We spent the weekend tucked in a protected bay in the lee of Tapana Island. The first two nights we anchored and the next three we spent on a mooring ball off the Ark Gallery. The Ark is a floating house boat that a lovely American couple built. Larry and Sherry are friendly and welcoming and we enjoyed visiting with them aboard the Ark and at the beach bonfire on Saturday night. On Saturday morning we called a cab and went into Neiafu for the nautical swap meet. We were able to sell some extra gear and came back to Tapana with 360 Pa’anga ($180 US); that will allow for some extra spending cash at the various resorts and feasts to be found around the archipelago.
Today the wind was howling 30 knots offshore and 25 through the islands. I really wanted to head to the east side to visit the more remote villages but it was not to be. We could have bashed against it but it would have been tough going and also would have really shaken up the beer we have fermenting. So in the interest of beer production – and in the interest of Princess happiness – we decided to slip around the corner and anchor in the lee of Pangiamotu. We are sure glad we did. Just coming around the corner from Tapana had us rolling down 3 foot waves and had the dinghy surfing into the Monitor windvane, I can only imagine what the scene would have been like transiting the pass at high tide with seas rolling over the reef and hitting our beam.
We are sure glad we came up here. At Tapana we were moored between 7 other boats in close proximity. Up here we have many miles of bay to ourselves, outstanding protection, extremely flat water and less than 10 knots of wind (when it’s blowing 25+ offshore) and we also have no swell (Tapana had a swell at high tide; and we were paying for the mooring down there!). One of the reasons there are no boats here must be that the guidebooks say that you can’t anchor in the bay due to a fishing farm. Well I can verify that the farm is no longer and the bay is clear. We are set in sand in 40 feet of azure blue water in the middle of the bight closest to shore with the white house. The white house is torn to bits by what seems the last cyclone. Any evidence of fishing is long gone. The only things here now are sheer cliffs, an abandoned house, and rainforest filled with singing birds. This is a lovely spot and anyone sailing Vava’u in the future and looking for protection and seclusion when the trades are up should take note of the waypoint at the bottom of this post.
We both had the feeling today that we are finally caught up on boat projects and can relax. It’s an amazing feeling and has been very elusive this season due to the fact that we have been covering so many miles. We were talking about the sheer number of man (and woman) hours it takes to have our house(boat) in order. At sunset today we had: a new autopilot (1 day of labor), a new spring replaced on the Monitor windvane (1 hour of labor), full water tanks (3 hours of effort today), new engine oil and a new filter change plus new coolant (2 hours of effort today), a keg of beer carbonating (5 hours of effort last week), the bottom of the boat was clean of dirt and barnacles (3 hours of work a couple days ago), the cabin was clean and orderly (many hours of Mermaid labor each day), and the topsides were clean and we were both showered. I’m sure there is a lot I am leaving out. It was just a very nice feeling to have most of the “to-do” boxes checked and have the boat in such great shape again. We both felt like we could breathe a sigh of relief and really enjoy ourselves.
Since the trades are still howling we have decided to sail downwind tomorrow and go explore Lape Island and Nuapapu. Great hiking, excellent diving, and friendly Tongan villages await. We’ll have to decide where to head for the weekend as a nasty frontal system is coming through that promises high winds and heavy squalls. We’ll either be in Hunga, which offers 360 degree protection, or back in Neiafu, for the entertainment.
We’ll write again from the next incredible Vava’u anchorage.
Lewis & Alyssa
August 4, 2015
Aisea Beach, Pangiamotu, Vava’u
18 41.837 S
173 59.904 W
40 Feet Depth