October 16, 2001 ~ October 31, 2001
October 31, 2001
Happy Happy 70th Anniversary to Harvey and Ruth Chapman on Maui!!! What an accomplishment...and still so obviously in love! We hope that you have more more years together!
We took a tour of the island with Ron, Anna, David and Gail in one car and we were in the other. The official tour guide was in their car, so unfortunately, we did not learn as much as they did. To stay with tradition when we tour...it was cloudy and sprinkling! We saw just about everything of importance on this island in one day and we were glad that we were not trying to locate these places in our own rental car: Nothing is marked!!! No signs on anything!
We saw the Royal Palace (from ourside the large fence) and then the Royal Tombs near town. We then saw the famous flying foxes, which are actually bats (the only mammals who can fly) with foxlike heads and wingspans of up to a meter across. We saw them hanging upside down during the day in the trees, but they cruise after dark for food. Tongan legend says that the bats were a gift from a Samoan maiden to an ancient Tongan navigator. Because of this they are considered sacred and may only be hunted by the royal family. We then drove to view spectacular blowholes on the rocky terraced southern coast where the waves blast into the coral coast and spout water up to 30 meters in the air through the eroded tunnels under ground. There are hundreds and hundreds blowholes all along the unusual terraced coast, not just one or two here and there like in Hawaii! We then visited the Tongan Wildlife Center, a small bird and botanical park. We thoroughlly enjoyed our visit viewing many native Tongan birds and their beautiful native parrot, which they are breeding there. Next, we saw Hufangalupe, "Pigeon's Doorway", which is a HUGE -Tongan sized - coral bridge above a sandy beach with towering cliffs on all sides. We were told that pigeons or other birds inhabited this cave and many were trapped within when it collapsed not that long ago after a cyclone!
We drove to just outside Mu'a across the lagoon from Nuku'alofa to view the Monument erected to mark the spot where Captain Cook landed from his ship, *Endeavor* and rested under a banyan tree, which has since disappeared.
We then visited Lapaha (Mu'a) Archaeological Area where approximately 28 langi (burial mounds of ancient royalty) are all that remain of the royal residence of the seat of the Tu'i Tonga dynasty, for over 600 years beginning around 1200AD. Paepae 'o Tele'a is the most preserved of the terraced tombs and was built during the early 17th century for the 28th Tu'i Tonga. We were told to note the gigantic L-shaped monoliths at corners, the slanting upper surfaces and the feet which extend underground. Namoala, a three-tiered pyramid with an intact stone burial vault on top, (Due to local objections none of these have been excavated), is adjacent to Paepae 'o Tele'a, while Hehea mound bears another two vaults and is opposite Namoala. The langi of Lapaha are considered to be the most imposing ancient tombs in the South Pacific, ranking with the moai of Easter Island and Huahine's Maeva (see July 2001 for our visit there with Julie) ruins as major archaeological sites of the world.
Next on our tour was Ha'amonga 'a Maui, Tonga's most engaging relic: this famous trilithon. This structure consists of an arch made from three huge rectangular blocks of nonstratified limestone. The two upright pillars of coral, each about 5m high, support a central lintel that is 5.8m long and weighs 816kilos. The name means "The Burden of the God Maui" because, according to Tongan myth, the hero Maui brought this trilithon on his shoulders all the way from Wallis Island using the connecting stone as his carrying pole. Other theories about the origin of this 12 metric ton stone archway include: that it was the gateway to Heketa, the old royal compound of Tonga, now completely disappeared. Others believe that this is Tonga's Stonehenge, asserting that grooves incised on the upper side of the lintel could be used to determine the seasons. In order to emphasize this theory, three tracks have been cut from the trilithon to the coast, to better observe sunrise on the equinox, and summer and winter solstices. This could have been useful to determine the planting and harvesting season of yams or the sailing seasons. However, most scholars consider the grooves to have been cut long after it was first erected and discount their utility as an astronomical calendar. Local tradition suggests that the 11th Tu'i Tonga, Tu'itatui, who reigned about 1200AD, constructed the trilithon to symbolize the bond of brotherhood uniting his two sons, whom he feared would quarrel after his death. As long as the monument stood, its magic would uphold social harmony. (Since no excavations of any of these ancient monuments have been conducted in Tonga, not much is known about the ancient history.) Nearby is 'Esi Makafakinanga, a 2.7 meter tall slab, against which, this king would lean while addressing his people, so that no one could spear him in the back. Tu'itatui's name means "the king who hits the knees" because he would slap anyone who came too close to his regal person with his staff.
