Printversion (text only): Click here!

Dear friends,

In a few days it's Christmas again and time to tell you what we have done since Christmas last year.

We stayed the whole year on our property ANALULU on Fofoa Island in Vava'u in the Kingdom of Tonga, but it certainly was not boring.

vavauBluelFofoaVava'u Islands,-Blue Lagoon and Hunga Lagoon,-Fofoa Island, Blue Lagoon - Pics: Internet Google Earth

Shortly before Christmas 2011 our neighbours leave for a few months and their dog Lulu moves in with us. Minks, our tom-cat does not like this at all and moves into the bush where he calls from the cliff once in a while, like today, but does not come down anymore, especially, as there are now two more dogs here. One called Avatar lives on the next island, but despite being chained on there by his owner, escapes once in a while and swims one mile across the lagoon to be with Lulu and us. The third dog, Ruby,is only on the island since a week and is supposed to being picked up soon.

Farewell party for the neighbours

f.l.t.r.: Felix, Jack, Boris, Karyn und Luca

BoFamLuluLuluLulu & Avatar Hunde RubyRuby


On December 11th, 2011 we sit in front of our house and watch the beginning of a total eclipse of the moon. Too bad that later on thick clouds prevent us from seeing the total eclipse with a so-called"Red Moon" .

ewmofi MoFi1 MoFi2 Hours later the moon returns MoFi3 MoFi4


WBaum12 Between Christmas and New Year 2011 we are invited to Hunga, the village on the neighbouring island.

Tongans from Hunga, who are living in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, but also in the Tongan island groups further south, Tongatapu and Ha'apai, have a reunion in their home village of Hunga. The village population doubles to about 500-600 persons. Every day is hosted by another group with dances and singing.





HutaHuTanz Huta

Huta Huta Huta

The two dancers in the red dresses here are Fakaleiti, boys being raised in Tongan tradition as girls.

HuTao4 HuTao1 HuTao3HuTa1HuTao2

There is plenty of food and beverages on the tables around the dancing square and even pouring rain cannot diminish the festive mood and still provides more fun for some.




Silvester11On New Years Eve 2011, like on Christmas, we are totally alone on the island and make our own fireworks. We are surprised that two out of three of our very old parachute flares from 1981 still work.

Setting sun 31.12.2011



In January we tear down the old hut, that was thatched with palm fronds and on February 1st, 2012 Werner pours the first two concrete posts for the addition to our two-room house. We want to build a large, airy kitchen/livingroom in the place of our old hut, adjoining to the two rooms.


HurrikanIn the early morning of February 6th cyclone CYRIL hits with up to 65 knots of wind and torrendous rain. In the harbor yachts break loose from their moorings and are driven ashore  or crash into each other. In our house the strong southerly wind drives the rain through the closed louvered windows (see picture). The normally blue lagoon looks like a raging grey cauldron throwing big chunks of stones all the way up the ramp to the boathouse. We are very relieved that we moored our boat a few days ago in the sheltered Hunga Lagoon. After only  a few hours the storm blows over, leaving a trail of damage and debris behind. Our garden was hit hard, one of only two breadfruit trees has toppled over, as well as a lot of banana trees.  A lot of plants have suffered from salt spray and die. On the beach all the sand is gone, only sharp coral rocks as far as one can see. (Hurricane picture:Internet-not Cyril)


Fortunately this is the only storm for the season and we can start with building the addition to the house on February 11th, setting the first posts and subsequently the walls.  In Housebuilding we explain how we build the house. This time we did the whole work by ourselves, only for putting up one of the 250 kg (500 pounds) walls behind the water tank we had two helpers.


Koenig Tonga

On March 18th Tongas King Georg V dies suddenly in Honkong. The whole country is in mourning, but not quite like when his father died a few years ago. His brother 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata succeeds him as King Tupou VI.


His Majesty King Tupou VI (Pic. Wikipedia)

King Tupou V + (Picture: Simon Bakers Reuter)


HandSaturday before Easter I prepare 8 jars of lime marmalade and then go swimming in the lagoon. On Easter Sunday my hand is grotesquely swollen, bright red and hurts a lot. We are afraid what might have caused this, until we realize, that the acid in the peel, that squirted out when I peeled the limes, has “burned” my hand severely. In the following days the swelling goes down and the back of my hand is like one large, hurting blister, slowly drying out, peeling after 14 days and starting to heal. Even now the skin is darker and more wrinkly then on the left hand. But that lesson I learned well, now I wear gloves when I peel citrus fruits.

