Thursday, May 28, 2009

Goodbye Tongatapu

May 28, 2009--The last week has been one of some frustration with the weather. Last Thursday, we moved over to the anchorage at Pangaimotu Island to anchor for the evening. We went ashore to have a beer at Big Mama's, and then we enjoyed a walk on the beach. That evening we returned for dinner. Steve ordered the steak smothered in mushroom sauce, and I ordered fish that also had a wonderful sauce over it. Big Mama came over and talked with us for quite awhile, and she is a very interesting person. Big Mama is Tongan and her husband Earle, who is American, we believe, have owned the place for a long time, and the cruisers all enjoy stopping there. They provide many excellent facilities and services for yachties and always make them feel welcome, plus the island is really beautiful.

On Friday morning we returned to town and anchored just outside the breakwater so that Steve could go in and check us out to Ha'api. When he returned, we decided to go back to Big Mama's to anchor for lunch. In that time, the weather got nasty and the weather forecast we finally received over the radio had a low coming through with westerly winds for the next several days. As there are very few anchorages in Ha'api that are good in those conditions, we decided to return to the harbor.

On Saturday we returned to town to have lunch at the Friends Cafe and post pictures on the blog. We also picked up a few additional provisions. On Sunday, we went to the Free Wesleyan Church just across from the harbor. It was so interesting to see the locals dressed in their lovely Ta'ovalas or waistmats. The singing was wonderful, as usual, and the children were a delight to watch. We thoroughly enjoyed the service even though most of it was in Tongan.

Monday brought rain and wind so we stayed on the boat the whole day. Steve returned to Customs to check us back in to Tongatapu. Tuesday we made our last run into town in order to buy some gifts for the children in the Ha'api. We bought some flip flops, hair bands, notebooks, pencils, and toothbrushes. I also bought a painting that I really like, and after that we went to the market where I bought my own Ta'ovala. After returning to the boat, we got ready to go out to have dinner at the Billfish Restaurant. We both ordered the seared Yellow Fin tuna dinner--it was absolutely wonderful. We each received two tuna steaks, so we took the extra two back for lunch the next day. It started to rain on the way back so when we got back on board, Steve set up the dam to collect rainwater from the side deck and funnel it into the water tank. We were able to collect enough water to fill our tank, which had gotten very low. That amount would have taken four plus hours for the watermaker to produce not to mention the power drain.

On Wednesday it was getting pretty warm in the harbor, so we again checked out with Customs and headed out to Atata Island for the evening. The lagoon is big, but it is studded with coral heads. Luckily, we had the way points entered in our GPS, and the course worked perfectly all the way into the anchorage. The winds were still out of the west today, so we decided to stay until tomorrow. Late this afternoon, they finally started clocking back to the southeast so tomorrow should be just fine for our trip to the north, and we are anxious to see the beautiful islands of the Ha'api.

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