Monday 17th April, John and I spent a leisurely day in Tauranga looking around the shops and visitng the art museum, then we went to the supermarket to stock up on supplies before heading out to the boat. Arrived on 'Thistle Down' at about 4pm. Put all the provisions away and settled in for the evening there was a fantastic full moon over Motuhoa Is.
Chicken curry and rice for dinner a bit of a read then off to sleep before our adventure begins.
The weather didn't change over night and we had some big swells pushing us along. E'eva got knocked over a couple of times but just shook herself off and carried on.
we got into Suva at about 8:30am and let customs know we were there, they were flat out dealing with a cruise ship and didn't get to us until 4pm. then 4 big island guys and a girl came onto our little boat, they asked us a few questions and the gave us our passes to go a shore...
next stop a beer at the suva yacht club
UP at 7am 130 miles from Suva, all things going well we should get there by tomorrow morning.
We had sailed all night with one reef in the main and the Genoa poled out, we have been on this tack since leaving Minerva. We had to gibe once due to a wind shift but are still on 339 degrees.
the swells are a bit bigger this morning with the odd crumbling top, they are going northwest, a little across us, E'eva is rolling and wobbling abit.
by 8pm we were getting 30 - 35 knt winds and it became apparent that if we kept the ammount of sail up that we had, (a 3 reef main and 2 meters of genoa) we would get to Suva in the night, not good if you don't know the way through the reefs. so we pulled the main in all together and took another 1/2 a meter of genoa in, we were still doing 4.5 knts all night.
Up at 7am and i put the line out, w have run out of Rapala's so i'm using a little weighted gig-head i got from hunting and Fishing in Kerikeri.
Left over Cornbeef and nanbread for breakfast then the reel started to scream.
This was some fish, even with the drag on full the line kept going, i held my thumb on the reel and finally got it slowed down.
about 40 minutes of winding and playing finally got a nice size Mahimahi on board.
i gaffed it and as we learnt last time not to bring it on board until it had stopped bleeding.
By 3pm we had a nice stack of fillets for lunch dinner and more raw fish. all was set for a very pleasant couple of days.
There was a big old lazy southerly swell rolling along under us and we were sailing between mountains one minute and the on top of them the next.
it's the strangest place to be, you come out on deck and you're sailing a long in a little circle of sea, maybe 8 miles across and you're right in the middle. There is nothing to see except sea and maybe a bird or two. you can't tell if you're going east or west if there is no sun, you rely on the GPS and plotter and a little 'X' on the chart to tell you where you are.
The chart tells you that you are 3 or 400 miles from anywhere and you're just bobbing along in this very large piece of blue.
E'eva is a great little boat and she doesn't care if she's going north of south, you just set the autohlem and enjoy the ride.
ok, that enough thinking....
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.