Posted by: procamnz | March 23, 2007

27 May 2004

New Zealand to Tonga

We have now left Nuku’a lofa and are anchored in a beautiful bay on the Island of Pangaimotu. See Yesterday we walked round the island and only met 2 people. We were able to slip off our clothes and have a swim with no one else around. The seas are beautifully clear and the colours of the fish are unbelievable.

The other day while we were in Nuku’alofa we went on a day tour with some friends, $30 Tongan each for the full day. Some of the sights were Ho hum but some were magnificent. We saw absolutely beautiful beaches and surf, huge blow holes, flying foxes (actually a form of bat), a
million churches, graveyards and villages. Most villages were filthy with pigs and scrawny dogs running wild. None of the dogs are spayed and are continually pregnant or feeding a litter of puppies. The highlight of our day trip was a visit in to a huge cave just like the Waitomo
caves with stalactites and stalagmites. We were the only people there and the guide took heaps of candles. We navigated through the cave with weak torches and candles until we came to a large underground fresh water pool. The guide dived in to the water with the candles and then
swam around the pool placing candles in strategic places which he lit. We then had a wonderful swim in the pool with only the light of the candles and one tiny opening of natural light from the opening of the cave which was a long way above us and really didn’t give any light on
the pool. We did manage to get a couple of photo’s but there do not do justice to to experience but serve as reminders thereof.

Today is going to be a new experience for me (Mary) because we are going to go ashore where there is a lovely swing chair and Tony is going to have a go at cutting my hair. Hmmm! Well we don’t have any choice and it is that time again. I will also trim his hair and bushy beard. That
is not new to me because I always used to do it when the kids were little and the finances were even smaller. Then we are going to wash all the hair off by snorkeling around a wreck which should be interesting. (Both haircuts went well) We will leave for the Ha’apais in about 2 days, maybe, if the mood takes us.

As you can imagine we are having a wonderful time fulfilling our dream and do not regret any of the hard work and sacrifices it took to get here. Every time I think of our first sight of land after 7 days my heart fills with emotion. It is just an amazing feeling, quite overwhelming.


Sunset though the sails

Sunset again

On the beach

Report 20 May 2004

Thursday 20th May. Nuku’alofa.
We went to the markets this morning – very traditional polynesian marketplace, really interesting, bought some baby bananas, some mangoes, pawpaws and watermelon but some funny looking tomatoes – we think they save the seeds and sow them, got an enormouse basket (made of plaited palm tree fronds) of Kunaras for $4 tongan. Get taxis everywhere for $3 and they are happy to wait for you at each place. Had a taxi this morning for about an hour, from the market to the (only) hardware shop to the only building shop and back to the boat for $10 (about NZ$8). Imported goods are expensive, $4.50 for a can of baked beans, $9.50 for 2 litres of icecream. Only 2 supermarkets in Nuku’alofa (ie all of Tonga), both very small and often run out of things. Had to order eggs for the next day. Went to the bank – bit like Burger Fuel in NZ – you get a number and then watch the LED sign for your turn. There are about 30 seats in rows where you sit and wait. We waited about 15 minutes.

Report 13 May 2004

We are now anchored just off Atata Island and will be spending a few days enjoying the facilities of the Royal Sunset Resort once we have caught up on some sleep. We anchored just less than 7 days after we left Opua marina so had a fast passage – about 1020 nautical miles.

Presently cleaning the boat and ourselves up before customs arrive. We had a great trip but never get more than about 4 hours sleep at a time, typically much less due to crewing the boat, radio, navigation, eating etc.


Report 11 May 2004

The weather has not been suitable for sending emails but has improved enough for a short one to go on the website.

We have been close reaching at 40-50 degrees of the wind in 3-4 metre seas, wind speeds 25 -30 with gusts to 35. We set the staysail and reefed the main to the upper spreaders and made good speed. Some of the wind was caused by a low to our east so we changed heading overnight to due north to avoid getting closer to it. By this morning the low had moved enough for us to resume our course to Tonga.

