October 1, 2001 ~ October 15, 2001
October 15, 2001
Happy Birthday, Yvonne McGee! We hope that you and your birds all had a wonderful day! We are wondering how Romeo/Juliette and Tarzan/Jane are??? We hope that they are giving you lots of little ones! We hope that you are well and happy!
I cleaned the boat, and we put acid in the toilets, which we need to do periodically! (Oh...such knowledge and wisdom that you are gaining from reading this fantastic website!!!) We went snorkeling and spear fishing along the reef. The guys only caught two small fish. We met *Scaffold* (Danish boat with Annette, Ian, Anna and Scott) and *Project Mayhem* (Brett and Mike) on the shore. We talked about Tauranga Bridge Marina in New Zealand. They had been there before and raved about it. We are approaching making a decision of WHERE we will be staying in New Zealand.
I spent time "getting out" items....periodically, I need to dig for items which are in boxes under bunks or settees to replenish items which are kept close at hand in the pantry/larder, such as coffee, sugar, flour, spices, rice, etc or paper towel, napkins, tp!!!! Sometimes, I remember the times when I simply went into my pantry and took the items off the shelf!!! Then David and I swam into the other shore of the island, Vaka'eitu, where there was a forest of ficus trees! Just like the one that I had growing in the pot in the living room! The water was very murky, so rather uncomfortable when you can't see what is out there!
Quite a few boats, *Bow Bells* (John and Colleen), *Silver Heels* (Joan and Andy), *La Boatique* (Peter and Susan), and *Renet*, all left Vava'u, heading for the Ha'apai Group. We just didn't feel that the weather was quite right....there is very little protection in the Ha'apai Group for any major storms, especially coming from the west. One needs to be very careful and watch the weather faxes daily!
October 14, 2001
I wrote an email update on the computer, while Jason worked out, and Eric and David went spear fishing. After lunch we continued to obtain weather faxes, write emails and I made two passage meals for the freezer for our passage to New Zealand. I freeze one-pot meals (pasta, rice, rotis, chowder), so that all David has to do is take it out of the freezer, let it thaw slightly, and heat in one pan. We generally eat our passage dinners from a large bowl up in the pilot house, continuing to stay on watch. If I am not feeling well, then the crew does not starve!!!
We noticed a flag bearing a Colorado license plate with green mountains on *Capaz*, a new boat to the anchorage. We stopped by to visit before heading to Ron and Anna's for dinner. The Hurlow Family (Rob, Sharman, and their three sons: Brian, Scott, and Chris) are from Emporia Road, Boulder!!! Unfortunately, they are leaving tomorrow, so not much chance to visit. We had a delicious dinner on *Lazy Jack* where they grilled the Trevally and Parrot Fish which the men had speared. David makes sure that he doesn't have to do the cooking....we do not have a grill aboard *Peace and Aloha.* We enjoyed the fish with rice, peas with mushrooms, trail mix and then delicious banana cake for desert! We definitely do not lack for excellent food out here!!!
*Rover* headed south, but we now have about 15 boats in the anchorage, so we aren't lonely!! Everyone else agrees that this is the prettiest anchorage with the best snorkeling!
October 13, 2001
We awoke to a beautiful morning, so we moved back to our favorite Anchorage #16 and did a wash and hung it out before lunch. We decided to dinghy around the island Langitau, travel west along the other side of this island (Vaka'eitu) and then north to be able to use the Super Snorkel along the magnificent reef between Vaka'eitu and Nuapapu. It is impossible to travel across in the dinghy, especially with the Super Snorkel inside, at low tide. *Fair Hippolyta* (Richard and Joy) passed us as they were leaving for New Zealand (which we did not realize at the time!) There was quite a large swell running in the Ava Pulepulekai Channel, which is one of the main channels in the Vava'u Group. Eric and David had an excellent dive, while I snorkeled and maintained the dinghy carrying the SuperSnorkel. This reef is one of THE most beautiful in the Pacific! According to Ginny Cary, Moorings founder, "Any reef I look at after this one will appear to be dead to me."
