Being in Neiafu reminded us in many ways of being in La Paz. We had a great time in La Paz, and have a lot of great memories of good times with good friends there. Unfortunately, when we think of the town we also think of the bad apples in the ex-pat community. I don’t know if it was a fluke, or just our year, but we found that although most ex-pats living there were nice there were two annoying themes that kept repeating themselves: the cruiser-police who spread weird rumors and the angerballs. An example of the cruiser-police is the person who kept saying that if your Mexican courtesy flag was smaller than your ensign, you were insulting the Mexicans. The angerballs seem to restrict themselves to making rude and aggressive “anonymous” comments on the VHF. Both of these minorities left a bad taste in our mouths about La Paz, despite the fact that we had a great time there.
Apparently, we are capable of getting smarter ;)
Three months ago we rolled into Neiafu, which has a large ex-pat community, a regular cruiser net, and repeater stations on VHF channel 26 so both the net and cruiser hails can be heard even in the outlying anchorages. After a few hours of being on 26 and the next morning listening to one net, I realized that if we didn’t turn off that channel, we were going to have the same distaste for Neiafu. So we rolled our dial back to channel 16 and have spent the last 3 months enjoying the distance that our lack of participation puts between us and any drama. Now, we hear about the cruiser-police (e.g., trying to enforce a speed limit for dinghies of dubious legality that none of the Tongan drivers or dive boat follows) and the angerballs (e.g., the guy in the crowded mooring field who rows over and tells everyone to turn off their generators and dive compressors) as funny stories told to us by our friends over happy hour beers. Because we don’t have to hear either group directly, those stories are amusing to us, not frustrating.
We really like Neiafu which I’ll post about logbook style separately, and as you can hopefully see through our various posts, we have been having a world class time in Tonga.