Sunday, 30 November 2014

Minerva Reef - More Photos


On the reef.

Minerva Reef

Johnathan getting ready to hoist the RHIB

Anchored off the windward side of the reef in the lagoon.

Tiger Shark ! (SV Nirvana photo)

Tiger Shark ! (SV Nirvana photo)

Minerva Reef (SV Nirvana photo)

Minerva Reef  Pass(SV Nirvana photo)

Fluenta from SV Nirvana's mast (SV Nirvana photo)


Meanwhile Benjamin finds the children's toys.

On the reef.




Calmest seas we have ever seen on passage - on the way to Minerva from Nuku'alofa.  Johnathan with one of his coconuts.
BBQ'ing on passage for the first time.





Photos - Diving in Minerva

We had some calm weather at Minerva Reef so I had a chance to dive with friends from Nautilus, Nirvana and Breeze.

Pretty good visability which is not surprising as the nearest soil is hundreds of miles away.

Photo from about 130' looking up in the blue hole.


This fish had no fear of us and tried to nibble my fins.  He was almost as big as my dive buddy.



Fishing Photos - Mahi Mahi

The pair of Mahi Mahi we caught on the way to Tonga.


Photos - Passage to Minerva

After the rather sporty close reaching in the 3m seas we had light air on the passage to Minerva. 

Not bad numbers for a loaded up cruiser ...


Another sunset in paradise.

Friday, 28 November 2014

On passage to Opua (Day 6) ... almost there

Hello!

There is no doubt aboard SV Fluenta that we have left the tropics! I woke up this morning to the sounds on deck (right above my head in the aft cabin); of Max cleaning the first of two Albacore tuna (we released a third, as it was smaller, and our freezer is full). These are the tunas of tin-can fame, and they are found in sub-tropical and temperate waters (as determined by Doug & Johnathan's review of our fishing book). Brrr. As if to confirm our arrival in colder climes, the forecast for Opua is a low of 6C overnight. Obviously, this complaining is all a bit tongue in cheek, as we are willingly flying home to winter in 18 days (Victoria has made a cross-off chart, and she keeps us regularly updated. She has had her carry-on packed for about a month).

We motored for much of the day through grey skies and flat seas. It wasn't sunny, but it was dry enough to take the damp out of a bucket of diapers that I washed this morning...

Johnathan, following on his reading of the fishing book with Doug, commented today on the various fish that we have caught in various places .. it was neat to see how he is combining geography, climate, species, etc to make his own conclusions. We have come from mixed fish (Mexico) through Wahoo/Marlin/Dorado (French Poly) to Rainbow Runner (Suwarrow) and (lots of Dorado) Tonga/Minerva. Now we have arrived in Albacore land. Neat.

Victoria has focused a lot of time on this passage making a wardrobe out to painter's tape for one of her tiny dolls. She has made two dresses, a little jacket, and a pair of slippers for "baby Jessica" (who joined our family when I was younger than she is now...). She has even used some cardboard, a wooden stick, and some foil to make a wardrobe with hanging rod and hangers. As ever, proud mama likes to see what she does when she has nothing but time on her hands and materials around her...

I spent a couple of hours during my evening watch (after Victoria went to sleep and before Benjamin woke up) feeling like a bit of a single-handed racer: the wind had come up after being too light to sail for much of the day, the sea was flat, and my task was to keep the boat moving at least as fast as we had been motoring (6.5 kts). It was so fun to sail even faster than the engine had been pushing us. All too soon, the wind backed too far around (from West to South), and instead of being close hauled, on course, and making good time, we were 20+ deg off course and moving too slowly - time to start the engine again.

The reason for this "need for speed" is not just that we are a horse whose stable is almost in sight - there is a front forecast to move through the area tomorrow, and the sooner we arrive at the "Q" (Quarantine) dock, the less we will expose ourselves to its higher winds and seas. We have had a good passage so far, and it would be nice to be tied up snuggly at the dock when the front passes :)

We weren't too sure that we were impressed with catching Albacore, but we tried it for dinner. Fried in oil with soya sauce, chili flakes, sesame oil, and rice vinegar, and accompanied by pasta and the last of our fresh veg (carrots & green peppers), it was quite tasty. We had some set aside to try as sashimi, but everyone was so full by the time they had eaten the hot food that we left it for tomorrow!

Now we are motoring again with the wind (and the swell - it has built a little bit) on the nose, and counting down the miles. We have less than 45 nm until we turn to go into Opua, and we expect to be tied up sometime on Friday afternoon.

