Tuesday, 3 July 2012

NZ to Tonga passage, day 10 and 11 (arrival)

We’re in Tonga!!! Yipee, it’s fantastic, beautiful, warm, tropical, exotic and amazing. OK, the last two words are only Astrid's, Phil doesn't agree with me on those. As a Dane, a pacific island is just about one the most exotic things I can think of.

We arrived Tuesday 2nd July about 1.30pm, so the passage took us just under  11 days. On our 9th night out, we could see the mountainous island Eua just south-east of Tongatapu (where Nukualoafa, the capital is).  We then sailed up alongside the whole of Tonga on the eastern side and north of Ha’apai group we turned west and then we sailed north directly into the Vava’u group.  We had anticipated we would have to find a quiet anchor that night, but thanks to the lovely 10-15 knots trade wind, it turned out we could make it to Neiafu (the ‘capital’ of Vava’u, where you have to clear customs) early afternoon.

Overall we're very happy with the passage and especially the weather. Sure, it was a bit bummer waiting three weeks in Gisborne, but it meant that we had good weather on passage. Minus the first few days it was a bit on the light side, but rather that than 45 knots on the nose. We had no major breakages, just a few issues. Our oldest spare auto pilot ram finally had it, the whisker pole used as a bow spit for the code zero needs strengthening and our toilet pump is leaking, annoying, but not crucial.

Clearing in was easy, even with four different people having to ‘clear’ us: customs, quarantine, immigration and port control. The only hick up was that we couldn’t find our clearance paper from Gisborne. This would have incurred a big fine, so we got quite nervous while looking everywhere and the Tongans sitting drinking tea in the cockpit. Finally Phil found it behind the drawers where it had fallen down and was hidden! Good lesson to keep good track of your clearance papers!

Neiafu is the Tonga’s sailing mecca, it’s here most cruisers go, plus there’s lots of charter boats. Still, it only takes 10 minutes to walk through the main street in town  and you have seen it all. It’s an extremely sheltered harbour, but quite deep (+25 meters), so like everyone else we have opted to pick up a mooring. Right away we spotted another Christchurch boat, Rapsody with Stephen on board, pretty funny. They helped us drink our celebratory bottle of bubbles.  However, the best thing was the extremely quiet boat at night time and a FULL uninterrupted night’s sleep :-)

For photos of the trip (mostly sun sets and rises!) see our facebook page: NZ to Tonga passage


  1. Glad to hear you made it there safely, it sounds like a little slice of paradise. Thank you for the postcard for the boys, they loved it.

    We tried finding Tonga on the map, and Sky was a bit afraid that you were almost at the end of the world. The globe helped settle that little mystery though...

    Have a blast and stay safe!

    1. Mange tak Sine, godt at hoere postkortet kom frem. Knus A