Waitin' on Wilma

What’s a little cyclone when the green islands and blue waters of Tonga lie waitng.

Keleti Beach Surf

Surf pounds the volcanic pots just off the Keleti Beach Resort on Tongatapu.Mark Pillsbury

As far as the start of a road trip goes, this adventure to Tonga has been exceptional. Six of us left Boston on January 20 and arrived all in one piece in Tongatapu on Saturday, the 22nd. Time elapsed: 40 hours, with airport commute layovers, and flight time all added up. Throw in a dateline, and hey, where the hell does the time go?

It was worth every second. Sunday we lolled on the Keleti Beach Resort’s sand, watched the Pacific swells pound the volcanic reef just off shore, and ate every morsel cook Jennifer could conjure up. The local brew, Mata Maka, is indeed tasty. And the sunset, an infinite study in shades of grey, well it was memorable.

Did I mention Wilma?

At the bar, travelers returning from Vava’u, our destination for Monday, couldn’t wait to ask, “You here about the cyclone?”

No, we hadn’t. But a quick trip to Weather Underground indicated that, indeed, Wilma was headed our way. And on Monday, once we’d flown the hour north to Vava’u, Kerris, the Sunsail base manager who picked us up at the airport, confirmed Wilma planned a direct hit. A personal visit. An incident.

So, rather than sundowners on the aft deck of a Sunsail 384, we are, this evening, sitting on a lovely porch at the Harbor View Hotel. We’ve been to the market to buy our cyclone supplies. We’ve already seen more of the island than we might have, had we just gone sailing. And the Mata Makas still taste pretty damn good.

So, we’re waitin’ on Wilma. And then, we’re going sailing.