Day 374, Year 1: Tour of the Island
Date: Friday, October 27, 2006
Weather: Convergence Zone Still Hanging Over Tonga
Location: Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu Group, Tonga

The weather here looked dreary this morning, but as the day progressed we could see the clouds begin to lift and the sun shone through. We headed out at 10 am to go on a tour of the island with Lata. Although he doesn’t have a fancy business card and his van looks a little scruffy, he was the first person to offer us a tour. Yesterday at least three other tour drivers stopped to solicit our business as we walked into town. They all had cards and fancier vans. We were entertained by Joe whose t-shirt reads, “Tonga Joe. Don’t go without Joe.” But in the end we decided to stick with Lata and we are glad that we did. He gave us a wonderful tour of the entire island and was a joy to get to know. Another cruising couple was with us, Henrick and Malla of Scorpio from Finland. They were anchored beside us in Apia, but we had never really met them. Today and we had a great time.

We revisited the Royal Palace and the Royals Tombs in Nuku’alofa and then out to Kolovai to see the flying foxes or fruit bats. This was once a sanctuary, but is no longer. Still the bats hangout in trees here. From there we went to Mapu’a ‘a Vaca Blowholes. The coral formations over which the water flows and blows are really quite incredible.

We continued our drive around the island. There are so many things that we saw that I don’t have the energy to include them all tonight. I hope to be able to give a more detailed report tomorrow.

Update on our auto pilot problem: A complete new auto pilot will be sent from New Zealand tomorrow and should arrive here on Monday. Unfortunately, the replacement motor for the old unit is not available, so we will have to leave here with only the new auto pilot. They swear that a new one has never failed in the first year, so hopefully we can make it for the nine or ten days from here.

We had a wonderful lobster dinner at the Seaview Inn tonight to celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary. Lobster Thermidor and Lobster Provencale were both superb. The past year has been incredible. We have no idea where we will be this time next year year, but we can only hope it is a place as wonderful as Tonga.

061027 Day 374 Tonga, Nuku'alofa–Tour of Tongatapu Island