It was a typical Randall sister reunion, full of music, good food and lots of novel-reading between the many outdoor adventures. Cassidy left yesterday after a month with us here in Vava’u. I cried tears of joy when she arrived, and tears of sorrow when she left.
If you’re a visual person, check out the full photo slideshow of Cassidy’s month exploring Tonga here. (I still haven’t figured out why some of you can’t see pictures on our blog. Apologies for the inconvenience, and visit this outside link to see some photos while I keep working on the problem.)
For the more prosaic among our followers, read on to see the Top Ten highlights from hosting our very first visitor, who happens to be my favorite person in the world:
1. Rob taught Cass how to scuba dive, and she rocked the underwater world on 4 different dives.
2. We spent a week on Fofoa, an outer island on the west end of Vava’u, kayaking and snorkeling every day.
3. Cass was lucky enough to have close-up personal encounters with a sea turtle, a spotted eagle ray, a couple of sharks, and thousands of cool fish.
4. I took her on a triathalon slog across the main island, which consisted of 4 hours of bike-riding, hiking straight down (and then up) a slippery muddy trail, swimming in a washing-machine current created by huge waves, and getting deyhydrated enough to think that warm Sprite bought in a tiny village was the BEST thing EVER..
5. We took our slow, slow dingy six miles south to Fenua Unga, where we sat in seawater pools and swam under waterfalls created by the cascading waves.
6. Seahorses. Pregnant male ones, even.
7. The “Waking Dream Cavalcade” released its first album, with Rob on guitar, Cass on ukelele, and me on mandolin — new instruments for all of us!
8. Cass spent an afternoon doing ocean donuts in Ben and Lisa’s power kayak, one of the awesomest water toys out there.
9. We ate daily doses of local pineapple, avocado, papaya and mango, along with fresh giant trevally caught on Rob’s fly rod from the sailboat.
10. Cass attained her goal for this vacation: watch every sunset. And there were some glorious ones, too.
Of course, like all of life, there were lowlights, too: rainy days in a leaky boat; all of us getting sick around Christmas; the boat’s solar panel blowing overboard in a storm (and minimal electricity aboard afterwards). But the lowlights tend to accentuate the good parts. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself, now that I’m facing six months apart from my sister. The distance will make our togetherness even more special when next we get to adventure together.