I need to catch everyone up on the last few days, so allow me to back up.
After that wonderful sail, we made landfall in Vava’u in the early morning. It was raining hard with limited visibility. We had the engine on and were short-tacking into Vava’u. We had to alter course more than a few times for fishing vessels and humpback whales. We sailed into Neiafu harbor, which is a good 1.5 hours inland. We had to anchor on yet another lee shore [why is every official clearance point on a lee shore??]. The officials were friendly and after visiting four offices strewn across town, we officially cleared into the Kingdom of Tonga. After clearing in we caught a mooring (the water off town is over 100 feet deep), and went in for dinner and to send the previous blog.
After catching up on some rest we focused on a replacement for our autopilot. As you remember, the wheel drive broke exiting Samoa. Luckily, friends on ELYSIUM had another wheel unit to sell. After fitting the replacement we figured out it’s the fluxgate compass that is the real culprit (my two drives were also broken beyond repair). We’ll go by their boat tomorrow to see if they have a spare compass to sell us. If you’re keeping count, this will be the third wheel pilot we have replaced since leaving Hawaii. Our primary steerage remains to be the monitor windvane, but it will be nice to get the electronic autopilot functioning again. Stay tuned for the outcome of this witch hunt.
It’s freezing here. Maybe we’ve spent too much time near the equator, but we are both freezing. I’m wearing a sweater and socks as I type these words. That is just ridiculous at only 18 degrees south. There is a strong SE blow coming up from 55S to Tonga and I really hope it’s temporary because the air and water are very cold.
Here are a few pics of the Mermaid scouring the awesome veggie market and a couple shots off Ellie moored amongst the plethora of international cruising boats.
Stay tuned for adventures via scooter, swimming with humpbacks, and picturesque Tongan anchorages.
July 23, 2015