Sailing Samoa to Tonga and Fiji
Muriel arrived back on schedule and after a couple of days for her to rest and get climatized we weighed anchor and motored
out of the harbor. With sunny skies and a 10 knot breeze it was nice to be out of Pago Pago. Not that Pago Pago was all that
bad. But, I've been here far to long. On leaving the bay we met our friends on Royal Salute on their way in and talked
briefly on the radio. Would have been nice to have seen them but, that's cruising.
Tonga - 'Ah' What a lovely place! The many protected islands and anchorage's make us all think of The Gulf Islands, (But A few more palm trees here). This place is a cruisers dream. The people have not yet been spoiled by tourism . The prices are not bad and most of all the people we meet are honest and genuine. Some of the locals come around to the boats selling carvings, weaved baskets and fruit. But on a very low scale sales and I find them far more as a friendly visit than as a high pressure sales trip.
We were especially fortunate in that friends we had met along the way had decided to get remarried here. So we were invited to a typical Tongan wedding. They had it all arranged buy local people and "what a treat to go"` All dressed in Tongan fashion and kava, Well, kava ain't my favorite, but the rest was good, with traditional Tongan meal after. Roast pig, breadfruit, taro root, raw fish in coconut milk and much more.
Muriel flew home from here. An unplanned trip but to see a dear and ill sister in law.
So after a few days wait for a weather window I left for Fiji alone on Sept 9. Out past the islands at 07:30 I raised sail with winds 10 knots from the south east. But the next morning when the wind died the engine would not start so I had a few hours wait for wind, then, ah wind! Right on the nose! But in a few hours it started to pick up and swing around from the south the south east and finally east. So with fair winds of 25 to 30 knots I made good time toward Fiji. Arriving just after day break on the 13th. With double reefed main and jib I sailed into Fiji harbor. Tom and Dave from the boats Robin and Syncronisity met me in the pass with their skiffs and helped me into the anchorage. And my first passage as a solo sailor is over.
Next morning my first priority was to find a mechanic to work on my engine. After checking around and two or three places recommending the same person I called and he agreed to have a look at it. The next morning Tom (Robin) and Louis (Tin Can) helped me into the dock at the yacht club and before noon the engine was gone away for repair. It was almost three weeks before it was back in it's spot doing it's thing again. But with ordering parts from New Zealand and all the little extra hold ups I felt that was pretty good especially when it started and ran better than it ever had. Also Suva except for a lot of rain is a very nice place to have to wait.
After getting the engine repaired I left for the western side of the island where there is much less rain and more sun. I motored all the way over to Vuda Point Marina to check the engine and checked in . Muriel was scheduled to arrive the next day so I met her at the Nadi airport About 15 miles from the marina.
We will be here for 5 or 6 months so are planning on some local sailing and some bus trips inland and around the island.
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