Our last stop was the Tongan National Center containing a very impressive Exhibition Hall containing many different exhibits of photos, contemporary art, historical displays, collection of war clubs and other carvings, huge canoes and the largest kava bowl we have ever seen! There is even the shell of a Galapagos turtle left in Tonga by Captain Cook. The turtle was allowed to wander through the grounds of the Royal Palace until its death in 1968! Unfortunately, we were not in a position to be able to return on another day for their dinner show or a two hour guided cultural tour, which we heard were both absolutely superb! We were anchored too far away to be returning at night in our dinghy with the unpredictable weather.
What a wonderful island tour we had! We left about 8:30am from the wharf and were back aboard *Peace and Aloha* about 5pm. We had not made sandwiches for lunch, so we ended up eating at a snack bar at the airport...which rather left ALOT to be desired!!! That is why we ALWAYS bring our own lunch!!! Even at age, we continued to learn....as we grow older....and wiser!!??? But we were thrilled to see so much of the island and to learn so much about the Tongan people and their very colorful culture!
October 30, 2001
Happy Birthday, Pumpkin! Our little lutino cockatiel, where-ever you may be...we have lost touch with your new family!
Today was a boat-readying day: cooking: bread, brownies, and five passage meals and cleaning the whole boat and putting blankets on all the beds, because it was becoming very nippy at night. The guys were busy with the rigging and installing the sea anchor. The sea anchor is deployed from the deck and cockpit of the boat (they installed the ropes along the deck and tied it down with dental floss!!!) when in absolute storm conditions when we need to keep the bow of the boat into the waves to prevent a wave from coming on the beam and causing a knockdown! We figure that if she is all ready....we will NEVER have to use it. We hope and pray that we will NOT!!! We do appreciate prayers and calls from all of you! Keep them coming!! Thank you!
We all went into the little restaurant/bar on the island Pangai Motu at about 5pm. We came home for dinner, but several of the other cruisers ate there. We understand it was pretty good. We are just really spoiled with all this excellent fish!
October 29, 2001
We re-anchored for the fourth time in the morning before we were confident that it was ok to leave the boat and head into town for a long (30 minute) dinghy ride. Unfortunately, we never did catch up with *Lazy Jack* ....it is a bigger town than we had thought. We did see *Muna,* * Aldebaran, Ireland* and *Blue Yonder* after we had lunch at Friend's Cafe. We went to the Post Office, Market, diesel, duty free shop and had an ice cream cone before we headed back to the boat.
We also heard on the morning net that the group who had headed to New Zealand had no wind and they had been motoring for several days, so that *Zephyrus* which is a small boat with small fuel capacity, was drifting (waiting to get hit by a low!!!) because he did NOT want to use up all his diesel, before he really needed it!
October 28, 2001
We were up early and left Numuka Iki, Ha'apai Group, Kingdom of Tonga with* Lazy Jack* at 6:30 pm heading for Nuku'alofa on the Island of Tongatapu, the southermost island of Tonga and we were anchored by 6:30pm with *Blue Yonder*(David and Gail) and *Lazy Jack* near Pangaimotu outside the harbour/wharf area. Our passage was one of our best....I read "Typee" (about the Marquesas...a definite recommend!)all day and we caught three large fish (dog tooth tuna, tuna and mahimahi) which were enough for nine delicious dinners for the four of us!!! Thank you very much for such abundance!
