Saturday, November 15, 2014

Perfect Beach 7 -

How many perfect beaches could there be? We call this beach #7 just because we ran out of cool names for all the great beaches here. This one even has a perfect place for playing volleyball!

We ate all 30 of the pineapples in the last 5 days so we need to head back to the city to "pineapple up!".

We are thinking of taking the main sail off for hurricane season, as we will have to take it off anyway to put the new track on. The Tongan weather forecast (along with the "important" global warming committee") calls for 3 hurricanes this season with at least one over a category 3. So based on that we are thinking that we may get one (1), which would be an increase over the last 7 years when they have had none (0). Maybe they are not just counting Vavau but the whole region. That might make a difference!


Cave Diving -

We are at a new island with our own private beach.  The other one had houses, vacation homes on islands adjacent to it, which was nice too.  This one, like many of them, looks gorgeous!  A long stretch of beach that is touted as one of the cruiser's favorites!!  Clear water surrounds us and there are lots of places with trees overhanging the beach for plenty of shade, protected anchorage, but a nice gentle breeze to keep things comfortable.  Everyone went to shore while I stayed back to make dinner, so it's peaceful quiet around here.  I could clean or email while things cook, so here I am.

On the way here, we stopped at Mariner's Cave.  Cool place.  You get GPS coordinates to a spot along a cliff like island with lots of undercuts and blowholes.  We stopped the boat and jumped into the dinghy with our masks and snorkels and a dive light.  We motored along the shore until we found a shadowy area underwater. Then we jumped in and it indeed appeared to be a hole underwater going somewhere.  Somewhat intimidating, Cassidy, Wolfie and I stared at the hole for a while.  It's hard to commit to swimming into a big black mouth of a cave not knowing how deep or how far you were committing to going.  So, Courage jumped out of the dinghy, put on his flippers and swam in.  He disappeared and was gone.  We all looked at each other and had to assume he'd made it.  A short time later, he reappeared and indicated that it was much farther than he'd initially anticipated.  But it was do-able.  This time, after catching his breath, he planned to start right at the mouth of the cave, not before the entrance.  Soon, he dove again.  This time, I went down and watched how long he swam before he went back up.  It was a distance, but certainly a possible distance.  Then Cassidy mustered up enough breath and courage to go, and off she went.  Just as I was getting my deep breaths to go, Courage popped back out.  He was going to swim a safety behind me to make sure I went far enough.  I got my air, and went.  It went well, I came up with plenty of room to spare.  My sinuses almost exploded under water, but other than that, it was great!  The cave was large and beautiful!  You could see with the light coming in through the underwater entrance, and that was enough.  There was lots of room to swim around in there.  As the waves came in, the humid air in the cave would compress causing a fog, then as it depressurized, the air would clear.  It was very weird and interesting.  You could also feel the pressure changes in your ears.  They'd plug up and clear all on their own with the waves and changes in pressure.  It really was a neat place and I'm very glad we went.  The departure wasn't nearly as intimidating as the entrance since you could clearly see the outside and how far you needed to go.  That being said, for some reason I didn't feel like I was making ground like I did when I was swimming in, so at one point I reached up and grabbed onto the rock above me and pushed myself along, then Courage dropped down and gave me a final pull out and push to the surface.  I was making it, but slower than I'd like to have been so it was nice to get the boost!!

We are down to our final 4 pineapples.  Probably heading back to Neiafu Sunday night or Monday.  The market is closed tomorrow anyway, so no rush and we're only an hour away.  We could probably dinghy there and back if we wanted to leave the big boat here.  But it's so easy with our own mooring, a motorcycle onshore, and a restaurant with $3 for rice and chicken curry that I think we'll take the big boat.  Not to mention, we need to return the library books before the library closes for the season.  We've read them all and have enjoyed having a new set of books to look at.  We will certainly donate some old school books when we are done with them.

OK, someone has to make dinner. . .

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blue Lagoon

We are at the blue lagoon, and the weather is perfect. We have our very own deserted island, with a soft white beach, caves, and a bon-fire that just never goes out.  The children don't even come home for lunch.  And even when we send them to shore dressed, within an hour they have found the simplicity of nudity. The water is clear and warm, and the sunrises and sunsets are beautiful.

All of Tonga has turned out to be very nice. The people are wonderful; the food is super fresh and tastes so good. (It has been a while since we have had this much fresh food).  And to top it all off there is virtually no crime.  I think we found a great place to spend our cyclone season. There is a different plan for next year every time I think about it.  Shannon is always surprised how fluid my plans are. (Drawn in sand at low tide - below the tide line!)

Intrepid and Integrity are reading every day now, Innocence is getting it figured out, Vitality is still trying to figure out how she sun-burned her bum, and Valiant is always looking for a buddy to go swimming with him.  And that is pretty much a detailed report on the young ones.  Cassidy and Wolf are doing great and falling in love with the freedom of the cruising lifestyle.

All is super here!