Preparing for Tonga and Losing a Day

Another rainy day in Pago PagoWe have been in American Samoa for nearly two weeks. Of that time, only the first couple of days had much sunshine. The last two days have been particularly wet. The dinghy was half full at the end of both days. That’s about 25+ gallons of water! But, we have been relatively happy despite the rain. We’ve had pretty decent Internet, lots of friendly boaters to chat with, and good ole American food products to buy and fill our cabinets.

We have a couple of items coming in the mail. But, one or another boat here will pick it up for us and catch up to us later. So, we’ve decided to go ahead and head south to Tonga. The weather is still miserable today, but I plan to check us out for a departure by tomorrow. One last run to the grocery store and maybe a restaurant trip, and we’ll be ready to go. I was originally thinking we could leave today and after our 2-day trip arrive by Friday. But, then I remembered that we cross the International Date Line on the way to Tonga. So, our trip will actually only feel like 2-days, but it will take us 3 days to get there! Yep, Tonga is on the same hour of the day as American Samoa, but one day later. So the current plan is to arrive Sunday.

Tonga is supposed to have some of the best cruising grounds in the south pacific. It certainly looks enticing in Google Maps/Earth! Tonga reminds me a lot of San Blas – which was one of our favorite destinations from a cruising perspective so far. I can hardly wait to get there and have a swim. And, we’ve heard its possible to swim with the whales there, that would be awesome! Pago Pago harbor is not a safe place to swim – lots of big jelly fish, and we’re downwind from the huge fishing vessels, cargo vessels, and the tuna cannery. So, we haven’t been swimming since we got here.

Tonga has three distinct groups of islands spread out north to south. The main cruising grounds are the warmer waters to the north in the Vava’u group. This is where we will spend most of our approximately 6 weeks in Tonga. There are dozens of islands and anchorage in this group of islands. The Vava’u Regatta is being held during the last part of September. We’re signed up for two races and a bunch of parties. The middle group of islands in Tonga are called Ha’apai and are much less populated, but we’re told also have some very nice islands. And, finally there’s the southern main group of Tonga islands which includes the main island where the King of Tonga lives. So, soon we will be off to a kingdom!

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