Sunday, August 12, 2012

Almost Day 0- Samoa to Tonga

Apia Harbor traffic as Tao prepares to exit
We are as prepped and ready as we're going to be to push off from Samoa today (13 Monday) en route to Tonga. Not quite sure which island group will be our destination, that all depends on time and weather. If the weather window closes, we will likely set course for the closer more remote Niuatoputapu group, an approximately 2 day passage, if the window stays open, then Neiafu in the Vava'u group, approximately 3 days away. We shall see. After being ready at 0600 Samoa time (1700 UTC) to let go the docklines, we were stalled a bit by some large container traffic in the harbor exit. Again, we wait and discuss staying just one more day. However, the weather looks good, so as long as it holds, we should still have time to get through the pass between Upolo and Savaii Islands by nightfall, so after the container ship is berthed, we will get underway.

Overarching everything, we continue to struggle with the dwindling amount of time we have to get to Australia before hurricane season and the infinite amount of things we would like to do between here and there. In a perfect world, we could either head to NZ (staying upwind) or leave Tao in Tonga or Fiji this hurricane season and stretch our South Pacific exploration another season. But we are more and more feeling the pressure of time and money, trying to fit other things into our lives in addition to this sailing adventure, things that require a shift of focus and energy. So, we continue on and promise to help each other to work at enjoying the small amount we have time to see and not get frustrated with all that we don’t have time to do- at our pace. We constantly reassess our plans and talk about alternative ideas for what islands we will visit. We are now on “the milk run” (though in our opinion Western Samoa is still a little off the track because so many people stop in American Samoa with purportedly more services and then skip this beautiful island with twice the amount of land and half the amount of people). After 3-months completely disconnected, we find ourselves in a marina, barraged with the fleet of cruisers moving through together. It has been refreshing, however, to be the only US vessel among German, Danish, Swedish, Swiss, Italian, Japanese, New Zealand, and Australian cruisers. Among several very interesting cruisers, early in our time here we enjoyed meeting John and Amanda Neal, owners of sailing school aboard Mahina Tiare flagged from the Southern Cook Islands, and Amanda the author of one of the few useful cookbooks we have aboard. And the folks from s/v Convivia, another fun young cruising couple from the Bay Area that we have heard of through the cruising grapevine from friends, have just showed up so we look forward to getting to know them. We welcome socialization and relish having deeper conversations about more than just the weather. However, we still chafe at being in a large pack and search for options a little off the beaten path. It is a balance and as we reorganize our schedule (once again) to include more visiting time, we remind ourselves, it is about the journey and not necessarily the endpoint destination.

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