*Lazy Jack* and *Blue Yonder* went into the small restaurant on the island for dinner and drinks, but we decided to pass to stay home and enjoy our absolutely fresh tuna!!!
We talked with Tamera on *Supernova* as they headed off from Neiafu for New Zealand!!! We were so surprised since we had hoped to see Tamera in Tonga!
October 27, 2001
We went for an absolutely incredible snorkel right around the coral patches near the boat where we saw lots of fish and a turtle. I spent the rest of the morning getting out tuna, from our remaining 800 cans which are under the "screwed" down floor boards, so it is a major operation to get them out, and cans of vegetable, etc to replace the stores that I have right under the galley opening floor board.
We had quite a "crew" here at Numuka Iki with *Argonauta,NY* (Sally and Julius), *Cap d'Or* (Pam and Roger), *Aldebaran, Ireland* (Pat and Olivia), *Muna* (Malcom, Helen and Laura), *Phyrasus*, and a French boat were all in this small little anchorage.
We also heard over the 8014 morning Fish Net that about eleven boats had left Nuku'alofa for New Zealand: *Cherokee* (Barrie and Julie), *Zephyrus* (Harold and Diane), *Silver Heels* (Andy and Joan), *LaBoatique* (Peter and Susan), *PJ's Dream* (Pat, Peter and Matt), *Began* (John and Janet), *Bow Bells* (John and Colleen), and *Rover* (John, Gail and Martin)! We wish them a very swift and safe passage...and we were somewhat jealous that they were on their way, but we still had much more to see and to do in Tonga!
October 26, 2001
Eric, David and Ron went fishing, while I made bread and a dump cake, plus continuing to get out our warmer clothes and airing them out! Then we went ashore and walked around the island to see if we could find the prison said to be located on this island! We couldn't find anything except a few papaya trees and a rusty shed! Ron and Anna came over to enjoy my dump cake and movie night when we watched "Meet the Parents" ...it was definitely funnier the first time, but we still had many laughs and hope that you will enjoy it too!
October 25, 2001
I worked on getting out warmer clothes and blankets for our trip to New Zealand and for the cooler temperatures there. Remember...we have lived in the tropics for years and years! We went snorkeling and spearfishing off the dinghy out around the north west side of the island. Ron speared a goat fish and Eric scared us half to death...all of a sudden we could not see him!!! We were all VERY concerned because of shallow water blackout when diving down to spear the fish....he was simply looking for fish over a different reef! This made us very aware of always staying together! We also went snorkeling after lunch on the other side of the island, but didn't see much except a black tip shark. Unfortunately, unless we are snorkeling in the passes the water tends to be very murky inside the shallow sandy lagoons close to the island beaches.
I also did a load of wash and then Ron and Anna came over for kava or lemonade (the better choice!) and popcorn (we needed to eat up all our popcorn before we entered New Zealand; otherwise, they take it!!!).
October 24, 2001
We went snorkeling early and the front came through with very strong winds and rain, so we quickly rushed back to the boat and removed the bridle and then we needed to move back to our original location which seemed to offer the most protection!!! There were about four or five boats in the area and we spent about three days playing musical boats!!! We found that it was necessary to put the bridle on again to make it more comfortable.
October 23, 2001
We now needed to pay attention to OUR weather situation! We tried to move into two small anchorages over near the town on Numuka Island, but not enough room for both of us, so we returned and anchored in another spot with more protection from the west near Numuka Iki.
After moving around alot, I managed to make bread and banana cake, while David checked out the anchor, all the guys went fishing and Jason worked out. It was really rolly, so David and Eric rigged up a bridle to the anchor rode, to pull the boat around into the swell...much more comfortable!
October 22, 2001
Happy 3rd Birthday, Aidan Gordon Brent! We hope that you had a very happy day and that we will be able to see you before you are 16 and old enough to drive...and really give your Mum and Dad gray hairs....if Skipper and Squirt haven't done that already!!!???
