Skipping Fiji and heading to New Zealand
03 November 2017 | Mata ´Uta anchorage, Uvea Island, Wallis and Futuna
Photo: Birthday-boy Randall with his seafood dinner in Mata ´Utu, Wallis
We have enjoyed our week in Wallis eating baguettes and pan chocolat, riding our bikes all over the place, peering into a deep crater lake, admiring beautifully decorated graves on All Saints/Souls Day, snorkeling in the lagoon, and celebrating Randall's birthday, and there is plenty that we have missed, but it is time to move on. The summer heat is making its presence felt, with spring high-tides and little wind the anchorage is becoming rolly at times, and in the Gulf Harbour Radio weather reports, David has finally used the D-word, a depression. If it forms, it will be south of New Caledonia and Fiji and so is not likely to develop into a scary tropical depression but with the cyclone season starting three days ago, its potential formation is a sobering reminder that it is time to head south.
We look forward to going to Fiji...it is probably just not going to be this year. Unless the winds blow us in that direction as we head south, we have decided to skip Fiji and aim directly for New Zealand. We have thoroughly enjoyed exploring Samoa and Wallis in the last month but the idea of rushing around another new country in the next couple of weeks has rather lost its appeal. As they would say in America, this horse is heading to the barn.
Leaving around noon on November 3rd, we will probably have to motor for the first 24 to 48 hours, as there will be little useful wind but we should reach suitable sailing conditions after that. If we wait until the wind reappears here, then conditions do not look so favorable further south. We will be sailing south through a slot between Tonga and the Lau Islands of Fiji. After five or six days, it is quite likely that we will have to stop at Minerva Reef to wait for good sailing conditions for the seven- to eight-day passage to New Zealand but given the good snorkeling at Minerva, that should be no great hardship. If the depression, or any other conditions, look threatening on the way to Minerva, or if we use more fuel than we anticipate, we can always swing into Vava'u or Tongatapu.
We have not had access to WiFi here in Wallis and we will be using only the SSB radio on our passage, so I will be posting the details and photos of our adventures touring Samoa and Wallis after we get to New Zealand. We have thoroughly enjoyed this cruising season in the South Pacific Islands but it does feel as though it is time to be heading "home" to Whangarei.