Yesterday Morning we awoke to the sight and smell of TongaTapo island, the first land we had seen since our last sighting of mainland New Zealand 7 days earlier. Left on the middle of a Saturday and arrived exactly 7days later in the middle of the next. No land nor other boats or ships to be seen for the entire passage.The weather was as expected when we left, windy with a very lumpy sea. Each day the sea became calmer and the winds eased. I felt the effects of sea sickness for the first 4 days at sea and although I never lost my breakfast over the rail I didn’t really feel fully right at any stage of the crossing. The highlight of the crossing was catching the 2 foot long MahiMahi, or as some call it Dorado, a delicious pelagic deep sea fish, Sashimi style raw Ceviche for lunch and yummy fresh fish steaks for dinner, I hope to catch many more in the coming months, so yummy. The vibrant stars and countless shooting stars kept me entertained on the night watches, it must be said the days were quite monotonous, watching the distance to destination creeping lower and lower was as much fun as watching the proverbial paint dry. I spent an hour on Friday scouring the sky, searching for the jet liner which in 3 hours carried my 4 girls the same distance it had taken us 6 days in our floating caravan. Monotony aside, SV Tangaroa performed spectacularly, slipping through the water at an average of 6 1/2 nm/h hitting top speeds of 9 1/2nm/h. Even when the wind failed to blow the engine purred into action at every request and running at one stage for a solid 24hrs through an oily flat sea, everything worked as expected and nothing broke through the whole passage. Piloting Tangaroa through the outlying reefs and in to Queen Salote wharf was an interesting experience, weaving in and out and around what may appear as deep water all around, the only indication of reefs is the odd breaking wave and the much brighter and lighter blue water revealing the shallow water to port and starboard. A font of happy emotion bubbled up when upon the final motor into wharf, amongst the palm trees and old colourful wooden fishing boats I spied on the far side 3 small waving blond shapes beside a taller curly blonde shape welcoming us in to Tonga.
Lying now at anchor in front of ‘Big Mamas’, a sand floored, thatch roofed bar and restaurant, just off the coconut palm encrusted postcardesque island of Pangaimotu. Used the ships machete to carve open my first freshly picked coconut, of course 3 needed to be opened to satisfy the crew. Many more shall be opened in the coming months I expect, so my not yet perfect technique is likely to become far slicker.