"Arctracer" Letters

Arrived Vava'u, Tonga, Aug 2003

We were lucky to get the 8:30 am flight from Tongatapu to Vava'u on the 22nd (flying standby). It was great to see the small Tongan Islands from a small plane. We are finally getting used to the time change and have the energy to let you know we are safely on board again. After taking a taxi into town from the small airport we found Pete and Judi floating towards the dock in the dinghy. They saw us and picked us up with our carry-on luggage. Yesterday we got 3 out of 4 suitcases but are still awaiting the last piece of luggage. Judi decided that she wanted one empty suitcase and the other two are now in the hands of the employees of a guy we borrowed some tools and boards from to fix the prop. When the backpack arrives, we'll keep that on board for future trips home.

(view photos of Tonga from plane)

Presently, we're on a beach and have just fixed our starboard propeller, which had gotten a little loose in reverse gear. We've also put the last of a tin of antifouling paint on the rudders and on a few scratches on the bottom.

We're hoping to sail out of Tonga by Friday for Western Samoa. We've heard that there is an annual celebration there the first part of September and are keen to see some more cultural dances, singing, etc. Pete and Judi will be sailing with us for a while as they have never been to Samoa. They took wonderful care of our boat while we were away, made several improvements and have been a tremendous help since our arrival too.