Thursday, 16 August 2012

Preparations for passage to Vanuatu

We arrived back in Neiafu, Vava’u early Wednesday morning. The passage took us only 14 hours. We had 15 knots on the beam the first 8-9 hours, but unfortunately that lovely wind disappeared and we had to motor the rest of the way. The best things on return here were: $3 fish burgers at the market, real NZ ice cream scoops at one particular supermarket and a good undisturbed night’s sleep. That doesn’t actually say that much about Neiafu. 

Back to Ha'apai. We had fun biking around Lifuka and the adjoining island. Our only exercise on the boat is swimming/snorkeling and a bit of walking around on the islands, so it was nice to 'proper' exercise and it was a good way to see several villages and we were rewarded with a lovely beach at the end. It would be great if we had room to store bikes on Sophia, but we don't (too many sails...). To be honest, it's actually very little we could have used bikes here in Tonga. 
We’re now spending the next few days getting ready for the passage to Vanuatu. Our new membrane for the water maker was waiting for us here, so that has to be installed. It’s really easy to get parts sent to Tonga from the US. Both the items we have bought (BBQ mount and this membrane) have arrived in Neiafu 10-12 days after being ordered online with West Marine (using fedex). As the parcels are for a yacht in transit, we haven’t had to pay duties, just some local fees (25 and 42 pa’anga (subtract about 25% to get NZ$)).

Other jobs are: oil filter change, fix a slightly leaking chain plate and tighten a loose stanchion.  Phil is also trying to combine our three auto pilot rams into two hopefully fully functioning one (I reserved the rights a long time ago to say I told you so when they break. I’m pro wind wane, Phil isn’t, I’m sure this won’t be the last time we have problems ). Plus the usual laundry and just general passage prep such as tiding up the boat and making some food and baking beforehand for the first few days at sea.

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