We left Tonga with head winds, 20-25 kts on the nose. Rough sailing since the seas were big. Everybody had its share of sickness and vomiting. After that, no wind. Trying to catch it, sailing at 3 or 2 kts.
260 miles later we reached North Minerva at 23.37 South and 178.55 West. This is an round atoll, aprox. 2 miles across with a passage to sail into the lagoon in the middle of the ocean. A reef is separating us from the Southern Ocean swell and at low tide it just dries.
Since we have picture perfect conditions to be here (no wind, flat seas) we jumped in the water before sailing through the pass to have our first snorkel. Amazing, pristine, beautiful……
A perfect coral reef opened up in front of us, alive, bright colored and with a diversity unseen until now.
It abounds with fish and each species is way larger than the ones seen before. And since there are usually no humans around, they are not afraid of us, swimming very close.
Big pelagic fish swim 15 meters below us, visibility is about 35 meters, and turtles fly across the reef looking at us curiously.
After the snorkel we entered the lagoon and are currently anchored in 5 meters depth in crystal clear water.
Did another dive in the afternoon and while we were cleaning the fish on board for dinner a big shark came to visit us.
Nothing extraordinary, since this has been common around the Pacific, but this one looked big, very big.
As it swam underneath the boat we appreciated its skin, long stipes running along its body……..it was a Tiger Shark!! At 12 ft long, not a puppy!!
Excitement across the anchorage (we are about 8 boats here) and a long photo session to remember. After 2 hours we got rid of him trolling a peace of fish with a dinghy.
At night we organized a party of 4 kids and 4 adults to go lobster catching at low tide on the reef. It took us an hour to catch 65 lobsters, approx. 45 kgs. We will be having a bbq party today (on board since there are no beaches here).
Weather is a major issue and theme of discussion among fellow boats in Minerva. It looks like we will have very light winds for the next 2 days until the trades come again. And then, there are the storms crossing NZ. One doing it right now and the next one seems like will hit the North Island of NZ by the 25th or 26th. That gives us a window of 5 or 6 days to get to Opua or otherways wait for the next one, which might not be before 10 or 12 days. So we are seriously considering taking our chances, leaving either tonight or tomorrow, the 19th.
Until then there is some work to be done, amongst others we need to clean the hull since it is a Kiwi requirement, but we have not found a volunteer yet to jump in the water……
We’ll keep you posted.