Day 358, Year 1: Fangakima Cove on Kapa Island or Anchorage #7
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Weather: Overcast Day
Location: Fangakima Cove, Kapa Island, Vava’u Group, Tonga–Anchorage #7

We did just what we had promised ourselves this morning. We listened to the radio nets, went into town to drop off our garbage with “Pete the Meat” who comes to the dock each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to collect trash, went to the Coconet to upload pictures to the website, bought a few fresh veggies at the market, and then headed back to Windbird ready to take off. Our only problem was that we didn’t know where we were going, so we got out the books and map and made some decisions. Before I go into that, I want to backtrack for just a minute and talk about “Pete the Meat”. He and his wife, Potato, run a little store that specializes in local and New Zealand meat called “Pete the Meat and Potato”. I took a picture of the sign as I think this might be one of the treasures of the South Pacific. Now on with the story of today.

After realizing that we are just not going to be able to visit all forty some anchorages here, we settled on four locations that we would use as our targets. As we were doing this, George and Barbara from Gdansk came over to visit and talk about trip planning from here to New Zealand, and then John and Janice from Splashes came over to make plans for meeting at an anchorage on Friday. George and Barbara have been here much longer than us and they have been amazed at the fact that the local people refer to their villages by the numbering system set-up by the Mooring Chartering company. Because the names are so complicated to pronounce and because there are almost fifty different anchorages in the Vava’u Group, the Moorings decided to use a numbering system. That was a few years ago, and now the locals have adopted that system. When you ask a local where they live, they might respond with “Number 11”. If you ask what island, they can tell you, but basically the simplified numbering system has taken over. Mark and I decided to visit #6, #7, #11, return to Neiafu which is #1, checkout and then go to #39 before leaving for the Ha’apai Group. If I say this same thing without using the numbering system, it goes like this: We will visit Mala off the island of ‘Utungake, then go to Fangakima Cove on Kapa island. From there we will go to an anchorage near Hinakauea, in front of a small island between Pangaimotu and Tapana. You get the idea. It is strange, but much easier to just use the numbering system. Once we made our decision on where we were going, we went next door to Windcastle to let them know. Unfortunately, they will not be joining us in our anchorage hopping. They are going to stay in Neiafu and work on repairing various boat systems that have broken, so we won’t see them until next week when we return to Neiafu.

We left Neiafu and headed for #6, but made a last minute decision to skip it for now and we headed to #7. This is a well protected anchorage near Swallows Cave that we will explore by dinghy tomorrow. There are also two villages that can be visited by following a walking track and the snorkeling is good. It is not as good as #6, but it doesn’t have the two knot current to fight. We hope to still visit Mala Island on our way back to Neiafu next week. We arrived here around 4 pm, but we had a real struggle trying to get anchored. There are three mooring balls here, but all were taken, so we tried to position ourselves between the moored boats. We just kept dragging, no matter what we tried. We know two of the boats here, Blue Marlin and Jade. Finally, Arni from Jade came over in this dinghy and helped us find a spot between coral heads. His approach worked and we were finally tucked in for the night. We will do our exploring tomorrow.

Arni stayed for a while to visit, while his wife Cam and her sister Vivian, and Runae and Idunne from Blue Marlin took the girls from the two boats to shore to visit a village. Cam and Arni have six-year old Nancy and seven-year old Molly. Runae and Idunne have seven-year old twins, Hedda and Marita. They are expecting another boat to arrive tomorrow with two more girls, one three and one seven. This place could get very interesting!

We are expecting some heavy winds in the next day or so and rain is predicted. But hopefully there will be periods when land exploration will still be possible. We do plan to leave here early on Friday morning and go to anchorage #11. This is near Tapana Island where there is a great restaurant run by a Spanish couple. Each night at Le Paella they prepare a paella as the main dish in a four-course meal. John and Janice from Splashes will meet us there for dinner on Friday evening. I can’t wait!

061011 Day 358 Tonga, Vava'u–Pete the Meat and a Beautiful Boat