Fiji to New Cal
15 October 2017 | South Pacific
We left Fiji a little earlier than planned due to one of the two things that governs what we do – the weather. There was some strong wind coming and we would prefer not to have to deal with 40 knots so we figures if we maintained reasonable speed and left straight away then we could make it into Noumea the day before the it hit, assuming the forecast didn't change.
So we cut our Fiji visit short and cleared out of Lautoka and once outside the reef we were into 25 plus knots foreward of abeam but we figured it's back and settle down a little which it did. But we did manage our fastest passage for some time covering the 700 miles at an average of 7 knots. Haven't done that for a while.
As we were heading past the Loyalty Islands Frances saw some targets on the AIS and was able to piece together the scenario. A 185 metre cargo ship “Kea Trader” was aground on a very small and isolated rock. The nearest other obstacle to navigation is Ile Mare 40 miles to the north west. We thought that the ship must have recently run aground because you will see the other target near it is a 75 metre tug – that is huge !! A monster sea going tug from Singapore. Exactly what they were doing there we don't know as we found out later that the ship had been there for 3 months already. Perhaps they were trying to refloat it but apparently we found out later that it was most likely going to be cut up and sunk.
So the person on watch managed - against all odds to hit this small rock in the middle of nowhere. How on earth is that possible ????? Two words – Exxon Valdez.....