After one hundred days in French Polynesia it was time to get moving. My extended visa allowed us to go back to Bora Bora before we left where we finally got to go out for our wedding dinner. We went the whole hog and had a wonderful meal at the Mai Kai Yacht Club, (most expensive meal I’ve had in my life). Dessert was a wonderful chocolate lava cake-delicious. Thomas had crème brule. We had become quite ill when we were repairing the boat in Raiatea and were still recovering so the dinner date had been put off for a while but it was worth the wait.
We went back around to the eastern side of the island once more where the manta rays swim. We managed to swim with one for about 10 minutes. It was quite deep but she wasn’t disturbed when we swam down close to her. She just swam back and forth through a small passage where there are lots of minuscule jellyfish. She was quite a sight with beautifully unique white markings over her back. Unfortunately we hadn’t taken the camera. This eastern side of the island is just magical with its hotel bungalows over the clear blue water. Our friends Tim and Gaia off Resolute and Jute, Craig and their wolf pack were tucked up inside one of the lagoons behind one of the hotels. The entrance into to the lagoon was too shallow for our draft but we were quite happy to stay on the outside in clearer water. The colours of the water dotted with palm covered isles were just overwhelmingly stunning. The image is forever tattooed on my mind.
We had to wait a few days for the winds to become favourable to head off to Tonga. One boat headed off a week before us and arrived on the same day as us. That demonstrated what a good choice it was to relax and wait although we wanted to get moving. Patience training. There are many little islands scattered in between Bora Bora and Tonga but we chose to make the direct passage which ended up taking us nine days. Some of the islands have complicated rules, entry costs, difficult passes or they take all your produce off you, and we just didn’t want the hassle. We had a comfortable passage with low winds at the beginning and end but good winds in between. Sometimes it was quite smooth so I got busy and got a few jobs done. I sewed a new cushion cover for one of the cushions in the saloon, mended the French flag, did some Spring cleaning, read lots of books and cooked yummy dishes.
We were quite amazed at the different scenery in Tonga in comparison to French Polynesia. Here, the islands are raised from the ocean floor and are mainly limestone. Therefore, we have lots of wonderful caves and unusual reefs to explore. We have just gone through the time consuming checking in procedure and now we are off to organise some important documents for Fiji and Australia, along with some tours. We can then leave the main town and visit some of the outer anchorages. The customs guy pounced on Thomas when he asked what he did for a profession. Thomas’ response of a software programmer made his eyes lit up and he said, “I can use you…”.
Malo aupito – thank you in Kingdom of Tonga