it. The contacts on the solenoid look to be shot, and the motor probably needs to be rewound.

We had a couple Peace Corp volunteers stop by today. Stacy and I are having a date tonight, and they suggested a good restaurant. It turned out to be fantastic. To start with, within about 3 minutes of walking in the door we had already made friends with another couple at the bar. (This seems to be the way it works in Tonga. We've only been her a couple days and it already feels like we have so many friends! Reminds me of Tobago). We each had a glass of wine and then were seated. For dinner we had soup, steak for me and shrimp for Stacy, a bottle of very good wine, cheese cake for desert, coffee (cappuccino for me and Irish coffee for Stacy), and then a little port wine to finish up. It was fantastic. The restaurant is owned by an Italian man and his local girlfriend. He runs the kitchen, but made two trips out to stop at each table to see how everyone was doing. She runs the front, and we also had a very nice conversation with her. It was a very enjoyable evening, and quite a value all things considered. The whole meal was only about $50US. -DWH

Thursday June 21st, 2001

Jo is making progress with the starter motor. Unfortunately, it has been determined that the patient is not worth saving (even though we fixed the broken wire it the brush, it needs to be rewound and needs new solenoid contacts and who knows what else). He will try to order a new/rebuilt one tomorrow.

This afternoon we went to a rugby match. It was my first. Guy played rugby in his younger days, so he could explain the rules. It was fun. (Hey Steve and Jill!)

After the rugby match we had dinner at the restaurant attached to the internet cafe (but did not check email!), and then went to the Billfish bar. It was a big night. Miss Billfish was there. It was not the usual seedy crowd, or I should say it was the same seedy crowd plus a lot of respectable people. A number of them were really dressed up. The Crown Prince even made the party. I wish I would have talked to him. I'd really like to have a beer with his old man, the king. Later both rugby teams showed up. We learned that the rugby match was actually between the local team and a team made up of Tongans that play overseas. We talked to several of the players. The "hooker", who plays for Wales and scored one or maybe two trys (rare for a hooker to score), might be stopping by the Bug this weekend. He was pretty pissed, but said several times that he would stop by. -DWH

Friday June 22nd, 2001

Jo ordered a rebuilt starter motor today. It will cost about $250US, is coming from New Zealand, and should be here by Thursday of next week.

Stacy and I had a quiet dinner on the boat. Jo and Guy went to Billfish again. They said they would be home early. We heard Guy come in around 4am. I guess that qualifies as "early" -DWH

Saturday June 23rd, 2001

Guy, Dave and I headed into town for breakfast at the Friendly Cafe. It turned out to be between breakfast and lunch so we settled for simple but good sandwiches. Dave headed for the hardware store and Guy and I went shopping. We had fun in the market and the Handcraft Cooperative. I bought a simple wrap around skirt and helped Guy pick out Martina's birthday present.

Dave and I had dinner on the boat, then we played scrabble. The boys headed for the Billfish bar again.-SLC

Sunday June 24th, 2001

The day started with a flurry of cleaning and cooking in preparation for a barbecue this afternoon. Auzzie Dave arrived around 1 with beer, watermelon, salad, tuna, music CDs, and ice. I made a few salads and Jo fired up the grill. Peace Corps Beth came by with her friend Peni. Lola and Susan from the Billfish came by. Also Ruth from s/v Sarava joined us. The day started very rainy and gray, but we ended up with a little sunshine and a dry afternoon. The evening ended with a few movies in the Ladybug saloon! It was a great day. -SLC

Monday June 25th, 2001

I planned a 2 day bicycle tour of the island (see photos Bicycle Tour Around Tonga). -SLC

Tuesday June 26th, 2001

We returned the bikes around 3 pm and went to the market to buy a few souvenirs. Dave suggested watching a few minutes of soccer. While we were relaxing we met another very friendly Peace Corps volunteer, Holden. We had spent the night very close to his village and we didn't realize it. We had a nice chat and he suggested that we check out a local talent show/concert tonight. After fish and chips and curry for dinner, Dave took me for a special dessert at our favorite restaurant 'Lunarosa'. Then we found the concert, lots of local talent some great, some aspiring to be great. There were easily over 1000 people there. Somehow Dave and I were invited to be seated in the fancy VIP tent where we were served coffee and sandwiches. People have been so nice to us here, it really is amazing!

