We have been to some gorgeous little islands and enjoyed some beautiful beach walks. Along the way always looking for the perfect shells to add to the collection. Our first little island stop was Kelefesia which had an anchorage for only 5 boats surrounded by reef. But what a place. Crystal clear water in close, with white sand underneath. The island was large/small enough to walk the whole way round. After staying here for two nights we went further North to Nomuka Iki. A bit of navigating getting into here but lovely when you put the anchor down and relax. We were greeted here by two black tip sharks that stayed around for awhile making us apprehensive about swimming. Glen's idea that Sharks are Friends is not always so!! At this island there is a ship wreck that we explored but it has been hollowed out and only the hull is on view now. From Malakite we watched and listened to a local man on the beach heading across the bay to the next village. His dog keep woofing and obviously wanted to go along as well. So he paddled after his owner in the dinghy. He dog paddled past us and we cheered him on but he swam for 1.8 kms to Nomuka, crazy with the black tips down there and it was just getting dark. Hopefully he made it!! The things you see. After leaving here the next day we went to Uonukuhihifo, for those who want to try pronouncing this, OO-oh-NOO-Koo-hee-HEE-foh. This is a large sand bar group of islands. Lots more exploring and the occasional added addition to the shell basket. The next morning Anj went for a paddle board and found a large Painted Cray body. Glen and Karl got the flippers out to find some live crayfish but none to be found in the Reef ?? however on shore Karl found a rock pool with some crays in it. He managed to get 4 which was a nice change to our diet. Thanks Karl. The crays started of as a blue colour but once cooked turned the more traditional bright orange. Yummy crayfish pasta for dinner that night. Thanks Anj. The next day Karl and Anj were leaving us so we went into Pangai which is where the airport is. First we had to do our coastal clearance into the Ha'apai group from Nuku'alofa. We found the customs office reasonably easy and the lady there also helped us obtain a car for getting Karl and Anj to the airport. There are no taxis here so she told us she would organise for her husband to take them but it ended up being her taking them, which was really nice. The airport is 3kms from where we dropped them into Pangai. Tongan people love ice cream, who doesn't right?? We had a Tip Top ice cream cone here and in Nuku'alofa. You can also buy 2 litre tubs that are in freezers alongside your traditional frozen root veges and meat. Since saying goodbye to our guests we have been hanging around a bit due to either big swells or winds and just recently heavy rain ??Not what the brochure promised!!! We have meet some new people, one family living on the Peninsula not far from us. Small world really. Yesterday was Glen's birthday. It was a calm but overcast day so we headed across the bay to a little uninhabited island surrounded by Reef for lunch and a walk around. Then back to our previous anchorage for the night. Heavy rain and wind overnight and still raining now as I write. It feels like that kind of day where a movie and popcorn might be the thing to do. We are all good on board and looking forward to some adventuring before we leave here next Wednesday and head to Vavau.
Life on board Malakite is becoming normal routine after being on board for 6 days. Anj and I arrived last Friday from Auckland to meet the boys who arrived into Nuku'alofa and did all there clearance on Thursday 23rd. Rod left us on Saturday night and Karl and Anj are on board with us until next Tuesday. The weather started off a bit grey and very windy but it is warm. I am writing this at 6.30pm local time and it is still 27.7 deg. We have visited an island called Atata which has a resort on it that we looked around and decided not a good holiday destination, as well as a good walk along a lovely beach. The produce markets are really great in town with everything you need. Every time we bought some items the seller gave us a lettuce for 'free' hence we have lettuce coming out our ears!! Yesterday we found out from a neighbouring boat about a good dentist in town. As Glen had lost a crown on his way up here he took the crown top with him and visited the dentist. Toda y he had the crown attached at a very good price and an invitation to a traditional Tongan feast with the dentist and her Husband, although lovely idea we declined. We have also today done our inter island clearance. This is something required when moving from one island group to another. Trying to find the right people for this is very difficult as there is very little signage on buildings, patience is KEY. So we are leaving Nuku'alofa tomorrow and heading to the Haapai group of islands, which are beautiful. Due to our mainsail having a tear in it we will be motoring or motorsailing with our genoa everywhere until we reach Vavau early July, and hopefully a repair can be done. All good on board
Arrived Tongatapu last night motored up and down outside the Reef until morning, so we could see the Reef as we came in through it. We cleared customs etc and are now at anchor off Pangaimotu island, just over a nm form the main wharf a with a cold beer in our hands.
