Tonga – Week 3

We have had a great time sailing around Tonga again. From Nuku’alofa to the Vava’u group in the north. We will stop at few new Islands in the middle Ha’apai group on the way back. It has been fun sailing with Nicole and Colby. Nicole is the navigator and takes it pretty seriously as one should.

We have done a few dives enroute and the coral has been beautiful with 100ft of visibility. In the Virgin Islands visibility was normally 30ft. On one dive I came upon two Lion fish together in a little cave. One was a foot long and the other 8 inches. At first I thought they were plants but upon closer inspection I realized they were rarely spotted Lion fish, at least they were the first I have ever seen.

The whales have left Tonga for Antarctica and soon we must leave for New Zealand ( a 7day 1000mile trip). We will probably leave latter in the week but never on a Friday.

Love Gary

So now for Captain Nicole

As dad said, we have been sailing all around the Tongan Islands for the past week and a half. We have had great weather for sailing, and when we finally reach our destination, we spend a lot of time exploring, diving and relaxing. All the lush green islands, huge reefs and sandy beaches really excite the adventurous side of the soul!
Now as some of you may know – I am not the most adventurous person on earth. I am actually an admitted worry wort – a fact my family has been aware of for numerous years. So I was not surprised by my dad’s gift when we arrived in Tonga. Since he knew we would have plenty of time for reading on the trip, he thoughtfully bought me a book for the journey…its title is “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” Yes, laugh it up…but it really is a good book. ;)
And it is a good thing he got it for me too! Because being out here and doing all these dives out in the middle of the ocean, at random little reefs and islands, really means I have to confront my fears in order to get my head under the water and begin my dive. Of course, dad and Colby are avid divers, and though I have been certified since I was 16, I have always had what one would refer to as a “healthy respect” for the ocean and all its large, man-eating creatures.
Therefore, it is pretty notable that on two of the last dives I have seen white tip reef sharks – one of those creatures of which I would prefer never to have to be sharing a reef with. Colby, being the observant dive instructor, notices them before I do. The first one he saw was when we had just gotten 50 ft below the water at the entrance to a cave dive. I was blissfully unaware of its presence until he tapped me in the shoulder and then made the sign for a shark (flat hand against the forehead). I instantly gripped his shoulders in a death lock, frantically shook my head, and refused to turn around to look at it. I assume that at the time I was deludedly thinking that if I did not see it, it would not see me.
Well, after a minute of worrying, I literally turned around and faced my fear. Ahhhh it was just a little guy! Four feet maybe? Certainly not large enough to bite me in half! And so I confronted my fear and felt quite proud of myself. And as the predator disappeared into the deep blue water, I was able to enjoy the rest of my dive shark-free. J
Of course dad and Colby don’t consider it a big deal to be diving with sharks. It’s old news to them. As most of you read in previous emails, dad has been diving with hundreds of sharks all the way across the Pacific and he is still in one piece. But of course, my dad is the type of person who will never need to read a book about how to stop worrying; he is brave, and rarely scared of anything. He faces problems as they come to him and doesn’t waste time worrying. I am not sure where all my worrying comes from, but I try to learn from my adventurous dad every day we’re down here…and of course I still have to finish that book!


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