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s/v Code Blue – Tonga Mid & South Island Groups November 1, 2014

Posted by steveandjudy in Code Blue 2014.
Freighter Wreck

Freighter Wreck

Code Blue Folks, 11-2-14

10/19 & 20th we did an overnight sail – While at Lifuka Island, which is where the main village Pangai is located we checked in and checked out at the same time. We walked around some but the village was devastated by a cyclone in Jan. 2014. We had a beer and dinner at Mariner’s Café then headed to the boat. The next morning we took the dinghy into the Holopeka Village near where we were anchored. Many houses were in disrepair due to the cyclone. We walked to a Morman school in great shape and since it was recess there were 8 girls about 14 years old near the bus stop area. We talked to them for a while. When we asked how they were doing due to the cyclone, one volunteered they were still living in a tent. Her father was helping rebuild houses for others in the area where they live. Her uniform was in perfect order like the other girls. Recess was over so we took off back to the boat.

From Liduka Is. we headed to Uoleva Is., 7 miles by motor, due to reefs. We had a potluck with about 13 boats in the bay, at Uoleva Yacht Club. Craig the owner offered up his facilities which included tables, seats and a roof came in handy when it poured rain for a while. He was out of beer, so it was BYOB. Craig said the south reef was better so we tried that in the morning. Not so good were we were as 99% of the table coral was dead and algae growing on it. There was about 5% of the coral that was in pretty good shape, such as leather, lettuce, and brain coral and some soft white coral. To me it looked like excess temperature for the coral had killed off most of the table coral, but then you would see a big 8 foot diameter specimen in perfect shape or a small one once in a while.

10/23 – From Uoleva went to Tatafa Is. near Uiha Island. 10 miles away with 7 by sailing. We just anchored then on 24th we headed to Ha’afeva Is. for better protection from SE winds, 18 miles with mixture of sailing 14 and motoring 4. Here we walked into the village in the morning on the 24th. Visited two grocery stores. There was a very tall cell phone tower on the island but our Digicel stick would not work as it was another provider. We met David who offered to bring some fish, grouper, and lobster to our boat in the morning at 8am on Saturday the 25th. But, alas a storm came in that we were expecting and prevented David (Pic of the family) from scuba diving on the reef, so he didn’t show. We met Charlie again on the way back to the dock, and he sold us some papaya, and bananas. We stayed on the boats the 25th due to wind. Roundabout was with us since Pangai. On the 26th we ventured out to snorkel in a north reef area but visibility limited our enjoyment from the wind storm. Later, Fletcher and his Dad from s/v Interlude III of Tasmania, Aus. invited me to go to the freighter wreck that was nearby. Much better visibility and way better coral in the area. I’ve provided a few pictures.

On the 27th we headed to Nomuka Iki island 25 miles away, 16 of them by sail. This was a rough anchorage, but dolphins came by in the evening. I hooked a mahi mahi about 40 inches long but I didn’t have our gaff with us in the cockpit and didn’t think about it. On the 3rd try to pull him in he was barely hooked on the lip and went wild as I pulled him out of the water and flipped off.

It was announced on the SSB radio that a dinghy was missing from a sailboat we knew, and had been floating all night long probably. It ended up on Atta island, seven miles away and a fishing boat guy found it. I’ve included pictures of the finder, and the dinghy with the owners, Howard didn’t quite tie the knot on the painter line right he remembers afterward. Ruth is his cruising buddy. The dinghy is in the background. The finder got a very nice reward in Tongan cash and Howard was very happy to have the dinghy and motor back.

On the 28th we got up early and left at 6:45am for 60 miles to Nuku’alofa. On the way we caught a 41 inch mahi mahi, weighing 13 pounds. Arriving off of Big Mama’s Yacht Club, on Pangaimotu Is. at 4:49pm. 55 sailing, 5 by motor. We had a fish dinner on Code Blue with couples from A-Train, Roundabout and Anthem. The next morning we took the ferry to Nuku’alofa, checking in with the Port Authority then walked around town. We finally found the main market and two grocery stores nearby. Upstairs in the market they have carvings, clothing and such. I found a sperm whale carving by Mele Ta’ofi that I liked. Judy had gotten a whale tale carving in the market at Vava’u.

We’re about to take off to Minerva Reef probably tomorrow 11-3 about 250 miles toward New Zealand. Maybe we’ll stop there on the way. Great snorkeling they say. New Zealand is next about another 850 miles with landing in Opua, a small seaport on the north tip of NZ.
Steve and Judy

s/v Code Blue



– s / j –



1. Marie & Greg - November 1, 2014

Impressive Mahi Mahi! Thanks for all the photos. Stay safe. Marie

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