An Excerpt from "Sailing to Jessica"
Chapter 17: Spin Cycle to New Zealand
“Bring your gun and bullets to this office within 24 hours,” the Tongan Customs officer gruffly told Paul. “If we don’t have them by this time tomorrow, you will be forced to leave the country.”
Surprisingly, Tonga was the first country that wanted to retain our shotgun.
The next morning, we toted the “harmonica” to the Customs office, which was located in a little shed on an abandoned lot near the waterfront. Three huge Polynesian men in black satin skirts, the official uniform of the Kingdom, greeted us at the door and ushered us into the dimly lit room. One of the men opened the case, pulled out the gun and fondled it while the other two men silently watched...
This article appeared in Latitude 38, a West coast based sailing magazine in the United States. http://www.latitude38.com
Pneuma, Seattle-Based Ericson 39, Lost on South Minerva Reef
November 21 - Minerva Reef, South Pacific
Pneuma, the Ericson 39 from Seattle being cruised by Guy and Melissa (no last name available) was lost Tuesday night while at anchor at South Minerva Reef. The couple are safe. Minerva Reef is located about 250 miles from Tonga on the way to New Zealand. It consists of two open ocean reefs, which only fully break the surface at low tide. Pete and Sue Wolcott of the Hawaii-based SC 52 Kiapa report:
"Nine boats departed North Minerva, about 20 miles from South Minerva, for Opua, New Zealand, on Tuesday, leaving just two in the lagoon. The weather was relatively benign, with overcast and 10-15 knots of breeze. The wind was very shifty, however, due to the effects of a stationary front. Three boats remained at North Minerva, which is about 20 miles up from South Minerva.
"At about 2000 local time, we heard Pneuma's Mayday. We had been tuning up Russell Radio for the evening roll call, but just happened to pause long enough on the Puddle Jump frequency to hear Guy calling for help. We were not the first to hear the Mayday, as it was heard over VHF on another boat. But we were the first boat that could reach Guy and Melissa by radio. We got them to an emergency frequency to coordinate a rescue. The closest boat to them, Harmony, their buddyboat, could not be reached by radio for several hours after the grounding.
"After hearing about the situation, the skippers of Scott Free, a Hallberg-Rassy from Marblehead, Infidien, and White Hawk jumped aboard Scott Free and motored through the night from North Minerva to South Minerva. The women and kids on the three boats stayed behind aboard White Hawk to be the communications boat. Once the three skippers got to South Minerva, they left Scott Free outside the tricky pass and dinghied into the lagoon to rescue Guy and Melissa. Kela, a Colorado-based Sundeer 65 with Kirk, Debbie, Braden, and Grady aboard, had been about 30 miles from South Minerva when the Mayday went out, and were the second boat on the scene. Guy and Melissa are now safely aboard Kela. The crews of Kela and Harmony - the third boat on the scene - spent yesterday and today salvaging what they could.
"We are so sorry for Guy and Melissa's loss. They are great folks and able cruisers. We're sure they'll be back out here soon. The crews of Scott Free, White Hawk, Infidien, Kela, and Harmony did everything possible to ensure the swift and safe rescue of the Pneuma crew. We all draw comfort from that fact that there are such capable and caring folks out here with us."