Day 350, Year 1: Passage to Tonga, Day 3—Sailing Wing and Wing
Date: Monday, October 2, 2006
Weather: Sunny, Rainy, Sunny
Latitude: 17 degrees 18 minutes S
Longitude 173 degrees 32 minutes W
Miles to Go: 87

What a glorious afternoon! We had no rain last night, but we also had no wind so we motored. Then around 8:30 this morning, there was enough wind to sail wing and wing. The wind was from the north and we are headed south, so it was right behind us. Then we sailed into a squall and had torrential rain for a couple of hours. When there is rain, there is sometimes no wind, and that was the case this morning. (Sometimes rain comes in squalls which can have wind gusts of 30 knots or more.) So it was back to motoring. By noon, the rain subsided and the winds switched and are now coming from the west. We have been sailing on a beam reach under cloudy, but sunny skies. The seas are calm and it has been a truly beautiful sailing afternoon. The weather report tells us that we should be in a trough and that it should be raining. Maybe that is still in front of us, but I prefer to think that the low moved on sooner than expected and that the weather is going to be beautiful in Tonga. At our current speed, we will arrive at the entrance to a very long waterway into Neiafu, Vava’u around noon. Neiafu is the town and Vava’u is the island. There are many islands in the Vava’u group of northern Tonga, but we have to go to the main island first to check-in. We have heard some negative things about the officials that come aboard to do the check-in there. Evidently they like to receive gifts. Other people said they simply grab things they want, so I guess I’ll have to put things away before we get into the harbor. We hope the stories are not true as we have not had this situation anywhere else.