It seems that every waking moment during our last week in Vava’u was filled with activities. Numerous trips into the small town of Neiafu were made to shop for provisions and use the painfully-slow, wifi internet connections at the Tropicana and Aquarium Cafes. A small amount of diesel fuel for “Blue Rodeo” and gasoline for our dinghy motor and SCUBA compressor was purchased and transferred aboard in jerry cans. Also, after months of very high humidity and periods of rainy weather, we began to notice a musty smell emanating from our stacks of folded clothing, towels and linens. So, the decision was made to have everything washed and dried by a laundry service. Three dinghy trips in and back from our mooring and about 2 days later, the mission was accomplished. We lost track of how many kilos of our laundry was washed, dried and folded but remember paying almost $180 for the service…youch!! Keeping it all in perspective though, our laundry costs for this entire cruising season have been reasonable, due mostly to Anne’s efforts to do it herself aboard the boat. That process involves using a plunger-like device, a 5 gallon bucket, an old-fashioned clothes wringer and stringing a clothes line around “Blue Rodeo’s” rigging. The hard work is often done after determining that rain is unlikely and that the winds will stay below a level that would send the laundry on the lines flying out to sea.
With a few of our new cruising friends heading on to Australia via Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, our last few days in Neiafu were also filled with heart-felt goodbyes. I each case, saying au revoir was made a little easier by the promise of reunions in other exotic cruising destinations.
Even though we had only begun to see the beautiful sights in the Vava’u area, we decided to head south to the Ha’apai Island group of Tonga for about a month knowing that we’d be returning in mid-October to rendezvous with good friends from our hometown who had arranged a sailboat charter for a week. Sailing with them will give us the opportunity to revisit a few of our favorite places and explore new ones.