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The Beauty Of Port Maurelle

After a few days at Hunga we decided it was time to move on and check out another anchorage. The exit from Hunga went very well. Those shallow entrances and exits make me very anxious. After all, I’m the one on the bow calling out whether or not I think we should go forward. The last thing I want is to read the water incorrectly. Fortunately we escape disaster yet again. Thank you Lord!
We head to Port Maurelle, an anchorage on the southeast end of Kapa Island. It’s just an hour or so north and is one of the more beautiful anchorages we’ve seen here in Tonga. We were here last year and absolutely loved it. The water is crystal clear and the beach is so beautiful. It’s a place you could hang out for a very long time.
After we arrive and get settled on a mooring Dan puts the motor on the dink and we head to shore. I wanted to get in a bit of shelling and he’s just happy laying on the dink enjoying the surroundings. I found some absolutely beautiful shells on the beach. I only take a few when I go and I am always checking to be sure I’m not getting one with a critter inside. We enjoy a lovely afternoon on the beach and then head back to Dazzler to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings as we sit in the back seat sipping our ice-cold libations. Yes, sometimes it is all sunsets and cocktails.
Just before sunset a man came around in a small boat to collect the mooring fee. He’s the same man we met last year. He even offers to show us his badge to ensure we know he’s legit. This anchorage is part of a special management area and therefore is subject to an anchor/mooring fee. You also are prohibited from fishing or taking shellfish in these areas. The mooring fee is $20 Pa’anga and it’s $15 Pa’anga to anchor. The fee is not a nightly fee either. You pay it once and never have to pay it again unless you leave and come back. Then you’d pay the fee again. It’s a pretty sweet deal and the moorings are really secure. The concrete block on our mooring was at least 800 lbs and it had close to a 1” chain on it. That’s pretty secure!
The following morning we awake to an absolutely beautiful day. The sun is out and the water is clear and calm. We decide to head out to the end of Kapa Island to see Swallows Cave. It’s something everyone says you have to see. Last year the weather wasn’t good when we were here so we missed it. We take the dink out to the pointe which is about a mile and a half away. When we arrive there is a dive boat that just arrived so we scoot around them to get to the cave before they are all in the water so we can get some good pics.
The cave is actually large enough to drive the dink into so we slowly head through the entrance. It’s AMAZING! There’s a huge hole in the ceiling of the cave where the light comes down at the perfect time off day. Unfortunately it’s started to cloud up so we don’t get the magnificent light show but it’s definitely a wonderful sight to see. One sad note is that someone appears to have scaled down from above and have painted graffiti on a couple of the walls. Yes, even in paradise you find complete fools with a lack of respect for anything.
After spending some time at the cave we head back to Dazzler. The bay is getting a bit more choppy so we’re glad we timed our trip as we did. We no sooner get on board when the bottom drops out of the sky. I have to say though, even when it’s raining flying foxes and pigs it’s pretty beautiful out here.
Speaking of flying foxes. They are all over this place. Around sunset you will see them flying around looking for food. They never get quite close enough to get a good picture but I found one on Pixabay.com that will show you what they look like. They are quite large and really cool to watch as they fly about.
After a couple of hours the rain begins to subside. Dan’s taking a nap and I go outside to see what’s going on. I see a boat headed our way. Dang! I was hoping to have this all to ourselves. But, I check on the AIS and see that it is SV Manna. Curtis and Julie have become friends of ours out here. I guess if you have to have company it’s nice to have friends. Julie and I chat on the radio and decide to do sundowners on Dazzler that evening. Later SV Julia and SV Sea Casa showed up as well. It’s a big enough bay that we can all fit here without being on top of each other so all is good.
It turns out to be an absolutely beautiful afternoon so we jump in the water and do some snorkeling. The water is so clear you can see at least a hundred feet in any direction. The reef was full of fish and while there is some dead coral it does appear to be fairly healthy. I spotted something hunkered down in a hole. It was really large and white and looked like some sort of lobster or shrimp. Dan tried to coax it out of the hole but couldn’t so we’ll never know exactly what was in that hole.
Later Julie & Curtis came over and we shared sundowners and appetizers. Curtis made fresh sourdough rolls that afternoon. They were still warm when they arrived. That was a special treat! We enjoyed a lovely evening in the cockpit chatting about sailing, places we’d been and those we hope to see. Dan even got out his ukulele and entertained us with a few songs. Yep, it was a wonderful evening!
Until next time,
Jilly & Dan

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