The journey from Tahiti was uneventful apart from the fight in the Casino! A high roller from Las Vegas accused a guy from Wigan of buggering up the poker game. The guy from Wigan responded by hitting him over the head with his chair. Both chaps left the ship this morning in Nuku'alofa [Tonga].
Lesley and I were woken by the Captain telling us they had reviewed the political situation ashore and had concluded that providing certain precautions were taken it would be safe to disembark. Large parts of the town were cordoned off and being patrolled by soldiers. The government buildings were protected by police. Eight people had been killed and many shops and offices had been burned to the ground.
2000 people had been arrested and had disappeared. The UN was trying to trace them!!
The sign on the dock side said "Welcome to Tonga"; the newspaper headlines said "Trouble in Paradise". Scores of Americans cancelled their tours but the intrepid Richardson's still caught their launch to an exquisite island off the coast where we were assigned personal bodyguards. Their names were Telesia and Elizabeth. They were eighteen and beautiful and discretely patrolled the beach where we were swimming. An old beach bar named Big Mammas Yacht Club provided shade from the noon day sun as well as a couple of chilled Tongan beers.
Telesia and Elizabeth provided an endless supply of tropical fruits during our stay. Our dress had to be modest so as not to offend the locals and start another riot.
As a result of the recent death of the king, several local people had expressed their grief by gouging their faces, knocking out their teeth and shaving their heads.
On returning to the ship we had a late lunch with friends Sam and Paula, where we agreed to explore Tasmania together.
In the evening we enjoyed John's 63rd birthday party and later danced in the yacht club and queen's ballroom.
Karen and John are our table partners and we have become good friends. He is a retired lawyer and she a retired director of a small electronics firm. They teach us bridge and we teach them very basic ballroom.
In spite of the political unrest, Nuku'alofa is still very beautiful. We would certainly like to return, and hope the locals settle their differences.