..why are we doing this. But yesterday we were reminded again: a perfect day under sunny skies with a few tradewind clouds, sailing smoothly under Parasailor, and catching a big mahi mahi as a bonus. Also a good chance for bathing day aboard Namani, where Nicky's old inflatable kiddy pool (fits in our cockpit) serves as our onboard infinity pool. Happy and -for a change- clean faces all around. It looks like we will change our course slightly and head twoards Levuka rather than Savusavu as our port of entry because we received word that the latter is currently full.
It's been almost exactly one week since we sailed out of the Bay of Islands.Since then we have sailed close to 900nm but still have a bit more than 500nm to go, given the circuitous route we're taking (see previous post)... The second of two fronts passed over us about an hour ago (the first one had passed us last night without much a-do) and once the sky clears we hope to have nice sailing all the way to Fiji. With the passing front the wind has also shifted favorably from NW to WSW and we can now sail a more direct course to Fiji more comfortably.
No - the position above is not a typo. We are indeed at almost 173 eastern longitude, roughly on the same meridian as NZ's North Cape. After having started out heading towards Minerva slightly to the east of Fiji we are now well to the west of Fiji (plus about 500nm south of it). Have the Namanis lost all sense of direction (to the extend that they ever had any...)?
We left Opua on Wednesday noon local time and are now (finally) under way towards Fiji. It was quite a scene at customs during check-out with about 30 boats all using this relatively narrow window between two passing fronts...all handled in efficient and pragmnatic Kiwi fashion though. We had 8 hours of nice sailing after leaving the Bay of Islands and then had to resort to the engine as expected last night at 2200 local time. We hope to be through the center of the high we're currently crossing by tomorrow and to pick up sailable wind again then.
So everything is ready to go now, including the weather forecast! We are aiming for a departure tomorrow - Wednesday, May 29. That means all of us: Namani and what seems like dozens of other boats who have also been waiting for a sane weather window. We expect light winds and some motoring in the first part of the passage, then decent 15-20 knot E/SE winds. We might make a short layover in Minerva Reef after about a week if northerly winds kick in from a front coming off New South Wales at that point; when it swings around again, we would set off for the final stretch to Fiji.
You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave...
That's kind of the feeling we have right now. Lovely as New Zealand is, we thought we'd be in Fiji by now. Admittedly, this is our own fault, since we keep waiting for a better weather window - and waiting, and waiting. On the other hand, we are pretty content here for the time being and see no reason to take an unnecessary thrashing at sea.
We actually thought weâd be leaving New Zealand about two weeks ago, but we still havenât found a weather window to our liking. So here we are, still in the Bay of Islands, enjoying the quiet life at anchor in this beautiful place. Weâre looking forward to Fiji and even the passage (once we get our sea legs, that is), but meanwhile weâre in no rush to leave this wonderful place, even if fall is definitely making itself felt.
After our return from Auckland we headed out to Urupukapuka Bay on Friday (26APR). This is perhaps our favorite spot in the Bay of Islands and the weather cooperated to provide a beautiful setting there again. Our friends from Victoria had just dropped their hook a few hours ahead of us and we were happy to see them again.