On April 28th at 23 o'clock (11pm) an earthquake with 6,7 Richter scale shakes us out of our first dream, but fortunately there are no damages and no tsunami.


Cruising sailors collecting sand on our beach brought us into contact with Michael Dietrich, who collects sand from all over the world and creates high resolution photographs of all the different sands. His pictures are fascinating, you can look at them on the internet. (Click here - opens a new page). If you would like to help him collect sand, please write us a note (see: Contact) which we'll forward.

Here a small collection of Michaels pictures, from left to right: Star "Foraminiferen" Fofoa Island, Tonga - Garnet sand from Tangalle Beach, Sri Lanka -- Topmost layer of sand, broken shells, Castricum aan Zee --- Lava sand with quartz, Medana Beach, Lombok ---- Topmost layer of sand, Lamai, Koh Samui

MD-Sand FofoaMD-Sand Sri LankaMD Sand Castricum aan ZeeMD Sand Lombokkohsamui


The new building goes up well and in May we can lay down the tiles and Werner builds the kitchen furniture.

Our "sailing season" starts with the arrival of our friends, Kerstin und Helmut on LOPTO, on May 29th. We use the kitchen for the first time inviting them for dinner together with Jutta and Willi of MEKTOUB

Werner, Jutta, Willi, Kerstin and Helmut

LateSoULateOn June 14th we leisurely sit on the beach with a few sailors, when after dark I notice a white light out to sea which only can be a toplight of a sailing ship. But the ship has a strange course, too far south to reach Fiji and too far west to go down to the southern island group of Tonga.

<-- volcanic island Late as seen from our beach

The next morning, Friday, we hear the New Zealand rescue Orion plane circling over Vava’u, the VHF radio is very busy with traffic, several motor boats are searching the waters, they are all looking for the location of an EPIRB (emergency beacon) signal. The sailing yacht NAVILLUS, a 50-foot Bavaria, is missing with two Australian men on board, both well over 60 years old. They bought the boat in the Caribbean and wanted to bring it to Australia.

It turns out, that a few hours after we saw the light, one of the men on board called his wife in Australia via satellite phone and told her that they had run aground and the yacht is breaking up.

NavillusNavillusTeileThe boats searching the waters find a lot of floating debris and boat parts. They track the EPIRB signal, but cannot find the EPIRB, but then the wreckage of the yacht is found in 10 m (30 feet) of water near the steep shore of  Late Island, an extinct volcano. The fiberglass boat is totally disintegrated, only the heavy metal parts are still laying on the ground, no trace of the two men or their dinghy.

On Saturday, the search goes on and one of the boats notices some smoke on the Southeast side of Late Island. Another boat mentions they had seen smoke there some time ago and everybody assumes that it must be from volcanic activity. However, Late was not active since more than a hundred years! Nevertheless, they decide to search the island with some Tongan men, but they cannot get fuel on Sunday. The boat that tries to go has to turn back, because of bad communication, the Tongans go to church first and then the time is too short for the 60 nautical miles round-trip to the island. On Monday, we all wait that they assume the search, but unbelievable as it is,again no boat goes out. (pics: Late aerial -Google, Navillus and Patriot - Internet)

 Then we have to make our own rescue mission, because our neighbor has engine problems while on the way to Neiafu and we have to tow him back to Fofoa, always hoping, that our own ailing engine doesn’t quit on us.

Finally, on Tuesday, they bring a search party of nine men to Late Island overnight, the boats circle the island again. No trace of the two men or the dinghy.  On Thursday  the rescue centre New Zealand officially stops the rescue mission, until today there are unfortunately no more findings.


SailfischFischessenKokosmilch-HopaEven cruisers can catch big fish, as demonstrated by Hildegard, Heribert and friends Linda und Bert of WASABI, with this huge sailfish. With the help of Ellen and Wolfgang of ABORA, a part of it immediately ends up in our smoker and then our stomachs. <--

Conny and Hans of AMYGDALA help, like other cruisers, preparing coconut milk for Lu spinach and Hopa Rösti a la ANALULU.-->



abendessenS-DetlevDuring the sailing season, we meet with many cruisers for coffee or dinner here on Fofoa or onboard their boats. We sit together trading stories or vital information.

