Lifuka Island, Tonga

Thursday 9/12/2013 9:00

19 48.079 S 174 21.296 W

http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:19%2048.079S%20174%2021.296W

Posting by Barb:

It was a 3 hour sail to the main town of Pangai. As we approached the island we spotted a Humpback whale slapping it’s tail on the water. It appeared as it was waving to us and giving us a fine welcome. Once we were anchored just of the town wharf, we¬†jumped into the dinghy and headed into town in search of customs and immigration. We quickly found it and checked in only to be told to go back to the boat and they would board our vessel. It was obvious they were not accustomed in dealing with cruisers checking in as most boats check in Vava’u. Dennis dropped Rosemary and me off first and then went back for the customs party. This was comprised of 4 big burly men representing customs, immigration, Health and Quarantine officer. All were dressed in their traditional long black cotton skirts and on top of that, tied with a rope, they wore a short coconut tree ferns, dried and woven into a rectangular mat. Dennis had to make 2 trips to bring them all on board and we cringed as they attempted to clumsily get on hanging on to the boat with their hands as they simultaneously pushed the dinghy away with their feet. As the gap between dinghy and boat widened I pictured them landing in the water with a big splash. Dennis had to help them and I could see the struggle and horror in his face as he contemplated giving them a push up via their rear end and at the same time watched the boats stanchions pulled on like it has never been pulled on before.

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