That's where we now are anchored after our overnight passage last night from the Vava'u group. We are now in a new group of islands in the Kingdom of Tonga. But we have been negligent about writing – so first a recap of our last few days in the Vava'u group before we headed further south.
Nuku island was on the list of stops in the Vava'u group and it proved to be a lovely stop – so much so we stayed there for several days. It was one of those spots that had a bit of everything – a beautiful beach island on one side; in the center an open water view protected by a reef to keep the waves and swell down and off on the port side another sandy beached island with steep green covered cliffs. Lots of reefs to snorkel and an area for good tide-pooling. The water colors were every shade of blue in the spectrum. Very pretty.
We cleared out of Neiafu for this next Tongan group and then waited a few days for the weather to get a bit better. We waited for the wind to come out of the east a bit more rather than the southeasterly winds that we had been having. We were heading pretty much south so the less southerly the better.
We left late in the afternoon on Saturday. The trip was 65 miles south – and many folks attempt it in the daytime – but we thought it might be cutting it too close to enter a reef area late in the day after the good light is over. So we opted to do the passage overnight and arrive at first light and that way have all day to find a good spot to drop the anchor. We did have to slow the boat way down to not get here too early as the conditions were quite good for a quick sail. But sitting at an anchorage – you never know what the seas and conditions are "out there" - and we're glad we made that call. It's not a bad over nighter and we had a pleasant sail The seas were a bit choppy – but not the 3 meters (9 feet) that someone told us was out there! They were about a meter to a meter and half (3-5 feet). We had a reefed main and genoa flying and sailed the entire way once clear of the anchorage in Nuku, and upon getting to Lifuka Island and winding our way into the harbor here.
It is a lovely spot facing a sandy beach. We're anchored in about 25 feet – with what looks like a good sandy bottom. A few coral "bommies" are around. The water isn't as crustal clear as we've gotten used to – but this is just northeast of the main town. We need to go into town tomorrow (Monday) to do the official check-in at this island group.
This is a pretty remote group – no ATMs, no internet nor many restaurants or shops (our kind of place!) We'll probably stay here two nights than find a protected anchorage to do some boat projects (wind generator work, bottom cleaning and organizing) as we get the boat ready for the big trip to NZ. We hope to get some more good snorkeling in as well before we leave the Kingdom of Tonga. Now it's the waiting game – waiting and learning about NZ weather patterns. The next passage is one of the more challenging.
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