The night before Mother’s Day, we had anchored up in a bay off Vaka’Eva where we had been told there was a spectacular reef. As we had arrived later in the day, Deb decided to take Little Lady out for a row. Wonder what our friends would think if they knew that Debby was paddling her butt all over the bay;)
While out an about, she ran in to this fellow who was using the preferred means of local transport. His bucket was full of sea slugs that he was taking back to the village for dinner – better him then us.
Very early in the morning the wind had dropped to zero and the sunrise revealed a completely cloudless sky. It wasn’t long before the air temp had risen to astronomical proportions.
WIth the temp soaring, the water was the place to be – at least early – for the noon day sun promised to be intolerable. The reef turned out to be several reefs and each was more beautiful then the last. Unfortunately, our underwater camera has died an early death, but we were able to get some pretty good shots from the boat looking down on the reef. As good as the pictures are, underwater, the reef was even more spectacular. Part of what made it so great was the fact that the main body of the reef was in just 4 feet of water, the coral was healthy and there was an abundance of life.
As noon approached, the sun forced us to give up the reef and seek out the shelter of the boat. After a bit of lunch, we pulled up the anchor and headed back to small bay behind Afo Island where we had been a week before.
Deb needed to go back to the local art store to clarify some details about some things she had ordered.
The reason for our first visit (in addition to the art store) was that there is a Spanish bistro on the bay named La Paella – everybody raved about it – but the proprietor had just come back from Spain and the restaurant was not open. She said she might be able to open Sunday so we left her our email address so she could reach us. Back in Vava’U we got word that she would be open and we would be her first customers of the season. Sounded like a great way to have a Mother’s Day dinner out. Little did we know.
At the appointed time, we boarded the dink and headed off to the restaurant. Several dogs met us at the beach. We hiked up the hill to the restaurant and we were greeted by Maria and her husband – the owners. Soon after, their pet goat wandered in to the restaurant and we were greeted by the goat as well. After suitable introductions, the goat decided it wanted to stay – until the one of the staff reached for a broom in the corner. His hand never even touched the broom, but both he and goat clearly understood the meaning of the broom. Just as suddenly as the goat had arrived, it vanished.
As it got dark, they fired up their small generator and turned on a few lights. Living around one of them was a very fat gecko who slept by day and gobbled up the bugs attracted by the light at night.
The lights got dim as Maria whipped up chilled gezpacho soup in a blender – a very small generator. Our appetizers were goat cheese (not sure if it was from the goat or not) with roasted meet tenders and the gezpacho. Our main course was paella cooked over an open fire near the side of the kitchen. For desert, we were served some kind of Spanish confection with dark bitter chocolate on top. It was all wonderful.
As we were finishing desert, the husband appeared with a guitar and stool and did a number of songs – he was very good. In the middle of the last song, their two pet dogs appeared and began to wrestle with each other and bark at the music. We thought the goat might make an appearance as well, but it must have still been thinking of the broom – it was a no show.
After the show, we went to Maria to settle our bill and presented a credit card. We had asked if they took credit cards on our arrival – they do – what they neglected to mention was that the machine was broken. We ended up paying with a combination of Tongan dollars, Kiwi dollars and U S Dollars – all worked out on an ancient calculator that reminded me of Mr. Quarantine’s of Immigration fame.
Tired, but happy, we dinked back to Iron Lady who was waiting for us on the other side of the bay.
When we weighed anchor this morning, Steve gave them several good blasts on the horn. The answer from the restaurant was howling dogs and someone blowing an ancient horn of some type. More blasts from us, more howling and more blasts from the ancient horn. We were laughing ourselves silly. I think the horn blower was as well.
It may not have been the most unusual Mother’s Day ever recorded, but it certainly comes close.