Tuesday 9/17/2013 21:20
20 16.626 S 174 48.206 W
Nomuka Iki, Tonga
Posting by Dennis:
The sail here was a nice leisurely one, doing four to five knot with the wind on the beam. It was a zig zag course as we wove are way amount the many reefs and islands. This would have been a very hairy trip before GPS. The reefs are everywhere. The whales are everywhere too. I saw two breaching in the distance. That is truly an amazing sight. I am sure they just come up from the bottom and let their speed catapult them into the air where they roll and fall onto their side. Another whale swam right under the boat as we sailed along. Once we were anchored we saw a couple take their dingy from shore and go out and swim with the whale. It is something that you need to do if the whales wish to come and play. Often they do not let you get very close and keep ‘you’ at a distance. So it is all up to them whether we get to swim with them or not.All Barb got to do this time around is snorkel with sea turtles. I am sure someday we will get to experience swimming with the whales.
In the morning we went into town and walked around. We saw many women working with their palm bows as they got them ready to weave. This is a very long process, they first cut the bows off the tree then strip the individual ‘leaves’ off and tie them into small bundles. The bundles are tied to lines between some upright sticks dug into the shallow sea. The bundles soak in the sea water for a week or more. Every day they go out and untangle the leaves and move them around. When ready they bring the bundles in and hang them to dry. The leaves are ripped into very straight strips which they can then weave into elaborate mats, baskets, and skirts.
We were hoping to get some bread while we were in town but nothing seemed to open and we later found out that it was a holiday because it was the princess birthday.