Once we were settled, we swam on the anchor, mostly to be certain we would have enough depth over the sand shelf should the current funneling between the islands reverse. Apart from the anchor, there wasn't a whole lot of interest from a snorkeling standpoint. What coral there was was a bit too far away, too sparse and only accessible by fighting a strong current. The sandy bottom was speckled with lots and lots of sea stars. The sand was white and the stars were black, so it looked like a negative of a child's drawing of the night sky. I suppose if I had been a bit more industrious, I could have arranged them into the constellations of the southern sky. I wonder how long it would take them to migrate into a new sky.
The real thing there turned out to be to do at Mala is just sit and enjoy the scenery. From our position, we had long views through the gaps between the bigger islands to the smaller islets in the distance. In the gaps between them, even farther islands could be seen. In the shallow spots, the deep blue water would change to turquoise and green over the sand and coral beneath. It was impossible not to see it and let out a sigh of contentment.
During the night, I was suffering from what Maryanne calls “Monkey Brain” (She got it from her sister, Sarah). That is to say, I woke up, started thinking about WAY too many things, and couldn't fall bact to sleep for a while. Usually, I tough it out until I fall back to sleep again, but for some reason, I knew I had a serious case, so I got up.
I was enjoying coffee under the moonless night sky when I heard drums. I looked at my watch: 0430. The singing started at 0500. It wasn't even trying to be light yet. It was Sunday. Everything is closed on Sunday in Tonga. Everything except church. I actually think they get up earlier on Sunday than any other day of the week. My stargazing and the subsequent sunrise were all accompanied by the most beautiful heavenly choir music. It seems the people who wrote the score to my planetarium show have been doing this for a while. When they finished, I was sufficiently relaxed enough to go back to bed to finish my night's sleep. There was another service around noon and then another at sunset. No wonder a lot of the businesses around here are also closed Mondays.