Tonga was beautiful, and each island group had unique geography. Vava'u had verdant steep sided islands, Ha'apai had more low lying islands with extensive reefs. Tongatapu to the south, had large and small islands and an actual "city" or big town. Overall Tonga felt cool and breezy, and the water seemed cooler. Much of the time, we had blustery weather, so we didn't really get to enjoy snorkeling much at all. We had hoped to make up for having cut short our stay in the Tuamotus. But that didn't happen, which was disappointing.
The capital of Nuku'alofa had some unexpected treats: fantastic donuts and good Chinese food. Also, there was a wide variety of fruit for sale and INTERNET CAFES!
Tom arrived November 21st and a good weather window was building for the passage to New Zealand. So we stepped up the pace of preparations to leave: provisiong, fueling up, taking on water, and performing the rituals and incantations required to check out of the country. We had planned to leave October 28th, but we managed to leave the anchorage for another island farther out on October 26th. That evening, another boat hailed us as they passed by on their way out. Their trip was more difficult than ours: they broke 2 shrouds.
This is where Tom picked up the blog on Thursday, October 28, 2010, at: En route to NZ