On the way back to the boat we stopped at the Billfish to find Jo, Guy and Ruth. We all had a beer together, then called it a night. Dave and I were tired, it has been an action packed couple of days.-SLC

Wednesday June 27th, 2001

Another project day.. Guy is painting the chain, Jo is repairing the chain, Dave is still working on the fixing the hole we cut to put the diesel tank back in. And of course I am working on updating the website. -SLC

Something unfortunate and rare for Tonga happened last night. A kid tried to rob Stacy while we were walking downtown. I had her wallet, and all she was carrying was a plastic bag with some postcards. The kid came up behind her and snatched the bag. Stacy screamed and I gave chase. A couple of locals soon joined me. We were not able to catch him, but stayed close for about 2 or 3 blocks. I was shouting "stop that kid" in English, and another guy was yelling something similar in Tongan. All along the street people appeared giving the kid few options. Then he turned a corner and found a crowd waiting to get into tonights concert. He didn't have a chance and was quickly caught. When I got there he was crying his eyes out. I explained to him that what he had tried to steal was letters to our family. The guy who had been chasing him with me from the beginning took charge of the situation. That kid is going to be in serious trouble when his family finds out about this.

Ended up at the Billfish. Susana met us at the door and mentioned the barbecue we are having tomorrow. Huh? We proceeded to the bar where we met Jo, Guy, and Aussie Dave who filled us in on the details. -DWH

Thursday June 28th, 2001

Jo went to pick up the starter motor today, but it's still not in. We spent the day working on projects around the boat and preparing for tonights barbecue. -DWH

We had a most excellent party. Aussie Dave brought fish for the grill and other stuff. Susana and Lola from the Billfish were with him, but unfortunately had to leave early to go to work. Carlos and Ruth came over from s/v Sarava. Ruth brought a salad and some great brownies. Our newest friends, Maya and Julia, showed up with a cake that they had aquired and started eating earlier in the day. Maya is from Scotland, and Julia is from England. They are both medical students doing a short stint at the local hospital. The evening ended with Ruth, Julia, and Maya joining us for a viewing of Jo's videos and a Bond movie. -DWH

Friday June 29th, 2001

The starter motor is in. Unfortunately it is a little too large. There are a couple interference points. After a careful investigation, we decided that with a little pounding and grinding we should be able to get it to fit. Jo started working on it and has made some progress, but he's still got a little more to do.

I finally finished the tank fix project. Actually fixing the tank was easy. Modifying the boat so it is easy to get access to the tank was the really tough part. If the tank ever needs to be fixed again it will be a simple project.

before and after!

We made a trip to the internet cafe. My parents have flights to join us in Bali, Indonesia!! Most excellent news. We also updated the website. After that Jo went to the outdoor concert. Stacy and I joined Guy, Ruth, Maya and Julia at the dateline hotel for the first round of the Miss Heilila beauty contest. This included evening gown, best decorated coconut, traditional clothing, etc. Our local favorite, Miss Billfish, did very well. -DWH

Saturday June 30th, 2001

Today we decided to explore the rest of Tongatapu by bicycle. Dave and Stacy had already been on their own bike tour of the island and so provided a fantastic tour guide service (and free of charge!).The weather was lovely - brilliant sunshine, a cool breeze - perfect conditions for cycling. We rode out of Nuku'alofa and around the lagoon, towards the natural cave on the east of the island. On reaching a beautiful beach the girls in the group went wild over the multicoloured shells and coral lying in the sand, and after some much-needed cookies Dave found the cave that we'd managed to walk right past! In we went and were immediately plunged into darkness; after a slow descent into its depths we eventually came across a pool of emerald-green, clear freshwater. A stunning sight. We weren't sure how far the water extended into the darkness and once Guy had jumped in and explored, the pool just seemed to get bigger and bigger. Ruth, Dave and Stacy also went in for a little dip but we preferred to just stand and admire the view (!).

