[100213, 1832 UTC, Neiafu, Vava'u Group, Kingdom of Tonga; 18°39.46'S / 173°58.92'W]
We are all safe. Vava'u was the lucky recipient of a direct hit by Hurricane Rene with winds gusting to 125 knots. For 26-27 hours winds were over gale force. Hurricane force winds were a few hours on either side of the eye. The eye was eerie and lasted almost 2 1/2 hours and there were people milling about and kids swimming off the public pier. One derelict boat sits on the shore in the harbor on the Pangimotu side (reportedly with its hull still intact) and a few boats dragged moorings but no boats were lost.
Jack - Antares looks undamaged; she did not move.
Randy - A35A, Paul has been text messaging us via TCC (its tower is still intact) and asked us to tell you they are well. Only suffered minor damage to their home in the Ha'apai. He will be QRT for 2-3 days.
The Tongan navy is here and the Red Cross is reportedly active. Many crop plants - bananas, papaya, breadfruit - are damaged which will surely create difficulties going forward for the people. The cell phone/internet tower on Mt. Talao at the northwest end of the bay is gone.
We returned this morning from the Puataukanave Hotel to find Carina exactly as we'd left her. There was a sprinkling of water below from our dorade vent but that is all. We are all thrilled to be home.
Your friends of the yacht Carina,
Philip, Leslie and fat cat, Jake