Thursday, October 18, 2012

Matamaka Island

We felt a strong boat vibration early this morning and were wondering if it was an earthquake. We later heard on the VHF Net it was indeed an earthquake tremor measuring 5.5 at 06:23 and was approximately 32 km (20 miles) away from our anchorage. This was the second tremor felt in this area in the last 2 weeks. We were surprised that we could actually feel the tremor in a boat. A sailor reported seeing many fish jumping about 10 to 15 seconds prior to the tremor.

Humidity has been quite high at 73%. I will need to scrub the dodger again with bleach to get rid of the mold that has started to grow again. It's been a long time since it needed to be done.

We pulled anchor from Lape Island (#17) to make the short voyage to nearby Matamaka Island (#15) which was only about 2.6 km (1.6 mi) away (S18°42.635' W174°04.146') where we were escorted by a couple of friendly young girls to their school. School was out but the teacher was still there. She told us that there are 20 pupils who will later attend secondary school at Vava'u Island. Once in secondary school, the students will spend the week at Vava'u Island and come back to Matamaka Island on weekends and holidays.

The school was brightly decorated with learning posters, English library books donated by cruisers for the students (and teacher) to read, and postcards. The students love to receive postcards from all over the world as they examine the globe to see where the postcards came from. If you wish, please send a postcard to the school at the following address:

G.P.S. Matamaka
P.O. Box 138
Neiafu, Vava'u
Kingdom of Tonga

The students are also taught the importance of not littering, especially around the ocean. The teacher showed us a video of coral being planted in the ocean around Matamaka. What a great concept if the planted coral is able to survive. The children are taught the importance of all sea life and coral so therefore never to walk on it or destroy it. She also told us that sea turtles nest on Matamaka beach.

Jordan in doorway of Matamaka School

After our visit, we pulled anchor at 17:30 for an overnighter to the next group of Tongan Islands which is called the Ha'apai Group. SV Buena Vista left at about the same time as we did and we chatted with them on VHF during the passage.

We have been using a new set of digital charts called OpenCPN which are actually New Zealand paper charts that have been digitized. They have been bang-right-on every time so far. So we mapped our track on the chart, weaving through the islands and set out for an overnight voyage.

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