We work as ecotourism guides (as well as biologist and boat captain) often on the BC Coast, but also as far ranging as the Arctic and Antarctic. We have an insatiable curiousity for the planet; all its hidden gems and what makes them tick. That and our love of sailing is what inspired us to sail around the Pacific in Narama, our tough and pretty little sailboat.
During our first week in Vava’u, Tonga we spent getting our feet on the ground and did a little exploring. We found a lovely bakery in town (Neiafu), spent some time in the morning market for provisions, then we sailed out the harbour to explore a few of the islands. We tucked into the lagoon of HungaIsland with one of the narrowest entrance channels we’ve been through. We walked through the sleepy village and along a trail in the mango trees. Then we sailed around into the bight of Nuapapu to snorkel the coral gardens.
Our dramatic dingy-launch finish!
This was all the exploring we had time for before we sailed back into NeiafuHarbour for the beginning of Regatta Vava’u Festival. We haven’t taken part in any sailing rally’s or festivals with Narama before. This local festival is the brain child of a few cruisers who fell in love with Vava’u seven years ago when they were sailing across the Pacific and never sailed further. It was the perfect combination of fun yacht racing, costume dance party in the full moon and lots of other siller events, so it suited us just fine. The light winds meant that the racing didn’t get too dramatic. We were happy that we didn’t embarrass ourselves and placed third in the first race which included boats up to 42 feet (ie should be much faster than our 33 feet!) The final race back into the harbour included a dinghy launch with the finish line inside the pub! The fact that we don’t have an engine on our dingy was a serious disadvantage, but it did not deter us. Instead of flying ashore at 20 knots we launched our “dink” at the end of the dinghy dock while Narama was still underway, it was a dramatic finish!
At the end of the festival was another party to hand our some prizes. There were prizes given for all sorts of things: best dressed boat, best costumes at the first party, participations in events and of course the races. The trophies for the races were local carvings with the winning boat’s name and they were very smart. We won a free dive trip for our participation in everything and also received a certificate made of the traditional Tapa cloth. We think that the organizers did a great job and we certainly had fun!