Feast or Famine..we chose feast! Troughs and lows aplenty that run from the SPCZ near the Solomons down to the intense lows charging through NZ.
We departed Fiji with a forecast of 15-20 knot SE winds knowing that they would be around 25 knots at times and a 3-4m swell kicking in from the south for at least a day. Just what we want..a cross swell!!
Fiji was wall to wall grey which is what we had the whole way..seeing stars and the sun only briefly. However, in our different shades of grey (!!) we had only a few showers and maximum squall (wind only) to 35 knots, only briefly. A bit of green water across the deck and unfortunately two bits of a wave down below!! We did not eat much for two days, but now are eating constantly!
All in all a fast run which was not uncomfortable as the apparent wind was between 90 and 120 off the bow. 467 miles in 72 hours and that included slowing down for the last 60 miles so we did not arrive in the dark. Had we kept our speed, it would have taken us only 64 hours to do the run. Not bad! The boat handled the seas remarkably well, which is why we bought a Hylas and it being an S&S design.
Our final departure from Fiji was a relief as we had been waiting to miss fronts coming across..which we did! The boat that left a day behind us got caught in one. Beware of NE winds shifting to the SE as they only go one way and its not through the east!!!!
Waiting in Suva was a treat as was staying a the Novatel in Lami Bay, just around the corner. A protected anchorage so we had yachts to gaze at in case we were homesick!!!
The food was to die for............
and we just enjoyed the ambiance of the old port town.....
On our return from Suva we did have a very embarrassing moment aka night on the putty coming back into Port Denarau (from Lautoka) ... at night....following our track, we relaxed once inside the marina...a little too early it seems with one of the green markers missing its light (this was replaced the next morning) and us missing the marker!!! A comedy of errors on both sides. We did not quite make it to the mooring. John from Red Sky called us in the morning and said 'Hello Eileen'...and yes, we did lean........(we enjoy their humour). Other cruisers commented that we all do silly things from time to time. Shite happens! The only thing wounded was our egos!! Does not do well having the 'naviguesser' going aground!! First time in over 40,000 miles!!!!
We arrived in Anatom Is Vanuatu in the early morning, coming through the pass around 0800. Our electronic charts were accurate and the pass is wide and deep. The wonderful policeman on the island came out about an hour after putting the hook down and cleared us in and out! How easy was that!
Anatom is a beautiful island; stunning lagoon, white sandy beaches, and crystal clear water to boot. It has wet our appetite for cruising Vanuatu in the future.
Many ruins around the villages..
No vehicles; lots of sandy tracks to exlore
We did the usual and took lots of school supplies....new books for their library, exercise books, pencils, paints...
This boat sails really well in the lagoon....
Mystery Island nearby is where the cruise ship punters go. It is well set up by the locals and a wonderful deserted place to hang out when the cruise ship is not in ..........
Peter is in a little hot water!!!!!!
A two day passage will see us through Havannah Pass, New Caledonia, and into Noumea. Not thinking about that today but it will have to be soon.
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