Thursday, August 03, 2006


Neiafu Vava'u August 3 2006.

We arrived at Vava'u yesterday morning after two days of pretty rough sailing. Arriving here from the east we crossed the international date line, so we just "lost" one day. According to a local slogan this is where time begins. When checking in here the local authorities comes to the boat, as opposed to French Polynesia and Niue where you go to them. Immigration, customs and quarantine officers boarded Maiken one after the other. Doing their, tiresome I guess, paperwork they shortly asked - Do you have any soft drinks?. No, unfortunately not, all consumed already. But we do have Steinlager beer! Luckily, beer seamed to work as well. The immigration officer had some doubt about my passport, - you look much younger than you do in your passport, he said. Handing him a large bowl of peanuts I assured him that photographs taken near the polar circle, where I live, can be gravely distorted due to cold and lack of daylight in the winter. This explanation seamed to satisfy him,(or was it the peanuts?), and I had my passport stamped. When done with check in, there was this Swedish women waiting for us on the quay. It was not the local consular welcoming committee, but a women in her thirties who had lived here in Neiafu the last year and who felt happy to see a Swedish boat. We agreed to meet at six a clock at the Mermaid for drinks and some chitchat. We then took a mooring outside the local yacht club. When setting the anchor alarm I saw that the GPS plotter indicated that we actually were anchored some 100 meters up on land! Our GPS position being right without question, the plotters chart had to be mistaking. And it's not the first time that we've been sailing on land since we entered the South Pacific according to the plotter. Just goes to say that you should not trust your map completely. Reality is more reliable! The afternoon was spent exploring the town of Neiafu, the second largest and perhaps the most touristy place in Tonga. One can easily see why the Vava'u group is so popular and one of the Pacific's sailing charter havens. The coastal waters are deep and easily navigated in this archipelago with it's many islands, and the main island has a lot of fjords that gives good protection in rough weather. This is where the whales leaving Antarctica during winter comes to play and to give birth. When entering yesterday we saw a couple of humpback whales, an endangered species due to unsustainable whaling. This is also a hideout for backpacker, although not endangered, a rather scarce breed. After some drinks at the Mermaid, Fredrik and I went to the Dancing Rooster for a splendid BBQ buffet. This morning we have cleaned up the boat and dried all wet gear from the past sailing. Around the boat there is hundreds of jelly fish pumping their way through in the water making swimming less palatable, but a "sun shower" in left over drinking water did the trick quite as well. Just about ready to go now to town for lunch and some errands. Tonight we're going to Hinakauea bay to enjoy a traditional feast with local foods baked in an Umu (earth oven), dancing performance and kava ceremony.

'alu hangatonu fakamolemole.
(go straight, please)


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