The check-in process is a lengthy one, including a 12 page document. The officials were very friendly, and even drove us to the local bank to get the local currency for our fees. While we were waiting for one of the officials, we were able to walk over to the local craft market just down the way. The artisans craft many lovely whale bone creations. Each of us purchased many treasures during our visits. Shaun spoke to one of the fellows, and asked if he would be able to carve out of whale bone Element in pendant form. He successfully did so within a couple of days. The fruit and veggie market is very close to the craft market as well.
|views as we arrived|
Once we had our laundry, we untied from the wharf and headed over to Port Morrel to anchor. Windancer IV was there to greet. They invited us over for a movie night to watch "This is 40". Super funny movie!
|swimming through to the under water cave|
|one of many cave enterances|
|it looks like a face|
Not far from the anchorage we happened upon a beautiful sandy outcrop. It was beckoning to us. We decided to listen, and make the detour to investigate. It had several blue starfish, and great beach-combing opportunities. Manuel was gracious enough to head back to Element to rouse the rest of the Element crew. He brought back Shaun and the girls, along with the drone, and a few beverages.
|drone shot of the sand beach|
|group shot with the drone|
|Ziggy took this photo from the water|
|the lovely starfish|
On July 23 we went swimming with the humpback whales. Humpback whales, and their young are usually in Tonga from July to October, providing people an opportunity to swim with them legally with a tour group. Tonga is the only place in the world where this is possible, "legally". It is expensive but, well worth the money!
|Mom and baby|
|the Uoleva Island beach|
|near the beach bar|
On our way into town from the wharf, we encountered a large sow wandering freely, munching on the grass. We walked along the streets in search of the customs office. The customs office is a red and white building, one block up from the wharf and about a block past the visitor center. If you get to the police station, you have gone too far. On our way back, we all had lunch at a small cafe. We picked up our last Digicel TopUp and headed back to Element in preparation for our departure. At 4:00 pm Shaun and I went in to grab family sized pizzas for dinner (not recommended as they tasted like cardboard). We weighed anchor and started our passage toFiji. This was our last passage with Naddia and Manuel. They were flying out of Fiji, back to Germany to start new adventures on land.
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