This morning we steamed towards Tongatapu with a thick haze on the horizon from the volcanic activity of Hunga Ha’apai. We have watched the huge ash clouds erupting all day, their shape changing constantly.
Photo: Richard Robinson www.depth.co.nz
This volcanic activity has disrupted flights to Tonga for the last week. As today we had a planned change out of crew, we have been anxious over the last few days whether the team arriving from Auckland would actually be able to fly into Nuku’alofa today. Fortunately our new team member Steve Ullrich, from Auckland Museum, made it on one of the few flights arriving from Auckland. But our departing member Irene was not so lucky.
She managed to confirm a flight out tonight, but late this afternoon this was cancelled and she is booked on flight tomorrow morning.
Hopefully she will get back home soon.
Tomorrow we finalise our immigration and customs clearance and by afternoon we will be on our way to Minerva Reefs.
By Dr Tom Trnski