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Tonga Blog

Pineapples replaced by avocados

12 Jan 10

The lush, satisfying pineapples that have filled the market for weeks on end are dwindling to a halt now replaced by avocados.

I can't wait.

Avocado moose, guacamole, and even avocado ice cream are in the plans.

Today I bought the first hand picked avocados at a cost of six for three dollars. I wonder how cheap they will get before the end of the season.

Pineapples were a quarter apiece. Children ate them like candy and we gorged ourselves sometimes eating three or four Pineapples in a day. Yes, I look forward to avocados


Another great snorkel

10 Jan 10

We had another great snorkel just outside the harbor. Rather than telling you about it how about you just watch it? This is my first youtube and my first post, so it's a bit of an experiment. Let me know if it worked.



Great snorkle

9 Jan 10

Been kind of in a grim mood around here since hearing and seeing the sinking of the Andy Gil / Earthrace. What a shock. If you don't know what I'm talking about do a youtube search for "Ady Gil sunk". That is the old Earthrace, run over and cut in half.

We spent the second half of the day snorkeling one of the weather side reefs of Vava 'u. After the snorkeling we sat on the beach and up came a group of Tongan's. The Tongan's never fail to impress me with their open, honest, smiling demeanor. Soon we were doing Yoga on the beach, and they took us home for some dancing lessons.

New Years in Tonga

3 Jan 10

I love Christmas in Tonga. The town is full of visiting family and the whole country has been cleaned up. From the water the islands look neat and tidy and from the land everyone is happy for the holidays. I'm already looking forward to the next new year. By the way, Tonga is one of the first places in the world to welcome the new year and we had a great one.

We went into the hills and had three back to back Tongan feasts. That was more food and new tastes packed into a day than can be imagined. Take a look at the photo on the right for a bit of our day.

Were still looking for an RC Laser team to come to Tonga and enjoy a vacation of RC Laser sailing in the tropics.


Out at the caves

23 December 09

Running out of 2009 days. We took a dayj off from building our new RC laser rudder and took the skiff out to the limestone caves near the entrance to Vava 'u Tonga. It was awesome sitting in the skiff drifting by the huge openings.

Looking forward to the next visit.

Now, back to RC laser things. Still looking for a laser racing team willing to come to Tonga for a south pacific vacation of RC racing and of course fun.


The gauntlet has been thrown down!

22 December 09

Come race Team Tonga in the RC Laser competition Consider a vacation in paradise filled with RC laser sailing. The steady trade winds and fully protected waters makes Vava 'u Tonga an ideal location for RC Sailing. Contact us and we'll help with finding lodging and make your vacation a special one while we race our RC lasers.

Laser rudder update

21 December 09

We took a good look at our other two RC laser boats and found soon as the battery gets slightly low they only turn one direction.

We pulled the rudders and checked them according to the email instructions below. Sure enough they have a sharp edge left over from manufacturer. That acts as a kind of ratchet and the rudder only goes one way in the pintle causing the boat to sail in circles.

So, what to do? The world is out of stock on new rudders, so we're planning on making a new rudder to replace the old one and will cover how we do this on this blog so others can make their own rudders if needed.

In the mean time anyone have any ideas on how to make a new rudder? We started by making a Xerox copy of an original and are thinking door skin plywood as a base? A super thin sail batten? And, well maybe you all can help with an idea.


Laser rudder still lost

20 December 09

My overpriced play toy is still not up and working. I have kind of lost interest in it. You know, you pay 750 Kiwi for a toy and it breaks on the first use you kind of feel a bit ... well, like why did I buy this again?

Yesterday I got excited about the RC laser again and emailed the builder. In short he sent back something like "Were out of rudders (I think they must be falling off on other boats also) and they don't always fit, so you have to sand them down, and... Oh, heck here is the email. It has instructions on how to make a RC laser rudder fit the laser RC boat.

