We left the town for some of the out-anchorages in the Vavua Group. They are all close so it is a good chance to charge up the batteries, so no sailing really. We stayed the first Night in Mala, Two nights in Port Maurelle, and then two nights in Vaka’eitu, then back to Port Maurelle and finally back to the town Niefu.

Port Maurelle was by far the best of the anchorages, but it had a habit of stealing anchors. The second night we were there a charter cat came in and anchored right on top of me. I asked them to move but they said not to worry as they piled “heaps” of chain out, by heaps he meant about 3 meters, not enough. I would have moved but they were over top of my anchor. I was pretty annoyed but I threw out a stern hook so we wouldn’t swing in to them. We were going to have a bonfire on the beach, so I had Zach crank up his angriest death metal on the stereo and we left. The BBQ was nice and Slick was safe for the night. In the morning I wanted to leave but couldn’t since the charter cat couldn’t figure out how to get there anchor up. They apparently broke their windlass and had to have the mechanics come from town, great. Many hours later the wind changed direction for a bit, taking them off my anchor so we tried to leave in a hurry, but no, the stern hook I put out was hung up in coral, in 56 feet of water. We free dove to get it and came very close, but after both Jesse and I got nose bleeds, we decided to have Brian go down with scuba. What we didn’t know was that Jesse inadvertently freed it when he kicked the chain on his last assent. What a challenge. So we pulled up and left.

The first night in Vaka’eitu was a painful one, I think we drug anchor a bit and it was sleepless for me. The protection there was not good and the holding poor. But the second night I changed things up a bit by adding the heavy secondary chain onto the primary chain and now anchoring in deeper water is not so much an issue. It is just really hard to pull up though with the still broken windlass. There was also supposed to be a feast on shore, which was why we were there, but when we went to make reservations, it turns out it is only every other Saturday. Ugh, Tonga sucks.

Otherwise it was uneventful, except for the caves. We swam in Swallow’s Cave and Mariner’s Cave. We left our boats in Port Maurelle and took Baten Anna with all of us and 4 would go into a cave while 4 waited behind on the boat. The first cave, Swallow’s, was awesome, you swam in and there were all of these fish that lit up as the sun shined in, it was a true continuum of fish, it was really amazing and you can see them in the pictures. I also have some video but I need to edit it before I post it. The cave was big enough and there was some parts that were dry so you could walk a ways back into it. Mariner’s Cave was also interesting but not as impressive. You had to actually swim under water a ways to enter this one and there was not hole inside for air to escape. We were there in the afternoon so the sun shine came in the underwater entrance, making everything glow an electric blue. The other interesting thing was that when a wave would hit, the water would press the air in the cave past saturation and your ears would pop and suddenly it would be foggy for a second.

The town got pretty old too, as it was small and not much of a selection of activities. We met some nice people though, both cruisers and locals, and even some backpackers. Probably the highlight of the town visit though was the regular Wednesday night show. Before I tell about it, I have to explain: In many cultures if there is no daughter born, then the youngest son becomes a “daughter” and learns all the feminine traditions as well as takes on a female role in the family. So they learn all the crafts as well as do all the housework. They name translated in Tongan is literally “house help”. So, this can obviously lead to some sexual confusion when they get older. Since many of the house help never shed there feminine nature, they become transexuals, which is openly accepted however there are occasions of abuse. So, the show was a tranny-show to raise awareness of these folks. In the States, this might seem to be some sort of perversion, but here it is very normal, so normal that the entire town comes to the show as any other cultural event. I, unfortunately, forgot my camera, but it was a good time and in good fun. There were a few people there though that were a little too in to it.

We leave tomorrow and it will be nice to move on, I originally wanted to sit in Tonga for awhile and rest and repair the boat, but it doesn’t seem that I have been able to accomplish that, so hopefully in Fiji. I know it must sound spoiled to complain about Tonga since most people would love to be here on a sailboat, but this was the first place where it didn’t have something new to offer over anywhere else. The weather forecast looks like it could give us a fast ride, as long as the ocean doesn’t blow up too much.