We put in a long paddle and made it back to ‘Uiha island where we made a visit to the local primary school and gave them a big bag of mathematics stuff – compasses, protractors and pens and pencils. Heading away after a quick lunch we miscalculated the fall of the tide and ran aground on an extensive reef of stag horn coral – a tense moments as we had to use our paddles to extricate ourselves levering off with a horrible crunching sound from our precious ” Her Ladyship” hull.
Onwards we pushed and by days end we arrived at a pretty place called Taiana’s – a minimalist backpacker type place that has some basic Fale’s right on the sandy beach. We settled in deciding to have a restful last few days prior to returning to Pangai. We did a day out in their old clapped out boat to swim with the whales. Noah – the owner of Taianas offered whale watching at 150 Pangai for the day – 100 cheaper than the local Palangi offered tours but the boat and the hard starting Jerry repaired ancient outboard did not inspire confidence. We had a few swims with whales close by but they were not so keen to hang around and kept a distance. Barb managed to get very close to one but I was too slow swimming to keep up.
Our little Fale – came with resident mice that live in the roof structure – they were busy at night scurrying about . A lovely view and each morning we would look out and see the humpback whales playing just off the reef – without exception.
caught up with our new friends Harley and Jennifer and Sophia Earl from the Kailani and will be expecting to catch up again when they visit the bay of islands later this year.
Our last couple of days we heading back up to see Darren and Nina from Matafonua. Was a difficult paddle due to a 20 knot headwind that sapped our strength as the day progressed. Was worth the effort and we had a great night camped along side their resort , joining them and their guests over a very nice evening meal.
had some very close whale encounters – one was scary as 2 humpbacks suddenly appeared like submarines surfacing and heading straight for us. I frantically retrieved the fishing lure fearing the prospect of snagging one as they were going under again and still straight towards us.
An amazing sight.
Had a last night in Pangai then repacked Her Ladyship into her box and caught the ferry at about 8pm. The wharf area was bedlam – every work and safety rule was breached by the surging human tide and the 2 huge forklifts from the ferry screaming around moving freight and somehow dodging the human skittles cluttering the workspace. Was relived to finally see her Ladyship safely craned onboard.
The ferry ride back was a nighttime trip and we enjoyed the comfort of the cabin and the luxury of access to our first hot water shower in 2 weeks. Bliss!
Rocked to sleep with the gentle roll of the ship as we headed out into the ocean crossing. Enjoyed a great cooked breakfast served in the crews mess- we were the only 2 on board in “business”
Back to little Italy and our last night in Tonga.