Scott - We currently don't have any rudders in stock, but hope to get some in the next couple of weeks. A couple of things you should know. The rudder pintle (post that fits up into the gudgeon fitting in the hull sometimes has a mold flashing that needs to be cleaned up but that is usually an easy task. However, the more important problem that you had is that you did not make sure that both the prongs on the top of the rudder snapped into place. You must always check to make sure that happens. If so, there is no way the rudder can release.

The more common problem with rudders recently is that the part that fits up through the tiller (including the two prongs) is too wide (side to side) and it makes it very hard to push up fully to allow the prongs to expand and snap into place. The fix is to put a piece of sandpaper on a table and sand the top section of the rudder on both sides until it slips easily inside the tiller. Do NOT file the opening in the tiller as it will be weakened. When you are done, you should be about to push the rudder up into the tiller (while holding the tiller down with the other hand), and have it slide in with only the friction of the two compressing prongs.

I would keep on the NZ guys to get a rudder, or go to the Australian distributor for help. Sending a rudder to you will cost three times what the rudder costs itself. Hope you can get this resolved locally, but let me know in a couple of weeks if you still need a rudder and we will see if we can help you out. Steve


So, if I read this right it says our rudders have some issues and when we send you a replacement rudder for your radio controlled laser here is how to fix it so it works and stays on. At least they answered their email.

I must admit to feeling a little frustrated at my 750 Kiwi purchase.


Raido Control Laser rudder lost

13 December 09

Well bummer. I got my new laser RC sailing dingy only to have the rudder fall off on the first sailing. I see this is an issue with the Laser RC boats as the US warehouse is out of stock for months to come. The NZ distributor where we bought our laser promised to replace the lost rudder by mailing a new one to my wife while she was in NZ, but alas they failed me and the promised rudder never arrived.

So, I'm starting to build a new rudder from a bit of door skin and we'll see how it goes. I'll post photos of the new laser rudder once it's done. For now that is our laser to the right, less the promised rudder.


Fishing tournament

5 December 09

Had an awesome day fishing. Seemed every ten minutes we had another strike. We brought home a big skipjack and a big eye yellow fin tuna. We had two big shark hits that we managed to fight back to the boat. One Bronze/Bull shark, and a two meter Tiger Shark. The Tiger shark seemed a little upset while the Bull shark seemed to just let himself be reeled in.

We had the radio on and listened to the rest of the Tonga fishing tournament. Wow, they had a lot of fish reeled in! They have announced next years fishing tournament dates.

Here are the Tongan fishing tournament dates-

1) Tonga Int. Billfish Tournament - Briefing on Thursday 16th September - Fishing Friday 17th & Saturday 18th - Lay day on Sunday 19th - Fishing Monday 20th & Tuesday 21st - Wednesday 22nd is a Reserve Day & Prize giving.

2) NZ Fishing News Tournament - Briefing on Thursday 21st October - Fishing Friday 22nd & Saturday 23rd - Lay day on Sunday 24th - Fishing on Monday 25th & Tuesday 26th - Wednesday 27th is a Reserve day.

3) Tonga National Tournament - Briefing on Friday 26th November - Fishing day one on Saturday 27th then Fishing Friday 3rd December and Saturday 4th December.

Hope to see you there!


Saving up fresh fruits

4 December 09

Pineapples are in full season! They come to the market in the back of big trucks by the hundreds. Fresh, sweet and the perfect ripeness. Since we do vegan cruises and vegetarian cruises I have been collecting the Pineapples 50 at a time. I bring them back our Catana 582 and cut them up, chunk them and put them in the big shore side freezers all ready for our vegan cruise or even a vegetarian cruise.


Geocaching Tonga

3 December 2009

Our friends Charlie and Sonny tried the Geocaching Tonga rout and had a blast! They rented a motorcycle for 100TOP (50USD) and found each site. They ended at the right place and said if they did it again they would not change a thing, except they might try horses to be able to hear the birds better.

How cool is that?

