Its really quite tricky timing your arrival for first thing in the morning because your schemes rely on the unreliable - the wind! Overnight we went slower and slower and i was up from about 4.30 when it was still dark with no moon. Eventually I could make out a low black shape ahead,.the north eastern tip of Niue on the Horizon and eventually the sun emerged with a wall of cloud and I could see the coral cliffs topped by thick bush rising a short distance to the great flat plateau that makes up most of the island. The wind abruptly increased, almost at the same moment that I decided I would have to motor the rest of the waty, but instead I had a wonderful fast sail across the northern coastline, round the corner and down the western side and into the bay where, in front of the main town Alofi, are 15 ocean moorings. I counted 14 boats - and counted again - yes I was to get the last one! I would have been especially annoyed if there were none because late the evening before, I noticed a yacht behind me when I was deliberately going slow and I spoke to them on the VHF Radio - he said they would go straight in and pick up a mooring in the dark - and they got the 14th one. I finally rolled away the head sail and flaked the main, then turned on to motor the last half mile - at which moment a whale lunged out of the water 200 yards ahead of me, giving me an amazing shock, and then it proceeded to beat the water with it smassive pectoral fins, so I made a wide detour around it, as it finally disappeared. A fantastic welcome!
Customs and Immigration ask the yachties to bring their Papers ashore, which I did - such as they were : well really just the receipt for my $60 from Suwarrow - and they picked me up from the Niue Yacht club, a really friendly little bar and social club on the main - and only street. When I started to explain my sad story the guy put up his hand and said youre in serious trouble, this was simply not good enough, youre supposed to be the skipper and all the proper penalties will be applied, unless I would prefer to leave immediately. What I didnt find out till a bit later was this guy already knew exactly who I was and that I had some significant connections to the island, and he was just pulling my leg! He ran me back to the Internet Cafe and I downloaded the things he needed - and kept a copy for myself - and I went to the Bank to get some money to pay a fine, and by about 2pm it was all done, I had my clearance and my Passport stamped and I was no longer on the run!
I then had a nice lunch of salad and fish, and NZ Beer at a Cafe called "The Crazy Uga" - (Uga is pronounced Unga - the "U" is "oo" as in "book") then I wandered briefly through the few little shops and the tourist info placeand came back to the boat for an early night.
More about life in Niue tomorrow.
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