On Dave's advice (lesson: always listen to Dave) we decided to move on to another spot before having lunch. What we weren't expecting was that the spot would be a huge Tongan feast in the village of Ha'asini. We were casually riding along when suddenly we were hit by the sound of drum beats and loud music and the unique sight of massive Tongan women dancing about - definitely a party. We stopped off and were invited to join in the fun. Everybody was so friendly and welcoming; we were offered dish upon dish of traditional Tongan food - Tongan pig, chicken, marinated clams, yam, fish, watermelon.... it was all delicious. The entertainment kept everybody smiling with women and children (and Stacy and Dave) dancing, having a great time. We'll certainly never forget the crazy woman in the black hat (blues singer?) nor that enormous root vegetable. The festivities ended with the exchanging of gifts between the two villages including woven baskets filled with food and a beautiful huge tapa cloth.

We ate like pigs!

Yound Tongan dancers.

Women dancing around in their woven mats and tapas.

We managed to drag ourselves away from the feast as time was pushing on and made our way towards the south coast of Tongatapu. Bums were definitely starting to ache but we rode on regardless, along a stunning coastline and past lots of smiling faces. As we were riding past the Royal residence, we thought we may as well stop by and say hello. Down on the beach (down a very steep hill) dozens of people were busy getting things ready for the King's birthday party on Wednesday. Looks like it'll be a pretty big event and we're (Dave especially) still hoping to be invited! Later, we arrived at the natural bridge which certainly was spectacular; we challenged Guy to stand on the rocks and withstand the waves crashing into shore. He nearly said yes....

Four o'clock and time to return the bikes; back through the countryside and into Nuku'alofa. Seven very weary cyclists collapsed by the bikeshed eating tuna and cucumber sandwiches. Showertime - and somehow Guy managed to be in the enviable position of showering with four beautiful ladies whilst Dave and Jo went back to the Ladybug. Alone. (The Lynx Effect?). We all returned to the harbour and were invited to Ruth's very large, very grand catamaran for dinner. We tucked into home-made pizza and cookies and numerous glasses of red wine, which prompted some interesting conversational topics (the nutritional benefits of drinking one's own...!). After-dinner entertainment was provided by Jo's very impressive cinematic debut in Y2K (a must-see film for all you readers) and Captain Ron (not that I was awake at this point). A perfect end to a perfect day. - Julia and Maya [frequent guests on board Ladybug - Tonga]

Sunday July 1st, 2001

Everyone slept pretty late, but once up we got to work. Jo is still working on the starter motor. After doing the dishes, Stacy and I worked on the main sail (small slide repair, adjusted battons, lubed slides, modified lazy jacks). Stacy also worked on the helm seat. Guy played on the computer. Maya and Julia showed up in the afternoon. We had a little lunch, they wrote a "guest log entry", and we finished up some of our projects. Later in the afternoon all except Jo joined Ruth for a trip to Pangaimotu Island. Jo stayed on the bug and continued to work on the starter motor. When we returned we had a most excellent dinner of tuna steaks, mashed potatos, and pineapple custard dessert (a creation of team Stacy/Maya)

When we left Tahiti we were a little sad because we were leaving so many friends behind. Now here we are in Tonga with a new group of wonderful, diverse friends. We've really enjoy the company of Dave, Ruth, Maya and Julia just to name a few. I hope when we leave Tonga it is not the last we see of these wonderful people. -DWH

Monday July 2nd, 2001

Rain, Rain, Rain!

