Day 363, Year 1: Back to Neiafu . . . Again
Date: Monday, October 16, 2006
Weather: Beautiful, Sunny Day—Still Windy
Location: Port of Refuge, Neiafu, Vava’u Group, Tonga
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like I really didn’t have much to say in a nightly log, but that is the case this evening. We reluctantly left the anchorage between Pangaimotu and Tapana Islands and returned to Neiafu to do serious provisioning and fueling for the New Zealand passage. Part of me wishes we had stayed out one more day, but the other part said it was time to get back to where most of the other boats are and start serious networking. Doug on Windcastle and Dick on Wind Pony have set a captain’s meeting for Wednesday afternoon at the Yacht Club to share information-who’s going where and when. Some of us are going south to explore the Ha’apai Group before heading further south. Others are going to Nuku’alofa in the Tongatapu Group. Others are heading straight from here to Minerva Reef. And still others are heading from here straight to New Zealand. We haven’t figured out what group we are in yet, so the next couple of days should help us in the decision-making process.
After returning to Neiafu, we had lunch at the Yacht Club with John and Janice from Splashes. When we got there Steve and Cindy from Oz were there and asked us to join them, so we did. Later, Sylvia and Doug from Windcastle stopped by, so we had a “working” lunch-all talking about our plans. Today was Janice’s birthday in Tonga (tomorrow in the US), so we had a bit of a celebration in her honor. The afternoon slipped away, and by the time Mark and I headed to the internet café, it was almost time for the local shops to close. Sylvia and I got in a little shopping and then it was back to the boats.
We shared dinner preparation with Windcastle and ate aboard their boat tonight so that Mark could work with Doug on understanding how to use Max Sea, a navigation program. Mark has found it very useful for trip planning as well as navigation. Doug had tried to use it but hadn’t gotten to “first base” according to him. After tonight, I think he is ready for a home run.
Tomorrow we get the SailRite sewing machine out and repair the head sail once again. The Sunbrella edging keeps coming unstitched in different places, so we will take it down once more and repair again. We have never repaired the Sunbrella edging of the inner stay sail that was damaged in the very beginning of our voyage, so tomorrow might be the day for that as well.
I’m sure there will be a fair amount of passage planning going on tomorrow as well. The New Zealand passage is a very tricky one and you need to get the weather just right. The problem is that the weather changes every few days and is almost impossible to accurately predict over a ten day period. We’re all studying the patterns, but this year has been one with no patterns, so we expect that to continue until we reach NZ. Drogues, storm sails, and sea anchors are coming out of lockers in anticipation of sailing south of the 30th parallel.