This morning we left the volcanic island of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai (HTHH) at 0530, setting our course for Nuku'alofa, Tonga. Unfortunately the winds were too weak to sail so we had to use the engine to close the 35nm gap between HTHH and Nuku'alofa. However we still had the fore'staysl and the main'staysl raised on the port tack to help us along. We didn't have the thrill of sailing with the wind, but on the bright side the engine offers a steady hum and low vibration making it ideal to fall asleep to. The morning started with excitement with our first catch of the trip! Around 0930, Christine the third mate, landed a maui maui, 47 inch-long, trolling at five and a half knots. To our surprise we caught the fish simply using a metal knife as our lure! For lunch our steward, Christian, prepared the maui as ceviche which was absolutely delicious and I just could not get enough of it.
Nuku'alofa, the capital of Tonga, came into view around 1300 as we slowly motored in. As we got closer we struck and furled the fore'staysl and main'staysl under the command of Cameron (Student in B watch) in order to get a better view of the port and any incoming vessels. Coming into port we were corridored in by a series of small beautiful islands off the shore of Nuku'alofa. The seas were calm and the weather fair so coming into port was a breeze. Coming to dock is always exciting with our rushing around to prepare the dock lines, fenders, and the motor boat to ensure we are fully prepared when we arrive at the dock. We are greeted by Tongan officials to inspect Robert C. Seamans and during their visit we finalized the docking process of preparing the gangway, fastening the moorings, covering the sails, and placing the fenders in the proper positions to protect RCS. Once all is said and done we realized that we were in view of the King of Tonga's palace! With the king watching we have to be on our best behavior, and we have hopes that the king will come our way to check out our magnificent Robert C. Seamans.
Many of the ship's company went ashore to enjoy the local life and feel the embrace of land again while C watch (my watch) stayed on the ship to ensure all is well. For dinner we had some more of the delicious maui maui, but this time as fish tacos. C-watch turned over to A-watch at 1900 so now I am about to venture into town with my other watch mates. I am headed into Tonga to take in Nuku'alofa.
- Cutter (Charles) Thompson, C Watch, University of California, Santa Cruz