Local photographer Meg Porteous recently sailed to the island of Tonga with her Aunt and Uncle on their old wooden ketch named Karie-L.
“We were at sea for 14 days, which is a relatively long passage to Tonga, meaning we had limited fuel and needed to rely on wind patterns to get us there. Karie-L is a beautiful old wooden boat, also very slow – but we were in no rush. All I saw was sky and sea and the horizon for 14 days straight. We encountered no marine life aside from the pod of dolphins that met us just beyond Great Barrier Island (supposingly a good omen for a safe voyage). I read a total of seven books and listened to about 30 podcasts. We were on constant rotation for watches – two hours on, three hours off. Night watches were the best. The sky is so clear in the Pacific. I would make a little nest of pillows in the cock pit to lie down and watch the stars – getting up every 15 minutes to look for boats.
In saying all that, there is also the really unglamorous side to sailing – 30 knot winds, 5m waves, being cold and wet, not showering for two weeks, trying to cook with constant motion, and cabin fever. But it’s funny how quickly you forget all these details when you arrive at your destination.
Tonga is so cool. It’s very quaint and uncommercial. All the buildings there are painted bright colours and the people are so friendly and relaxed. We spent a week there, sailing around the Vava’u Islands, anchoring at a new spot each night. We had an abundance of fresh fruit. Breakfast was always papaya and pineapple with fresh lime squeezed on top.”
Meg advises anyone inspired to do a similar trip to read the book ‘South Sea Vagabonds’, “a story of a New Zealander in the 1930s who builds his own sail boat from Kauri tree logs he has collected from beaches on Waiheke, and sails around the Pacific for the rest of his life – Another reason I was inspired to go.”
This dreamy collection of images were taken by Meg on deck. See more of her work [here].