Hey Everyone, Sorry its been so long since we last wrote, as usual we are working our butts off here at Kitesurf Tonga!
Getting ready for housesitters was a big job at the end of last year at Kitesurf Tonga…we thought we would get a medium sized boat all ready for them so they had a bit more than the rubber ducky. So we found a boat in pangai that had been wrecked since the cyclone…we fixed her up and i called her meredith. We had her put in the water in pangai after she had been anti fouled by a local tongan man. We put our 15hp yamaha on the back once she was in the water and she was fabulous…I was out snorkelling the day we got her and i had a look at the anti foul and realised that it had not dried and half of it was no longer there…so the next day we took the boat back to the guy at pangai to put more anti foul on…We had the boat going fine and one day maybe a couple of weeks later Glen accidentally dropped the engine into the water when he was taking it off for some reason…I can’t remember what the reason was now…but a wave came and rocked the boat and in went the engine. Could i hear glen calling me from the boat as he was still holding the engine that was in the water but hadn’t gone down yet as he was holding on with all his might? the answer is no…i didn’t hear him from the house. I was having a lovely shower…cleaning up a little …so the first i heard about it was Glen yelling at me from the shoreline. I went over and said ‘whats up?’ and he said ‘put on your snorkelling stuff and lets go’. I said ‘why?’…he said ‘just do it’.. i had no idea what was in store for me…i ran back to the house put the wetsuit back on…grabbed my fins and mask and off i went back to Glen. It was then that he told me what had happened. There was no conversation out to the boat…lol Anyway i dove down tied a rope around it and glen hoisted it back up. We then popped it in the rubber ducky and Glen managed to fix it up. Not a huge big deal if the engine was not running as it entered the water 🙂
One day….Glen was out putting the centre console in the boat and some seating. We were going to put the 50hp on the boat as the 10hp on the rubber ducky had died so we needed to switch the 15hp onto the rubber boat whilst the 10hp got fixed. I was out snorkelling and chatting to him and said why don’t you put the 15hp in the kayak when your finished and take it to shore whilst your at it…I helped Glen put the engine in the kayak and left him to it. He was doing the steering cables etc so was going to be half an hour or so. I came back and showered…keeping an eye to see if Glen was coming back as i needed to help him with the engine. I noticed that the kayak wasn’t at the boat anymore so i quickly got dressed and started to walk down to the beach..thats when i noticed that the kayak was nowhere near the shore or the boat…it was drifting out to sea and was about 700m from the boat..i then noticed Glen was swimming for the kayak…I ran back to the house and put my wetsuit back on grabbed my fins and mask and ran back to the beach. I almost jumped in…then i saw that the kayak was now about 2km from the shore…Shit there was no way i was going to be able to make it quickly to help glen who still hadnt made it to the kayak. I ran back up to the common fale grabbed a SUP like it was a handbag and threw it into the water. I am not A paddler…i have never been a paddler…i hate paddling. So i started to paddle…and paddle…and then i could no longer see glen..he wasn’t in the kayak…being on the water made it hard to see him. I started screaming as soon as i saw some splashing..glen was faltering and still hadn’t made it to the kayak. I stopped screaming and started paddling. Glens life was depending on me making it to him or him making it to the kayak. At last with the kayak 2.5km offshore or more i saw Glen climb into it…I then noticed the kayak paddle floating near me..i grabbed it and continued paddling to Glen. He was exhausted. It was terrifying ..the whole experience. Poor Glen thought he was a goner…but he didn’t give up and we rowed back to the boat where lofa was waiting. To this day i am so glad Lofa did not jump in and follow Glen, he sat in the boat watching us.
It turned out…none of this mattered in the end…the house sitters had some very bad luck and sunk the boat..yep the entire boat with the engine…the remains of the boat can sometimes be seen up at the kite point depending on how much sand movement is going on. We retrieved the engine..it is dead.
The other big job we got done before we went away last year was replacing the water tower…the state of it was frightening…so rusted out. Glen put his mind and tools to work and designed a new one and built it himself. What a feat in 30knots of wind 🙂
Cows – an update on the cow situation…we went away and bought a 12v electric fence system…all the papaya trees that were knocked over or eaten by the cows were growing back magnificently..resilient trees! So we thought we had better protect them this time from the pesky cows. We put the wire up around all the papaya trees and left it for a week…no disturbance HOWEVER all the papaya trees have been eaten…no we didn’t turn the fence on in that week but the wire (which is thin enough for a cow to break/walk through) was not disturbed – still as we put them up! There is no way a cow can lean into the area as they would have to reach 3m! Do we have giraffes on the island? Is it pigs? tall pigs…hmmmm Good news is they didn’t go into my veggie garden which we have fenced off with chicken wire. There are two papaya trees in there but they are untouched. We are now powering up the electric fence so we will see what happens. After powering it up one night i went outside to chase a wild cat away and had my torch on. It was about 2.30am and i shined the light over to the papaya tree area and low and behold there was the biggest pig i had ever seen eating the papayas. He had managed to get underneath the electric fence and was having a grand old time in there. He looked to be about 200kg and i had to shoo him away. The torch didn’t scare him but as soon as i said go on then…off he went. So we need to lower the fence for pigs or put another length of wire around a bit lower. These papaya trees just really don’t get a break do they?!