We were joined by *Lazy Jack*, *Muna* (Malcolm, Helen and Laura), and *High Drama* (Jeff and Anne) and were able to surf back into the anchorage, after the tide came up and over the reef after our dive. Quite an exciting ride in!!!
October 12, 2001
We awoke to rain, so did cooking (banana cake and passage meals) while the guys worked on boat projects. The weather cleared up after lunch so that we got out the Super Snorkel and went diving along the edge of Ava, a nearby island. David and I dove for about 42 minutes and then Ron and Eric were down about 45 minutes. Peter, Matt, Harold and Gerri went down with tanks. It was ok, but nothing spectacular. The SuperSnorkel is nice because we don't need to keep tanks aboard and have them filled and we don't need bc's etc. The negatives are: only can dive the length of the hose, 60 feet (but with David's heart medicine, he probably should not even be going that deep!) and it is NOISY for the people above in the dinghy!
October 11, 2001
The morning was spent cleaning and filing for me, while Jason worked on the stainless, and Eric and David worked on the sails. After lunch we dinghied to Mariner's Cave with *Lazy Jack* (Ron and Anna), *Zephyrus* (Harold and Diane), *PJ's Dream* (Peter, Pat and Matt), *Sea-U* and then to Swallows Cave.
Mariner's Cave is an underwater cave situated on the island of Nuapapu approximately 1/2 to 3/4 of a miles SW of the narrow gap at Kitu. We finally located the entrance with a great deal of difficulty because the water was so very rough. People took turns maning the dinghies and diving into the cave. It is said that you cannot mistake the entrance to the cave: it is big, wide and goes down for over twenty feet. (We did have a friend who went into the wrong cave and really hurt her ears!) As you dive down entering the cave, you must keep looking up at the rock ceiling above you. On the inside, when you see where the water meets the rock, you can come straight up to the surface with no problems. Once inside, green fog comes and goes with the surge. There is an often-told tale of the young Tongan chief who, having fallen in love with a beautiful maiden of a family who was due for extermination in the civic broils of the time, spirited her away from danger and hid her for two weeks in this cave. He brought her food and protestations of love to sustain this girl until he was able to prepare an expedition to Fiji. He picked her up enroute, married her, and when the time of trouble had passed, brought her back to Vava'u and they lived happily ever after! This cave can only be reached by diving down about eight feet to the entrance and then fourteen more feet during the entry passage. You will have to ask Eric and David about the interior!
Now, Swallows Cave was easily entered by all four of our dinghies. This cave is located on the tip of Kapa approximately 1.5 miles from our anchorage #7 at Port Maurelle. We took pictures inside and hopefully, one will appear on this site. It was absolutely incredible inside with the afternoon sun from the west lighting up the multi-colored stalactites. The intense blue of its deep water rivals Italy's Blue Grotto and the day we visited the sun was so intense that the coral formations far below the surface were lit up. Overhead were mud apartment-like nests of the birds which fill the cave with their staccato calls as they fly rapidly about the inside. We were told that in spite of the cave's name, these birds are starlings and not swallows! Unfortunately, there is graffiti on the walls, which does detract from the cave's beauty but adds a certain historical interest with older scrawlings dating back to whaling days. We used flashlights and climbed up a rocky path to the back of the cave, where there is a dry cave, a great kiln-like room with a circular opening with views of blue sky and trees. According to the Moorings Anchorage Guide, at the turn of the century, VIP's were entertained here. Entire feasts were let down through the opening by pulley-like arrangements making a gargantuan Tongan version of a dumb waiter.
That evening we were invited to a pot luck on *PJ's Dream* with *Zephyrus*, however, we had already scheduled "movie night" with Ron and Anna, so decided to gratefully decline. We watched "Return to Me" again, and discovered that Ron and Anna were personal friends of the parents of Minnie Driver, the star of the show!!! We were impressed!
