Happy Days – Ha’apai, Tonga

Toucan anchored off Nukupule Island, Ha'apai
Toucan anchored off Nukupule Island, Ha’apai

Well, the good news is that George, our autopilot, is back on duty after downing tools for a while. Maybe he just needed a rest after working hard for the last 10,000NM. The other good news is that we’re having the best time in these wonderful remote islands.

our own uninhabited castaway island - Nukupule
our own uninhabited castaway island – Nukupule

The only slight cloud hovering over us is that we don’t know exactly what the problem was with George, and whether it’ll occur again. We were motoring between islands when the message “No Pilot” popped up on the control unit. And indeed, just like that, he’d gone AWOL. Searching through the manuals the only scrap of information we could find indicated it could be a problem with the course computer. So Bruce checked the fuse – no problem there, unplugged the connections and checked them – all OK. checked the voltage to the unit, all OK. Re-connected the wires….and hey presto he was back! We’ve taken him out on a test run and he behaved impeccably. Without knowing exactly what caused the problem, it’s pointless trying to get spare parts. So we hope and pray that he can stay on duty and get us safely to New Zealand.

Meanwhile we’ve become a herd of cats, enjoying the company of Phileas and Rehua, and spending our days diving, snorkelling and beach-combing. It’s going to be hard to tear ourselves away from these magic islands but we can hear the clock ticking and we’re checking the weather gribs daily. There’s an opportunity coming up this weekend that may give us a weather window to NZ, and we’re waiting for confirmation from the weather guru, Bob McDavitt, who we’ve engaged to do a passage plan for us. In the meantime we’ll make the most of our time here in this special paradise, and who knows, we may even get to catch ourselves some lobster for the barbecue. Life is good.

Three cats in the neighbourhood
Three cats in the neighbourhood

the active volcano in the distance
the active volcano in the distance

Ha'apai sunset
Ha’apai sunset




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