Tonga - Posted On
As soon as we get on s/v Kamoké, life changes radically. We are now on a french long-term navigator’s family, a ketsch of 15m long, Gulfstar 50, cruising the world for now four years.
Pascal and Bénédicte work as environmentalists when they are not cruising the world. They are with their 9-years old and 10-years old childrens, Yann and Maèlle. They come from Britanny in France.
On the 14th August, our first day with them, paperwork are done to get officially stamped out of Tonga islands. But we decide to anchor a few miles away from Neiafu, the main town of Vava’u to pass over the night and the next day.
As we just arrived from Tahiti with Lady K we both feel relieved of that, giving us 24 hours to experience the Tonga islands and to stop over a little bit from our long cruising. While we expected to relax a few days on the islands, it’s quite challenging to go on sailing again right away.
We go fishing with our spear guns with Pascal. Snorkeling shows us the pristine lagoon garden of Vava’u. Pascal is impressive for how long and deep he can go without breathing.
Going to the church in the morning is quite an experience as well, as men are dressed with long a traditional dress and all very special typical clothes, as well as women. Tongan people are VERY much into Christian religion. They go to the church often more than once a day!
I really enjoy the spirit of Kamoké regarding the way the choose their moment to leave to New Caledonia, 1030 nautical miles away : we shall wait the next evening’s day for the wind to go lighter and so that getting some very smooth and nice sailing conditions for a slow start, (restart for us).
We leave on the 15th. August evening, night time, just when we feel ready. The word on Kamoké is RELAX! Take it easy. Make yourself at home.
Night watchings are set as follow: when you feel tired, wake up the next one. Do whatever you want during your watch, reading, listening music, watching movies, writing… Just give a look once every 10 - 15 min.
Children don’t do the watching yet. There is no day watching set. And no cleaning fairies neither. On the other hand everybody cook and meals have the level of the result of our time we can take off for cooking. Gratin de Crozet from Savoie, raw fish Tahitian way, homemade pizza, cuisse de canard comfits… and so on.
This is quite a special day for me as I am supposed to turn thirty now.
Wow, that’s a big number, looking like I shall be responsible and wise from now. Most of the people I know being thirty are quite set, and I know for sure I have taken a big delay into that sort of set-at-home life with a job, a house, a family… Sort of scaring me sometimes, I must admit.
But I don’t feel too bad looking backward to my previous years of life.
And, let’s say, turning thirty in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a sailing boat with good people is very much a pleasure.
We celebrate nicely the event. First in the morning comes a very special and amazing rainbow bright as I have never seen before. Then comes a no-wind session during which we can jump in the ocean for a good swim in the clearest water ever seen. This is deep blue, like in the movie.
At last Pascal opens a big can of “cuisses de canard comfits” coming from the South West of France, one of my favorite meal ever… and coming with a delicious bottle of wine.
Now I can say I am thirty.
Wind is quite strange in this cruise.
It’s very calm for the season and at those latitudes. All the way down Nouméa, we have had to face calm period of wind giving us many opportunities to jump in the water and admiring the beauty of the ocean.
This comes tricky when trying to make the boat going on. We have to do many maneuvers, excellent exercise for us to learn.
Pascal is very much keen on teaching us, so that we get to fly the spinnaker, roll in and out the genoas, setting up and down the main and the mizzaine sail… I think we are now in the way to be able to drive our own boat in the future.
Between Hunter and Mathew Island, we face a strong current, 2 knots facing us, and no wind to get out of this. For hours our way is leading us slowly to South Pole… and to the dangerous area of sudden western winds much closer… Couple of hours later, the wind takes us out of that trap.
Nothing would have broken that time, which is nice. Next to four years cruising, Pascal and Bénédicte know very well what’s sensible on their boat and they already had taken action for that.
I love Kamoké. This is absolutely not a new and shiny boat but everything works fine and is quite reliable. Would that not be, would that be broken by now anyway!
On that tricky subject, we don’t meet big luck the first part of the trip, except for a massive Mahi Mahi of 20kgs, meaning 10 kgs of meat, the biggest fish I have ever seen in my plate! The colors are marvelous, shiny blue, green and silver on it body.
And then comes some shallow areas where fishes run for our lines! We get two ‘bonites’, one ‘thazar’, sort of white and red tunas, filling up the fridge and our stomachs.
On the 28th. August, we see New Caledonia coming up from the Ocean. By that time we see a few time great whales jumping off the sea, some just blowing, some really showing off.
We take two full days to arrive to Port Moselle in Nouméa and this is on the 29th August only that we set onshore for a new start in our ever going life.