21 February 2018 | Town Basin Marina, North Island, New Zealand
08 February 2018 | Town Basin Marina, North Island, New Zealand
04 February 2018 | Marsden Cove Marina, North Island, New Zealand
01 February 2018 | Motuarohia (or Roberton) Island, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
31 January 2018 | Opua Marina, Opua, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
29 January 2018 | Mangahawea Bay, Moturua Island, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
27 January 2018 | Otaio Bay, Urupukapuka Island, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
26 January 2018 | Whangamumu Harbour, North Island, New Zealand
25 January 2018 | Maroro Bay, Off Aorangi Island, The Poor Knights, New Zealand
24 January 2018 | Urquhart Bay, Mouth of Whangarei Harbour, North Island, New Zealand
21 January 2018 | Town Basin Marina, Whangarei, North Island, New Zealand
18 January 2018 | Town Basin Marina, Whangarei, North Island, New Zealand
17 January 2018 | Town Basin Marina, Whangarei, New Zealand
10 January 2018 | The Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Center, Firth of Thames, North Island, New Zealand
09 January 2018 | Seabreeze Holiday Park, Whenuakite, North Island, New Zealand
07 January 2018 | VR Rotorua Lake Resort, Mourea, North Island, New Zealand
06 January 2018 | Parkside Lodge, Napier, North Island, New Zealand
05 January 2018 | Zealandia, Wellington, North Island, New Zealand
03 January 2018 | Stratford Kiwi Motels & Holiday Park, Stratford, North Island, New Zealand
02 January 2018 | Otorohanga Holiday Park, Otorohanga, North Island, New Zealand
Flying then sitting
09 November 2017 | Southeast side of North Minerva Reef, Pacific Ocean
Photo: The Pacific being pacific – calm conditions as we leave Wallis atoll
No, this title is not describing a typical cross-country flight with a lay-over, but summarizes our progress since leaving Wallis on Friday (November 3rd). Although the sea was glassy with only long, gentle, undulating swells when exited Passe Honikulu, the Pacific Ocean finally living up to its name, we only had to motor for 13 hours. After that, we raised the sails and slowly made our way south for another 18 hours. By then the wind was picking-up and the rest of our journey, a total of 10 degrees of latitude or just over 600 nm, was close-hauled at full speed.
We usually assume that we will average about 5 knots on such passages, but for more than three days we maintained speeds between 6 and 8 knots. It was pretty bouncy at times when the swell and wind-waves were more than 2 m (7 feet) but it was a good feeling to be progressing so fast and in the right direction. We had to furl most of the jib to slow ourselves down on the last night so that we would not arrive at Minerva Reef North until daylight and after the 8 am weather discussion on Gulf Harbour Radio. We still arrived on Wednesday, a whole day earlier than originally anticipated.
We arrived to find 16 other cruising boats strung out along the eastern side of the atoll, including Devocean at the southern end of the group. We anchored next to them, fully appreciating the calm waters and the glorious sunshine producing the brilliant cobalt blues and turquoise colors of the lagoon's deep and shallow waters. Local Talent arrived from Tongatapu the following day so it has been wonderful to be reunited with Marisa, Bavo, Gail, and Dean.
We all have accumulated plenty of stories since we parted company in Tonga but it looks as though we will have ample time to exchange them before we all dash south to New Zealand. Currently, the forecasts are suitable for departure from Minerva after the weekend but with potentially tricky conditions on the approach to New Zealand so we are prepared to be waiting here for more than a week if necessary. Although everyone is anxious to complete the passage south, we are happy to be at Minerva where the water is beautifully clear for good snorkeling and we have excellent company.