Thursday, 12 November 2015

Passage to NZ - Day 1 - 11 Nov


After days of last-minute repairs, watching the weather, and resting/relaxing at Musket Cove Marina, we are underway for NZ.

I am glad that pictures are worth thousands of words, because Max has been keeping you well updated for the last couple of months; somehow my last "epistle" was in mid-Sep! Since then we have been in Savusavu (so far our favourite Fijian town in which to spend any length of time), Taveuni (the island where Max's parents spend their Canadian winters), and Nadi/Port Denarau/Musket Cove (where we did some critical (and unexpected) last minute repairs, and were joined by Debbie, a delightful and experienced sailor who has come to us from Australia through a family connection in NS. Small world!) Each of these could merit their own email, but for tonight, I will simply bring you up to date on our first day of this passage.

Max has been watching the weather constantly for the last few weeks, analyzing GRIB files, reviewing numerous weather sources/sites, and consulting with our weather guru, Bob McDavitt. This weather window (leaving Fiji on 11 Nov) has looked pretty stable for the last few days (a good sign) so we left Musket Cove and cleared out at Vuda Point Marina in order to go through the pass on Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, we have provisioned, eaten our provisions, and provisioned again. Debbie and I did a big cooking night just before we left, so our fridge and freezer are packed with yummy treats: mac & cheese, lasagne, sausages, boiled eggs, rice, and pancakes, not to mention the oatmeal cookies that Debbie and Victoria had already made :) Even if no one feels like cooking, we will eat well!

It was perfectly calm as we motored towards the pass and entered the ocean; it felt a bit like being the first ones to show up at a party and wondering if we had the wrong date! Thankfully, we only had to motor for a short while before the winds filled in. This would have been too early to be using up our diesel!

Once underway, we quickly fell into a watch routine. One-in-three is so much nicer than one-in-two! After a nap in the afternoon and a sleep through much of the night, I feel more rested than I sometimes do at home :) The sea-state is calm, the winds are 10-15 kts (as forecast) and the boat is happily scooting along at 6-7 kts. We have about a knot of current against us, so it is a bit disheartening to see our speed over ground (SOG) so much lower, but so it goes. The current pushed us out of the lagoon this morning, which was nice.

Thankfully, even a full fridge can always squeeze in some more food: we caught our first fish this afternoon. We didn't immediately recognize it, but it was some kind of tuna with very red meat (skipjack or bonito, I think). We will eat some tomorrow and freeze the rest for NZ.

Benjamin didn't take long once we were underway to add his favourite toy to the cockpit - he has a toddler sized ride-on motorbike which exactly fits into the cockpit-well. When we left NZ, he couldn't touch his feet to the ground on both sides at once, but he has grown enough that now he can. With the movement of the boat, he has a great time, starting his engine (the only motorbike that I know of that has a pull-cord starting mechanism), and driving in place. Victoria and Johnathan, as is usual for the first day at sea, were sleepy but cheerful. They divided their time between reading books, helping with Benjamin, and helping with boat jobs (reefing the genoa and fishing).

We are making good progress, and spirits are happy aboard. We can't ask for much more than that :)

Love to all,
At 11/11/2015 6:54 AM (utc) SV Fluenta was 18°48.68'S 176°29.45'E
At 12/30/1899 12:00 AM (utc) SV Fluenta was <lon>

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