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Monday, September 28, 2015

Deluge = Dinghy Bathtub – Really!


Wayne, unhappily hunkered under a blanket for warmth
our first morning in Neiafu, Tonga.  It was 70 degrees F
and damp but not raining.
Rain rain go away is not just a childhood chant.  It’s supposed to be the dry season here in Tonga’s Vava’u group of islands.  “Supposed to be” is the operative set of words.

Along with a gaggle of other cruisers, we sloshed our dinghy ride in for the movie fundraiser for a cruiser whose boat recently wrecked on some nearby reefs.  Throughout the movie, a Northwest Passage documentary from cruisers from La Belle Epoche we could barely hear the movie over the pounding rain.








Note the red gas tank floating in the dinghy?  We had the foresight
to set it up to float but remain connected if the dinghy flooded.
It’s hard to tell, but the water was just a few inches
from flooding over the transom. 
Wayne bailed who-knows-how-many gallons out that fell during the mere two hours of the movie before we got in to dinghy back to our boat.  The next morning, the water inside our dinghy from overnight was maybe five inches from overflowing over our transom. 

Wayne skimmed 40 gallons off the top of the dinghy for water jugs and for me to wash my hair in our cockpit, and still, there was plenty enough to take a bath in the dinghy with the remaining rainwater.

The local weather guy said he only had info on how much it rained that day until midnight; about six inches, and we know it continued to rain heavily off and on after that.


There was plenty of water to take a rainwater bath in our dinghy,
even after 40+ gallons were skimmed off the top for our water tanks
and to wash my hair in our cockpit.
For us?  We’ll simply remember it as enough to fill 40 gallons and take a generous rainwater bath.  All that was missing was a rubber ducky and some bubble bath.  Still, it was the nicest my hair and skin’s felt since before we started cruising this year.


Now, though, we’re really, really ready for some dry sunny weather to see well now that we’re in good snorkeling territory again.  Cross your fingers for us that the “Dry Season” here in Vava’u begins living up to its name.

"It's the convergence zone.... that's what's driving the crappy weather we're having here right now, explained John Martin.  

Ah well.  We'll be using those same systems to plan our passage to New Zealand in a month's time.  Wish us luck for that, too.

Neiafu Tonga anchorage; hanging out there now for the
Blue Water Festival, designed to prep us for our time in New Zealand.
Location Location
This post was finalized in Port Maurelle, Kingdom of TONGA (S18.42.024 W174.01.801) and was inspired at our first Tonga island stop, Niuatoputapu (meaning 'Very Sacred Coconut') (S15.56.395 W173.46.125).  about 175 miles from Tonga’s Vava’u island group, where we’re currently cruising.

Communication Access
There was no wifi in Niuatoputapu or Port Maurelle, so posts were written awaiting arrival for sporadic wifi access in Neiafu, of the Vava’u islands of Tonga.

Tonga wifi access is slow, so most posts will be set up to post when we’re in Tonga’s more populated areas.  Once we get to New Zealand in November, we expect much better wifi and will catch up on some recent cruising experiences and, eventually, some short video clips.

Cruising Progress by the Numbers
As of our start, December 7th 2014, from Jacksonville FL NAS, USA until our current (September 26, 2015) travels around the Neiafu, Tonga are -- ~9 months, we’ve spent about a third of our time --120 days -- sailing and covered 8,724 nautical miles.  The prior 2 years combined, we sailed 3762 miles.  By the time we arrive in New Zealand in November, less than a year from when we set out, we expect we’ll sail over 10,000 miles this year.  That’s a lot of miles for a boat with a hull speed of 7 knots; we usually sail far slower than that.