Making slower progress, we have 73 nm to go to Nuku'alofa will arrive about 9.00pm tonight.
210nm to Nuku'alofa, still hoping to arrive tomorrow afternoon. We motored most of the night and turned the engine off at 4.30am and are now sailing in 15-20 knots of wind.
Making good progress, hope to be in to Nuku'alofa late Wednesday afternoon, 388 nm to go well over half way.
We spent all night motoring with less than ten knots of wind. Still motoring with the wind not forecast increase until this evening.
Another good day sailing, we ran the code zero for 7 hours. We currently have 8-12 knots of wind from the south east, not sure now long it will be before we start an engine.
The water temperature has increased by 2.5 degrees since leaving Opua.
A great 44 hours sailing until the wind dropped away and we started an engine just before 7 am this morning, waking me for my watch. We are now just over 300nm from Opua and 459 nm from South Minvera Reef.
Moroccan chicken for dinner tonight served on rice with beans, yum yum. Great sailing today, making great progress.
Karl's quote of the day "We should survive" the power of positive thinking!
With the wind ranging between 15 and 30 knots, it made for an interesting night at sea, dodging the rain showers that show up on the radar. Rod just made the comment that all is good, we are afloat, that always helps when you are sailing! We are making good progress with 614nm to South Minerva Reef and 158nm from Opua. Currently we have about 20% cloud cover and 12-15 knots of wind from the south.
Glen and Rod departed Auckland on Monday afternoon at 5.30pm after waiting for the wind to drop, we sailed through the night and arrived in Opua at 1.15pm on Tuesday afternoon. Jillian left Auckland by car with Karl late morning on Wednesday.
We had a good night at the Opua cruising club with Graeme, Sue, Ben and Helen joining us for dinner.
This morning we cleared customs after having breakfast at the cafe and departed Opua for Minerva Reef about 10.30am.
We are having a great sail in 15-20 knots and are just over 50 miles from Opua.
The potatoes are in the oven, as we prepare for our first night at sea. Karl has just spotted a pod of large dolphins at first thinking they were whales.
Great to be at sea again.
Malakite - Second update
Motored for the first 40 hours, on very calm seas with less than 10 knots of wind. Heading east so we could make the most of the easterly wind when it arrived.Beautiful sunsets and an amazing full moon. Caught an albacore tuna which was enjoyed for dinner last night. We turned of the engine and started sailing at 2.30am this morning, the wind has been slowly building and we are currently sailing in 20-25 knots of wind, doing 7-8 knots boat speed in lumpy seas.
Malakite - Opua departure
We departed Opua, Bay of Islands this morning with Glen, Ben and Ken on board. We are motoring at 6.2 knots, with no wind and glassy seas. Heading east so we can make the most of the wind and it's forecast direction as we get closer to Minerva reef. 749nm to South Minerva Reef. What a great day to depart.
Malakite - Auckland to Opua
We, being Glen, Jillian and Ben left Orakei Marina on Thursday 23rd April at 1700hrs heading to Opua in the Bay of Islands. We motor sailed until around midnight and then were able to turn the engines of and enjoy the peace with only the wind in our sails. Ben kept watch until midnight then Glen took over. Glen heard unusual splashing sounds on his watch and shone the torch into the water and found a pod of dolphins playing alongside us. They didn’t care for the torch beam and soon left us. Read more...