<-- Detlev of KIRA von CELLE, who hosts the German weathernet every morning on HF radio, calls from my landbased amateur radio the participants of the evening net.

Shayne and Christoph repair our ever-ailing boat engine, Christoph and Barbara dive on our moorings, to make sure they are ok to be used by visiting yachts. Many thanks for your help!

Sundowner on the beach,left to right:Christoph and Barbara TAURUS, Detlev KIRA, Werner and Elke, Kerstin and Helmut LOPTO, Shayne and Paul WAIORA, Andrea and Andreas AKKA and dog Avatar -->

(Pics: Beate - KIRA VON CELLE, Christoph - TAURUS)


On July 18th, we celebrate my birthday with some cruising friends in Aquarium Café in Neiafu eating a huge family pizza. After that, many cruisers help to prepare for the double-birthday and house warming party, which is held on Saturday, July 21th on ANALULU.

House and garden are decorated beautifully, the cake buffet is brimming with delicacies, Werner and I even receive a birthday cake with lighted candles

hausgebKaffeetafelElWeGebElwe Geb2gebGebStrand(Pics:Kerstin-LOPTO and Christoph-TAURUS)

And after the sundowner on the beach one can only marvel at the amazing cold buffet, dig in and fully enjoy it....even Lulu is celebrating with us.


BrotBueffetliBueffetre Lulu(Pics: Kerstin-LOPTO)

A big thank you to the more than 30 guests, that participated and everybody that made the party such a success !

Now it is back to work, the cupboard in the living area takes shape and soon the kitchen/living room furniture is finished except a settee in the corner that will be a project for next year.


ThimoOn September 10th, we motor to Neiafu to pick up Thimo, a friend from Austria. We plan to stay in town overnight onboard ANTAIA.  At 5 pm we hear a distressed woman’s voice calling her boat ICE. She was bitten by a shark while swimming beside a kayak paddled by a woman friend. Immediately cruisers and people ashore organize a rescue. A fast dinghy is deployed, the ambulance is send to the end of the island to pick her up. Her friend had pulled her into the kayak and as she is hoisted out of it, it becomes clear, that her injuries are much more severe than she had noticed in her shocked state.
  We have dinner ashore with Thimo, listening to the VHF radio in the background. The patient has arrived at the hospital and is being prepared for surgery. After we are back onboard, there is a message on the radio that they are looking for donations of B plus blood. Of course, I immediately call back, telling them we both have B+. They ask for our age and after a moments silence they tell us, that as we are over the age of 45 years, we are not accepted as blood donators anymore. Fortunately a young woman cruiser also has B+ and can go to the hospital. The surgery successfully takes  place over night and the victim is flown out to Australia a few days later.


VollmondpartytapanaThe yearly Vava’u regatta week is officially opened in Neiafu on Saturday, September 22.  There we meet Francene and Ed of AKA, which we saw last 20 years ago in French Polynesia. We all became a bit grayer, but it feels like having seen each other just recently.

On the following Friday, Werner, Thimo and I motor to the Tapana anchorage, where we haven’t been for quite some years to celebrate the end of the regatta week with the full moon party. Werner is soon back on board, DJ Leos music is not to his liking. Thimo, I and many friends and cruisers have a lot of fun, watching the shows and dancing away the night. I make it back onboard at 2 am, Thimo in the early morning hours.

