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Final Week and return to NZ

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Our final week in Tonga was a very chilled out one. After our Tongan feast at the Sandy Beach resort, we spent the next five days anchored off the resort, attempting to shelter from the westerly winds. It wasn’t the most ideal anchorage for this wind direction as the waves break across the reef making things quite rolly and the sea very choppy. This made any dinghy trip a bit of a wet affair which was a bit frustrating as we would have liked to have taken a bit more advantage of the resort, but didn’t want to turn up looking like drowned rats!
We did manage to get ashore on Sunday (5th) and have a nice 8km walk which was a shock to the legs. We went snorkelling off the north end of the island where we had been previously with our friends Jo and Rob. The first attempt was a bit wild as we got the tides wrong and there was a strong current. The snorkel ended up being more like a drift dive. Fortunately, Pat was towing the dinghy with him as we would never have made it back otherwise. T…

A Whale of a Time

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Unbelievably another week has disappeared but it has been a week of excitement.
Last Sunday we departed Uoleva Island where we had been for a few days and sailed south to the unpronounceable Uonukuhahaki Island. It apparently means East Lobster Island and yes there is a West Lobster Island, which is Uonukuhihifo. The two islands are joined by a sandbar. We spent a few days here flying the drone off the beach and managed to avoid the trees. We also snorkeled off the beach where there was some nice coral and lots of fish.

We were the only boat anchored here, though we could see a catamaran anchored about a mile away next to Tofanga Island. At about 9pm on Monday evening we were engrossed watching “Game of Thrones” (our new addiction) on the laptop when we heard a boat named Kalea calling us on the VHF radio.This was the catamaran we could see in the distance. They had been ashore for the evening on Tofanga island and whilst they were busy exploring, the tide had come in and their dinghy h…

Happy Ha'apai

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Last Saturday (21st) we left our pretty little anchorage north of Nuku island and headed west to Ovaka Island, one of the most south westerly islands in the Vava’u Group. We anchored in front of the government primary school. Just imagine going to a primary school right on the beachfront, what a wonderful setting!We spent Sunday being mainly lazy but did do some preparations for our sail south on Monday, including getting the dinghy and outboard motor back on board X-Pat. We even had a dry night!

On Monday, we were up at 4am and left the anchorage at 4:30 am for the 64nm sail south to the Ha’apai group. We left early as we had some reefs to negotiate at our destination and it is best to do this when the sun is still high in the sky and one can see the reefs.
The wind had obligingly swung from south to east and so it was up with the sails and off with the engine and off we went. This was the first time we had hoisted the sails since we arrived in Vava’u, so it was a bit of a novelty sail…