Monday, May 28, 2012

More on Pangai

We suffered through a couple of windy days anchored off Pangai, mainly because we had internet there, which was nice.

One morning we heard a long loud horn blowing, and popped our head out of the cabin to see one of the Tongan big red ferries bearing down on us from the SW. We had specifically tried to anchor SW of the entrance to the harbor, to be out of the way of what we perceived as the main channel. But it turned out we anchored right in the main approach lane for ferries coming from Tongatapu. Apparently they come straight in and pick up a marker off Uoleva, and then turn 45 degrees or so and run up the coast of Lifuka, using the marker on Hakau Loa reef and then direct to the Hakau Vonu light right off Pangai harbor. If you anchored where Ken's Guide or Sailingbird Guide placed their anchor spots, you would probably be OK, but we were between them. (We had anchored where the wifi was strongest, of course!!) Ken's waypoint is definitely more out of the way, but a farther dinghy ride.

When the ferries exit to the north, they head virtually straight out the way the harbor points, toward the marker at the end of the reef off the airport. Neither of the 2 ferries that came and went as we were anchored there seemed too fazed by having to navigate between anchored yachts. Dave called the first one on the radio and offered to move, but he didn't slow down and just went right between us and another boat. Both ferries we saw came and went during daylight hours. But if I were anchoring there, I'd for sure have a good anchor light.

We went back into the market on Friday morning and were astounded to find the best leafy lettuce we've seen in 6 months--much better than anything we'd been able to get in Neiafu. But no tomatoes, snake beans, carrots, cabbage or anything else resembling crispy vegetables. Just the typical Tongan "roots and fruits". We did find some avocados for sale at Mariner's Cafe.

Finally, a word of caution to other cruisers. We have gotten pretty lax in Tonga--it seemed pretty safe and crime-free in Neiafu, and in our 6 months there had never heard of anything being stolen from a yacht. But we had our dinghy anchor stolen from our dinghy while at the smaller fisherman's dock in Pangai. It was in the dinghy in a bag, and unfortunately we didn't notice that it was gone until after we'd left. They were probably mostly after our 150' of nearly new double-braid (which we use for diving and towing the dinghy with us). Now we are anchorless--this is one of the few items aboard that we don't have a spare for.

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