Passages, Places

Tonga’s Ha’apai Island Group

On Wednesday, October 11, Johno and I arrived at the Ha’apai group of the Tongan islands and were anchored in the Haano anchorage at about 4:00 p.m., after a couple of attempts to anchor. We saw whales on the way as well as once we were anchored. Sea Wind, with Lars and Suzane aboard, came in a short while later.

Looking from the boat to shore in the Haano anchorage

Looking from shore out to Aldabra and Sea Wind in the Haano anchorage

We had a quiet night in the anchorage. The next morning, we explored the beach and snorkeled on the nearby reef. On our way back to the boat, we stopped by Sea Wind to meet them. We had seen them in Neiafu but had not become acquainted. Later that day, Rowan and Jenny on Pole Pole joined us in the anchorage and we stopped by to meet them as well.

Johno’s shell find on the beach, two of the shells are homes to deadly creatures

On Friday morning, October 13, we pulled up anchor and motored to Pangai, the main village of this island group, to check in with Customs and Immigration. We anchored outside the harbor and took the dinghy in. We walked to the office and took care of the formalities. On the way back, we stopped at a couple of small stores before heading to the dinghy and back out to Aldabra. We pulled up anchor and motored to the anchorage near Tofanga Island. Johno explored on land while I hung out at the boat.

On Saturday morning, we both went to shore and walked around the larger of the islands in front of the boat. After returning to the boat, I went in the cold water for a bit and Johnno snorkeled around for a much longer time.

At noon, we pulled up the anchor to head to Nuku Alofa in the southern island group of Tongatapu. We had wanted to spend more time in the Ha’apai group, but when we looked at the weather coming up in the next several days, we realized that we would be late to pick up Pat in NukuAlofa if we didn’t start that day. We chose the midday timeframe because we wanted to clear the island group in the daylight. The winds were strong and favorable and we were out of the hazard zone by 5:30 p.m.  Because the winds were so strong, and we were going so fast, we realized that we would get to Tongatapu several hours too early. So, during the night, we  slowed the boat down to a snail’s pace so we would arrive at the pass after daylight.

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