Our short stay at Niue was a good call as we not only missed the strong W/NW winds from Tonga, but found the jewel in the Pacific!! Niue is a single rock, some 12 miles long that has been uplifted. No beaches, just lots of chasms and amazing rock pools, with 70m visibility!
We were on a mooring in 20m of water and we could see the coral and bits of sand as clear as if it was 2m! The sea bed, being untouched, is wall to wall coral with deep chasms. You lift the dinghy out from alongside the concrete pier with an electric winch, the same as the Etchells are lifted in and out of the water.
The people are NZ citizens and only a small number of people now live on the island..maybe 2,000. We received the warmest welcome from everyone there.
We visited a village on their show day and tasted some of the local food. Peter had a large tub of trifle for breakfast! The women were in their Sunday best!
On our way around the island there were many caves ....Peter's boofy hand doing a "Thing" impersonation...
Neiafu, Vava'u Tonga was a mere 230 miles to the west. We motored for 6 hours until a good SE wind came in. Heading was west!!! Seas were under a meter and only mildly confused as we passed south of the Capricorn Seamount, which is huge!
We arrived with Red Sky at dawn, after plodding along waiting for first light. A pod of whales had been in the harbour as we entered. Lyn and Steve from Carillon (cruising friends from SE Asia) came out to meet us in their dinghy. It was fantastic to see familiar faces. Neiafu is a hurricane hole with a small narrow channel. The water is clear and calm!!!!!!!! What a relief not to be moving!!
Virgos Child and Amnesia are still here, waiting for a window to Fiji, as are many of the yachts who left Bora Bora 10 days before us.
So now we have crossed the date line and we are on the same day as home!!! Our passages as no longer more than 500 miles until the last jump home from New Caledonia, which is around 750nm.
There are many anchorages to explore here and we will probably leave at the end of the month to Fiji as we need to be in New Cal by early October. Fiji has had poor weather all season, so we hope it improves!! It also had lots of Indian food..YUM!
Jobs for Peter whilst we are here: glass the mount back in for the autopilot, put another bolt in the coupling to hold the shaft and we need a sail repair as the tack on the main chaffed through!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All in all, the last 1200 miles was a get out of jail free card......no squalls with winds under 20 knots in an area that is potentially vicious. We made it by a day as the wind and rain are coming in as we write!! We need a boat wash! Timing is everything!!
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