October 10, 2001
Happy Birthday, Aunt Bernice! We just hope that we have such energy when we are 78!!! We hope that your day was very special in Sun Valley and the your hip injury is completed recovered!
We went into town, did our final provisioning for bread, and fruits and veggies at the market, had our FINAL ice cream cone and headed back to the boat for lunch. We stowed all and left for #7 Anchorage at Port Maurelle, passing *Altair* (Paul and Suzette) and *Sunbow* (Judith and Ken) as they were arriving!!!
Another beautiful anchorage here in Vava'u! Port Maurelle (Anchorage #7) is where the Spaniard Maurelle, who was the first European to see Vava'u, anchored to bring water to his ship. Presently the villagers of nearby Falevai have neglected the overgrown spring-fed swamp nearby, which was probably the source of water for Maurelle, because they collect their water by catchment and storage in cement tanks. David and I swam 10 laps around the boat and then snorkeled to shore for a total of 40 minutes....seemed very COLD! and the water was very murky.
October 9, 2001
We went into town early so that we could attend a fishing seminar at 10am by Scott and Wendy Bannerot and 2yr old son, Ryan (*Elan*), the authors of "The Cruiser's Handbook of Fishing" which we had been using for the past year. It was fun to meet the authors and hear of their experiences here in Tonga. Unfortunately, they were leaving the following day heading to Samoa, so our time with them was limited (so what else is new!!!). They were planning on spending the cyclone season in Tonga rather than travel to New Zealand. Note: We heard that Tonga experienced a devastating cyclone in late December or January while we were away. We do hope that they are fine. We stopped for fresh bread and coconut milk (for our fish recipes) on our way home.
We spent the afternoon working on emails, filing, getting weather faxes (*Cherokee* set off for the Ha'apai Group...it is so nice to have a scout blazing the trail before us, especially a Cherokee Indian!) and working on the sails (sewing a repair), in preparation for going out to dinner at Pua Tale Fusi with Ron and Anna for my birthday celebration. They had a wonderful Tongan show, presented by the children of the staff. They even sang to me!!! What a wonderful celebration! Ron and Anna gave me a small soft white mat, which they had made for me by the ladies in Niautoputapu after we left. Thank you! Thank you, Ron and Anna!
October 8, 2001
We were up at 6:15am, left Anchorage #16 and were back on the Sunsail mooring in Neiafu before lunch with Ron and Anna at Ana's Cafe. We spent the afternoon, clearing out of Neiafu at Customs and Immigration, get fruits and vegs at the market, and having an ice cream cone. The boys jerry jugged cans and more cans of diesel and gas.
October 7, 2001
Happy Birthday, Fergie on Maui and Mele (our first female Solomon Island Eclectus who is now eight years old and living with Rosemarie Caires and her family in their new home on Maui!)!! We hope that you both had a nice day on Maui!
Ron and Anna arrived on Anchorage #5 (Lotuma Bay, which is about 3 miles from the anchorage in Neiafu) in Vava'u Group, Tonga. Our friends, Barry and Julie, on *Cherokee* arrived in Anchorage #16 as they headed for the Ha'apai Group and south to New Zealand.
We snorkeled with *Cherokee*...absolutely beautiful reef! Probably THE prettiest here in Tonga! for over an hour. I did a load of dark clothes and then Barrie and Julie came over for lemonade and kava at 2pm to discuss weather and faxes and preparing for the trip south to New Zealand.
October 6, 2001
We talked with Ron and Anna (*Lazy Jack*) on the SSB, as we had been doing every morning since we left Niautoputapu.....They are finally leaving Niautoputapu today!!!!
We cleaned the boat up and then had an absolutely incredible snorkel over the reef for over an hour with *Rover.* Unfortunately, the water is getting very chilly and we started wearing our wetsuits all the time. After lunch, I spent all afternoon in the kitchen making bread (dark whole wheat bread made with molasses/honey, nuts and raisins, recipe from Diane on *Zephyrus*), dump cake (recipe from Stacey on *Soggy Paws*), and yogurt (we purchased the Easy Yo maker in Apia and we have been enjoying all sorts of delicious kinds: mango creme, chocolate mousse, strawberry, vanilla, etc. etc.!). We exchanged DVD's with *Rover* and really enjoyed "Elizabeth" even though it was rather long and definitely not the romantic comedy which we usually watch. It was taken on location in England, so the photography and scenery were superb!.
