Pos at 0300: 18deg 35,9S and 169deg 35W
As I am sitting in my first nightshift out I am thinking of how spoilt we are being able to see this just amazing night sky. The longer I look up the more little dots come up. This view is always overwhelming for me and I can't stop looking up into infinity, knowing we're just one more of these little dots.
And then we also have our little stars next to Alita produced by the fluorescent algea. Just magic.
We left Niue without escort service. The dolphins had not been back after our 3 encounters on friday. So far it's a beautiful sail with little waves and light wind so we're smoothly riding along at 5.5-6.3 knots.
This last day in Niue was busy: getting one more jerry can full of diesel (we had one the day before as well) to fill up our tanks again to the maximum with what we had used on the way to Niue; filling up gas bottle; return rental car; final grocery shopping especially for our new crew member who sails with us all the way to Kiririmati; pre-cooking pasta salad & bread & banana bread; dry bananas &papaya and store away; check out; blog; cook dinner, leave.
Checking out was a sensational different experience. We were picked up by the ministries van (old dirty van) and driven to a quite far away field out in the country where all of a sudden a big very modern but pretty building appeared. You can see where NZ puts its 25Million $ a year into this country. This building inside and outside is so out of the world in comparison to the rest of the country. Well I have to say that Niue is kept way better -prettier and cleaner - than then other pacific islands. No wonder, the people all hold NZ residency since many many years ago the Niueans pleaded to the Queen to take them as colony and after a while they were accepted and given into NZ care. NZ is trying every effort to make the Niueans independent and self containing. If you look around Niue it is crazy, all the foreign aid that's being given. New road by China, water tanks & solar by Japan, some infrastructure by the EU and all the rest by NZ. There is a funny story about the aid
of a Rescue boat by NZ. It was meant to be that boat (Tonga had received one as well). But in consequence it was: a trailer, a tractor to pull that thing, upgrade of the boat lift to accomodate the boat incl the (heavy) crew, a new lockable garage for the whole trailer and boat, training for people in driving the boat and in rescue operations, training in tractor driving. So far only one guy from the police can drive it...It seems kind of nice to live in a place where everything is given to you. At least they habe pride in showing their toys: brand new amazing firetruck, ambulance among other things. If they had to extinguish a fire in a village other than Alofi they would always be too late. The road has so many potholes they could not go fast enough.
They have little income on their own. Mostly tourism (which NZ is highly supporting e.g. by having built the Matavi resort) and vanilla production.
Anyways, it was strange to be on a pacific island and enter a building like with top modern work spaces, about 30 of them, and meeting rooms. Dress code: flipflops ("jandals"), shorts and T-Shirt. So we finally received our stamps for arrival - and at the same time for departure. Good thing that the date is adjustable. After we put our fee of $80 per person plus $15 for trash on the table we received a receipt and a beautifully sealed and tripple stamped customs clearing certificate. And then we were told to just sit and relax. The van was taken by someone and we had to wait for the return. Half an hour later we said we really have to go. Oh, surprise. They found another guy and van to drive us back to the wharf. What an experience. Good bye Niue. I shall come back by plane/land some time and enjoy the beauty.