Love to you all,
Elizabeth
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At 27/11/2014 5:51 PM UTC SV Fluenta was at 34°44.17'S 174°15.20'E

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Thursday, 27 November 2014

on passage to Whangarei... or actually Opua

Greetings from beneath the most spectacular clear and starry sky you can imagine!

We are motoring (not even motor sailing) through a "ridge of high pressure". What this meant during the day was low clouds with occasional sunny breaks, but we drove out of the clouds around suppertime, and now it means that we are motoring under a perfectly clear sky with almost a flat seastate. The little smile of a moon just went down about 45 min ago, and now it is beautifully dark and starry. Victoria has been keeping me company on watch, so I wasn't lonely and we had some "Mama/Victoria time" which even when we are together 24/7 is often scarce. When I am enjoying her company she is a wise little eleven year old (and when I am not, she is also a wise little eleven year old!)

Max and Doug were busy today re-jigging the diesel-catcher-can that they had put under the injector pump in the engine compartment before we left. The little leak from our injector pump is steady enough that they have gone from the bottom half of a drink can wired under the pump to a taller food can wired into place. We (Max) can use the (hand) fuel pump that Victoria and I bought in Papeete to transfer fuel from the jerry cans to the tanks to transfer the fuel from the can to the waste fuel jug. This will get us to Opua, and hopefully to Whangarei, where we will get the leak repaired.

We have decided to head directly for Opua rather than holding out for Whangarei. Opua is closer, and it looks like there will be some strong winds before we would arrive in Whangarei. We will do that 60-mile trip at our earliest opportunity after we clear in, possibly as a two-day "enjoy the scenery" trip. Most of our friends have gone directly to Opua anyway, so we will be in good company :) (In fact, several of them arrived today/tonight, so we are looking forward to seeing them in a couple of days).

Today and tomorrow were "chores days" in preparation for the bouncier leg of the trip at the finish - yogurt on the counter today and hopefully a bit of laundry tomorrow, to take advantage of the hot water we get from our engine (our tap water at the kitchen sink, which comes through the engine compartment is hot enough to make hot chocolate, and too hot to make yogurt!) We have a bit of stowing to do to get ready for the wind to pick up again, but otherwise, we are in good shape.

After our yellow fin on day 1 and our two dorado the following day, we put out our fishing lines again today, but the day came and went with no fish. Unfortunately I threw overboard the flying fish that had landed on the deck (which had been earmarked to use as bait... who knew?) . Perhaps the bait would have improved our chances ... I am not sure that I have been forgiven by Johnathan, but tomorrow is another day.

We are all looking forward to our trip home - Victoria has made a chart and has begun to cross off the days ... I believe we are at 19 and counting. It is surreal that we have spent days with nothing to see but the ever-changing Pacific Ocean, and soon we will be back in civilization. We saw our first boat since we left Minerva this afternoon (a Swedish boat that is coming from Northern Tonga; we haven't met them yet), and we have had a couple of contacts on the AIS. I guess we are not alone in the ocean after all!

I hope this little note finds you well. Love to all,
Elizabeth
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At 26/11/2014 12:38 PM UTC SV Fluenta was at 31°44.23'S 174°29.18'E

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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

On passage

Hello!

Today was a lovely day on passage - winds (after a squally night during Max's watch) were cooperative - and the sea state has come down significantly, so that even though we were close reaching all day, and the boat was heeled, the motion was much more steady and comfortable. We are getting into our groove.

The kids and I had the morning watch, and we passed the time singing :) After reading lots of stories about people making music in their cockpit, it was so nice to be doing it ourselves. I have a couple of song books that have lots of old camp songs, spirituals, and folk songs in them, and the kids flipped through picking songs they knew as they went. Once we got to the end of the book, we went back to the beginning again. The last time I "sang through" one of the books was with Allison in Mexico. So many good memories can be caught up in one song ...

With three adults (and a working autopilot) we are all getting enough rest, and the nights are reasonably easy. We stand 4ish hour watches, and everyone gets eight hours of sleep. During the day, we take naps as the opportunity arises. Max has been kind enough to take the "squally watch" from about midnight to 4am each night, which both Doug and I appreciate...

Did I mention that the sea state has come down?? It is soooo much more enjoyable sailing when the motion is comfortable and the boat is not pitching and rolling. I keep thinking, "so *this* is why people go sailing for fun"! What a difference from some of our other passages.

