Tonga, Part 2: 1 September - 13 September 2018
Anchorages 5, 7, 16, and 15
Well rested, well provisioned and ready to explore some of the outer islands we headed out to anchor. Many of the charts available in town and in various cruising guides has the numerous anchorages numbered and all the cruisers refer to these numbers.
Anchorage 5, Lotuma Bay - This anchorage still very close to town was an easy first and very peaceful. Kuan Yin joined us the first night and we had the entire anchorage to ourselves on Tuesday night. I practiced my rowing, Dave cleaned the bottom, we enjoyed lovely swimming.
Anchorage 7, Port Maurelle - We arrived early Wednesday afternoon with just 3 other boats. It cost yachts a one time anchorage fee of $15 TOP so we felt we should at least stay 3 nights. We felt great with all the space we had as its a rather large area. This was short lived and soon the kid boats all arrived in force. The parents like to travel together so the kids can entertain each other. The way the kids jump from boat to boat with ease and confidence is rather heartwarming. Along with the kids our friends on Avalanche arrived and they came over to Crazy Love for sundowners (this turned into dinner as often happens, good thing I made a pretty large pot of chili). A fellow small boat invited us over for drinks the second night and we met Mark and Flec on Excel (they still had a good 5 feet more than us). This couple is from New Zealand and had been cruising around the islands since May and had lots of great advice and suggestions for the remainder of our trip. We also took a little walk around Kapa Island and found a lovely spot for cold beer at the Reef Resort. This resort is beautiful, 5 fales (individual huts -these quite luxurious) as accommodation and with a boat ride required to the island it is very private and would make for a lovely get away with close friends (or perhaps not). Dave and I hope to make it back to this lovely spot some day.
Anchorage 16, Vaka’eitu - We met up with our buddy Kuan Yin again at this anchorage on Saturday afternoon. There is only one family that lives on this island and invited us for a Tongan feast that night. They do not have electricity and take a boat into Nieafu for provisions when putting on the feast. The children also require a boat ride over to another island for schooling. The family uses proceeds from the feast to cover fuel costs for the children’s school. The amount of food and different flavors was impressive. There was sweet and sour fish, cabbage and vegetables, chicken terriyaki, taro, potatoe salad and more. Some clouds and rain filled in and we stayed close to the boat Sunday and Monday.
Anchorage 15, Nuapapu, Matamaka - On Tuesday we headed across the way to yet another island, Nuapapu. This anchorage had a few moorings and we grabbed one. We were the only boat. Wednesday we saw more rain and a bit of wind. Being on the mooring here it was a little rolly but not terrible. We were hoping for a break in the weather to row ashore when we were visited by a boat from the island with the principal of the primary school and his kids. The school maintains the moorings and collects fees for support of the school. We were happy to make this donation and had taken a box of art supplies from HI to give to schools along the way. We asked if it would be ok to come ashore with these donations the next morning. The next day we rowed in and followed the path to the Matamaka Primary School. There are only 10 children who attend all ages from first through eighth grade. All boys but one girl. The school has a large common area with shelves of books and two classrooms. One teacher in addition to the principal. They were very welcoming and offered us breakfast of fish cooked in coconut milk with taro. The older boys were studying for the exams to get them into high school. High school means moving into town with auntie and uncle as there are no high schools in the outer islands.
September 13th we headed back into town to get ready for a birthday celebration. A mooring was available and we were set to spend some more time in Nieafu.