We helped Greg on s/v Panter get in and tied up this morning. He is sailing singlehanded, which makes getting med moored in the wind and rain a little tougher.

Jo spent the day working on the starter. Guy, Stacy, and I went into town to do errands and meet Maya and Julia for lunch. When we met up with the girls, they surprised us with going away gifts - a cake, a weaved basket, tapa bookmarks, sandlewood soap wrapped in tapa, chocolate, and a kava bowl. These two young women are not only intelligent and beautiful, but also very thoughtful. I hope we are all friends for a very long time. -DWH

It's blowing hard out of the east. -DWH

Tuesday July 3rd, 2001

It's still blowing hard out of the east. -DWH

During the morning I went into town to get our daily fill of $0.50 rotis. As per yesterday they were closed again - the bastards. When I arrived back at lunchtime with fish and chips I heard the port engine running for the first time in a month! Excellent work Jo! In the afternoon I filled the water tanks: Starboard is now 100% and Port is 80%. The 4 jerry jugs are also full. -Guy


Top 5 things I loved about Tonga:

1. The super friendly people.
2. The excellent tuna we've been eating courtesy of Aussie Dave.
3. Bill Fish and all that goes with it.
4. Swimming in the caves and feeling terrified on the natural bridge.
5. Ikale Tahi

Top 5 things I hated about Tonga:

1. Mosquitos
2. The rubbish that collected in our little corner of the harbour.
3. The person that tried to run me off the road when we went cycling around the island.
4. The number of cigarettes the Tongans smoke.
5. The hard seats on the hire bikes and the resulting sore bottom.

Wednesday July 4th, 2001

Today is the kings 83rd birthday, a huge holiday here in Tonga. Stacy and I started the day by walking with the Peace Corp float in the big parade. After that we went to a 4th of July barbecue including kegs of beer and brats on the grill compliments of the Peace Corp. Later we headed back to the bug with a large group of volunteers. Finally we ended the day at the Billfish. There was some fantastic music, lots of cool people, and they were searving cold beer. -DWH

Thursday July 5th, 2001

The wind has shifted to be a little more out of the north. It is still blowing hard. Everyone is waiting for this to clear before they move on.

We had lunch on s/v Sarava - pasta and sauce, most excellent. Carlos let me try a little of his homemade hot sause. It was genuinely hot.

Stacy and I spent the whole afternoon searching the web for cheap airline tickets from Cairns to Bali. We will be meeting my parents there in August. We talked to a travel agent a couple days ago, and she quoted us about $1000USD each! After almost 3 hours of searching the best we came up with was $662USD. It's better than $1000, but still not cheap. We will continue looking.

Jo, Guy, Ruth and Julia went to the blow holes this afternoon.

By the end of the day the wind was dying down and shifting more to the west. -DWH

Friday July 6th, 2001

Stacy and I went into town early. We picked up fresh fruits and vegetables at the market. We also bought some bread. Next we headed to a different travel agent. This time we got a good one. She spent a couple hours searching with us. In the end we discovered that we are too late to get the really cheap tickets, but she managed to get us fixed up for about $600USD each. The tickets will be waiting for us at the Cairns airport. While I finished up with getting tickets, Stacy took care of clearing out. Then we headed back to Ladybug. We made some preparations, went over to Sarava to say goodbye (or so long, Ruth said she will meet us in Brazil), and then took off around 3pm. We had a big wave from Aussie Dave as we pulled out.

