Just before leaving Neiafu I managed to buy the essentials for a visit to any Tongan anchorage. It is apparently obligatory to seek permission from the village chief to anchor in their waters, and to do so one must go through the ceremony of sevusevu, by which one can be accepted by the community. This involves presenting half a kilo of kava root to the chief, which if accepted will be pounded up and made into the kava drink. The chief partakes amidst a ceremony of works and clapping, which we have to learn and participate in. However the price of kava has gone up a lot and more and more it is sold as a powder. I was able to buy 6 packets of 50grams at T$10 each - about £20 in total. This apparently is about right for the ceremony. We will see....... I'm not Really looking forward to drinking this drug, but at least it's preparation no longer involves the roots being chewed by old men and spat into a bowl to create the brew.
We had a last minute panic whether Customs Official who had promised to be there at 3pm to check us out appeared to have gone home. It being a Saturday I was expecting to pay overtime fees of T$120 so was surprised and dismayed, because it would delay our departure till Monday.
However he had been taken out to a super yacht, and was eventually returned in their big tender to where we were required to be, grinding uncomfortably up and down alongside the commercial dock. For a very large man he was surprisingly agile, and dressed in formal civil service black dress wrapped with a mat and girdled with a rope, all topped off with a hi-viz jacket marked Aus Aid.
After umpteen forms filled we were given our clearance documents and enabled to set sail for Fiji.