Our final day of sailing greeted us with a glittering morning amid the Vava’u Island group. A whale fluke breached the water as we passed our first island, preparing us for the grand entrance. With all hands on deck, we readied the vaka; dressing the traditional crab claw boom with its crisp unused sails. We rounded the final corner for our final stretch. On lookers with great curiosity and coconuts in great proportions, provided our first breathtaking picture of the Vava’u life in its serenity.
Our first step on land was made with great pride for our accomplishment. Hugs and laughter all round after such an incredible journey. For some of us, the voyage was a return to our prefered life on the sea. Others had found a new love, learning the skies and wind, feeling larger waves for the first time. The rebirth of this magnificent vaka was complete and its first ocean passage a great success.
Our vaka, known on the Islands as a kalia, now sits pretty on its mooring, ready for a new chapter in Vava’u. In Aunofo’s well experienced hands, it will be used to show visitors the island group and the great natural beauty encompassed by its deep sea. People around the island have been excited to hear about the new kalia on the island and see this beautiful boat for themselves. They love meeting us sailors who undertook this great ocean voyage to bring it to them. It is now part of the rich tradition and culture of Tongan life, a new chapter building on the legacy of their ancestors.