Tonga – Uoleva , Pangai and official ‘check in ‘

Yes -we are still in the Ha’apai islands.

We moved to Uoleva where we had a fab catch up with our buddies from ‘Citation’ . They left the next morning to head north and do some diving and a few hours later  ‘Evergreen’ sailed in. Uoleva is another  stunning island.  And quite a large island too, as we discovered when Carol from ‘Evergreen’ made us walk around the entire thing. 😂 I’m sure she said ‘a short stroll on the beach’….Anyway, good times were had but after a few days ,it was time to move on and officially ‘check in’ to the area.

Tonga insists that cruising boats check in and out of each island group,  which is free, but can be a bit of as pain in the butt.  We should have officially checked in at Pangai before stopping at any other islands, but to do so means a ‘beat’ back south to visit all the islands you have passed on the way up. It’s become a relaxed affair with customs that boats can take 10 days or so to ‘arrive’ in Pangai after leaving Tongatapu.

Anyway -we dropped anchor outside the Ha’apai Beach Resort, just a short dinghy ride north of Pangai village. This would be handy as it was Carol’s birthday and we were all looking forward to dinner ashore -a rare occurrence indeed.  We were delighted to see ‘Lettin Go’ were already anchored up.  We hadn’t seen them since NZ, so a fun evening was on the cards.

We zoomed into town to complete check in and after a short walk ( and following Cat’s fab directions) we found the customs building. Note to self – even for a local check in , customs will ask for your passports. Oops. Another trip to customs on Monday then….

Dinner was booked for ‘post’ happy hour and we all arranged to meet ashore.  ‘Citation’ had messaged to say that they were on their way back south and would be able to join us for dinner. I’m still not certain if it was the mention of the words ‘happy hour’ or not, but I’ve never seen a yacht sail so quickly. They even beat ‘Lettin Go’ to the bar…

Anyway -a splendid  evening was had at the Ha’ apai Beach Resort. Many beers were drunk and much fun and laughter was had. We had all planned to go to the Saturday markets the next day, so the 7am start was a little difficult, but we all made it and managed to restock on fruit and veggies ( ‘Fruit’ being limited to bananas and apples, but it was better then nothing) .

The rest of Saturday was spent quite quietly on DT…

Sunday saw Team DT set off for church with Carol and Cat. It was fab. We were welcomed with enthusiasm by the locals and the singing was absolutely amazing. An experience not to be missed.

Monday saw attempt number two at ‘checking in’, successfully this time.  ( the customs officer had been in church and had gently reminded us we needed to stop by and see him 😎)

So -we were all official and ready to head off and have some fun. Oua Island and Wickham Reef ,here we come.

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