After an lovely time in Vava’u, we set sail to Tongatapu via the Ha’apai group of islands on the evening of October 19th.
We arrived in Lifuka, Ha’apai the following morning and headed to town to check in and have a bite to eat at Mariner’s Cafe with our friends Claudia and Matthew of SY Nana Parahi. While the cafe remained untouched by Ian, a Category 5 Cyclone that hit the Ha’apai group in January, many other buildings in town were flattened and a great deal of rebuilding was underway.
We had originally intended to spend two weeks visiting the Ha’apai before heading to Tongatapu. Unfortunately, the weather was not in our favor. We sailed to Ha’afeva Island on the 21st and arrived just before the rains started. The forecasts indicated that the weather wouldn’t get better anytime soon, so we sadly decided to lift anchor on October 22nd and head to Tongatapu to wait for a weather window for our New Zealand passage.
But all was not lost! An unexpected treat awaited us. As we were arriving at Queen Salote Wharf in Tongatapu the morning of Octber 23rd, we heard the Hōkūle‘a hailing a pilot boat on the VHF.
Hōkūle‘a and it’s sister Hikianalia are Polynesian voyaging canoes that are sailing the world’s Oceans in support of a global movement for a more sustainable world.
These voyaging canoes left The Big Island in Hawaii for Tahiti in May 2014, a month after Amandla set sail from there.
We have been following their voyage ever since hoping to photograph them along the way. Unfortunately, we have either been ahead of or behind them all the way to Tongatapu
But now, at long last, here they were. Just what we needed to cheer us up after having to cut short our trip through the Ha’apai.
And we had a ring-side seat for the arrival celebrations with Amandla anchored just across the way.
We are now readying ourselves for our journey to New Zealand and will depart with the next weather window. The Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia are headed there too!