David and John brought us some fruits as promised yesterday, but not of very good quality and quite expensive...but that is ok!!!! They definitely need the money there! We left Ha'afeve at 9am with *Lazy Jack* and were anchored at Numuka Iki by 1:30pm but we did not catch a fish on the way. We had an incredible snorkel on an absolutely beautiful reef.
As a side note we just heard on the net, that the winds were very strong on the way to New Zealand. Two boats (*Capers* - Phil and Carol and *Aventyr* - Matt and Debi) had left from Ha'afeve while we were there a few days ago. The weather was so terrible, that they could not even reach Minerva Reef. I don't think that I have heard so much distress in a person's voice as I did listening to Carol on *Capers* while she was calling in to Des on Russell Radio for weather. According to our weather faxes, we would not have left, so it does pay to watch the faxes. (Thankfully, they did make it to Tauranga ok though! Just their egos were bruised!!!)
October 21, 2001
Happy Birthday, Dick Boundy! We hope your day was special in Michigan!
We spent a quiet morning aboard the boat, making passage meals and oatmeal/raisin cookies (me) and getting weather faxes and talking to the morning net at 8am on 8104 to see what and where everyone is!!! After lunch we walked into town (?) with Ron and Anna. It probably was NOT the day to walk into town, because Tongans frown upon any activity whatsoever on Sundays, the Sabbath. The Tongan Constitution (drafted by Methodist missionary Shirley Baker) declares that the Sabbath day is forever sacred; it is unlawful to work, to hold sporting events, or to trade on Sunday. Contracts signed on that day are void. No tours or picnics are scheduled and all shops and restaurants are closed. The Sabbath is so strong in Tonga that even the Seventh-Day Adventists observe Sunday as their "Lord's Day" rather than Saturday. They claim that this is permissable because of the international date line!!!!
We discovered that most of the villagers were either attending church services, walking to church, or laying down in their huts. According to their law, Tongans may not even fish or swim on Sunday. We were cautioned by the Moorings guide that we should be quiet, tolerant and pay deference to the Tongan Sunday. Tongans are very conservative in their dress, so that men should always wear shirts in public places. Tongan ladies never wear scanty attire or bikinis and most Tongans swim fully clothed. If attending church, it was suggested that we wear long slacks and shirt for the men and at least a knee length skirt and blouse for ladies. Absolutely NO hats (as opposed to Tahiti where all women wore hats!) or photographs in church!
We talked with David and John at the wharf about obtaining mangoes and fruits for us and they visited both our boats for a drink, since they had never been aboard a sailboat before. We enjoyed visiting with them for a short time and hearing about life on this small island in Tonga!
October 20, 2001
We left Uoleva at about 9am and were anchored in Ha'afeve Island, West Anchorage by 1:30pm. We caught a beautiful wahoo on passage! Thank you!!! After lunch we went snorkeling on the wreck of *Ekiaki*, a Korean-type fishing vessel lying on the reef a half mile NW of the anchorage. It was quite interesting with many fish and white white sand.
Eric was able to repair the tape and we finished watching "Gulliver's Travels" (a definite recommend for our list!) after we had dump cake for desert with Ron and Anna. Ron and Anna were able to provide much information about the politics surrounding the writing of "Gullivers Travels" in England.
October 19, 2001
At 10am we went ashore with Ron and Anna and had a spectacular walk on the beach! What an absolutely BEAUTIFUL beach! This one definitely rivals our special beach on Maui!But obviously missing one important ingredient: all our friends!! We walked around the south side of the island, while around to the north there is a resort (Captain Cook Resort), where unfortunately, we did not have the time to visit.
A little information about the Ha'apai Group: these are low coral islands, mostly uninhabited, with an estimated 10,000 people on some 57 islands with total land area of 109 sq.km, lying between Nuku'alofa and Vava'u. Pangai on the island of Lifuka is the administrative center for the entire group. Ha'apai is mostly for beach people with perfect white sandy beaches encircling most of these islands; however, this group contains many many reefs and treacherous shoals and isolated coral patches. Navigation should only be undertaken by day, in conditions of good light. Even sailing in open water, a good lookout should be taken for isolated coral patches. Also, the anchorages in the Ha'apai group provide good shelter from the prevailing easterly sector winds, but most are exposed from SW to NW winds. In spite of these hazards, if reasonable precautions are observed and continued monitoring of weather, the incredible unspoiled coral reefs with snorkeling and spearfishing and the beautiful beaches are considered a paradise to many of us!