It feels good to be moving again, but Stacy and I both have the blues today. I think part of it is that we miss our families. Stacy also got some sad news from one of her closest friends when we checked email yesterday. On top of that, or maybe because of that, she didn't feel well last night and went to bed early. I went down and laid next to her and read for a while. When Jo and Guy went to the Billfish, I stayed on the boat. I wanted to stay with Stacy and just didn't feel like going out. But all of our friends where out last night, and now we also feel bad that we did not spend our last night with them. It is hard to leave when we have not said a proper goodbye to the people who made our stay so fantastic. I hope they can forgive us, and that we all see each other again someday. -DWH

Last night proved to be a fairly big "leaving" party and I certainly felt the effects today. I slept in until midday and then went for a swim to try and clear the head. Once we'd left Nuku'alofa the seas became fairly choppy and that combined with a slight hangover had me feeling fairly green until I hung over the front of the boat and fed the fish. Once my stomach was empty I felt much better but didn't eat again for a good 12 hours. -Guy

Saturday July 7th, 2001

It was a beautiful, calm night. We motored until about midnight when a slight breeze came up. I raised the sails under a bright full moon, and soon the bug was ghosting along at 2 to 3 knots.

At sunrise we found two tall islands directly ahead of us. I had seen them on the chart, but was not expecting them to be so tall. Tofua looks to be a volcano that long ago blew it's top. Koa is a perfect cone with a sharp peak. It is about 1000 meters tall. When we get closer we will alter our coarse about 30 degrees to the east and make directly for the Vava'u group, leaving these two islands to port. We are also currently passing the Ha'apia group which lies the the east of us, a few low islands visible in the distance.

I spent the late morning on the net reading "Salote, Queen of Paradise". Salote was the reigning queen of Tonga from 1918 to 1965. She was quite a women. Her many accomplishments included preserving Tongan independence, leading the church, encouraging economic developement while also preserving Tongan culture, writing poetry (considered by many to be the greatest Tongan poet of the 20th century), improving health and enducation, and in general being an inspiring leader and great example to her people. -DWH

This afternoon's excitement was hooking two large dorados within minutes of each other. We had two handlines out and shortly after Dave started pulling in the port line another dorado struck the starboard line. Unfortunately we lost the fish on the port line just as I was trying to gaff it. We were more successful with the other and Stacy managed to land it while Dave gaffed it. We remembered to close the door this time so our dorado friend couldn't get inside the saloon once its 47 inches were inside the cockpit. It has now become fish three ways: Cocojo dorado curry, Dorado baked in stuff and Dorado strips caked in salt hanging on a line across the front of the Bug. -Guy

Sunday July 8th, 2001

The day started a little uneasy as the computer charts turned out to be both indistinct and inaccurate. We reverted to paper chart to navigate our approach to the Vava'u group of islands. We started the day looking for the Mariner's Cave. Legend has it that a young Tongan chief who, having fallen in love with a beautiful maiden of a family that was due for extermination, spirited her away from danger and hid her for two weeks in the cave. We had heard that the entrance to the cave is around 6 feet below the surface of the water and requires a fifteen foot swim once down there to get inside. We also knew that finding the entrance to the cave was difficult as it was below sea level. We were the first boat there in the morning looking for the cave and were soon joined by others. It was obvious that nobody knew where the entrance was as everyone was driving around in circles looking for it. Jo and I then took the dinghy and searched along the cliff edge looking for it. We'd take turns in diving in likely spots but still couldn't find it. The crews from the other boats were doing the same thing. We then decided to search the entire area underwater. To do that we tied a rope behind the dinghy and Jo drove and pulled me behind it as I looked in all possible holes. I then saw it and shouted to Jo to stop. I was pretty sure that I'd found the mouth. I took a deep breath and dove down and started swimming into it. It was very dark and I couldn't see anything on the other side and so I swam back out. My second attempt, although I swam further in, was an equal failure as I still couldn't see much and swam back out for fear of getting stuck in there without air. On the third try I did a twelve breath hyperventilate before diving. Why I chose twelve deep breaths before I do anything like this I don't know but it seems like a good number. Maybe ten breaths are too few and fifteen too many. I dived deep and swam as far as I thought safe and finally saw a silver surface above my head which told me that the rock had ended and there was air above me. I surfaced and found myself in a large dark cave. I was expecting an opening at the top letting in light but there was none which explained why everything was so dark - the only light that came in was from the entrance I'd just swum through.. I swam around in the cave for a short while - very excited that we'd found the Mariner's Cave before any of the other boats and without any help. I swam back through the entrance and surfaced to find a large powerboat reversing up to the cave's entrance. The skipper apparently knew where the entrance was and had we been fifteen minutes later none of the previous adventure would have happened. It wasn't long before there was a feeding frenzy of divers around the entrance of the cave. We took turns in looking after the Bug and the dinghy while two of us dived.