Radio controlled Laser sailing in Tonga

24 November 2009

Check out our latest addition to our fleet. A laser radio controlled sailing boat. Took it out the first day and had a bunch of fun till the rudder fell off and sank in 120ft of water. Bummer!! The NZ vender said "No Worries" and said they'll send another. Vavau now has three of these lasers and were in for the world series of laser racing.

Stay tuned.

Sunny Again

20 November 2009

The sun is out again! We had four days of the ITCZ over us. Whew, it was cool, overcast and rainy in the mornings. Nice to have solar panels pumping again. Mariah is looking great and were #1 on Goggle for Vegan Charter and a heap more search terms. Loving the emails. Off to help a friend change the batteries in his little boat.

Rain day

14 November 2009

Supposed to be an end of the week race yesterday, but we had no wind. I spent the day adding news feeds to I hope the weather feeds help the fleet. Today I'm supposed to sail on friends boat, but I woke to light rain and no wind. Hmmm...


Day sail

8 November 2009

We sailed around Vavau today on a 52ft monohull. My first thought was how nice it was to be back on a well sailed boat. My second thought was was what a great sailing grounds Tonga is. Sailing Tonga is one of life's great pleasures. No waves, no swell, and plenty to steady breeze to keep the boat powered up.

Then the boat healed over. Way over. It's been a while since being on a monohull sailing on it's ear. I had to remind myself monohulls sail this way wile catamarans sit perfectly flat. Food fell off the tables, tools slid across the floor and I heard lots of crashing from below. The Tongan crew ran below, I heard some muttering while I trimmed the headsail for even more drive.

At the end of the day we returned to our Catana 582 and the large open bridge deck and I remembered why we moved to a catamaran. I still love the feel of monohull in freight train mode, but it was nice to be back on our catamaran.


Rented a rail-car

4 November 2009

Rented a rail-car from Cart Safaris today and drove around the island on the back roads to five of the most beautiful outlooks. Amazingly Alli and I had found three of these secret spots with the rental car. Made me think about the poor rental car company after taking another look at the rutted dirt roads we drove it on.

We worked out about ten geocaching spots choosing the best buildings, overlooks, and trees. The trees were pretty amazing being Ironwood, and some Banyan. The butterfly's are out dancing through the open air. We found a great cliff to view Tongan birds and bats. It was the first time I have seen fruit bats riding thermals. They have a huge one meter wingspan and such delicate, skin wings. Standing on the cliff overlooking the sea we could clearly see the little hairy fox faces. We also were able to view some of the healthiest Boobies I have seen in the South Pacific.

We returned to the base just in time for a tropical downpour to start. Went back to the boat and listened to the downpour while running the water maker thinking I need to get the water collection system hooked up.


Rental car day

3 November 2009

Over the weekend we rented a car and drove almost every road on the island. Next we are going to visit every anchorage in the archipelago and then dive every reef and fish every possible location. It's the only way we can make every minute of ever day for our guest special and rewarding.

My first impression of driving around Vava 'u was how happy I am that we are here on a boat. Everywhere we went I would look out on the clear, blue water and gaze at the many reefs. The land is special, but I think the water is where the action is.



Geocaching Tonga

1 November 2009

We have been working to get to each great view or special place in Vava 'u and lay out a Geocaching. For those not failure with geocaching it's a new sport based on the old mountaineering games.

The idea is to follow a GPS coordinate to a specific location then try to find a hidden treasure. Nothing is really inside the treasure besides a small log book and a way to record your visit. The sport is in the finding, not in the having. It's just a way to share the most beautiful locations with new people.

Today we laid out about 5 new caches. I am looking forward to geocaching all over Polynesia.



Village elder

Homemade sausage

Growing up

Local feast


Lots of cooked pig

Local tattoo

Allison with the kids

Look up to hear the preaching

One of the mast coconut carvers

Sitting down for a feast


Enjoying the day

Limestone caves. Drive the skiff right insied. How cool is that?

Our new radio controlled laser sailing boat. Pretty cool hu?


   © Team Yachtwork 2009