Nov. 23 – still in Nuku’alofa

We were hoping to be here just a couple days, but the weather system is very unsettled and our weather advisor is warning not to leave until maybe early next week.  Here’s a cryptic version of our time here:

11-14 – no rain, check in, long walk back from town, met taxi John, exhausted, slept a lot

11-15 – wind 15-18, sprinkles, Jim changed oil in generator & engine, changed water filters, I’m sick

11-16 – heavy rain all day, stayed on boat, read, watched movies, Jim fixed o-ring in head, checked batteries

11-17 – indecisive when to leave, talked with other cruises about weather, blue sky, rain off/on, wind 11-17,  got wifi

11-18 – overcast no rain, no wifi

11-19 – overcast, no wifi, stayed on the boat

11-20 – overcast and blustry/windy, went to church

11-21 – check out, motorsail to Pangaimoto, autopilot problems

11-22 – mostly sunny, wind 16-24, Jim did boat chores, I cooked all morning

11-23 – sunny with grey clouds, lunch at Big Mama’s, walked the island

11-24 – left at 8am, into ocean at 1pm, chart display not working, 8pm generator stopped, winds 18-20, good beam sailing 7s & 8s, cold at night

What follows is a little more detail only for hardcore blog readers.

While Faua Harbor is old and smelly, it does have it’s charm.  Taxis drive by looking for cruisers and that’s how we met John.  He adopted us and showed up each day to honk and see if we needed him.  He’s expensive but will drive all over helping us look for something.  Jim is using this down time to make repairs.  You know the saying, “sailing is boat repairs in exotic places”–and we seem plagued with them.  Now the fridge is acting up AGAIN, making it too cold.  The rainy weather gives us plenty of time for  indoor boat chores.  It’s not just us, breakdowns are a constant issue with cruisers because when something is around salt water for any period of time it will corrode and the mist in the air gets in everywhere.  We keep all electronics in plastic boxes or waterproof bags.  If I leave a cracker out for more than a few minutes it will uncrisp.  The boat has turned damp and clamy from all the wet weather.

People here are friendly, always wanting to know where we’re from, how long we plan to stay, and what we think of Tonga.  They don’t have a lot of what we call “necessities”.  What they do have is a gentle, relaxed lifestyle revolving around family because they don’t have to deal with all those “necessities”.

We’re sitting on pins and needles with the weather.  It’s all about having enough wind but not too much.  We want to get going to New Zealand, to the land of wifi, good food, and boatyards.  Our socializing with fellow cruisers revolves around the weather, when to leave, and whether or not to stop at Minerva Reef along the way.  We’re all bored and anxious to leave here.

We ran a few errands, mostly hardware store and market in search of garbanzo beans (none).  I was surprised to find cilantro here, which they call coriander.  The lettuce is big and beautiful.  They have an interesting way of displaying their carrots.  I got online here at a nice restaurant in town and it’s not too slow!!!    Well that was a fluke.  Since then no wifi.   I’ve given up trying because it’s too frustrating.

The weather has ranged from blue skies to sprinkles to heavy downpours.  It’s like San Francisco weather which makes me homesick.

We were so glad to motorsail over to Pangaimotu just for a change of scenery.  It’s a tiny island in view of Nuku’alofa with the fairly famous Big Mama’s restaurant and cruiser stop.  By the time we arrived it was nearly empty and I think we signed in as the 121st boat for 2011.  We had lunch and walked the circumference of the island which took about two hours.  Boredom was nipping at our heels.  The last boat sailed off so the next morning we raised our sails and headed out to sea.  We’d been sailing inside Tongan waters for about six weeks and it was time to get our sea legs back.

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