I read a memoir this week of the man who started the Grameen Bank (Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus - he started the micro credit movement). This is not the surprising part. The surprising part is that because I had been raving about the man and his ability to see a need and take action to meet it, Victoria picked up the book and she is now about 100 pages into it. This has led to lots of conversations about how people are treated around the world, the roles of men and women, poverty and how we can help, etc. I am wondering what other non-fiction books might catch her eye...

Dinner tonight was canned pork that Nancy and I prepared before we left Mexico. We have saved our canned meat "for a rainy day" and now we have to eat it before we arrive in NZ, rain or no rain! We had "Grampy beef" last night, and we will have it twice more before we arrive. Part of me actually hopes for an extra day on passage because it will give us more time to eat the food that we have left (although that is a very small part, and really, I just want to get to our destination regardless of what is still in the cupboards)! That being said, since I gave two grocery bags of dried food (beans, etc) to Lil Explorers, who are staying in Tonga for the off-season, we don't have much "contraband" left aboard. We have one jar of La Cruz honey to finish, but that is not exactly a hardship! Thankfully lentils and white flour are both OK, because I still have several kilos of each. I am not sure I will ever enjoy provisioning for six months at a time, but we have actually done pretty well, with minimal spoilage, and not too much extra.

The wind is supposed to drop off tonight before filling in from the west for the end of our trip. We'll be motoring tomorrow, which means hot water for showers, dishes, laundry, etc. We are caught up on chores, but hot water makes such a difference!

That's about all the news for tonight.
Love to all,
Elizabeth
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At 25/11/2014 11:13 AM (utc) SV Fluenta was 29°30.00'S 174°48.00'E
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At 25/11/2014 1:10 PM (utc) SV Fluenta was 29°38.45'S 174°46.68'E

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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

"Charter Holiday" at North Minerva Reef and Passage to NZ

Hello!

I have a few moments tonight that I took for granted earlier in the season, but have been rare in recent memory: it is quiet aboard, the boat is happily sailing itself, and I am feeling well enough on passage to sit at the nav table and send a little update!

We have a lot of catching up to do! It felt like we had a "charter boat" holiday in North Minerva reef, and now we are into our third night of our passage to NZ.

We left Tongatapu (Tonga - Big Mama's Yacht Club) with a convoy of kid boats, and we all converged near the pass at Minerva Reef within about an hour of each other. After our friend the Tiger Shark broke the ice, we spent the next few days as a group of family boats, enjoying clear calm water, snorkelling, lobster picking (ie walking along the reef in the dark using a bright flashlight to find lobsters, then popping them into a bag; we did our bit for the health of the lobster population by putting back the ones with eggs). One of the ladies was celebrating a birthday, so that offered a chance for us all to socialize on one of the boats while the kids played together.

These first few days at Minerva were incredibly calm and warm. Max was able to go diving on the reef with our friend Hans (SV Nautilus), and the rest of us snorkelled. There was no wind to speak of, which meant that the water was was smooth and clear; it was amazing to think that we were snorkelling on a beautiful reef that can only be visited by sailboat. Our friends on SV Nirvana took some lovely pictures of Fluenta and the rest of the fleet from the top of their mast - watch for these when we have internet again :) Once again we were anchored in a postcard.

Most of the kid boats left on 20 Nov; we elected to wait for a different weather window and left on 22 Nov. As the fleet left, the weather changed and the wind came up - the lull in the trade winds was over! We stayed one more day in the anchorage by the pass in anticipation of a last snorkelling trip, but it was too bouncy & cold for anyone to want to venture out in the dinghy, so we moved upwind to the other side of the lagoon so it would be less bouncy. The move proved fortuitous because it gave us the chance to explore that reef on foot during the low tide; it was like a moonscape surrounded by turquoise water. The surface was the colour of light brown sand (from a distance it looked like a beach) but up close, it was rough & bumpy, and a good place to wear sturdy shoes! It was unlike any other place we have been, and it was well worth the visit.

One of Benjamin's favourite games is putting one thing inside another. Usually this is reasonably harmless (eg clothes pins inside an old spice bottle), but this week he found that he could fit a fork inside the scupper outlet in the cockpit. Thankfully the forks are magnetic, but just reaching the magnet down the opening wasn't enough to dislodge the fork. It took a magnet on a string in one hand, a long piece of seizing wire in the other, and a flashlight in the teeth to coax the fork back to the surface. In the same vein, we have taped up the finger-latch openings on the doors to the engine compartment after finding a toothbrush (his) and a comb (Victoria's) just inside the door!

