We had a great sail down to Oua island. The winds were light and behind the beam so it was a perfect opportunity to launch the Parasailor. It was only third time we have used this sail and we finally think we are starting to understand it! The wind was kind to us and we managed to play around with different tensions on the guys and sheets to see how it reacted.
We saw a couple of whale blows as we sailed , but nothing close enough to get a photo.
SV Citation had already made their way inside the reef to the anchorage and were kind enough to come out and guide us in with their co-ordinates. Once the anchor was set , we jumped into Dave and made the very short ride over to enjoy sundowners on Citation.
The next day we were up early for our diving mission over to Wickham reef. Citation had offered to sail us all over there, so we piled our gear into Dave and transferred it all onboard. We had a lovely sail over to the reef and the sandy patch where we dropped anchor was clearly visible even though it was a t over 20 meters. It was then into the two dinghies to try and find the dive site that was reputed to be the best one on the reef. However we hadn’t reckoned on the reef being quite so large. After almost half an hour of bouncing over the reef , we had only got about a 10th of the way to where we wanted to be. Executive decisions were made -find a spot shallow enough to anchor the dinghies and roll in ! This was our first dive in Tonga, and even though we did not manage to get to the SW wall we had a very nice cruisy dive. Good viz, good hard corals, but sadly, not much the way of fish life. The weather had started to turn a bit grey and squally when we surfaced, so we abandoned ideas of a second dive and headed back to Oua for the night.
Next day , we upped anchor and headed the vey short distance to Matuku island , where we were welcomed most enthusiastically by the local children. Another beautiful spot, but it was a wee bit rolly, so we bade farewell to ‘Citation’ while we sailed the short 30 minutes over to Ha’afeva . We arrived on a Sunday, so a walk over the island to the village resulted in another display of that wonderful Tongan singing emanating from the local church.
There was only one other boat in the bay – ‘Non-Stop’ and we met the owners, Ellen and Peter on our walk to the village. In typical cruiser style, a few hours later, we were seated on the back of their boat, beer in hand, chatting away like long lost friends and watching another stunning sunset.
Uoleva was once again to be our anchorage, where we had arranged to catch up with our friends on ‘True Companions’. We had a fantastic sail from Ha’afeva that had us touching 8.5 knots most of the way. On approach to Uoleva at least 7 boats had popped up on the AIS. Not too bad, as it is a big anchorage. However as we rounded the corner we could count at least 20 yachts. A quick message to Karen confirmed that the NZ Rally boats from were having a ‘gathering’ in the bay over the next three days. Not our idea of fun. Detour time. Uiha here we come. ….
Another early start saw us head off to Pangai , this time to check out of the island group so that we could begin to make our way north. Plus anchoring off the Ha’apai Beach Resort again meant we could indulge in takeaway pizza for dinner….One very happy Captain.
Check out complete, we headed slightly further north to the island of Foa. (It is actually connected to the mainland by a causeway ) . The anchorage is tucked in behind a beautiful coral reef, and scattered with coral heads and bommies , so we were glad to be arriving at low tide in full sun. We dropped the hook in the stunning aquamarine lagoon, ( handily opposite the bar of the Sandy Beach resort) and decided that we would probably hang out here for a while. We seemed to have been constantly on the move since our arrival in Tonga and we figured we deserved some time in one place, to just kick back and enjoy.
20th june - 27th June 2018