Formalities, and goodbye Tonga

Susan is off with the officials checking out of customs, immigration,
etc. In each country we have to bow to the powerful officials and be
very nice to them, following all their procedures. This usually means
Susan filling out esentially the same form several times with all the
same information on each: our names, our birth dates, our passport
numbers, country, where the passport was issued, etc. She gets writers
cramp by the time it’s all over. The official here when we arrived were
thirsty. We didn’t have much to share as we had just opened the last of
diet cokes to celebrate arriving in Tonga.

We’ve spent the last two days getting everything together for our
departure for Fiji. I bought baguettes, fresh veggies and meat today.
The store for meat is called “Pete the Meat.” What a name. The grocery
stores are filled with tins of corned beef and not a whole lot else. The
boat is still filled with pasta and rice, so we’ll be fine.

We used two dive tanks and took them in to be filled. The have to be
inspected every two years and they were expired. So were the two still
on the boat, full of air. We had to have them certified and that’s the
last thing we need to pick up. It’ll cost 200 Tongan Pa’anga, about $100
USD.

When we got diesel today we were pleasantly surprised by how little we
used. We’re estimating we used 30 gallons or so. We ran the motor a bit
over our 8 day passage. I was certain we’d used more. We’re full up
again, which give us about 110 gallons total.

Tonight we’ll go anchor away from town and be on our way tomorrow. The
fridge is full, the fruit and veggie hanging hammock is full and Steve
is off buying coffee. Good coffee is difficult to find. Royal Tongan
Coffee is available though, and not bad. It’s not the French roast we
prefer, but it’s tasty.

The day started with coffee and presents. It’s Susan’s birthday here and
several people sent along gifts. She loved them all. I baked a cake this
afternoon that ever since it came out of the oven she has been begging
to eat it. I just frosted it and it’s falling apart a bit, but hey,
we’re in Tonga, not my kitchen.

We were going to try to leave today, but the weather isn’t good. Big
seas and strong winds are out there. I just over-heard on the radio from
someone who turned around, that it was rough and not comfortable.

The VHF radio is just like a big party line phone of the old days. You
can listen to everything. People meet on channel 16 and then say they’re
going to channel 6. So, you can change and listen in, if you’re
inclined. It’s fun, because you can make restaurant “bookings”
(reservations here) and inquire about just about anything. There is a
daily morning show at 8:30 that gives the weather and local
advertisements for cruisers. That’s how we knew to take our garbage
into town today at 8:30 a.m.

Susan’s been gone 45 minutes. Formalities! Update she’s back. We’re good
to go.