After the excitement of the Mariner's Cave we went off in search of the Swallow's Cave which is inhabitted by (if you tried to fore-guess this you probably got it wrong) starlings. This was much easier to find. Inside are stalictights and at the back of the cave you can walk in deeper (which we did) and admire the inside of the cave - if you find the inside of caves exciting - which I'm indifferent to.

The boys celebrated their two cave day by having haircuts. Dave and Jo cut their own hair and Stacy finished it off and tidied it up for them. I went for the full monty and shaved my head down to the skin - something I may be regretting in the near future. We then motored over to Port Maurelle (which is on the island of Kapa, as is Swallow's Cave) and dropped anchor in 35 feet of water. Some snorkling around the anchorage (Port Maurelle is not really a port but a bay in which to anchor) revealed corals and fish I'd never seen before. It was an excellent day finished off with some good food and everybody retired early. -Guy

Monday July 9th, 2001

The water here is very clear. While diving in and swimming around Mariners Cave yesterday it seemed that visibility must have been around 100ft. We are anchored in 35 feet, and this morning when we got up the bottom was very clear. It allowed us to see just what happened with the anchor/chain last night. Even though it was obvious that some of our neighbors were not real careful in anchoring (Stacy dove on one boat's anchor and found basically no scope - just chain going straight down to an anchor 50 feet below. Another boat told us they were in 30 feet, but we drove around them and found nothing less than 95 feet. I wonder how much scope they have.), we spent about an hour looking at different spots and doing what we think was a pretty good job. We anchored in sand in 30 feet of water. Due to some coral heads towards shore, we only put out 120 feet of chain (only 4:1 scope), but decided that this was OK because if the wind kicked up, we would probably need to leave anyhow for fear of getting hit by someone else who would drag long before us. We set the anchor well by pulling back with both engines at full PRMs in reverse and dove on it to make sure we were set. After we had the anchor set, what little wind there was actully turned the boat in a different direction than what we had set at. It was a very peaceful night, and in the morning we looked down at the chain. It was hanging straight down and we could see that the last 3 feet touching the bottom had actually been moved from where we had originally laid it. I'm glad we took the time to do a good job, but all the job was done by 3 feet of chain. The other 87 feet and 75lbs of anchor didn't do anything. -DWH

We left the anchorage promptly this morning and made our way to Neiafu. We tied up to the customs warf and Stacy did the captain thing and went and spoke to them. It was very quick and easy and all she had to do was tell them that we're going to leave on Thursday and give them our exit papers. The customs noted us down in their big log book. We then went off in search of an anchorage on the other side of the harbour. As we approach the only other boat moored there (a tri-maran) our starboard engine's alarm came on telling us that it had just started to overheat. We killed the engine and using just the port engine returned to deeper water. Jo dived below and examined the water inlets to the engine but could see no blockages. We then motored back across the bay and tied up to one of Sailing Safari's mooring bouys. Dave and Jo are currently looking at the impellor in the starboard engine. It seems ironic that we've just fixed the port engine and now the starboard engine has broken. Stacy's comment "it's a good thing that we're a sailing vessel and not a motor boat as our engines suck" seems apropriate. -Guy

The genius that are Dave and Jo had the starboard engine fixed in no time at all. We then spent the rest of the day investigating which bars had the coldest beers and friendlist clientelle and staff. We haven't concluded our research but so far the Mermaid bar is doing pretty well. -Guy

