Thursday, March 07, 2019

A Moonraker's paradise in the sun

As I sailed across the foot of the South Pacific towards Cape Horn on my circumnavigation, how often I wanted to find an excuse to sail up to the famous Polynesian islands, particularly to the hidden away kingdom of Tonga.

Why Tonga? Probably because it was a part of that huge ocean we hear the least about, a home of almost a secret Polynesian race - Tongans.
I knew they had a king and a great history, and I seemed to recall that they entertained Captain Cook rather well – and three times in the late 1700s.
The BBC World Service which I monitored often on the voyage ddn't offer a word of the kingdom.
But then, whenever do we hear anything about Tonga?
A writer my late brother respected, John Northcott, had lived in Tonga. I had subedited and coded his articles for Peter’s old website.
 I contacted the writer and discovered that not only did he have much to tell about Tonga, but like me he was also a Moonraker from Salisbury, but well before – if we are to accept current notions – it became such a must-see for Ruskie poisoners.
John’s home was close to my family's old home. As a civil engineer, he worked just down the road for the Salisbury City Council until he migrated Down Under on the famous old SS Australis.

A Father Christmas stand-in

The NZ Ministry of Works was pleased to have his talent until the economy forced redundancies.
‘By then I had had enough of responsibilities so I manufactured sterling silver jewellery, impersonated Father Xmas, washed dishes and worked as a film extra.’
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at


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