The Great Escape to Tonga (2002)

HAppy hour during the PY Tonga Flotilla

Ahhh, tropical sunshine!

In late-October/early-November, in what turned out to be Simon's last tour of duty as the editor of Pacific Yachting, we put the kids in the care of their grandparents and flew to Tonga for a sailboat flotilla as part of PY's Great Escape to Tonga. We haven't actually found the time to get our own photos into web-ready format, but courtesy of fellow flotilla participants Mike Carter, Peter Fischer and Reinhard Baildon, here are some pictures from our simply fantastic trip...

The Island Kingdom of Tonga is just south of Western Samoa, and just west of the international dateline. The nearest major country is New Zealand, which is somewhat west of Tonga and a little further south.

Tonga's cruising grounds are located in the Vava'u group of islands, about an hour-and-a-half's flight north of the main Tongan island of Tongatapu.

Racing north to KenutuWe sailed with The Moorings, whic operates a charter base in Neiafu, in a nicely protected harbour (shown below).The view from Neiafu

 

Dau Tadra, our chartered 46' Beneteau

We sailed aboard Dau Tadra, the 46' Beneteau pictured at left (it's a Polynesian name, actually pronounced "Dow TANdra"). After 11 days of sailing this big, comfortable hot-rod, we decided that 46-foot boats rather suit us :-)

That's Jenifer riding the rail, always doing what she can to get that last 1/4 knot of speed!

 

Jen and Simon in their element

Here we are in our element, at the helm of Dau Tadra. Now if only we could get the cockpit speakers working...

The anchored flotilla

There were a total of four boats in the flotilla. Here are Dau Tadra, Elangeni, Ta'ahine and JoJo at anchor. Just another day in paradise!.

 

Off to the Tiki BarThe Vava'u group of Islands in Tonga is largely undeveloped, giving us plenty of opportunity to snorkel, hike, scuba-dive, birdwatch and enjoy the natural wonders of the land. It did mean, however, that Tiki bars were few and far between, but wherever there was one, we managed to locate it. Here we are on the way to the Popoa Island Resort for drinks with Wendy, Wayne and Reinhard (that's us in the back).

Sunset in TongaAnd so Tonga, the Great Escape and Simon's involvement with Pacific Yachting fade into the sunset. But it was a brilliant trip, and my time at PY was a great two years and one helluva a learning experience. And hey, as we always tell our kids, the great thing about one day ending is looking forward to the next day!

Malo e lelei!

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