The problem with the starboard engine was fixed by replacing the water pump impeller. -DWH

Tuesday July 10th, 2001

I started the day very early with a wreck dive with a local diving company called Dolphin Pacific that had been recommended to Dave and Stacy by a couple of the Peace Corps. The wreck is the Clan McWilliam which sank in the bay with a cargo of copper while on fire and being towed to a beach in 1923 (I think). It's the largest wreck I've ever dived on and was very impressive although the visibility was not very good. We then picked up Dave and Stacy and headed out for a dive at Split Rock. Before we even got in the water a large whale appeared and showed us his/her hump a few times before swimming past the boat. The dive was impressive starting off with a swim through an archway, followed by the coral garden and then into an underwater cave. We then went to Swallow's Cave and started the dive by snorkeling into the cave. From there we swam through a tunnel to get out of the cave and the along a steep drop off. There were plenty of colourful fish although I seem to have forgotten all their names. I think that the fish appeared more colourful than usual because I was wearing my contact lenses for the first time underwater.

During the evening we met up with Aussie Dave who was on a short business trip from Nuku'alofa. Using his expertise and our own experience we continued our bar research. The Mermaid is still doing very well even though two of the staff fell (involuntarily) into the water. -Guy

Wednesday July 11th, 2001

I started the day cleaning the bottom of boat thinking that it may clear the fuzzy feeling from my head. I was wrong. -Guy

Stacy and I spent the first few hours this morning preparing our fishing gear. I stripped my reel which was showing the affects of it's salty environment. After a little work it was as good as new. Then Stacy and I started making lures. She made a "girl" lure that included beads and nail polish. I made a "boy" lure out of a finger from an old rubber glove with a little piece of Magnum bar wrapper (I call this a Buck Weber Special). Unfortunately both lures struck out today. -DWH

The dorado that we salted and dried has turned out to be excellent. It tastes like fish jerky. Stacy cut some up and cooked it with rice. It was really good. -DWH

We sailed to anchorage 11 off Tapa Point and tied up to a mooring bouy in the afternoon. Dave and Stacy went kayaking, I for a swim and Cocojo set up his hammock across the front of the boat and settled down for a read. In the evening Dave and Stacy pulled some tasty fish off the bottom underneath the boat and Dave cleaned and cooked them. For bait they used a small smelly dead fish that they'd found in Stacy's kayak earlier. I whipped up some smashed potatoes and we feasted. On Tapa Point there's a Spanish restaurant called La Paella that provided us with live music during the evening. -Guy

Thursday July 12th, 2001

We played in the water after sunrise and then untied to head for Neiafu where we'll stock up and check out. -Guy

We had a wonderful morning of sailing. After several days of almost no wind, it's good to have a little breeze. We sailed around the south of Kapa, tacked into the NW wind to pass between Kapa and Nuapapu while avoiding several other small islands and reefs, and then turned NE for an easy ride between Vava'u and Pangaimotu to Neiafu. At Neiafu we filled up with diesel, gasoline, and water. Stacy went to the port captain, immigration, and customs. Our plan as of this morning was to leave tonight, but after checking the weather we decided that it would be better in the morning (a low to our south should be past and we should have the SE trades back). We ended up anchoring off the NW side of Pangamotu (near moorings designated anchorage #5). -DWH

I made a lemon meringue pie in the afternoon that was very yummy - even if I say so myself. -Guy

Before we depart Tonga: People have asked via email for suggestions on where to charter. The Vava'u group in Tonga would be on the top of my list - It is beautiful, the people are friendly, there are lot's of good anchorages, and it's a lot less crowded than the Virgin Islands. Moorings and a couple other charter companies operate here. I'm sure Moorings has a website with all the details. - DWH

forward to Fiji Log 07/13/2001-07/19/2001