With our fridge stocked with rice, soup, cooked chicken & turkey, mac & cheese and pancakes, we weighed anchor just before noon on Saturday. Max had suggested a noon departure the previous evening, and I had said that we should aim for mid-morning. Turns out that we were both right ... I aimed for mid-morning, which meant that we left just before noon :)

Saturday was sunny, fast and bouncy (our average speed was 6.7 kts). Max has been wishing for another yellow fin tuna all season, we were hardly through the pass when "Fish on!" meant a yellow fin on the deck! Big grins all around, because fresh tuna means sashimi :)

Max, Doug, and I each took a 4-hr watch over night, and we seemed to be getting quickly into our groove when (in between catching two mahi mahi), our autopilot started giving us an error message on Sunday. We are used to it overheating and giving us a particular message, but it turned out that this time it was a different problem, and the usual solution of cycling it on and off and giving it a few minutes to cool down didn't work. Soon the contents of the aft lazarette were all on display on our bunk, and Max was troubleshooting the drive mechanism itself. It turned out that the hydraulic fluid was all black and nasty, so we decided to hand steer overnight and change out the drive while underway today. So much for 4-hr watches and lots of sleep! We took 2-hr shifts (which is still lovely - 2 hrs on and 4 hrs off), and Max changed the drive this afternoon. We are back on 4-hr watches :) I have to tell you that the aft lazarette is an awkward place to get into at the best of times, and it is much worse while the boat is moving. Once inside the lazarette, the autopilot driver is off to the left, with four bolts (complete with backing plates under the floor) holding it in place. I was surprised when Max wanted to keep our old driver after we replaced it in Mexico, but I was glad that he did, and doubly glad that he was able to do the troubleshooting and repair while we were underway.

I must tell you that it is getting cold! We are all wearing full sets of foulies (not just because of the cold, but also because of the rogue waves that have a nasty habit of dousing all and sundry in the cockpit) and I am wearing two layers of fleece (and Benjamin, my little heater). We are not in the tropics anymore! We are also not in the Western Hemisphere anymore, either - we passed the 180th meridian just around midnight on Saturday, so the lines of longitude are decreasing now. We didn't wake everyone up to celebrate, the way we did when we crossed the equator, but we had a bag of chips to celebrate on Sunday (I provisioned generously for a bag / week earlier in the season, but now we have pretty much enough for a bag / day, so we are having fun making up excuses to celebrate :)

Anyway, we are well and happy (and grateful for Doug to be with us - I kept imagining how the hand steering and autopilot replacement would have gone with only the two of us aboard ... and it wasn't pretty) and making our way to NZ. We have been making good speed, despite a pesky current which has been +/- 1 kt against us for much of the passage. It looks like we have another day of good sailing, then we will motor through a light patch before sailing (we hope) into Whangarei.

Love to all,

Elizabeth
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At 24/11/2014 12:34 PM (utc) SV Fluenta was 27°51.41'S 176°10.10'E

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Friday, 21 November 2014

Gulf Harbour "Yachts in Transit" and Passage Preps

Blog update to follow but just to let know folks that we have been updating the Gulf Harbour "Yachts in Transit" website. Hopefully it works.

At Minerva Reef with a few remaining boats. Preparing to depart bound for Whangarei, NZ tomorrow (Sat NZ time). Hull cleaning time with the kids looking out for the local tiger shark. New (new to us anyway but a lot newer than our 32 year old Frankenstein spinnaker) spinnaker bought off another cruiser yesterday installed into a sock but looks like we will not get to try our new toy as forecast is 850nm to windward next week. Beer can diesel drip collection system installed for our leaky injector pump.

Max

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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Tonga to Minerva Reef (and a special friend to greet us)

Greetings!

After two nights and three days, we have arrived at Minerva Reef. Our passage provided a little bit of everything from bouncy two-reefs-in-the-main close reaching on Saturday to glassy-ocean motoring today.

All of our friends left Tonga within a couple of hours of each other on Saturday morning, and we had several within VHF range for the entire passage. After months of feeling like we were the only boat on the ocean while offshore, it was kind of surreal to look out on the horizon and see sails or lights. Deanne (SV Exodus) was kind enough to organize an afternoon HF radio net, but we actually checked in via VHF because we were all so close!

As with the last couple of passages, I was seasick for much of this trip, so Doug and Max took the lion's share of watches and food preparation. The kids seem to like it when Max cooks ... he always finds something yummy in the cupboard [nutrition however takes a hit when I cook ... I figure they will not get scurvy over a few days.]!

