About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard Bravo, a Kelly Peterson 46 sailboat with homeport in Seattle, Washington. We headed south in 2010, destined for Mexico and beyond. Cheers, Adam and Cindi

"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tonga delivers the goods!

We've been really enjoying our time in the Vava'u group, in the Kingdom of Tonga for the past month.  The last time we were here was 29 years ago, as tourists out to explore the south pacific...by airplane at that time.  What a difference 3 decades has made to the little town of Neiafu.  The main street is paved, and little expat run bars and restaurants cater to the yacht cruiser trade.

But once out of town, the islands are much as they've always been.  Small villages with few modern conveniences are typical, and people live, for the most part, at a subsistence level.  People seem happy, and all we've met have been welcoming, warm, and friendly (Captain Cook called Tonga "the friendly isles" for obvious reasons).

We've been snorkeling and diving up a storm, as the Vava'u group of islands offers terrific coral gardens and caves to explore.   Swallows cave is terrific, as we remember, especially in the afternoon sun....

Cindi having no fun at all!!!

We enjoyed visiting a local Tongan, Matoto, who we befriended when we were last here nearly 30 years ago.  Now an old man, he and his family used to put on feasts at their small island village.  His daughter, now 42, was a dancer at the feasts back then, and she and her dad enjoyed our reunion.

 We also made friends here with David and Hikka on their island of Vaka'eitu.  David's great grandfather lived on the island and received a 150 year lease from the king many years ago.  The island has been deserted for years, and David and his family have recently settled on the island, moving from the Tongan capital of Nukalofa.  Kind of a Swiss Family Robinson goes to the tropics, they warmly welcomed us into their clan.  David, friend John from 'Mystic Moon' and Adam went fishing, and David invited us to the church on Lappe island where he was the guest minister for one Sunday morning, and included a village feast afterward.  

These Tongans definitely know how to feast.  If I were a little pig I'd be afraid, very afraid!!!  Just sayin.....

Thanks, David and Hikka, for sharing your lives with us!

Seattle friends Glen and Carol flew down to join us in this Tongan paradise for a few weeks, and we've been enjoying sharing these Vava'u adventures together.  A terrific place to explore, the islands remind us all of cruising in the San Juan Islands in the Pacific NW.  Small remote islands, an hour or two apart, invite snorkeling, shelling, and general relaxing.  Nice after the multi day passages of much of the rest of this year.

Carol finds the cruising life not TOO tough to adapt....

Although larger than on our past visit, Neiafu is still small, and shopping in the market is always an adventure.  

Here are a few more shots from our travels of the past month around Vava'u.  We'll be moving south from the Vava'u island group to Hapaii in a few days.  Then on to the capital, Nukalofa, where we'll prepare for the 7-8 day passage to New Zealand.

Adam makes friends with Angel, a local piglet.

Ancient low tide rock quarry, with some pieces still unfinished.

Remember the "Intergalactic Bar" scene from Star Wars???  Could have been filmed here at La Paella Restaurant!!!

Traditional boat sailed in from New Zealand, after completing a circumnavigation of the Pacific.

Another Bravo hike.....wouldn't be complete without bushwhacking!!!

Another trip up the mast.....repairs never ending after over 7000 miles of voyaging this year.  The mantra has become:  "JUST GET US TO NEW ZEALAND"!!!  (where we'll be contributing greatly to NZ's GDP)

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