Nieafu, Anchorages 11 and 30
Friday, September 14th I was lucky to have a birthday shared with friends from Kuan Yin and Shamata at the best view in town as its name suggests, Bella Vista. A bottle of wine and lunch and in true Crazy Love style moved on to a mini pub crawl. Hey you only turn 42 once. The night ended with dancing at Basque Tavern with the Danish ladies.
Saturday we recovered and then caught another rugby game at Refuge (those Springboks actually won against the All Blacks), ate more fish and chips, and were invited aboard Desiderata for Sunday roast with Stuart and Julia. These folks know how to put on a 3 course dinner and let me tell you it was the most delicious meal I had in Nieafu - crab topped with caviar over fresh tomatoes and a pork roast that makes my mouth water as I write this. Monday the country celebrated the Prince’s birthday (all government offices were closed) and yet another friend from Samoa came through Tonga, drinks and games aboard Charabia with Mark and Helen.
Our visas were due to expire soon, therefore on Tuesday we made a quick trip to immigration for an extension. Granted quite easily for $60 TOP per person per month. We extended an additional month through Oct 23. Some provisioning and we were ready for a few more anchorages away from town.
Anchorage 11, Tapana
Wednesday, September 19 we headed out to Tapana, a highly recommended spot by a number of sailors. We arrived and felt at home immediately. There are a few boats moored here year round and a few moorings up for grabs for a price. Anchoring away from the crowd seemed like a good plan. Anchor set in a somewhat sandy bottom and a swim was in order. The next day greeted us with the most rain I’ve seen come down in a day. Between buckets and pots we collected 6 or so gallons of the best tasting rain water. The sun came back out Friday and the swimming was great, although not much coral. A school of squid swam by and looked completely surreal. Friday night ended with a lovely happy hour sunset with the local crew - Sherry, Larry, Carl and Mike as well as MIke’s friend Margot. The next day Dave dinghied us ashore and we took the 3 or so mile walk back to town (Neiafu), mostly to get a feel of this side of the island. There were cows...lots of cows, beautiful vistas and so many helpful Tongans stopping to offer us a ride, looking quite baffled when we were content to walk on. An additional rum bottle acquired, lunch and we trekked it back.
Sunday the 23rd through Wednesday September 26
We were so content at this anchorage we stayed a few more days.. doing some boat chores, but mostly relaxing in the Tongan sun. The stove was cleaned, the topping lift replaced with the line we bought in town, and the v-berth reorganized … watched some movies and visited a little more with Sherry and Larry. On Wednesday we decided it was time to make moves and we headed over to the next anchorage.
Anchorage 30, Kenutu
The sail and motor sail over was a little daunting through the reefs but the Navionics and the clarity of the water were right on. There were a few nail-biting shallow spots - but we only have 4 foot draft. Another advantage to a small sailboat. It was a large anchorage able to fit many boats. There were just a few already anchored.
The beach on this island is absolutely beautiful and the row in super easy. A quick hike to the other side and you are rewarded with breathtaking crashing waves.
We spent Thursday and Friday hanging on the beach - enjoying the rare beauty of an undeveloped coast.
As much as we would have loved staying a few more days, it seemed some weather was moving in toward the Vava’u Group and it was either stay at anchor for another week or move in toward town. Rum provisions were low so we figured we better head back to Neiafu.
On Saturday the 29th - The sail was as good as it gets. The town was getting ready for the start of the Blue Water Festival so as expected there were no open moorings. We dropped hook in front of the big hotel between coral heads and moored local boats. As always the cold shower felt amazing, almost as amazing as the cold beer and pizza at Refuge. Bonus we ran into Zensation, Aloha and Love (all boats we’d first met in American Samoa).