Although our freezer is pretty full of fish already, we couldn't resist putting our lines out once we started hearing the fishing reports from our friends, and sure enough, a nice-sized mahi mahi was kind enough to take our lure. (I think one of the other boats must have caught its mate, because it seemed that we were sailing down "dorado alley": this is what everyone was catching!) Fish caught on passage is OK to take into NZ, so we don't mind if we have lots when we arrive :)

Even though it was bouncy, and hard on the people aboard, the winds the first day were great for Fluenta - we averaged 6.7 kts. The winds tapered on day 2 so that we were squeezing every last ounce of drive out of the boat. During the afternoon radio net, the others reported a mix of motoring and sailing. We sailed until about 11pm, then as the winds dropped further and backed to the point that we weren't even pointing at our destination (ie negative "VMC" Velocity Made on Course) we started our engine. Ever the optimist, I hoped that we would motor for a while, and then (despite a forecast to the contrary) the winds would fill in and we would sail the rest of the way. Instead, when I came up to the cockpit mid morning, the seas were as glassy as I have ever seen them, and the wind was hovering between 2-3 kts. Along with five other boats, we motored into the anchorage just after 4pm.

We had hardly set our anchor and started the post-passage chores (lines coiled, tethers & harnesses stowed, dinghy & outboard launched, cabin tidied) when there was great excitement on the aft deck - a huge tiger shark had just swum by Fluenta. We have seen lots of sharks over the last few months, but we have seen nothing like this. It was easily twice as big as any shark we have seen before. We watched him for a few minutes as he circled our boat just below the surface of the (incredibly clear) water, then went on with our chores. A short while later, we heard similar shouts from a neighbouring boat - they had spotted him. Before long, three boat families (ourselves included) had converged on SV Nirvana to watch the shark (and film him on GoPro cameras, of course!). His tail fin was taller than the dinghies we were arriving in, and he seemed to have a penchant for bumping into them. It would seem that this shark knows a dinghy when he sees one! The cries of excitement from the children reminded me of the soundtrack of an amusement park - constant shrieks of excitement. The kids did laps of the upper deck as the shark did laps under water. Nirvana had just caught a big grouper, and as it was filleted and the carcass thrown overboard, the shark came in for the feast. We figured that he was at least as long as our dinghies, which put him at around 11 feet. He was a heavy, menacing creature, and no one was in a rush to go snorkelling anytime soon! He actually bumped our dinghy as Doug and Johnathan were bringing it around from one side of Nirvana to the other, and it seemed like he was following Nautilus's dingy as Hans went over to pick up Katrien and bring her back to Nirvana. A visit from a shark is definitely a quick way to get to know your neighbours! {Aside - I just read an email from our friends from Niue who passed through Minerva a week or so ago - they were feeding a "3-4m shark" from their stern - it seems like this shark makes friends with all the yachties!}

Dinner tonight (and lunch as well) was bbq'd mahi mahi with pasta and veggies (it is so nice to have fresh veg after so many weeks without them!). Lunch was a first for us - it was so calm that Max bbq'd the fish while we were under way. We will be here in Minerva for a few days, and then as the weather shapes up for our passage, we will head out to Whangarei, NZ.

Love to all,
Elizabeth
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At 2014/11/17 5:40 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 23°37.73'S 178°55.73'W
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At 2014/11/17 5:40 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 23°37.73'S 178°55.73'W

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Saturday, 15 November 2014

Tongatapu, Tonga

Greetings friends & family,

Our time in Tonga has flown by, and we are hours away from weighing anchor to leave for New Zealand via Minerva Reef. There are a couple of dozen boats here at Tongatapu (Pangiamotu - Big Mama's Yacht Club) and I think that most are heading out within the next 48 hours. It seems that we have the weather window we have all been waiting for.

I had hoped to take the time to "bring you with us" during our stay in Tonga; I had wanted to describe in detail each feast, each day of the sail repair, each trip "to town". Alas, this short note will need to suffice. Each day was filled from morning to evening. I assume you have already seen Max's photos of the sail repair that we completed; this took six full days, and it felt a bit like I was right back to working full time in terms of staying on top of daily chores... then I needed the rest of the time here to catch up again! Suffice to say that we supported Big Mama's kitchen while the repair was ongoing. Doug & Benjamin became fast friends, as they hung out together while Victoria and I sewed for the first three days, then Doug took his own turn at sewing later in the week. We couldn't have done such a solid repair so quickly without the advice from our friends on SV Totem, or the tools from our friends on SV Exodus. The support of the cruising community has once again been humbling, and we look forward to opportunities to "pay it forward"...

