It was at around four this morning that the Tsunami warnings went off here in Tonga. Apparently this region of the Pacific received a meter high wave courtesy of the Chilean earth quake. For us here aboard Feelin' Good it was thankfully a non-event. Art has informed me that I slept through the whole thing, so I have no recollection of the tsunami's arrival. I will have no exciting stories to tell, our we were in Tonga when the tsunami hit headline actually leads nowhere, just more click-bate folks, nothing even remotely life threatening took place. Actually the total truth is even funnier, we just got word that here in the harbor where we are currently anchored, the effects of the tsunami amounted to a measurable and quite meager four inches (10 cm); so much for excitement. The local radio chatter this morning was all about how the local minister regaled of his harrowing experience moving his family to higher ground during the night: oh drama, thou art thy life's blood...
Tonga is an interesting place, and once again, we were surprised at what we found when we arrived here exhausted after thirteen-hundred miles of choppy, bumpy, crossed seas. But ever since our first arrival in Marquesas it's been this way, a constant stream of surprises. Read all the guide books you want, but nothing tells the whole truth like actually arriving in the place. Customs was cordial if not lengthy, two very large gentlemen arrived on-board wearing bright yellow safety vests and standard dark blue uniforms: immigration and quarantine....did you know the word Quarantine is from the Italian Quaranta? Anyhoo, they seemed like a nice couple of guys, they even invited us to join them for beers and to watch a rugby game at the local bar. The next gentleman to arrive on board was the customs official, wearing magnificent traditional dress: a fabulous flowered shirt and long dark blue sarong neatly folded and tied at the waste, there is just something exciting about seeing a man, in this case quite large and highly masculine, wearing a long skirt in such a way that he not only carries it off, it leaves you wondering why more men don't adopt the practice.
Flag selling is a thing here...as dawn broke after our arrival the previous evening, when we were all trying to get some much needed sleep, a local man in a small boat woke us up to inform us our Tonga courtesy flag was much too small, and we should purchase a larger one from him. Later that morning more boats arrived, all purveyors in the fine red and white colors of the Kingdom of Tonga. On shore, Art was greeted by still more flag vendors, like I said, it's a thing here. But our "little" Tonga flag that is currently faithfully fluttering from the mast will stay put, we will honor it and keep it as no nation's flag, no matter how minuscule its physical manifestation, is insignificant.
A croissant is French, while a cornetto is the Italian version. Just as I find it stimulating and wonderful to see a man confidently sporting a long skirt in public, a mature man cooking confidently in the kitchen is something I have always found to be irresistibly attractive. One of those signposts of true manhood that tells the observer the current trend toward permanent male adolescence is not all encompassing after all. The weather here being rather wet and grey has turned us all towards more indoor activities, so Giamma decided it was time for some baking. He and Carmen spent the rainy afternoon rolling out handmade pastry dough together as Pino Danielle played through the sound system. What was, no doubt, a lovely and romantic experience for Carmen and Giamma however, is now a delicious experience for the rest of us as we enjoy the fresh baked goodies with coffee for our colazione. Ivan being especially passionate in all things carefully filled his with Nutella, then with an expression of pure joy savored each bite.
There be Whales! Yes it's whale season here in Tonga, we are currently working on a whale watching/snorkeling excursion for when the weather clears. We had a tantalizing sample when we arrived in Nuie last week. As we were dropping anchor in the harbor a group of Humpbacks began rising on either side of FG's hull; guarda la balena! Then an extremely large one, nearly the length of the boat, rose just off our stern, then gently rolling on its belly began splashing its tail in the water as if to say "hello! Welcome to Nuie!" But most likely he was probably saying; "you stupid tourists! You've disturbed my breakfast!" At any rate it was quite the experience. More to come from Tonga, we are Feelin' Good!!!
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