Onward! Niue and Crossing to Tonga!

Broken oar syndrome.  Heavy swell in Niue did my oar wrong on the wharf.  Dig the Crack in the right hand photo. Bit of a repair and I can get both oars in the water again.  No comments….


I am walking down the road with Guillaume and we encounter a crew of men remodeling a house.  Turns out Guillaume met them the day before.  We tell them we are looking for baguettes and that we’d heard the petrol station had some.  Larry is the foreman and he says yeah they do.  But it’s a bit off a walk.  Take my truck.  Very generous of Larry.  I mean everyone here is nice but this is one step beyond.  Of course I have not driven a 4 wheel vehicle since April.  And now I have to drive on the opposite side of the road.  This is hard but we get it done then these fellows treat us to coffee.  Larry is from Auckland NZ.  And he’ll be there when STW gets there in November.  Need to look him up when I get there.

I heard from Larry.  Security Almost confiscated his genuine Spill The Wine corkscrew.  But not this time.  Silver tongued devil!


We arranged for a rental car.  At 830am I went to pick it up and there was nobody at the rental shop.  I gave up at 915.  And it was raining.  A lot.  Think monsoon.  This went on all day.  So really not the ideal day to tour the island after all.

Later in the day the winds came.  25 kts in the bay from the NW.  Which is to say exposed to the sea.  Big swells came with it.  Nancy and Guillaume stayed on shore.  Huub and I were on STW.  An interesting ride for sure.  But not really a problem.

The challenge was getting back out to the mooring ball after dinner.  There is that winch at the wharf.  It has a nice light for night use.  Huub and I went down to the wharf after dinner to retire to STW.  Well it was a dark and stormy night.  And the wharf lights were… Dark!  5 foot swells rolling by the dinghy landing.  So time it right and you step nicely aboard.  Wrong and you fall 5 ft into the dinghy.  As luck would have it our timing was good.

One guy lost his dinghy in the storm.  It was found on the reef but not sure if it is in any way salvageable.  I’m starting to wonder how many “stolen” dinghys are really lost to bad knots or weak bow lines.  Hmm…


Nancy and I and Huub rescheduled the rental car and did a tour of the coast.  Pretty cool.  Lots of caves.  One had human bones from the old days when that is how they handled people after the died.  Spooky.  Awesome pools that were made to swim in.  So Huub and I did.

Could not help but notice that there were Graves all around the island.  Frequently in people’s yards.  And in parks.  And along the side of the road in kinda random distribution.  But at least they gave up on the bones laying around thing.  Progress!

We stopped for lunch at a place that just opened.  They had both fish and chips and sausage and chips.  We did fish.  We watched the owner as she sliced off hunks of a wahoo filet and do the batter and fry production.  Beautiful.

Today we did fooling around with customs to get checked out of Niue.  Takes about 3 hours.  Customs were very nice.  They gave us a ride back to town after the boxes were all checked and fees covered.  Then shopping to get provisions stocked up.  Mooring field is pretty rough again.  We decide to dine aboard rather than try to jump on and off the dinghy in all the swell one more time.  Good call.

Nancy made pasta which was fabulous.  We hoisted the motor off the dinghy and stowed it.  Then hoist the dingy, deflate it, and stow on the bow for passage.  After dinner it rinsed the pasta pot on the stern and set it aside.  Shortly thereafter was a bitchin swell and Mr. Pot went swimming.  Too bad.  But we are in 36 feet of water.  I can snorkel that up tomorrow am before we depart.  I set a marker on the chart plotter in case we swing in a wind shift.


I’m up at dawn chasing details and waiting for enough light to make pot retrieval practical.  Finally it is Ok light.  I snorkel about looking for that nice shiny polished aluminum pressure cooker pot.  20 minutes of that and I am not finding it.  Crap.  I asked Huub to throw the lid in the water so I can get an idea as to what my target looks like.  Dang that’s shiny!  Why am I not seeing Mr. Pot?  Wait there it is.  And I am not seeing it because it is so small.  The boat is hanging on a hump in the floor of the bay about 36 feet deep.  Adjacent is a trough.  And at the bottom of the trough, Mr. Pot.  As I look at it I compare the 42 ft boat to the depth there and it looks to be 60 ft.  Ok, never snorkeled that deep before…. Hyperventilate.  Down down down.  That pot is still too small!  Maybe I made 50 ft and then abort.  It’s hard to swim down and keep your ears clear simultaneously.  Chill on the surface for a bit and do it again.  Got it that time.  Then go get the lid in a mere 36 ft.  Yawn!

Start the motor, loose the lines to the mooring bouy and we are off.  Motoring West for Vava’u in minimal wind.  Perfect really.  We need to run the motor to charge the batteries.  And I have repairs to do.  One of the dinghy oars broke a blade on the wharf in the heavy surge.  I splinted it back together with a bamboo plywood scrap.  Not good as new but it will serve.

Later on the wind fills in and we sail West on mildly lumpy seas with great wind.  This is the definition of fair winds and following seas that all the sailors wish for each other as they depart company.  An exit salutation.

Dinner was some kind of beef on the Egg.  I should have gone for lamb.  That is what they do here more than beef.  French Polynesia had better beef.  No mainsail all day, jib enough in this wind.  After dinner we shorten the jib to avoid trouble with having too much sail up and need to reduce in the dark.  Not exactly dangerous but nice to avoid that complication at sea. We roll through our shifts.  I am enjoying a novelty.  A physical book.  I have read many on my phone.  Now I have an old school artifact.  Kinda fun for a change.

Wind holds all day and we run main and jib.  In the afternoon we stow the main as the wind is picking up. Our speed drops to 5.5 kts but its for the best.  We are at risk of arriving Vava’u in the dark.  Not a good idea.

4 thoughts on “Onward! Niue and Crossing to Tonga!

  1. Wow. Amazing recovery of the pot at 60 feet. I would never have dreamt of such a feat. Keep on living the dream Chris. Your adventures are incredible. How is the engine running?

    Liked by 1 person

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