All loaded we set off full of fuel from the Marina at 1400hrs bound for Nuku Alofa about 550 miles away and with a forecast that did not include South East trades and promises of nothing over 15-20kts…great sunset and then it started to cut up a bit with wind against tide and dinner over the side for Greg the first to go down…John held up for another 20 hours but with the extra weight on the Flybridge ICE was really rolling..so he only lost a little ..Both kept up with all watches and did a great job..…the second night the northerly winds picked up to 30 kts with a 3 plus metre sea, all fine except it was on the beam..so she was rolling like never before…even the aft deck went under once…not dangerous, just amazing to experience ..LOL!!..Jane was fine..but with no fridge (it died a few days before) food was basic..Crackers and cold beans or Microwave dinners for those up to it..
I was sleeping in The Pilot house to keep “the watch keepers” company, till Jane mentioned her “squeak” in the aft cabin which turned out to be a failing steering ram..so we ripped the bed apart to access it, only to find all the mounting bolts loose ..a relatively easy fix.. and 3.5 days and 600 litres of fuel later we approached the entrance to the Tonga lagoon and pulled up at the customs wharf at 0900 on Friday the 21st June..mid-winters day…by midday the formalities were done, but my Tonga Business visa Expired that day, so had to rush to Immigration and start the new police checks and medical’s…just in time..
Then we discovered the internet had been down that day and continued to be so all weekend..then the internet stick I bought could not be set up, but today , finally,it is fully operational and flying at the awesome speed of 1 hour to download 6.5 megs of data..so emails are SLOW!!!…we also had a meeting with TCC ( local cellphone internet provider)about trying to get a microwave internet link onto Nomuka Iki and Blue Base..we have mobile phone coverage and texting but internet is going to cost about $12=15000 Australian dollars and they may not be able to do that till September..HMMMM???
Our 3 cubic meters freight from China is waiting here for pick up” soon” hopefully in a few days and our 8 cubic mtrs from Australia lands tomorrow…it weighs in at 1.2 tonne, so not sure how much we will put on the Fly-bridge for the 85 miles to Nomuka Iki but ICE is going to be LOW IN THE WATER very soon..that will mean a total of nearly 20cubic meters of freight on ICE if we get it all on..and maybe????..10 people and all their gear too !!..Hmm?? I wonder if we can..
Blue Base Team start arriving in a few days, so we will be a team of 10 soon, with one spot left for a Non Diving Blue Base “minder”…no special prerequisites ..just have a pulse and be hands on and prepared to help out…so if you want a 12 week Island camp holiday, fishing and helping around the base cleaning, maintaining, cooking the same as all of us… YES YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT THIS!!..and keeping an eye on things when we are all out diving..you have two weeks to get to Tonga with your sleeping bag, sleeping matt, tropical gear and a sense of fun….you pay for your food only and getting there..so about $200 a week…better than any resort ..lol!!!..offer closes on the 8th July…..
It is GOOD to be back!! Tonga is a special place with special people. The anticipation grows each day..we will be back in the water soon!!…wowow!!!..John and Greg now have their sea legs and can “sort of” even tie a Bowline…and after that huge ocean voyage, they did not even forget how to do night shift again..so they are happy!!
More soon..but the pictures are going to be a challenge to send..I will try???…Don