Passage to Tonga – part 2

At 18.00 on Sunday evening we were treated to another spectacular sunset. The sun went down very quickly and the dark descended like a big black fog. It was really eerie for a while so I was happy to see some stars and planets appear through the gloom albeit quite dimly. Nothing changed in that we continued to motor sail with a full poled-out genoa in a mere five knots of breeze. It was barely enough to keep the sail full but we wanted to get as much boost from the sail as we could to avoid having to increase our rpms.
Throughout our nightly shift pattern nothing changed apart from who was on watch. One exception was that we crossed the International Dateline (which bends around Tonga) so our status as lowly Shellbacks has increased to the giddy height of Golden Shellbacks. As before we thanked Neptune for keeping us safe and asked him to continue to do so on our future passages. I think he was listening as there was an extraordinary show of bioluminescence in the water…..and no moon whatsoever. At least there were no sea creatures LOL.
This morning – TUESDAY – and we had another nice sunrise. The wind disappeared altogether so we are now motoring with bare poles towards our destination the Vava’u group which are the most northern portion of the 171 islands of which only 36 are inhabited that make up the Kingdom of Tonga. At around 6 am we had Land Ho! where we could see the faint outline of Vava’u ahead.
The sea is a little swelly as we start cutting across the ocean ridges into less depth – well 300 feet is shallower than the thousands of feet before – and this creates some confused seas. We are also battling an adverse current which is slowing us down despite increasing our revs. We have covered 231 miles right now and have an ETA of around 16.00. So plenty of daylight to work our way into the bay at Neiafu. We are not sure whether the customs and immigration will want to clear us tonight or wait until the morning. Either way we know that the process is bureaucratic and time consuming so we are hoping they will wait for the morning. I am very excited to be here – Tonga has always been on my bucket list of destinations – and Richard is looking forward to having some fun!
Bye for now Jan