..and Taunga Islands, which are joined to each other by a narrow isthmus of beach and bush. Off our bow is Tauta, to the starboard is Leke Leka, and Pau, which is joined to Ngau by a miraculous causeway of fine tropical sand at half tide and below, is just behind us. All these islands are pin cushions of limestone festooned with coconut palms. We're anchored in a shallow sand flat and the water around us will turn green and turquoise in the full daylight.
It rained last night, hard enough that the deck awning collected enough water to fill the twenty liter jug in the cockpit. I usually wake up at the first drops of rain and close the various hatches, but I was so lost in sleep last night that I didn't stir, so there was a bit of mopping up to do this morning.
All around us clouds tower into the sky, speaking of great volumes of heated air streaming up into the atmosphere, the scale and drama of tropical weather. We have every chance of putting more water into the tanks today.
This is one of the more beautiful spots that we've seen in Vava'u, and, strangely enough in this island group of heaving anchorages, there isn't another boat in sight. And, while the Vava'u gets a visit from nearly every trans-Pacific yacht, just a day to the south is the entire Ha'apai group, mostly empty of yachts, and not too far to the north and east is Penrhyn, which is likely to end the season with fewer than ten yacht visits.
So the herd instinct remains dominant for traveling boats. We're happy to flee the group to find these idyllic spots for ourselves. But there are also a lot of very remarkable people in this mass of traveling boats, people with fantastic stories to tell. And of course we are always on the lookout for other kids to play with.
So we dip in and out of the social mix, alternately retreating to life on our own and branching out to meet like-minded people. One of my long-standing grievances about these crowded sailing scenes is the way that boats tend to aggregate by nationality when they're socializing. There is of course a commonality of outlook that makes it particularly easy to hang out with others of your own nationality - "but where does that leave us?" I half-joke to Alisa - "Hanging out with all the Americans while they talk about their watermakers!" More seriously, though, it always seemed like a shame to leave home to travel the world and then socialize with your fellow-countrypersons while doing so...