Well, we have arrived in Fiji.
We are anchored in SavuSavu preparing the boat to leave for the Lau Group hopefully this weekend, weather permitting. We sailed not far away from the Lau Group on our way to Vanua Levu and we will have to sail it back, to windward for a few days now, to reach the Southern Lau Group, if we can.
But in the meantime, here are some pictures of the beautiful crossing we have just had on our way back to the tropics. In NZ there is a black ice warning for this weekend and we are happy to be here, even if it gets really hot and humid as it has today.
We have enjoyed some beautiful sailing with light to medium winds. It has enabled us to use our Code 0, the big sail on the bowsprit which has allowed us to sail as fast as the wind speed, making good progress.
The last day we sailed hand on hand with our friends from Fieldtrip who had left from Opua and were heading to Minerva as well. We had fun getting close to each other and it allowed for some nice pictures. Meetings in the oceans are always fun.
As you can see in the pictures the sea conditions were very calm so we decided to enter the atoll of South Minerva. It is smaller and a bit trickier than the one of North Minerva but we wanted to check it out. Another friend boat, Exodus was there already when we arrived and Et Voilà joined later in the day, making for a nice group of people to spend the next few days with, later joined by Caminante as well.
Once anchored inside, Mark from Fieldtrip took out his drone and took some great pictures of all of us. Here are the ones from Lumbaz:
The drone approached us, hovered close to us for a while and then flew high up in the air, about 200 mts to get a great perspective of Minerva South and us, little dots inside.
In the picture you can appreciate the black spots in the water, those are coral heads that you don’t want to hit. In front of us is the turquoise water which shows shallow depths. We cannot get closer to the reef, which is the brown structure. On the other side, the open ocean. If we get a chance we will upload the video.
That night we decided to go lobster hunting so a group of us got ready. You basically have to wait until it is completely dark and for the low tide to allow you to walk over the reef. The lobsters come out of the water onto the reef to feed on small crustaceans so you walk around with a torch light trying to spot them.
Because there was a front system approaching from the South we all moved to Minerva North the next day, which is better protected than Minerva South.
Here are 2 pictures of North Minerva pass (the opening through the reef that allows us to sail inside the lagoon). One is taken while the front flew over our heads, the second one a day before we left Minerva with fair weather and only 4 days after the first shot.
But as always, on the sea it is a matter of resilience and endurance. Stay calm and don’t break anything when it hits you because better wind and seas will eventually come.
And so it was, the good weather came, the waves got smaller and we were able to enjoy Minerva at its full again. The snorkel and diving gear got ready and we jumped into the pristine waters of the open Pacific Ocean.
After a few days of nice snorkeling we had to decide on staying there for a few more diving days or start heading NW to Fiji. There were some milder fronts coming up and we eventually decided to leave with the good weather.
It proofed to be a good decision, since we had a fun sail up to Fiji which was still 450 nautical miles away.
One night we got a visit from a Shearwater. It probably hit our rigg and seemed confused so it stayed in the cockpit the whole night, sharing the night watches.
In the morning, Luna decided to take it to the stern, to see if it would fly. And of course it did. It flew away happily, rounding as once as a farewell.
So all seemed like it was going to be a quite morning, when we heard the ratchet going on our fishing lines. We had hit something big!! And 2 at the same time!!
We only managed to reel in one, but it was a huge bluefin tuna.
As soon as it was on board we started the “post” fishing work:
But then we hit something again! And again!!
Decision was taken to stop fishing and we ended up spending 6 hours to filet, process, cook and pack the amount of meat we now had on board as well as cleaning the blood that ended up all over the cockpit.
For now, we leave you with this picture of a sunset in Minerva. We feel very fortunate to have had the chance again to stop in Minerva. It is such a special place, it will stay forever in our memories.