Thimo has an ongoing good time on Fofoa, goes whale watching with Boris and fishing with Wilfried, helps Werner in the garden and leaves us in early October to spend four more weeks in Samoa.(Pictures:Thimo)

After Thimo has left, we rendezvous with a yacht in Port Maurelle for a chat in the afternoon.Driving home from there the engine acts up again because the new diesel filter squirts out fuel en masse into the engine room and when we try to use the outboard engine to get home, this starts to emit water out of the dry exhaust. We turn around and anchor again, the whole boat stinks and it is getting dark soon. The crew of LAZY LADY has pity with us and invites us for dinner onboard their boat.
After an uncomfortable night Werner can make temporary repairs and we make it with the main engine just close to the reef opening into our lagoon, before it dies again. Now we have to use the possibly malfunctioning outboard to enter between the reefs and I certainly have a few more grey hairs, when we finally tie up to our save mooring in front of our beach on Fofoa.
We are devastated, because the engine was successfully repaired and now we have ongoing trouble with the brand new diesel filter. More than that one night we slept beside a stinking puddle of fuel. Werner changed filters, put in new seals, cleaned everything to the oomth time and fastened the draining screw well. Now we find out that the plastic bowl of the filter unit gets hot while driving and starts to deform. Immediately Werner screws on the filter unit outside the engine room and repairs it with putty. That solves that problem but then one of the hoses between diesel pump and injection pump breaks, again leaking fuel out, fortunately, we have a replacement hose.  Then the thin oil pressure hose has a tiny hole squirting out oil for a bit of variation… this we also repair with putty. I’m really curious what will be the next problem….

We still have many visitors in October, but in the night of November 7th, the first depression moves through to the south of Tonga. One of our friends in the Ha’apai Group measures up to 60 knots of wind, some boats further south report more than 70 knots. One boat on the way to New Zealand (WINDIGO) is rolled and dismasted by a big wave, the injured crew is rescued by a freighter. A Tongan fishing boat is also in trouble and activates his EPIRB.

JereveJreve2And up here in Vava‘u a sailing vessel runs aground with sails up on a tiny island in the east. Over VHF radio people are warned not to come close to the stranded vessel, a navy boat stands guard; they create a three mile no go zone. A decomposing body is found aboard, a lot of gossip goes round, they find narcotics on the boat.
The Australian and American authorities had already monitored the progress of the yacht. The name of the 42-foot yacht is JeReVe, the dead man was a 35-year-old Slovakian man called Milan Rindzak, who was under way from Ecuador to Australia with 204 Kilogram of cocaine worth about 120 Million US Dollars.

(Pics: Internet)


SuePeteThe last cruisers visit us on November 10th, leaving soon for New Zealand before the cyclone season starts.

On the same day we are invited to the farewell party of our neighbours Sue, Peter and Ross on the long beach, they fly home to Australia for the summer season.

Sue and Pete enjoy with Werner a last Sundownder on our bench on the beach-->

The house building is finished, haushaus

Knochen WalKnochenschnitzereienWerner now has time to make some bone carvings.





This year we met 24 sailing yachts that are members of our cruising club Trans-Ocean (TO) and 23 other yachts. Most of them visited us here in ANALULU, many more than once. Here is a German report with all the names mentioned.
We greet everybody, we met this year and thank you for your visit and especially for your help!

Middle of February 2013 we’ll be travelling again. From here via Auckland to Kuala Lumpur for a few days, then to Indonesia, where we’ll visit several islands for 2 month. End of April until early August we will be in Germany, coming back to Tonga via Shanghai and Auckland probably end of August.

But first we’ll celebrate Christmas, sitting under our (plastic) Christmas tree at a temperature of 30 to 35 degrees Celsius (90 to 95 Fahrenheit) and bravely singing “Leise rieselt der Schnee” – “slowly and silently the snow falls”… and dreaming of a white Christmas before we dive into our warm blue lagoon.

All our relatives and friends in the whole world we wish a







We thank you all for your friendship, your emails, good wishes and all the goodwill we received. We hope to meet you again next year or at least hear from you once in a while.

With our best regards from the South Seas

Elke & Werner       


Printversion: Click here!

Back to top of page: seitenanfang




How to copy this to your computer or USB-Stick:

Copy text-only:Open a text progam (editor, wordpad, word, etc.), left-click into this webpage, press Ctrl+A (to highlight everything), then Ctrl+C (to copy), then click into the opened text program and press Ctrl+V (to paste), then Ctrl+S (to save) write in a name for the file and if you are working with your USB-Stick save the file on your stick.

To copy the whole website including pictures: Rightclick into the website and choose "save page as.." or left-click and press Ctrl+S and save it to the desired location. In Firefox you can also right-click and go to: Frames and only save this particular frame (make sure you click in the frame you want to copy.) Or go to File, then Save frame as.