Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tonga - a post by Mary Grose

Shayna, Steve and I have been home for almost two weeks and are settled back into life in Maple Ridge. It is hard to believe that we spent a month on board Malachi never mind that we actually went sailing, in the Kingdom of Tonga of all places.

Steve, Shayna and Mary, sharing a yummy dessert.

From the moment we arrived, the Crandell’s welcomed us with open arms, making us feel right at home. Jay and Marg gave us their cabin, Jenny shared her room with Shayna and Jocelyn gave up her room, thank-you again! We really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into having not spent much time on a boat. Well there are so many things about sailing that we truly understand now. There is work to be done and it takes longer to do anything. Things break down and you can’t just run to home depot or the grocery store when needed. I must say we have a new appreciation for what Jay, Marg, Jocelyn and Jenny are doing. They all have different roles, each one an integral part of being successful on the deep blue sea. I hope we helped them out some and gave them a break from some of their ‘chores’ – the famous saying on the boat was “Steve will do it.” Marg cooked us up some magnificent meals, it was amazing what she could whip up in the galley and not just food, she makes a mean iced cappuccino!

The highlight was definitely our swim with the 3 humpback whales. But there were so many other wonderful moments that we shared; like seeing the joy in the Tongan children’s eyes when they held our hands and looked at the pictures we took of them (the beauty of digital cameras), sailing to many different islands and having beaches and sometimes the whole island all to ourselves, the sound of the water as we gracefully sailed along at 8 knots with just the spinnaker sail(Jay sure knows what he is doing), talking with villagers and being invited into their home, snorkeling, enjoying God’s creation on land and sea. But most of all the fun we had in just hanging out with all of them; we shared some good laughs. We also met some wonderful people on different boats who are on a similar adventure to Malachi. It was very special to be so welcomed by them and see how this community of cruisers is so helpful to each other; they are like a neighborhood that is constantly changing its location.

We are very thankful to the Lord for giving us the opportunity to spend a month with the Crandell family. The time we spent with them will forever be treasured. The memories we created will never be forgotten. Thanks again Jay, Marg, Jocelyn and Jenny. Below are just a few of the 2,500 pictures we have.

Steve & Shayna on the bow of Malachi. Steve's favorite spot!

Mary & Marg on the beach

Having dinner at the Aquarium Cafe with our new friends from O'vive and Orca III

Shayna loved sun tanning lying on the Malachi's boom

Enjoying island paradise together

Steve helping Jay put up the Spinnaker sail. Steve loved helping and learning about sailing from Jay.

Mary & Marg in the Tongan jungle.

I will miss my swimming partner

Shayna loved steering Malachi and brought her right into the harbour at Nieafu

I liked this photo because the thought that this family from O'ua will hang this photograph in their home and treasure it brings tears to my eyes. We have such an abundance in our lives and we take for granted so many things, like having a camera to record our memories.

One of the many dingy rides we took to our very own island

It was hard to leave Jenny behind when we went to go exploring and snorkeling

Still enjoying paradise together!!

We will miss these Tongan sunsets

....and sunrises!

Thanks to the best host couple ever. They sure look good together. They are doing what God has called them to do. We will miss them!

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