Friday, October 26, 2012

Nuku'alofa and potluck

After arriving 2 days ago at the Tongatapu Group of islands (Kingdom of Tonga), we caught the small ferry yesterday to Nuku'alofa at Tongatapu Island, a very short distance from our anchorage at Pangaimotu (aka Big Mama's). On the rare calm days, some sailors just take their dinghy to Nuku'alofa but the wind was picking up so we joined the gang to take the ferry.

Upon arrival, we noticed that the pier was a bit wet and slimy, and just before Jordan and I stepped off the ferry, another sailor had his feet slip out from under him and he landed very hard onto the cement. As he was being tended to, Jordan and I headed to Customs, etc. for our formal check in. We wandered around town, and after completing all our errands, headed back to the ferry dock where all the sailors were to meet for the ride back.

John, the injured sailor, also arrived in time for the ferry from the hospital in a temporary cast. John and his wife had sailed a good sized boat to Tonga and were due to leave on the passage to New Zealand, but now they had a major change of plans. He needed to be flown back to the USA as soon as possible for surgical repairs that would lay him up for months. His wife would now have to do the New Zealand run with crew (when weather permitted) where their boat could be left safely for a few months and she could join John who would then be back in the USA.

Poor John with his leg in a cast

A big front came through today. The raging wind shift delivered pelting rain with a horizontal angle. One boat dragged and in the excitement got a line wrapped in his prop. An anxious call on his radio rounded up a few helping hands in dinghies so no harm was done. We were sure glad that we had arrived at this anchorage a couple days earlier as we watched other sailors arrive from the northern islands dressed in full rain gear and/or foul weather gear.

Big Mama had offered her Yacht Club as a location for a potluck meal and a book exchange. We thought it might be cancelled or no one would attend as boats would need to be watched for fear of dragging. But it finally cleared up around 17:00 so everyone started to head in with their goodies. It turned out to be well attended and a good time was had by all.

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