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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tonga: Uoleva, Ha’apai: S’Long & Thanks for all the Fish*


Good dog!  Guarding the beer for the Uoleva Yacht Club cruiser’s
potluck.  The dogs (there were more than one) were a bit too 
territorial – sometimes an “unwelcoming committee.” 
Uoleva, just 5 miles from Pangai, the “nerve center” of Tonga’s laid-back yet gorgeous Ha’apai Group of islands, is known for its spectacular sunsets and cruiser get-togethers.

*”So long and thanks for all the fish” is a quote from Douglas Adam’s quirky “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”










Craig stocked his bar by bringing in his provisions from Pangai
by motor boat, anchoring it, then transferring it to his kayak,
and paddling it ashore.
With soft sand beaches, good shelling and snorkeling, and an easy dinghy ride in to the cruiser-friendly beach-bar with wifi at an eco-resort, it’s easy to understand Uoleva’s popularity for Ha’apai cruisers.

We stayed longer than we planned, appreciating Uoleva’s relatively protected anchorage, and Peter of Tocata’s catch-inspired potluck.  Their over-abundant fish prowess prompted them to offer a BBQ of wahoo, and Craig of “Uoleva Yacht Club” (aka TaliTali’Anga Eco Resort) offered up his BBQ and seating facilities.  While cruiser potlucks by nature are relatively BYOB (bring your own booze), we all made a point of thanking Craig and buying drinks and wifi time. 




Uoleva Yacht Club, in Tonga’s Ha’apai group.
Mellow spot and great gathering point.


Reputedly dubbed “Cranky Craig,” he warmed up once the crowds came in and treated him – for better or worse – as one of our own.

Amid much eating, drinking and telling of true and tall tales (sometimes a blurry distinction), it was in many cases a time for goodbyes.












One of the girls from Hapa Nosasa spotted this walking stick bug
at the Uoleva Yacht Club potluck.

Boat itineraries began to scatter more widely, markedly so in leaving Cook Island’s Suwarrow, the Samoas, Tonga’s Nieafu and now Uoleva.  Fiji, Phillipines, Marshall Islands, Guam, Australia were among the next port of call.  The biggest bulk of our South “Pacific Puddle Jump” group already left or like us, were in the process of picking their best time to hop to New Zealand before cyclone season makes much or where we’ve traveled this year untenable until May.

In particular, we hope to meet David of Anahata somewhere in the South Pacific next year – though we have no idea when or where.  He was one of the few boats we saw on our 3,200-mile passage from Galapagos to the French Marquesas.  David and Bob of Continuum towed our 36.5’ (~12 meter) Pearson 365 sailboat in 2 miles by dinghy at sunset and then darkness in choppy seas when tattered sails, a stopped-up engine and dying winds dogged our entrance into Hiva Oa, French Marquesas.  He wasn’t up to quarantining his cat and other associated advance paperwork and fees as required by New Zealand and Australia.

What potluck is complete without a beach bonfire?
Still true on Uoleva, Tonga, Ha’apai group of islands.
Meanwhile, we still wanted to explore at least one or two more spots in Tonga’s Ha’apai group of islands before clearing out and heading for New Zealand for cyclone season.  We weren’t expecting potlucks, but more sandy beaches, excellent snorkeling and perhaps a little shelling.  Most of all, we wanted to soak up a little more sunshine before heading more towards Antarctica’s cool winds, which influence New Zealand’s weather in the same way Alaska does the Pacific Northwest’s.

Uoleva, Tonga lived up to its reputation for great sunsets
while we were there.








Location Location
Recent retrospective of our time from October 21-25 2015 at “Uoleva Yacht Club” (aka TaliTali’Anga Eco Resort in Tonga, Uoleva Ha'apai (S19.50.863 W174.24.864).  We are currently in Opua, New Zealand, Bay of Islands Marina (S35.18.825 E174.07.312).  

Cruising By the Numbers
Since we left Jacksonville Florida in December, 2014 -- less than a year ago -- we've sailed over 10,000 miles!

A set of tables detailing all our stops will be added to the blog soon.