Wednesday July 12th we got our final provisioning done, ran a few errands, and topped up on diesel. In Neiafu, you can order diesel from a tanker to come to the dock and fill up, but you have to order a minimum of 200 L and most people do it when they clear out so they can get duty free diesel. We wanted to top up as much as possible before heading down to the Ha’apai, because as we have learned, windless days are pretty common. We brought SH over to the dock, which required a pretty tight parallel parking job. Under the eyes of all the local fishermen who were already parked at the dock, I got SH in nice and tight!
We went back to the mooring and then back to town in LD for lunch at Dancing Rooster and clearing out with the Port Authority and Customs. Port Authority charges us a daily fee while in Vava’u for the boat, which was about $85 TOP since April (so pretty cheap) and then Customs records your movement between the island groups and gives you a form to give the Ha’apai officials. No fees for customs.
Finally, we’re off….to Port Maurelle! The Ha’apai group is about 70 miles away….you either have to commit for a slow over night or an early morning and a day sail. We decided to stay the night in Port Maurelle and get up at 5 am to head out to the Ha’apai.
It was a fun passage with lots to see, but we did motor the whole way, as there was pretty much no wind whatsoever.
Our friends on Tika also left roughly the same time as us, and they also had amazing whales experiences. We arrived into the Ha’apai group and found our friends on Whistler again, anchored off Foa Island and the Matafanua Resort. They were all alone in a small sand bank, and we dropped anchor with them, with Tika not far behind. Time for celebratory sundowners!