Day 365, Year 1: Tongan Feast
Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Weather: Another Beautiful, Sunny Day
Location: Port of Refuge, Neiafu, Vava’u Group, Tonga

What a busy day. We got up early and our first visitor of the morning was Tom of Quantum Leap. We wanted to tell us that he and Bette Lee had decided to head out to another anchorage today. We had invited Kathleen, crew on Quantum Leap, to go to a Tongan feast with us tonight, so Tom asked if she could spend the night. Of course, we were more than happy to have her. Tom took our garbage for us as were were getting ready to work on our head sail, and about that time, Bob from White Swan and Doug from Windcastle came over to help us work on our head sail problem. Unfortunately, we immediately found another problem-this one with the stay sail. The set screws have been coming loose in the sections of both the furlers and after taking Mark up and down the mast a couple of times, he was able to find the trouble spots and tighten the screws. We were then able to lower the head sail and do the sewing repairs. Bob and Doug had to leave, but after Mark finished the sewing, Kathleen came over and was able to help us put the sail back up after the repairs. Hopefully we will not have any more sail repairs until we reach New Zealand.

Mark, Kathleen, and I went into town before lunch to run a few errands. It was interesting to see that all of the male government workers had shed their black shirts and had white on today. But the females were still mostly in black. The mourning period for the King has officially ended, but other than the white shirts, I could not see any other visual differences.

In the afternoon, we went to a Captain’s Meeting that Doug from Windcastle and Dick from Wind Pony were running. It was great to visit with all of the other cruisers that will be heading to New Zealand, but we didn’t learn any new information. We are still torn as to when we should check out of here, so I’ll just have to keep you posted on our decision.

At 5:30 pm, it was time to get into The Aquarium Internet Café to board one of the taxis that had been arranged to take us out to Ano Beach for a Tongan feast. And what a feast it was. The music was simply a guitar and banjo player, but they were very good. The dancing was done by the young people, most around eleven to fifteen years old. It is so very different here from the Samoas. No one wears long lava lavas or puletasi. The dress is more like the Cook Islands, but the dance is more like that in the Samoas. There is no hip shaking here, and the male dancers do not do the slap dancing we saw in Samoa. Each Polynesian group of islands seems to have a totally different style. After the singing and dancing, it was time to bring on the food. This was done in style. There was more food than I have ever seen and it was beautifully presented and absolutely delicious. We were so glad we went tonight because it gave us a real feel for the traditions observed here.

It was quite a day and it is time to turn in for tonight. Who knows what tomorrow will bring!

By the way, the web site mow has photos of our trip all the way through our visits to American Samoa and Independent Samoa, including Savaii.

061018 Day 365a Tonga, Vava'u–Captain Meeting at the Yacht Club
061018 Day 365b Tonga, Vava'u–Tongan Feast on Ano Island