Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tongatapu Group: Pangaimotu Island

It was difficult for us to leave the beautiful sandy beaches of the Ha'apai Group, especially our last anchorage at Kelefesia Island. But we had about an 8-hour sail ahead of us so we weighed anchor at 06:30, having breakfast on the way.

We were heading to the last group of Tongan islands called the Tongatapu Group where sailors usually sit and wait for a weather window before striking out for New Zealand. This is also one of the main kick-off points for those signed up for the All Points Rally, which we had done earlier. More on that later.

We had a beautiful sail under sunny skies in 12- to 15-knot winds on the beam, the best yet that we can remember! When we arrived at Pangaimotu Island (S21°07.617' W175°09.727') at 16:00, we anchored among 21 other boats and were right next to an old wreck.

Pangaimotu is better known as Big Mama's which is an open air beach bar hanging out over the water. This islet is about 3 miles off the main larger island of Tongatapu. That's where Nuku'alova, the capital, lays with its busy harbour.

Big Mama's Yacht Club

We went ashore to meet Big Mama and get the scoop on checking in; Big Mama's husband Earl told us that we could catch the small ferry boat in the morning to motor over to Nuku'alofa where the officials were. We mingled with some other sailors over beers and signed up for the much anticipated 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Big Mama Yacht Club on the upcoming weekend.

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