It is in the early morning that we arrive in Tongatapu , the southernmost island, Nuku'Alofa being the capital of Tonga. That's why we're going 15 days that we have not set foot on the ground it's going to make us all funny to find "the floor of the cows"!
We raise our yellow flag "Q" meaning that the boat is in quarantine as long as the health authorities, health, immigration and customs did not come to inspect the boat.
We report to the VHF that we have arrived with the authorities, unanswered we anchor in front of the port of Nuku'Alofa.
The customs office is a small cagibi. The papers are quickly filled and surprise we pay the "overtime" because it is the birthday of the nephew of the king and it is a holiday.
The next day we escape the visit of health and agriculture on the boat, officials are too busy controlling a cargo ship from NZ. And to think that we were quick to eat meat , cheese, fresh vegetables and yoghurts to have one "Indigestion".
We walk along the seafront to the centre of Nuku'Alofa,
The houses are decorated with black and purple fabric in tribute to the deceased Prime Minister,
while other displays announce King Tupou VI's birthday .
The "public Holliday" chain all stores are closed. Can't fill the fridge and freezer with fresh produce, then we'll just eat pasta to all sauces!
Traditional costumes are dresses (ta'ovola) worn by women or men for semi-formal occasions. The "Kiekie" which is an ornamental belt is made with different natural materials like pandanus leaves, hibiscus fibers (Fau) or strings. The ta'ovola are quite stiff and warm to wear and we are still in winter with 25 degrees!
It is de rigueur to have a proper outfit in Tonga : knees and shoulders should be covered for the Papalangui who designates the white European man.
We go to the island of Pangaimotu 1mile from Nuku'Alofa. White sand and coconut trees are part of the landscape but many shipwrecks recall the passage of cyclones – the most recent being in 2018.
The tour of the island is fast, the water is fresh ( beer Philip too) compared to Polynesia, but soon summer is coming and we will be able to "abandon" our polar in the evening!
Our next stop : ha'apai Centre Islands.