Andrew and Leslie’s excitement over the possibility of Thailand’s borders opening was short lived. It didn’t take long for that article to be retracted, with other administrators in Thailand saying “well, wait a minute, not quite.” And so, Thailand was again off the table and we are left to float
The wind had been dead calm for almost two weeks, and it was on a Friday that the forecast looked slightly favorable. The forecast said 10 knots (pretty light!) Friday, Saturday and half of Sunday, then it was to die again. Andrew and Leslie debated the risk of leaving port on a Friday, but I told them not to worry. I’m not into all that sailing superstition hocus-pocus anyway. Tonga is known as some of the most beautiful cruising grounds in the entire world, and I was itching to get my sails up. After patching up one small snafu with immigration, we dropped our mooring and headed out to sea. With the water smooth as glass and ten knots on my beam, I glide along easily at 6 knots. It’s sunny, warm and beautiful. Ahh! I just love being out at sea! As we sail along I think back on the several years I spent holed up in San Diego, and I’m just so glad to be back out here. Do you ever sit behind your desk and get a feeling that you just have to get outside, breathe fresh air and run? That is how I feel when I am in one place for too long. I need to move! This passage is only two days long if our wind holds out. And, it does. We enjoy two night watches that are perfectly dry, pitch black, and filled with stars. Leslie sits on deck with me the first night, watching stars and listening to music. The second night, we all get addicted to the first season of House of Cards. Whenever Leslie is not distracted by either sleep according to her watch schedule, a show or a book, she is pestering me about this Tonga/New Zealand dilemma. I don’t know the answer, yet. How am I supposed to make this call without seeing our options in Tonga? The Tongan Boat Yard is new, so I haven’t ever seen it before. Either way, though, I will be fine. I’ve been to New Zealand twice; I am not feeling bad if I don’t go there again. I will miss Andrew and Leslie while they are away, but I want to circumnavigate! If we think that goal will be helped by me staying in Tonga, then that is what I want to do. Leslie fusses and frets over everything. I know its because she cares so intensely about me and Andrew, our dreams and our safety. But really, she needs to cool her jets. I try to convince her that our highest potential will unfold if we offer ourselves without reservation and work hard when Neptune asks us to work hard. Hope, faith and trust are emotional votes of confidence that Neptune will provide the inspiration, tools, and even trials necessary to refine our experience into its best form. All this fretting is wasted energy and misdirected focus. The right decision will become clear in time, one way or the other. Andrew and I finish the early morning watch on Sunday, but as we slide along side Tonga our calendars and clocks all jump a full day to Monday. International Date Line Magic. Huge cliffs barricade the Kingdom of Tonga inside natural volcanic walls more than 100 feet tall. It’s a bitter sweet approach from open ocean into Tonga’s tightly clumped group of northern islands of Vava’u. It feels like we just barely left San Diego! How can we possibly be at the end of our sailing season? Andrew rousts Leslie out of her bunk, and she heads on deck to sit on my bow. Osmond even joins us on deck to check things out. Together we contemplate those very tall and protective looking cliffs. “I guess this is why Vava’u is considered a safe hurricane hole?” Osmond says. “Yeah, I guess!”. The wind dies off as we round the snail-shell, and Andrew turns on the motor. The ocean flattens into waters as calm as a lake. We enjoy the view as we arrive in Neaifu, Port of Refuge. It’s a bitter sweet landfall. If we decide to stay here over Cyclone season, then my sailing season is finished until next year. I have to stay put for six whole months! You might think this season has worn me out, but I feel like I’ve only just hit my stride. …maybe I should push for a trip to New Zealand after all!