We were away for just under five weeks at Xmas. It unfortunately did not end up one of the greatest of holidays as we received word whilst we were away that both our puppies, Lofa and Alan, were poisoned. They both passed away after our house sitters trying to save them. Our house sitters really went above and beyond to save our beloved dogs and we were so appreciative. We will never forget Lofa and Alan and the beautiful natures they had. Thank you for all your kind words and thoughts during this time, we really appreciate it. Unfortunately our loss did not end there…Lily one of our cats that we bought over from NZ that we had for five years disappeared too. I don’t believe she was poisoned but i do believe she died and didn’t run away. I would like to think she is roaming the island but knowing her nature as our house cat and food habits i just don’t believe this is so. We have yet to get some new puppies…it so hard losing animals that become your family.
Building works are happening again here at Fanifo Lofa! We started our staff fale last year and have continued on building it. Glen has been chainsawing his heart out, in the bush cutting planks of coconut for the weather boarding. We have built 95% of the fale out of natural materials and it is just gorgeous. It is set back behind the existing fales and will sleep two staff during our windy season. We have two staff travelling to help out at Kitesurf Tonga this year. Alan is going to help out with all things kiting and boating and Joyce is helping out in the kitchen. We are so thankful to have some help this year and we are really looking forward to enjoying some awesome kitesurfing with our guests. The staff fale will have a shower and toilet block built next to it and this is our next project. Alan will possibly be here to assist with this build.
Last year we ate a lot of our meals in the common fale, this year at Kitesurf Tonga we would like to introduce our new bbq area! We are building a small outdoor eating area next to the common fale. We plan to have a lot of our meals outdoors this year which is very exciting! We are fencing off the area with coconut planks, creating a bbq – made out of an old metal petrol drum on coconut legs, building a pizza oven – design and build will be courtesy of Alan who is a bit of a pizza oven guru. Glen is famous for his pizzas and we cannot wait to share pizza night with you all 🙂 Digging the holes for the fence was hot hard sweaty work…this was my job as i am still not allowed near a chainsaw so glen was off cutting trees. It only took a few hours in the morning so i shouldn’t whinge too much but it is directly in the beating sun and its like 33degrees…feels like 50 degrees 🙂 oops there goes the whinging 🙂 Glen was cutting madly with the chainsaw..i think he has lost about five kg this week lol…and i started to put the planks up on the fence all on my lonesome. Felt so grown up with the big nail gun 🙂 A builder in the making 🙂 The table we are making is ummm..very creative. Everything is made out of natural materials that we have found around the island. Glen and i thought long and hard about how we were going to make this table..It is quite a structure to say the least. We have dug 43 holes at 400mm deep just for the table…ummmm hello! I am sure it will be amazing..I have been varnishing all the beautiful timber we have found from dead trees on the beach and around our area. The kite shed is now officially the wood varnishing area. Each time i would start varnishing..it would start to rain…so i would move all the wood under shelter…then move it all back again…etc etc…so when the cyclone prep was happening i just moved it all into the kite shed and discovered that this is by far the easiest place to keep it 🙂
Other building works we are hopefully going to have time for is the kitchen extension. When we built our common fale at Kite Surf Tonga we thought the kitchen had ample space however after the first season we realised we need more room. So that is what we will do – put a door in the side of the existing structure and extend..this new room will hold all the fridges and be used for food storage. I cannot wait to get out all my herbs and spices and have them on display so i can easily reach them and get inspired for the latest curry 🙂 Of course this means more holes…and we all love digging here..NOT! there is a hardwood tree root right where one of the piles needs to go, this is going to be hard yakka getting that out and digging the holes. Its not that we are afraid of hard work and digging..its the heat in which we are working in. It is a killer 🙂 but onwards upwards and all the rest we will get there.
Cyclone Winston visited us in the past couple of weeks…from checking out the forecast we got quite concerned about the intensity of wind it was going to bring. So we basically went into full lockdown mode. Everything that could possible be damaged came inside and all the fales were locked up tight…bars on doors…shutters on the windows..all the beds and cupboards etc were all moved and covered. We experienced a day that had a few hours of 60-70knts as the cyclone was heading north up to Vavau. The wind direction was E and NE so we were well protected in here. It was amazing to watch the trees bend and the surf get huge. We had a few leaks in our house which we patched up the next day. Unfortunately the generator decided to pack it in and we have been without running water for a couple of weeks now as it was powering the water pump. We have a new one coming and some other solar stuff we needed. The point took a battering with the 9m swell coming through and you can see all the sand has moved and even the spooky tree got washed away..bit sad as we wanted to keep that there forever! The point will build back up again and we are going to clear all the dead trees up there so that we have some more room for launching and landing. Our hearts go out to Fiji during this time as Winston decided not to come back to Haapai and struck there instead.
Bookings for this up and coming season at Kitesurf Tonga started early! We have already had quite a few weeks booked out which is amazing. We have had a lot of our guests from 2015 book again for 2016. We are so thankful for all the support and cannot wait to enjoy another season with you all. The wind was amazing last year and we are looking forward to another windy season this year.