Trip to Tonga and Fiji, 2019

24th Jun 2020
My wife, Fiona, daughter Ashleigh and myself left Auckland on June 8th, 2019 on our Bavaria 39 cruiser, "Pennygowan", bound for the island of Tongatapu. After a very fresh start from Auckland in southwesterley winds gusting to 50 knots, we had a great sail the rest of the way to Tongatapu. On the way we stopped at the North Minerva reef for a night. An incredible spot, with only the circular reef above water at low tide.
From Tongatapu we visited island in the Haapai Group of Tonga. Beautiful tropical islands in tourquoise seas. On the way being accompanied by a group of Humpback whales- spectacular.With a forecast change to strong easterley winds for the next few weeks we headed north to the Vavau group of islands.There we visited many beautiful anchorages and snorkelled into Mariners Cave and Swallows Cave- two not to be missed adventures.
From Tonga we headed to Fiji, a 3 day sail in good conditions except for a passing front and 35 knot winds as we sailed through the Lau Group of Fiji. Fiji consists of a large group of approximately 343 islands, of which we only managed to visit 20 to 30. This took us 3.5 months and was an amazing trip, visiting many villages and doing the Sevusevu ceremony with the local chief, walking over and snorkelling around the beautiful islands.
We left Fiji towards the end of October, 2019 and arrived back in Opua, New Zealand after a very good 8 day trip although we had to detour to practically Norfolk island to avoid headwinds.
I did many small sketch paintings as we sailed through Tonga and Fiji. In Fiji at one island I had a large collection of villagers watch me for the 2 hours it took to complete the painting, one of them videoing me for the 2 hours! Must have been the art teacher?

This is a trip we hope to repeat, to maybe Fiji and New Caledonia, once the Covid 19 virus problems have been sorted.

Trip to Italy 9th Sep 2011
Pacific Trip 2012 29th Aug 2012
Trip to France in May 2014 2nd Sep 2014
New J Class painting 13th Mar 2016
New "America" 1851, Isle of Wight painting. 14th Aug 2018
Another new "America" 1851, Isle of Wight painting 14th Aug 2018
New paintings uploaded to the website 16th Aug 2022



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