*hello from Savusavu – our port of entry in Fiji
I don’t know why they say everything twice in the South Pacific, but it’s catching. So Bula Bula from the Boatblog Boatblog ® ®
We had our permissions to go to Fiji, our exit documents from French Polynesia, the tanks were filled, the boat was stocked, and we were ready to go. Except the weather wasn’t right.
Eventually after a week of mooching about, checking the weather forecast every thirty minutes hoping that something would change even though it only updates every 12 hours, and having more farewell parties than Elton John, we slipped the mooring ball and were off.
At first we headed slightly North to find the winds and then it was Westward Ho! Unfortunately not All Points West, as the Cook Islands and Tonga were still closed because of Covid, so it was going to be a non-stop passage to Fiji of about 1,700 miles. Roughly two weeks at sea, and our first long passage for just over two years. So we weren’t even sure if we could remember how to do it.
And what a passage it was. We did it all. Close hauled, reaching, broad reaching, goose winging and even a bit of motor sailing. The reefs were in and out, the screecher got an airing, we gybed, we tacked. It was like doing a yachtmaster exam. Sometimes we were virtually becalmed, and others we had over 30 knots of wind and were sailing at more than 12 knots.
Which is not going to win us the Americas Cup, but it’s fast enough to make your bones rattle. Domini was in her element with the difficult weather as this is exactly what she has been built for. (The crew on the other hand have been built for sipping cocktails on a balmy sea as the wind pushes them gently west. But they coped too.)
Sailing by moonlight is very nice.
Simple everyday things can become difficult when you are constantly rockin’ and rollin’ on a boat. Jenga for example is out. Even cooking can be dangerous and Lyn scalded herself once when the boat suddenly tipped – not too badly we’re glad to say. And shaving can leave you looking like you’ve had a date with Sweeney Todd. At one point after a particularly unexpected lurch Ju managed to squirt himself in the eye with his aftershave – not something he recommends – even though his eyeball did smell lovely afterwards. (We are pleased to say that both of the ship’s company have made a full recovery.)
I was given a drone by a very generous friend (you know who you are) but we haven’t dared to use it yet. The problem is that it this feature that means it always lands in the same place as it took off, which is a bit tricky when you’re on a boat that keeps on moving. So this is the best drone photo we can manage right now.
Watch out for some more fabulous drone footage in future editions of the boatblog.com ®
You can’t bring food from abroad into Fiji, so we had to make sure that we ate everything before we arrived. Ju was put in charge of eating the cheese and salami while Lyn specialised in biscuits. I think it’s fair to say they both did a fine job. Lyn was particularly conscientious and we actually ran out of biscuits three days before we arrived.
Like Phileas Fogg we forgot about the International Dateline – which for the landlubbers amongst you is not the local version of Tinder. It’s where East meets West and you can skip a day just by crossing a line. This is the actual moment of crossing…
and is exactly halfway round the world from Greenwich.
We had thought we would arrive on Thursday which we did. French Polynesian time. But unfortunately on the other side of the dateline it was already Friday. Mr Fogg gained a day because he was going round the world the other way, but we lost one. All very confusing, and part of the rich tapestry that is the happy lot of the international yachtsman.
But before we go, a big shout out to the genius that is Chris Tibbs. He did our weather routing for us, and managed to usher us through the ITCZ*, the troughs, the fronts, the highs and the lows and thanks to him we managed to miss the worst of weather. Which even though we are out of the cyclone season can get quite nasty in this part of the world.
Thank you Chris. Great job.
*Inter Tropical Convergence Zone – they used to call it the Doldrums. And as you know being “…in the Doldrums” is not nice. Much better to be “…in the ITCZs,” even if it doesn’t sound quite so sawlty dog.
And this edition’s Arty Farty prize goes to Lyn for her photograph, Rainbow Smudge.
First impressions of Fiji are very nice.
Bye for now Boatbloggers ®
Ju & Lyn