Posted by: procamnz | April 8, 2007

Update 10 July 2004

Naomi arrived today and is with us until 22 July.  This gave a few days
overlap with Rowena who flew to Nuku'alofa today after spending a little
over two weeks with us. She flew on a 43 year old DC3 which is a unique
experience. She is spending a couple of days in Nuku'alofa sightseeing
before flying back to NZ.

We all had a great time when she was here. Saw a whale. We went to
Swallows cave, did some scuba diving, went to a church service and had a
meal with the school teacher of a tiny two roomed school. The school
was demolished by the 2001 cyclone and the New Zealand government
provided the materials and paid for the labour to build a new school.
There is no power so they have one 36 watt solar panel and a battery
which provides power for the teacher and his family (who live on the
premises) to operate a radio and a light. There is no lighting in the
classrooms. Toilets are long drops.

Our anchor winch is beyond repair despite a lot of effort so we have
ordered a new one to come up on the fortnightly cargo ship from
Auckland. Thanks to various friends in NZ that helped make the
arrangements. It should be here in 8-9 days time.

We are starting to plan the next stage of our travels. We will probably
leave Vava'u around the 8 August and go to Samoa via the Niu's and then
to Fiji via Wallis and Futuna Islands. We were going to also visit
American Samoa but are told that it will cost us US$150 in fees to clear
in and out which is a big expense for a visit of several days.

EPIRB activation (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon)
Had a drama up here a couple of days ago. On Thursday there were a
couple of pretty unofficial announcements that a 121.5/243 MHz EPIRB
beacon had been detected in the Vava'u area by the NZ satellite
monitoring station. Everyone was asked to check their EPRIBS which we
did. Later in the day, they said it was thought to be in the Nuapapu
area which is where we were so we checked again (we have 2 of that
model). Later that day we moved to Hunga Lagoon. The next morning
around 7:30 am we heard an aircraft and saw it was an NZ Air Force
Orion. He did a low turn over the lagoon and then a few sweeps over
Nuapapu, the next island. He then did a low sweep over the lagoon and
then called all yachts in the lagoon. I responded and he asked me the
names of the boats in the lagoon - the lagoon is about 4 x 1 miles. He
then did another low sweep and called me and said that he thought it was
coming from the SE bay and then said he was pretty sure it was from the
ketch. This was the bay we were in so we volunteered to go over in the
dinghy. Rowena and I did that. The people were barely out of bed and
pretty stunned about it all. Sure enough their EPIRB had fallen off the
shelf and turned itself on. They were horrified that they had caused
the Orion to fly from Whenuapai to Tonga (1200 nautical miles) because
of their stupid storage. I hope that they get a bill! I was later told
that it is likely that the Orion trip was done as a training exercise.
Everyone knows to keep their VHF on channel 16 and yet they did not
monitor it, even when the Orion was flying over them several times. If
they had heard the earlier announcements, they would have turned it off
and all would have been well.

Photos 10 July 2004

Some new photos from Tony & Mary.

Market at Neiafu

Pigs at Neiafu

Yacht swept ashore and now a houseboat behind the Mermaid

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