Our stay at anchor offered many chances to socialize with friends old and new. We enjoyed several potlucks and traditional Tongan feasts. We were even invited to help cook on Wednesday evening - everyone took some food ashore, and we cooked it collaboratively into traditional Tongan foods. My favourite was the "raw fish" - as with Mexican ceviche and French Polynesian "poisson cru", three kinds of fish (tuna, parrot fish, and snapper) were marinated in lemon juice, then combined with tomatoes, chives, cucumbers, and coconut milk. So good!

There were about a half-dozen kid boats in the anchorage, so the kids have had great fun playing with their friends from earlier in the season (and we finally met up with Exodus - yeah!) I hardly had to hold Benjamin, because each time I showed up ashore, one of the girls would come and ask if they could take him ... he would be returned to me, grubby but happy, upwards of an hour later.

We had a few chances to go "to town" (just over a mile away by either dinghy or small "ferry" - we often chose the ferry, as it was the drier of the two!). Checking into Tonga was a bit of an adventure, as we had to spend four hours tied up to a concrete dock, but checking out was easier because we just had to go to the offices in person. Doug, Benjamin, Victoria and I combined checking out with shopping for a few provisions and visiting the local farmers'/artisans' market (can you ever own too many black pearl trinkets??)

We (I) are ready-but-nervous for the upcoming passage. Everything looks good for nice (but potentially light-air on day 3) sail to Minerva reef, where we (and quite a number of our friends) will spend a few days, and then it also looks like it is shaping up for a good run to NZ. We (Max) have been checking systems, cleaning prop & bottom, inspecting the rig, and stowing like mad to be ready for this next leg of our journey. Our current intention is to leave in the morning to ensure the most daylight on the day we arrive (likely two nights and three days).

Love to you all,
Elizabeth
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At 10/30/2014 5:30 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 21°07.70'S 175°09.63'W
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At 10/30/2014 5:30 AM (utc) Fluenta's position was 21°07.70'S 175°09.63'W

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Friday, 14 November 2014

Tonga in Photos

A collection of photos from our short time in Tonga.  Most of the photos were taken by Doug who is crewing with us for the Tonga to New Zealand leg.
Big Mama Yacht Club (Doug Munn Photo)

The view towards Fluenta (Doug Munn photo)

Big Mama's Yacht Club (Doug Munn Photo)

Most importantly, we finally caught up with SV Exodus so the kids could play together. Halloween costumes. (SV Exodus Photo)
Most importantly, we finally caught up with SV Exodus so the kids could play together.

Benjamin helping with the stowing.

Artist at Work: Victoria sketching the boats in the anchorage now that the wind finally stopped.

Doug teaching the kids to use the bosun's whistle while Johnathan raises the Tongan courtesy flag he made with Nancy from SV Gitane when we were still in Mexico.

As part of the passage preparations - checking out the storm staysail and trysail

Doug trimming the trysail in 2 kts of wind.

Victoria's sketch of SV Sequoia


There was lots of wind ... the kite surfers take advantage of it.

Big Mama teaches Tongan (Doug photo)





Snorkelling off the wreck (Doug Munn Photo)
Snorkelling off the wreck (Doug Munn Photo)

Snorkelling off the wreck (Doug Munn Photo)


Dancing at the Earl's birthday party (Doug Munn Photo)

Another sunset in paradise (Doug Munn photo)

Coconut Milk being prepared for the feast (Doug Munn Photo)

Big Mama chopping tuna for the "raw fish" dinner. (Doug Munn photo)

Big Mama teaching Tongan cooking (Doug Munn photo)

Parrot Fish for the raw fish dinner (Doug Munn Photo)

When the wind shifted some of the boats were a bit close (we think the little boat could be a tender for Koa, the 50' catamaran) (Doug Munn Photo)

Fluenta at anchor (Doug Munn photo)

Benjamin playing the banjo and tambourine (Doug Munn photo)

Taking the ferry to town to do the provisioning (Doug Munn photo)

This little piggie went to ... dinner ... (Doug Munn photo)

And, another sunset in paradise (Doug Munn photo)

Piggy for Dinner (Doug Munn photo)

Departure Pig Roast (Doug Munn Photo)

Doug, Benjamin and Bessie.