18 February, 2019 – At sea sailing to Tonga

After our day on shore yesterday, we settle back in to a sea-day routine. Tonight we turn the clock back another hour. As I write this it is 9:40 PM Sunday US Eastern time and 4:40 PM Monday in the South Pacific – always a strange sensation when not recently experienced. With so much wide-open space of sky and sea, there always seems to be an amazing sight. This was the moon over the sunset last night.

There was a lecture the other day I didn’t write about because I wasn’t able to attend. It was all about tropical cyclones. They rerun the lectures on our TV in the room a day later. Dr. Denny Whitford again – he did a great job explaining how cyclones form, where they form in the different areas of the world and other tidbits we didn’t know.

Today, Dr. Whitford talked all about coral reefs, how they develop, different types of coral, sea life that lives among the coral and specific, particularly nocuous creatures unique to Australia’s coral reefs. I did not know that all sea snakes are poisonous! Also, reefs can be destroyed by more than just runoff. Other things that destroy reefs are tropical cyclones, coral mining, blast fishing and cyanide fishing, all of which occur in this part of the world. There were other Australian poisonous creatures mentioned and made famous by a funny song – “Come to Australia” by the Scared Weird Little Guys. Check it out.

I also attended a presentation about Tonga, where we will be docking tomorrow. Did you know they have fishing pigs LOL! This presentation covered how the Lapita peoples of Oceania came to be on Tonga way back in 850 AD. Also, the Tonga people were believers in Maui – the same God that Hawaii, New Zealand and other South Pacific islands believed in. Yes, the same Maui from the Disney movie “Moana.” In fact, Tonga was created, at least mythically, by Maui’s hook. Many of the stories in these cultures resemble those of the Greek myths. Interesting when they are so far apart geographically. We shall see what we learn tomorrow touring around the island.

Here are a few pictures from the ceremony to recognize the “Pollywogs” crossing the Equator, a ship’s tradition for the crew. Quite a mess and very funny!

Today we enjoyed a hamburger and some truffle fries at The Verandah restaurant (alternative dining). This was a special treat from our regular evening dining menu.