Final days in Vava’u, Tonga

Wednesday night the rain abated so we went ashore to the Aquarium Cafe. We met up with Ian and he was in a celebratory mood as his spare parts had arrived and his boat now had power again – having been stuck here for almost three months – so we had a quite a good reunion.

Thursday it poured with rain all day…..cats and dogs…..and was just plain miserable. So we stayed on board. We did a few boat jobs but most of the day we just lazed around before a few cold ones in the cockpit watching the sun go down before having an early night.

Friday morning it was miserable again….but we headed into town anyway. We dropped off our sheets and towels at the laundry, went to the fruit and veg market and various other bits and pieces before spending some time in the Tropicana Cafe drinking coffee and downloading the latest weather files.

Usually we download all our grib files using the Iridium Go! Unit. But remember that charging problem? Well, the charging USB port on the unit has completely broken and there is no workaround as the unit is sealed so we can’t re-solder the part or hard wire it instead. We have found out that it has to be returned to the USA for repairs (or swap out) under warranty. Our unit’s battery was down to two out of three bars but, luckily, we found another cruiser who was willing to fully charge our battery for us inside his own Go!  So the unit is fully operational but we have limited battery capacity. We can’t rely on getting it charged again so we are going to have to be very frugal in our use. This means that we will only turn it on for half an hour a day maximum whilst underway just to download weather;  send blog updates;  and ping the tracker. So the tracker will not follow us in real time with our boat speed etc but will at least continue to show our passage (albeit in a straight line probably over land LOL) and our position on arrival.  Hopefully we’ll be able to do this all the way to New Zealand but, if the battery doesn’t hold up, we may end up having to limit our use to just weather updates. But we’ll keep you posted.

Having done all our jobs for the day we had a lazy afternoon before heading into the Mango Lounge for sundowners. The bar was busy and the sunset was absolutely spectacular over the bay.

We had a fun evening chatting with Ian but we had to get our own drinks.  Usually the staff here are over-attentive and ask you every couple of minutes whether you want another one so Ian had complained, the old curmudgeon. So, of course, they avoided our table like the plague LOL obviously under instruction from the boss. But, have to admit, it was nice to chat without constant interruptions!

Saturday morning we were up early and headed over to Ian’s boat.

As his power was now restored we were going to help him recalibrate the autopilot which reverted to factory settings when power failed.   So we went up and down the bay, doing circles and straight lines, until finally it was done. Luckily for me he had the same Raymarine control head so I was very confident in giving instructions to Ian on the helm as we swung the compass.

Then we headed back to the mooring field and got him reattached to a mooring before returning to Morphie via the laundry.

Saturday afternoon we did our hand washing and had a leisurely afternoon followed by an early dinner before we headed into Aquarium for a drink. Ian joined us again and we had another fun evening.

Sunday morning and it was a special day.   Happy 60th Birthday Richard.   Congratulations and all my love on reaching this milestone and here’s to lots more ahead!   Cheers….

Richard enjoyed opening his cards and presents from home – which I had gathered together last November before we left home and had kept them hidden on board throughout the season.

We had a leisurely breakfast and then I cleaned the boat down below while Richard worked on dink yet again.  The glue just won’t dry here in the humidity so the patches don’t stick properly and after a few days they peel and the leaks are exposed again. Never mind, sigh…. We also did some passage planning.

Sunday evening we went ashore and celebrated Richard’s birthday.  Check out his tee shirt present – great vintage indeed LOL!

We had dinner at the Mango Lounge and the staff very kindly made Richard a chocolate desert and a happy birthday sign – he got a kiss from our waitress and we all sang to him.

By this time we had been joined by Ian and Frank (whom we last saw in Hiva Oa) and had a lovely low key evening.

This morning, Monday, and we’ve been ashore and done our inter-island clearance with customs. We’ve picked up more provisions and have returned to Morphie. I’m blogging and cooking some passage food whilst Richard is catching up on line using the phone SIM card.   Later on we are going to get the boat ready to go to sea, do last minute engine checks and rest up. Tonight at 9.00 pm we are going to leave in the dark (unusually) headed towards the capital of the Kingdom of Tonga, Nukualofa in the Tongatapu island group. Our plan is to anchor off Big Momma’s resort which is on the island of Pangaimotu. We are hoping to do our check in via the resort’s ferry rather than having to take Morphie into the rat-infested commercial harbour – fingers crossed!

This passage is 180 miles so it’s roughly a 36 hour run at an average of five knots hence our evening departure which means we’ll arrive safely in daylight on Wednesday.

Bye for now