Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Couple of Days at Vaka'eitu (Anchorage 16)

We have had a steady succession of Lows blowing through Tonga, but we did manage to escape the moorings for a couple of days at Nuapupu's south anchorage, known as Vaka'eitu. Also known as Anchorage 16.

The Tongan dialect, a variation of the same Polynesian language we have been hearing all the way across the Pacific, is full of vowels. To an english-speaking person, the names of places around here are often unpronounceable. When poorly pronounced, it is difficult to distinguish WHERE a person is talking about. So the Moorings charter outfit here, has published their guide with anchorage numbers. Most cruisers don't even bother to learn the Tongan names for the anchorages they are in, but use the Moorings anchorage numbers. But we are trying to learn the proper names as we cruise around.

The recommended anchoring spot at Vaka'eitu is situated for the prevailing SouthEasterly winds, which we haven't seen in weeks. And our friends on Shango beat us to it, so we made a new recommended anchoring spot for N-NW winds. We anchored in about 35' at 18-43.29S / 174-06.10W. We couldn't see the bottom, but could hear our chain rubbing on rock or coral. It didn't feel like a great spot, but we held OK in the squally weather overnight.

The rain quit for a day, and though it was still overcast, we did manage to go snorkle in 3 places near the anchorage. The "Coral Gardens" on the reef to the north, turned out to be outstanding. (Approx 18-47.82S / 174-06.16W) Beautiful clear water and fantastic coral growth. We'd like to come back and make a dive there, if the weather ever turns nice. We did manage, a near high tide and mild wave conditions, to drive the dinghies out over the reef from inside the anchorage area to deep water.

Another spot with some nice coral and diveable depths is along the wall to the south, at approx 18-46.65S / 174-05.51W. Though both of these spots would only be accessible in very light winds, if the wind was out of the east.

We had another low pressure area go by while we were at Vaka'eitu, and the weather got very nasty overnight, but it is a pretty well-protected anchorage. There's a bit of a fetch from the NE, but it is still inside a lagoon. It is very protected from SE around to NNE.

In the next break in the weather, we moved back to Neiafu. The long range forecast is for more bad stuff coming, and we wanted to use the break to get some internet and stock up for the 10 days of bad weather in the forecast.
Sherry & Dave
Hanging out in Tonga for cyclone season!

At 02/01/2012 3:25 AM (utc) our position was 18°39.77'S 173°58.93'W

No comments:

Post a Comment