Pacific Ocean

Ylang Ylang in Tonga

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The passage from Niue to Tonga took 2 unhurried days; we wanted to arrive in daylight. We passed the Date Line and from being Tuesday, it was suddenly Wednesday! I tied knots in my brain and the notion of relativity took over my head at that moment. I also realized that unhurriedly, without really noticing, we have covered a good half of our round the world trip! Full of memories! I have the impression that we have experienced more in these last 4 years, than in the previous 10. Yet my desire to travel, discover, encounter remains intact, and the sea still fascinates me just as much. We reached the north of the Vava’u Group at daybreak. Tonga consists of more than 160 coral and volcanic islands, just 36 of which are inhabited. The Vava’u Group is a labyrinth of small islands and reefs which offers a very beautiful cruising area. We were welcomed by some whales; they come to give birth in these waters. We arrived at the visitor’s quay at the entrance to the town, and late in the morning an old man came aboard for a health inspection. He asked us a few questions, filled out his form with difficulty, and went away. We had to wait until the afternoon for the customs and immigration to visit us. Everyone was smiling and rather pleasant. The men had the regulation shirt with epaulettes, tattoos and a beard, but on the other hand, a skirt for the bottom half. According to the legend, a group of sailors arrived in Tonga in a boat, with their clothes torn by the storm. They then cut up their boat’s sail, to drape themselves in it. The Emperor, touched by their sacrifice to appear presentable to him, decreed that this would from then on be the ceremonial garment. In the 20th century, the Queen (Tonga is an independent monarchy) decided that the ta’ovala would be part of the uniform for civil servants and school children. The traditional ta’ovala is made up of a mat wound round the waist, held in place at the waist by a kafa, and is worn by both men and women. We are next going to sail to Fiji before New Caledonia, the final stage of our voyage.

Who: Marie-Paule, Martial & Adrien.
Boat: Ylang Ylang, Lagoon 421
Where:  Tonga, Pacific Ocean

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