The sound of the chain rattling over the bow stops; the anchor sets firmly in the white sand below. Now, all you can hear is the gentle slap of clear blue water washing up against the hull. You secure the sails, jump in the dinghy and set out to explore your very own deserted tropical island. As night falls, you lay back on deck and watch the Southern Cross glow amid a blanket of brilliantly shimmering stars. Only your dreams could have prepared you for this – sailing the waters of the Kingdom of Tonga. The sailing season starts in April or May and runs through October or November, when most cruisers head for Australia or New Zealand to avoid possible hurricanes. Mild temperatures and steady trade winds blowing in a southeasterly direction at a constant 13-18 knots all year ’round, make sailing here a delight. Occasionally, northwest winds blow, which will normally shift to the south within twelve hours or so Temperatures are mostly in the 70s during the day; it can get slightly cooler at night. Even when temperatures climb into the 80s, though, the trades will keep you cool. Expect refreshing tropical showers most afternoons. Ashore, islanders dress modestly and expect tourists to do the same. Women are advised to cover their shoulders and wear a long skirt or pants, although a colorful length of cloth wrapped around your waist and covering your knees â€“ Polynesian pareu style â€“ should suffice. Tongan law, in fact, even prohibits men from walking around topless! Onboard, naturally, you can dress as you like and will most likely get by in shorts and t-shirts with a light sweater thrown on in the evenings. Foul weather gear is usually not needed.