We are typically getting daily runs of 140 – 160 nautical miles and expect to arrive in Tonga this Thursday afternoon. Getting weather faxes and satellite pictures on board and weather looks pretty reasonable for the next 2-3 days.


Report 8 May 2004

Good to get your messages. Sorry I can not reply individually because we don’t get enough computer time and also it is quite hard typing while the boat is rocking. We are doing very well here. It is our third day out and we have clocked up over 300 miles of the total of about 1000. The weather has been fair and the seas kind so far and we are hoping for more of the same. Well we could do with about another 5 knots of wind but must not complain. The only thing which is a bit off putting is the size of the swells but that just takes a bit of getting used to. When on top of the swell you can see for miles ( just sea, nothing else) and then when you are in the dip you cant see more than about 50 feet. We left Opua in calm weather and had to motor out of the Bay of Islands and then we set sail. For most of the first two days we had to motor sail because there wasn’t enough wind to get us far enough away from the next NZ frontal system. The breeze finally built up in the wee hours of this morning and when I went off watch at 6am I managed to help Adam to set the genoa and we turned off the motor. We are now sailing at about 6-7 knots with the wind on the side and ahead of the beam. Beautiful. Clear skies and I am now into wearing shorts again. But at night it is still a bit nippy and so I need my trackpants and sweater.
We have now got in to the rhythm of watches and sleeping odd hours. We are also in to the habit of putting on our harnesses as soon as we get out of bed and clipping on to the safety lines before going in to the cockpit. My watches are 4-6am, midday – 3pm and then 9pm – midnight. But I usually get out of the midday – 3pm watch because I prepare meals and do the motherly thing. I prepare dinner for 5pm when it is still light and then go to bed from 6pm til 9pm. Then I sleep from midnight for 4 hours and then again from about 6am til about 9am.
None of us have so far been seasick ( touch wood) and we feel Ok. I have read a book a day. Tony says I cant keep up that pace. We will run out of books. I will have to get my embroidery out soon.
We haven’t caught any fish yet even though I bought a flash new rod and reel and we have it out from dawn to dusk. We don’t keep it out at night because it would be a bit tricky to bring in a fish in the dark and also dangerous.
Well I had better get off so that Tony can get a weather fax.


Report 7 May 2004

HI Everyone

We left Opua at 9:30 am Thursday and have done 175 miles since then. Light winds and a bit of a sea running so spent quite a bit of time motorsailing yesterday but are now sailing at around 5 knots in the right direction.

We are doing 2 hour watches between midnight and 6 am, then 3 hour watches – Tony – Mary – Adam.
Mary is doing most of the food preparation. Tony is doing the weather info and radio schedules and is on call if the person on watch needs a hand. Adam is on call for Tony when he is on deck. Adam also does some of the galley cleanup.

Looks like a 7-8 day trip, depending on wind speed and direction and how much we motor. We have used 80 litres so far and have about 450 litres left, do about 1.5 nautical miles per litre.

Adam has had the fishing line out during daylight but no fish on the menu yet.
We have not seen another boat since leaving the bay of islands.
We are all feeling well with no signs of seasickness.

Our position is being updated once per day on the link on our website.


Report 1 May 2004

This is just a note to say that, even though we were scheduled to leave NZ today, there is a gale warning and northerly winds. Therefore we have chosen to rest and relax at Opua marina until such time as the weather is more favourable. We have finished all the important jobs related to going off-shore but, because it is a boat there are always heaps more jobs for us to do.
Thank you for all the good messages. Please keep them coming. We enjoy hearing from you all.


Report 29 April 2004

Windspirit left Bayswater on Sunday late afternoon, spend the night at Kawau Island before leaving at 9 am Monday morning to sail to Russell, arriving at 2:30 am having endured intense rain squalls from Cape Brett to Russell. Windspirit is currently berthed at the Opua marina where Mary and Tony are doing the “last few” jobs while waiting for a suitable weather pattern to head for Tonga. Adam is on call to bus up to meet the boat when the call comes. Long term forecasts are suggesting Monday or Tuesday departure.

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