Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tonga photo dump

Upon arrival at the Customs Wharf in Vava'u, we began a wait and see period that lasted about four hours. We would have to wait to see about four various officials each of which expected a "Present" for doing his f&*(%ing job. In this case it was a bottle each of Beaujolais wine.

Otherwise the veiled threat was a full search of the boat for pornography (none on board!) unauthorized alcohol (Only about 45 bottles of wine, six of rum and at least three cases of beer) and anything else they can think of. In fact, we noticed that there were extra officials as the day wore on. Word about goodies gets around, oh yes.

Finally through, we were allowed to visit any part of the island group as needed. So we went over to the mooring field and called the Aquarium Cafe to arrange for a mooring. We were assigned a nice one near the dinghy dock and we proceeded to get ourselves ready for some shore liberty. Read: Beer drinking!

We spotted the sailboat, Aliisa and I looked forward to meeting up with Laurie and Annina, nice people I had read about in their sailing blog. How cool is it to meet friends like that? Read their blog and check out what a real sailing couple is like.

So, we headed out to find some repairs for some zippers and in search of refrigerant for the fridge.

And beer.

After a few days of hunting and gathering, we left the mooring for Barnacle Beach, where we had signed up for a Tongan Feast.

It was a brief trip of about an hour and a half, we had a bit of difficulty setting the CQR anchor so we gave up and used the danforth. This and about a hundred meters of chain set in thirty meters of depth. We would suffer when the time to depart would come but we were definitely moored.

We went ashore for the feast which was held in a long house on the sand. Kava was offered to all but I declined; It looks and smells like dirty dish water, Roger says that is how it tastes, too.

There was a great table set and the food was pretty fair. After we dined the Feast Hosts had their 14 year old daughters come out in cultural garb and had them dance for us. AS the girls danced, Grandpa was passing a basket around for "Tips" for their education. Now, we paid $46.00 Tongan for the feast, I have no problem with tipping 18 year old pole dancers but this was not nice. The girls looked like they were unhappy and uncomfortable with dancing for us and I felt the same. I do not approve of exploitation of teenagers, so I took no further interest in watching these charades and also took no photos.

The party was over at 2200, so we piled in the dinghy and went back to Beaujolais where we got rid of a bottle of rum mixed with homemade cola.

Sunday was a wreck as I was completely hung over. We dinghied over to the Swallows Cave and got some great afternoon photos.

When we left a few days later, back to Vava'u, we needed to refuel and check out. The officials were much nicer and they let us go quickly. But fuel was another issue.

The only mobile fuel tanker truck was inoperative. Fortunately, the fuel company sold us two fifty gallon drums of diesel for 300 bucks. So we had to decant the fuel manually without a pump. Not too bad when the boat was at low tide below the dock. As the tide came in, we had a problem siphoning. It took four hours and a huge mess to get the fuel into the tanks and our jerry cans.

If it was easy, everyone would do it, right?

Ok, the rest of Tonga was fun, too. Another great destination for your bucket list!

Swallows Cave is to the right, we will be back to this one.

On the way to Barnacle we had to pass these two islands

View to the West of Barnacle. All uninhabited.

Swallows Cave, again

View to North, Vava'u 

Raining, watching some unfortunates dinghying to Barnacle Beach

High and dry at Barnacle Beach on way to feast

Pretty nice set up for the guests

One of the cruising ladies

Kava ceremony

Guest of Honor, Suckling Pig. By the way, pigs roamed freely on the islands.

This is where they brought out the teenaged girls to do the Cultural Dances. I turned off my camera.

Everyone going back to their boats.

Swallows Cave, the next day

Unfortunately, everyone felt obligated to deface the cave with graffiti. Not me.

This is an entrance to a dry cave within Swallows Cave, where feasts used to be held in the past.

Panoramic view from anchorage. I was barbecuing chicken on grill.

Some of our fellow anchored boats at Barnacle.

Time to go back to Vava'u for fuel and checkout

We use Klim for our coffee and milk needs. Outstanding stuff!

Barnacle Beach in distance.

Tonga is a first rate group of islands. I must return...


Buck said...

We use Klim for our coffee and milk needs. Outstanding stuff!

Aiiieee! I thought (and hoped) I'd NEVER see that evil stuff again. My whole family drank Klim for about six months when my father was transferred to Ankara, before the BX/Commissary was built. That was in the '50s and Turkish milk was not to be trusted, ergo: Klim. Us kids had to drink three glasses of that foul stuff per day -- my parents' rule. I don't think I've EVER hated any foodstuff as much as I hated that.

The Happy Ending was when the commissary opened and the AF began flying real milk in from Germany. I could have kissed the commissary folks.

Great pics, as always. Except for the Klim.

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Hey Buck; Sorry about that memory. We use Klim for coffee, not much milk drinking on Beaujolais, except for perhaps Guinness when available. Klim mixes easily with water and is a nice compact package.

Ken n Cheryl said...

Great pics! Glad to hear you didn't take pictures of those poor little girls.