Monday, September 19, 2011

From the Captain...

Currently sitting in Tonga, it's Sunday (see dateline) and the world is shut down.  I spent a couple of hours snorkeling this morning and then I needed a nap.  Try a couple of hours.  The coral here is quite amazing really.  Some of it looks like dense seaweed or masses of fine branches of wood underwater - except that it's rigid.  In between the little sticks of coral little fishes swim.  Then there are bigger stag horn formations with the branches ranging from thumb to fore arm thickness, well spread out like eerie trees - you can see where the artist from Eureka got the inspiration for the "Artifact" - like that.  Then there are the small little blistering white formations the size and shape of ice crystal Christmas tree ornaments - some with purple and orange highlights.  The most impressive are the "Toadstools" that I described before - I found one that is all of 3m across in a twisted disk - huge - and another that looks like one of those multilevel plate things they have at banquets for small sweets and canapes etc.

The fish are neat.  Herds of them - not cohesive like schools.  There are schools of little guys.  Then some buried deep in the coral.  I found one little "Nemo" - a clown fish - but then I looked harder to see the anemone he was in.  There are some weird shaped fish, the odd sea snake and starfish including the destructive "Crown of thorns".  Colors everywhere.  The visibility here is not nearly as nice as at Nuie, and the water is cooler.  I wish I'd spent more time in the water there.  I'm wearing my shorty wetsuit, with weight here - I can stay in the water longer.

Went to a "Tonga Feast" last night in the hope of a cultural hit.  Bit of a bust but it was a nice supper that I didn't cook, with some fresh vegetables, pork etc.  Really a social night with the yachties - the locals were few and far between, certainly overwhelmed by the yachties.  It was a fund raiser to replace their pier. Not much else, the yachtie community is taking me in, which is nice but I miss you guys and I'm looking forward to getting home for some time and perhaps some skiing though I'm woefully out of shape - not really much endurance type exercise on the boat.

On the positive side I don't have to haul as much dead weight around so I stand a chance of surviving a day or two on the slopes.  We'll see.  Still plotting what the options are for the next moves and further along.  Immediately, the toss up is whether to head south down the Tonga chain and launch to NZ from Tonga, or sail west to Fiji, and leave from there.  Either way, the final passage is about 10 or 11 days but getting to Fiji needs 4 to 6 days passage with some things along the way to bump into - not well or uncharted apparently.  Working south is short day sails.  Once at the south end, I'd have to sail west before heading south to NZ because the wind patterns change.  It's a coin toss.

That's it.  Take care and enjoy the fishing etc.

Love Dad
-----
At 18/09/2011 3:41 AM (utc) our position was 18°42.95'S 174°05.13'W