Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Neiafu, Vava’u, Tonga, 13 September 2011.
Pics from Tonga.
Greetings from tomorrow. I neglected to mention that I crossed the International Date Line on my way from Samoa to Tonga. In this part of the world, the date line makes a sharp left (looking south from Samoa), so although Samoa and Tonga are in the same time zone, Tonga is one day ahead.
Yesterday afternoon I returned to Neiafu to complete the check-out formalities (which involve a stop at immigration, the port captain, and—most importantly--customs, who give you the piece of paper called “Clearance” which the authorities at the next port will demand). The last couple of days I’ve explored a couple of the numerous anchorages within the Vava’u Island group. Yesterday morning I sailed out of the lagoon within Hunga Island with La Cueca. They set a course for Fiji and I for another nearby anchorage (the name escapes me at the moment) where I snorkeled, scrubbed Twister’s bottom, and had lunch.  Two days before that, I had motor-sailed down to Ano Beach for the full moon party (there was a race from Neiafu to Ano Beach, but I have no interest in racing). I was a little disappointed at the (low) levels of drunkenness and debauchery. It was a bunch of sailors after all. I’ve seen numerous Humpback Whales here but have yet to swim with them. I plan to set sail for Fiji tomorrow (Wed the 14th here in Tonga) and if I run into some whales on the way out, I may join them for a swim.  The visibility in the water is generally good here in the Vava’u group of islands, but the underwater scenery is rather unexciting (unless you run into some whales).  It's around 440 miles to Suva. If I manage 110 miles per day I'll do it in four.

It’s about a month and a half until the official start of cyclone season in the South Pacific—still plenty of time to make it to Australia.  I’m starting to lean towards New Zealand. If I head to NZ from Fiji, I should be able to spend about a month in Fiji--time enough for sightseeing and hopefully some surfing. The trip to OZ (with a stop in New Calidonia) is a little further and thus may be a bit more hectic.
There is an interesting group of expats here who run all the tourism-related businesses (bars, restaurants, sailboat charters, whale-watching tours). Americans seem to comprise the largest group along with a few Kiwis, Aussies, Italians, and Spaniards.  It’s quite feasible for a Palangi to move here and set up a business just as long as some wheels get greased, according to one American business-owner.

This morning there was a swap meet. I sold a diesel jerry can and my Alvarez acoustic guitar (I sold it to a local for a symbolic sum). Every time I divest myself of possessions I feel lighter emotionally and even physically. 


  1. I've got my Atlas out and followed you around on this one:) I am envious and excited that you are looking for whales to swim with! What a trip! Much love and blessings today~

  2. Lars! you should try to watch a rugby world cup match with locals there!
    Send you a big hug from Italy!