Captain Cook made prolonged stops at Nomuka in 1774 and 1777. While Cook was visiting Lifuka in 1773, he coined the term "Friendly Islands" unaware that the Tongans on Lifuka were plotting to murder him. On April 28, 1789, Fletcher Christian and his mutineers lowered Captain William Bligh and 18 loyal members of his crew into a rowboat near Tofua. This was the beginningof the longest voyage in an open boat in maritime history: from Tongan waters to Timor in the Dutch East Indies (6,500 km). - an incredible accomplishment of endurance and seamanship. John Norton, quartermaster of the *Bounty* was the only casualty of the trip. Norton was killed when they landed on the northwest side of Tofua just after the mutiny when they clashed with Tongans.
After lunch we snorkeled again, no dinner, but we did see sharks and neapolian fish. We caught a beautiful fish off the back of the boat for dinner. We had another "movie night" and watched "Gulliver's Travels"...unfortunately, the tape broke after about 1.5 hours. We were really enjoying it....hopefully, Eric can fix the tape and we can continue tomorrow. This is a very long movie anyway, so maybe it was just as well!
October 18, 2001
We listened to the net in the morning and found that *Lazy Jack* was on their way, and we left Ha'ano for Uoleva Island (South Bay) and were anchored in time for lunch. We went snorkeling, but didn't see any fish, so obviously, Eric could not spear dinner! So, we were very thankful when *Lazy Jack* arrived about 5pm, bringing us mahimahi which they had caught on their passage. The water seemed to be VERY cold!
October 17, 2001
We were up at 5am and left at 6am, but *Lazy Jack* decided not to leave. *Zephyrus* and *PJ's* were up and trying to leave for Nuku'alofa (they had decided to by-pass the Ha'apai Group with it beautiful beaches, but treacherous coral reefs), but Zephyrus's engine would not start and nobody had their dinghy in the water to go help. They finally managed to leave about 7:30am We arrived in Ha'ano in the Northern Ha'apai Group about 2:30pm after an 8.5 hour passage. We anchored south of Ha'ano Village near the Mushroom Rock... all alone. David and I went snorkeling in the chilly (77 degrees) water between absolutely incredibly beautiful and immense coral formations. We saw very few fish, but thoroughly enjoyed the coral.
October 16, 2001
Sharman (*Capaz*) and her friend Cynthia on a Moorings charter boat came over to borrow some flour to make a birthday cake for one of the boys...I have alot of white flour left, since I have been using the whole wheat to make bread. I gave them 5 pounds, which I assume made several birthday cakes...Hope they had a Happy Day!
Ron, Anna, Eric, Jason and myself hiked up to the top of the hill on the island, Vakai'eitu, to the Papao Village Resort, which has a small restaurant and small bungalows to rent. We assume that it is located on the plantation of the Wolfgramm family, one of the earliest of German settlers to Vava'u. Since David was cleaning the bottom of the boat, the boys and I simply had some ice cream ("Life is uncertain, eat desert first!"), while Ron and Anna had a quick lunch! We had our lunch back aboard *Peace and Aloha*, with a nice clean bottom, with David. We were all ready to set off to the Ha'apai Group so that I spent the afternoon filling out the extensive entry forms needed to enter New Zealand. *Zephyrus* and *PJ's Dream* arrived in the anchorage, ready to set off also. We heard Tamera (now on *SuperNova*) arrive in Vava'u, but they were in Neiafu. We were desperately trying to see Tamera again, after leaving her and Kelly on *Sairorse* in Maeva Beach, Tahiti in June!