October 5, 2001
Happy Happy Birthday, Kumi in NYC and Julie on *Cherokee* here in the harbor! We do hope that your special day was indeed special!
A beautiful day....FINALLY...so we decided to move to Anchorage #16, arriving in time for a late lunch. After lunch we ventured across the reef and snorkeled for a short period of time. The swell was still coming in, so it was difficult getting in and out! Moorings, the world-wide sailboat charter company, has published a Cruising Guide to the Vava'u Group and have given numbers to the 42 anchorages noted for easier references in place of the difficult and confusing Tongan place names. So the references to numbers in this website are those numbers, but I have also tried to give the correct Tongan name with other pertinent information about the location.
We had been alone in this usually very crowded and popular anchorage, when Gail, John and Martin (*Rover*) arrived and were anchored well within the coral patches for it to gust to 30 or so during the night!
October 4, 2001
A NASTY day with strong gusty winds and rain all day! Nobody ventured off their boats today! It was a cleaning and work on the computer day! We had so much rain, that our water tanks were filled!!!
October 3, 2001
Happy Birthday, Colleen on *Bow Bells*! This world must need all us Libras to hold the balance!!! We hope that you had a happy day here in Neiafu, in spite of 40 knot winds!
We went ashore after hearing the weather forecast for 40 knot winds! We booked two more nights on the Sunsail mooring, picked up the watermaker part, purchased boxes to ship our kava bowls back to Julie since we were worried about entering with them into New Zealand; we purchased bread (delicious whole grain breads from the German cafe!) and had our ice cream cones!
After lunch David decorated and painted the New Zealand flag, while I wrote emails and the boys went over to Ana's to race remote controlled sailboats! Too many things to do here! Never a dull moment! I made a special dinner of mahi mahi in coconut milk in taro leaves which I had purchased at the market. Unfortunately, some of the taro leaves burned David's, Eric's and Jason's tongues. We found out later that these leaves needed to be very fresh and cooked very very well. We did enjoy the last of the brownies before we watched the movie: "Return to Me," a definite recommend!
October 2, 2001
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Sally in Maine and Nancy in Boston, my two cousins, one born the year before me and the other born the year after! We hope that you two had a very special day!
We did boat projects in the morning, but found that there was still a problem with the sail. Unfortunately, we were still experiencing 25 knot winds, with gusts to 35, with squalls and quite chilly weather! Not terribly wonderful!
After lunch we went into town for ice cream and watched the Dinghy Races...very strange rules for boat racing...I think that the competitors were wetter than the dinghies were! Then Eric and I narrowly missed a water balloon dropped from above...but according to Terry and Ariel on *Stella*, they have an incredible picture of me that they intend to use to blackmail me, when I am rich and famous! We have yet to see it, but they keep talking about it!!!
Remember...we are having fish (mahimahi, ono, whatever) every night for dinner! Wonderful! Thank you for our abundance! I discovered a delicious recipe from the "The Cruise'rs Handbook of Fishing" made with fish, coconut milk, onions and curry! Very tasty and fast! Let me know if you want any of these recipes!!! (Yet another test....to see if you are really reading my hot news!)
October 1, 2001
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Win in Michigan, Henry on *Maritime Express* from Canada but here in Tonga, and Myself! I hope that we all enjoyed a special day, where-ever we were!!!
We went into town to Moorings and UPS in search of our watermaker part...but no luck! Our regular ice cream store was out of cones....only in Tonga!...so no ice cream cone on my birthday! Back to the boat, where I made special Ghiradelli brownies for my b-day cake! David and I went to Ana's Cafe about 5pm, where we had cake to celebrate Henry's Birthday...not knowing it was mine also.