Tuesday the 13th August.
Well as you will see in the “other Blogs” we are still locked out of diving on the one wreck site, which we believe at this point to be the most interesting. Topside politics are getting quite confusing,( to us atleast) but we are playing the game and are prepared to wait as long as it takes. So what have we been doing for the past 11 days while we are waiting??..Fishing, diving, swimming with whales, eating and hanging out on one of the neatest tropical islands in Tonga, Blue lagoons and all!! so it is not all bad…just very frustrating for us all. Further north, the Ha’anoa and further south, the Eua communities both see us and Tonga Blue as their new best friends, here to help them do something that no one has ever offered to do before, and are encouraging us to come to their wreck sites as soon as possible! Yet Nomuka is still a bit of a challenge unfortunately. We only have another six weeks onsite to decide if we ever want to come back to Nomuka Iki and work again, for the benefit of the Kingdom of Tonga and the locals, so it is going to be touch and go…
Tomorrow we sail the seven hours to Pangi to drop emails ( and this Blog) and buy supplies. Basically we were informed yesterday, that we now must await till after SAM the district officer for the area returns from the Pangi Agricultural show with some paperwork, that will allow him to call a meeting of ALL the local community and Govt. Dept. representatives to again seek approval to dive in the fisheries zone..we do not intend to touch anything in that zone..just dive the wreck site to find out what it is…so I am hoping we have the whole story, but who knows???.that meeting will not be till probably Monday19th August. If they then say OK, and we hope they do?? we will have just 5 weeks to do the work that we had allowed 10 weeks originally…Fingers crossed..We hope to be in Ha’anao in October.
So here is what has been happening since the “Screaming Tongans “ chased us away and we retired to Blue Base to sit tight! ! A few hours ago Harriet , Jian and Woodie we mobbed by Mother, Antie and ‘IKI” who was all over them!! Truly a special moment in life!! Jian was beside herself and all were wondering what would happen next when “IKI” came over to play about 2 mtrs away while MUM and Antie were directly under them watching!!..Hmmmm…
Saturday 3rd..Last night we had a TEAM dinner on ICE and watched movies and today 4 dives setting up the “Reef Check’ Survey line, Jane baked two loaves of bread, the team practiced their free diving skills. Jiam help her breath for 3 minutes after first “inwater” training session!! By Euwy.. Amazing (he can free dive to 40 mtrs!! And hold breath for about 4 minutes underwater)..prior to that Jians best was about 1 minute 30 seconds..my best sitting in a chair is 1 minute 25 second..maybe I will have to learn…Gregory closes the door in his cabin to train and has gone to 4 minuts 15 seconds just laying there, but he nearly passed out…I said his life!!! Harriet and Richard got a whale swim off the beach!
Sunday 4th ..Sunny perfect day and Base resembles a 5 star resort!! Kayak now up and paddling!
Monday 5th .. Yamaha 25hp is leaking oil from Crank shaft seal so have to live with that. Set up walker sailing dingy for the team and rudder broke on sea trial..but have two spare hinges, Woodie( Richard) sorted the petrol dive compressor now running fine, Alex caught plenty of fish, We lost all our fresh water on ICE when a pipe burst in the cockpit!
Tuesday 6th Joshua doing veggie shopping for us in Nuku Alofa..on Ferry to Nomuka tomorrow. All immigration letters posted in Pangai last week have been lost in the 100 mile boat trip to Nuku Alofa!! so have to do them all again.
Wednesday 7th Alex repaired the floor of the Zap Kat that continued to fall apart, so all good now. Joshua finally arrived at sunset after Ferry delayed again, picked up shopping and will see him tomorrow.
Thursday 8th..Big meeting with Joshua..part of the problem seems to be the Nomuka Development committee people all live in Nuku Alofa and so the locals on the island may not have been updated?? Apparently Police now OK, District officer OK, community OK, but still looking to have a meeting on Friday with everyone and with Fisheries officer and Town officer to confirm everything, so hoping to get the go on Saturday.??
Friday 9th…Went to meeting with Joshua/Joe ( police) Sam the district officer and the community representative..waited for 30 minutes but the fisheries officer and town Officer did not turn up…some confusion but Joe and Sam both disappointed, so called again now for tomorrow sometime… Joshua had been up till 3am this morning at three different Kava parties talking and explaining to the locals so at last we are getting some info out. They seem OK with it?
Saturday10th..Sunny calm day..Team out diving and found a HUGE Grouper longer than Harriet, Alex caught his first crayfish snorkeling, Gave Joshua some fuel to go fishing with friends, all Nomuka out on the water or in Gardens…NO meeting today!! We all plan to head to Church on Nomuka tomorrow.
Sunday 11th,.. Raining heaps and plenty windy 20-25kts from the North..stuck on boat. Thinking of Manta tow on west reef wreck, outside Fisheries zone..but conditions no good..team went for a dive on another bomie. Alex paddled right around the Island..
Monday 12th ..Huge swell turned up overnight- sunny..went out to west reef and it was 3 mtr TUBES!! For all you surfers out there..WOW!! perfect waves that would make Kylie scream!! But too big for me and too dangerous to get in shallow with Manta tow…so on the way back to Base Alex and Ewy had an eyeball encounter with our resident Mother, Antie and humpback calf we have called “IKI”…completely blew them both away..IkI is getting inquisitive now..they had no camera ofcourse but that meant “they” could enjoy the experience…in the afternoon I took the team out through a “boat pass”for a dive on the south east corner of the surrounding reef, Quite exciting for al with 2.5 mtr breaking swells just meters away from the boat..Gregory trid surfing the reef break outside the Base but they were breaking on shallow reef!!..Tonight we hear we are now “locked out” as the Fisheries chap and the Town officer apparently want the official paper from Pangai that Sam will pick up, so here we go again!!..Nothing is certain in life, but you have to smile and just go with the flow…we are trying..!! and still waiting??….life hey!!