Up at 7:30am to do the mountain of dishes from last night, then we upped anchor and set sail on the last 300 miles to Suva.
Revelation and Chiquita decided to head for Tonga and we last saw then sailing north in 15knots south-easterlies.
Aaagh the sea, up and sown all the time, a good lunch but nothing for dinner,
I went to bed early and Pascal cooked something that smelt yyyyuuuuucckkkk...
I got up later to do the first couple of hours watch then the radar took over.
OH Nooooo, some time over night one of the oars from Pascal tender has come off. after some detective work we worked out that the 3 tenders all tied up behind Chiquita had rubbed the little plastic nut undone and then the oar has just dropped in the water and floated away.
Tania aka Doris and i spent about an hour doing a grid search of the area but no luck, then pascal and i did a little experiment with the other one and set it adrift tied to the soft-bait rod.
the oar floated for a while and then the handle sunk and the little grey paddle sticks out of the water. fat chance of ever seeing that again.
Pascal got up the mast and i steered for another hour around inside the reef looking for the elusive oar, but no luck.
we had invited the other boats over for dinner and thought we had better catch something to feed them.
We sailed out of the reef and were trolling backwards and forwards across the entrance for a couple of hours, 3 hook-ups and nothing landed, they spat one lure out and destroyed 2.
then i looked a bit further out to sea and there floating in the water was the other oar. this was about 500 meters off the reef, so the fishing trip was not a total loss.
Dinner ended up Spag-bol but there was enough wine and laughter to make it a great night, 8 people on E'eva is just right for a night of relaxation.
No lobster, we saw a couple of tiny ones and big shell of a dead one.
We had a cool day walking around on the reef and snorkeling in the pools, there was an amazing range of little fish and the reef sharks were never far away.
i saw a turtle and of coarse my camera was on the boat.
Just a lazy day enjoying the sights.
we went to Chiquita for dinner and Lilly, Drew, Kevin and Jan from Revelation also joined us.
great night had by all.
we left south Minerva bound for north Minerva at about 10:30am, they are only about 16 miles apart.
on the way out of south Minerva we tried gigging and soft-bait fishing but not even a bit, so we put out the rapala again.
I had just started repairing the boom vang, when the rod bent over a bit.
something a bit smaller than the mahimahi took the hook. a few minutes later we had a Wahoo on board, they are an ugly fish but die a lot quieter and less messy than the Mahimahi.
I filleted the back have and split the front half of the Wahoo, i had smoked a few mussels in the presure cooker so thought i'd have a crack at doing the same to the wahoo.
a bit of trimming was required to get the slab of fish to fit in the pan then it went on for about 40 minutes over a very low heat and wahlah perfect hot smoked wahoo.
we got to North Minerva about 3pm and there were 2 yachts already there Chiquita and a large Amel called Revelation.
We went over to visit Chiquita and then back to E'eva to dinner.
we had just got the cheese out to sniff, mmmm not to flash, when Ding radioed from Revelation to see if we wanted to have dinner over there.
We met Drew and Lilly and their kiwi crew Kevin and Jan.
I took over the smoked Wahoo that went sown a treat and then we had a lovely dinner with good wine and great company, there was a decision made that there should be a concerted effort tot locate lobster for tomorrow... huh fat chance.
Up at 6:30am to watch the sunrise, another thing that would have been nicer to share with someone prettier :-)
6knt of wind from the southeast, one other boat here - Chiquita with Ding and Doris, they had taken to long way and got to Minerva only about 3 hours ahead of us despite their great show of speed leaving Bay of Islands.
When the tide went out we went for a snorkel, the scenery was amazing, coral, bright coloured fishes amazing clear water, more fish, my feet. a white tipped reef shark and his mate, the don't bite apparently (yeah right) but they just glided around us being very inquisitive.
Got up a couple of times in the night to see where we were, we have been using the radar to keep an eye on any traffic and then just getting up to check the GPS and plotter to make sure we haven't turned around and are now heading back to NZ.
At 10am we were about 28 miles or 4 hours from South Minerva Reef, this is the smaller of the two reefs in this group and doesn't show up on Google earth.
We had done a calculation and worked out we could see about 4 miles from the deck of E'eva we heard waves crashing onto Minerva a long time before we could see anything.
It was fantastic watching rolling 3 meter swells rises up and smash on the reef.
The reef comes up like the rim of a volcano from water about 9000 meters deep.
It is about 6 mile long and 3 wide shaped a bit like a figure 8. it is 15 meters deep and the water is amazingly clear.
At high tide the swell comes across the reef a little but at low tide the only disturbance you get is wind ripples.
Our trip from NZ was about 900 nautical miles and we had to gibe 4 times and tack 3 times, the rest of the time.... reading, eating and sleeping
we had the raw fish with coconut cream, onion, peppers, tomatoes and sweat chilly sauce for lunch.... yuuuummmmmm