February 23, 2013

Tonga talk and parachute jumping all in one afternoon

NUEVO VALLARTA, Nayarit, Mexico - Adm. Fox and I gave a talk/slide/video presentation Friday at the Vallarta Yacht Club to a group of folks about to sail across the Pacific Ocean to the South Seas.

They are self-named "Puddle Jumpers" a pretty understated sobriquet, considering they might be at sea for 30 days jumping the Pacific puddle.

Video of the pie eating (throwing!) contest
Still, there was lot of excitement in the group, as they watched our show about our visit to Tonga last September.

We went to Tonga - Vava'u specifically - to watch, photograph, video and participate in the 4th Regatta Vava'u, a week-long celebration of sailing, culture and Tonga itself. We had a great time - much of it already described in earlier blogs. But reliving it Friday has us already scheming how to get back for Regatta Vava'u V this fall.

A Regatta Vava'u shirt from Tropical Tease
The islands sold themselves easily to this group of cruisers, many of whom only know for sure they are leaving in a week or two. When they get to the South Pacific, they have a vast number of places - and a vast ocean to explore. But it sounded like at least a half-dozen boat captains are leaning towards a Tonga stopover. And one young woman - a registered nurse - said she was interested in maybe spending six months there.

At the end of our hour-long talk, we gave away a number of items from Tropical Tease, a clothing shop on the main drag in Neiafu. Owner Cindy Russell makes arguably the finest T-shirts and other clothing I have ever bought and worn. Her Tonga Dirt Shirts are famous here in Vallarta among the cruisers.

At the end of this blog is a video we produced this fall, parts of which are in the videos we showed the cruisers.

There's Daddy!!!!!
Photography can be dangerous
After the presentation, we scurried over to the beach at Nuevo Vallarta in front of the Hard Rock Cafe where a group called SkyDiveMex has been doing parachuting jumping all week, often taking tandem rides with some of my amigos here at Bahia del Sol.

We watched some of the folks jump a little before sunset. A second group never got jump - it just got too dark.

But just as the last few jumpers were coming down, one of them collided with a photographer on staff with the group. He took his bloodied head in stride, even grinning for Adm. Fox's camera as he left the landing site.

 Below is a video of that crash.

Here's a trailer for Regatta Vava'u IV - the movie...

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