Tonga 1

May 20, 2019

Greetings fair reader!

I have missed you. I picture you as a delightful person, face obscured in the shadows, with a congenial expression that I can just make out. Occasionally I hear a faint cough from your direction, to keep me on track. Otherwise, you just listen politely. You are kind, curious, and interested in everything I have to say. You are a perfect reader! But enough about you.

We have spent the past six weeks exploring the Tuamotos and Society Islands. More on those adventures later. Today, at noon, we left Bora Bora for a 3-part island hop.

First, we travel about 700 miles to Suwarrow, in the Cook Islands. I believe it is inhabited only by a warden because it is a national park or nature reserve. The ARC group has been split in two so we don’t overwhelm the resources of the islands. We are traveling with the “kid” boats – Aurora B, Manihi, Niobe, RAID, and Rubicon IV.

We stay there for about three days and then, weather permitting, move on to Niue, which is the smallest island country and has 1,600 inhabitants. If the winds pick up, we may have to skip Niue because the anchor/mooring area is untenable in poor conditions. Keep your fingers crossed because it sounds fantastic and is one of the top 3 favorite stops of previous ARC participants.

Then we move on to Vava’u, part of the Kingdom of Tonga. We will end the 3-part race/visit there. It is an honor system, self-starting race. We had a group start and then will note our time at the finish line (we are given coordinates for its location). We pause the race, visit the island, then note our time when we restart at the designated start line. We do the same at the next island until the finish in Vava’u.

Now you’re caught up with the plan. Later you can find out about our sail repairs (yes, more), our new guests, and everything else I need to tell you about.

We flew our new spinnaker since the start but took it down when a squall came and are now doing a comfortable 6-8 knots in light winds on the stern quarter. Seas are pleasant and it’s cool with intermittent showers. The chart makes it look like we are sailing in some kind of formation, with us as the top of a triangle and Nica and Sky teain about 7 miles behind, one on either side.

Another shower – off to close ports and hatches!

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