|Sand spit in Tonga (only at low tide). The kids played|
'Marco Polo' on land.
|A walking stick insect on a hike in Tonga. Note|
Conrad's I'm-not-touching-it face
We had a better-than-expected passage from Tonga to Fiji. Wind speeds were higher than predicted and we made great time. Unfortunately the good wind only held for two days. On the third day, we had to throw up the spinnaker to maintain a decent speed and then slow ourselves way down overnight to avoid an arrival in the dark. During the trip, it was relatively calm but the sea state didn't completely agree with us. No one got sick but no one felt like doing or eating much. We were happy as usual to get to our destination.
|That's rapidly boiling water behind Conrad.|
Our friends on Amelie, who had been in Fiji for a week, arranged for a mooring nearby and gave us the lay of the land. The various officials, including the most jovial customs official we have encountered yet (he started out by joking that he would be taking the kids away for a bit of a holiday), boarded our boat and got us checked in warmly and efficiently.
|Waitui Marina has showers. We had never seen a hot water|
heater at the shower head before. I had already finished
my very cold shower; Matt figured it out before his.
Savusavu is a real, working city (as opposed to one that lives off of tourists) with enticing smells coming out of the many storefronts that line the waterfront. Food is inexpensive (doubly so because of the 2:1 exchange rate with the U.S. dollar) and delicious. As the local personality "Curly" has mentioned on the morning VHF net, it is almost cheaper to eat out than to cook at home. When we got to shore, Mark and Conrad ran straight for the fumaroles on the black sand beach. Sometimes locals cook food or even skin animals over the boiling water of the hot springs there and elsewhere in the island (although a sign at one hot springs site prohibits the killing and preparation of animals there).
We will spend a few days enjoying Savusavu and then head to the Lau Group, where there will be nothing but remote villages without stores or restaurants.