Bookmark and Share
s/v Sand Dollar
Friday, November 2, 2007 - Goodbye Fiji
11/02/2007, En Route from Fiji to New Zealand

Sand Dollar passed through the barrier reef at Navula Passage around noon today to leave the waters of Fiji until, perhaps, next season. I have enjoyed this island group as much as any other in the South Pacific. The scenery is beautiful, the diving superb, everyone speaks English, and the people are truly wonderful. I can see why the Kiwis come here year after year.

The wind was light and variable today so we made only modest progress toward the port of Opua, NZ. The trip is about 1100 miles and will take anywhere from 9 - 15 days, depending on the wind speed and direction. There are currently at least 12 boats that started the passage in the past two days. Most of us keep in touch on the single sideband radio. Although this can be a challenging passage, the weather outlook is favorable and we receive updates daily. Of course, we are planning a big party when we finally make landfall.

All else is well onboard except that I hooked and lost a huge fish that broke the 50 lb test line. I am guessing it was an 80 lb tuna.

Thursday, November 1, 2007 - Preparations for Departure
11/01/2007, Vuda Point Marina, Fiji

Departure for New Zealand is set for tomorrow, Nov. 2 in the morning. The weather gurus have predicted a very good window for this passage but they really can only see the first 4-5 days of a 9-10 day trip. For the second half you take what you get. Sand Dollar is in good shape and is ready for the passage. We have taken on provisions, fuel, and water. There are about 10 boats all leaving in the next couple of days so there will plenty of folks to talk to on the radio. My new crew member is excited about the trip, his first ocean passage.

All else is well onboard.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - New Crew
10/31/2007, Vuda Point Marina, Fiji

Note: Poor radio transmission in the marina is limiting my ability to update reports.

Former crew member, Laure, left for Savusavu today to join a boat heading to Australia. I wish her well. In the meantime, my new crew, Uri, arrived from New Zealand to assist in the passage south. Although his ocean experience is limited, he is bright and eager to learn. We are now waiting for a weather window and may leave as early as this afternoon if everything looks good.

All else is well onboard.

Monday, October 29, 2007 - Back to the Marina
10/29/2007, Vuda Point Marina, Fiji

Sand Dollar departed Navandra Island at 8:30 AM and had a very pleasant 26 mile sail to Vuda Point Marina where I reconnected with friends I had not seen in months. After cocktails at the yacht club we went to a neighboring restaurant and stuffed ourselves with two-for- the-price-of-one-pizza.

My crew, Laure, has found a boat to Australia so she will be leaving me in a day or two. In the mean time, I have found new crew who is flying in from NZ on Wednesday. He is very keen to do the passage south and, although I have not met him yet, comes highly recommended by mutual friends. The next several days will be spent preparing the boat and looking for a weather window.

All else is well onboard.

Sunday, October 28, 2007 - Navandra, Just Another Island Paradise
10/28/2007, Navadra Island, Fiji

This little island has become one of my favorite places. It is uninhabited, the beaches are clean and beautiful, the water is very clear and the surrounding scenery is breathtaking. The snorkeling is the best I've seen since the Tuamotos and the fishing is acceptable. I could stay here for another few days but I am running out of time.

There are two other boats in the anchorage, an Austrian trimaran skippered by a young singlehander, and a French steel sloop crewed by a young couple and their visiting relatives. Tonight we had a beach barbecue featuring a bluefin trevally I caught this morning and several squid netted by the Austrian fellow. It's the best meal I've had in months!

All else is well onboard. Tomorrow we head back to the marina at Vuda Pt. and begin preparations for the passage to New Zealand.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 - Pleasant Sailing
10/27/2007, Navadra Island, Fiji

Today we left Mana Island for Navadra Island which is 18 miles to the north. The sailing was perfect with 12-15 knots of wind on the beam and no swell. The sky was mostly clear and the temperature very comfortable. The anchor was sent down in 60 feet of clear water over sand in an idyllic bay between two uninhabited islands. There were a couple of abandoned bungalows ashore which some other cruisers told us was left over from an American TV reality show. Another example of paradise blemished by mass media.

All else is well onboard. It is about time for me to catch a fish so that will be my goal tomorrow.

Newer ]  |  [ Older ]


Sand Dollar
Who: Don Pratten
Port: Beaux Arts, WA
View Complete Profile »

Powered by SailBlogs