Back to the future
11 September 2021 | 17 14.384'S:178 18.007'E, At Sea to Fiji
17 14.384 S
178 18.007 EAST!
Weather; dull and overcast with rain showers, wind 2 to 30 knots, waves 2- 4 meters
MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF THE DAY TO JEAN FROM JUST OFF THE FIJIAN COAST, WE HOPE YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY, TOO MUCH WINE AND CAKE.
So the DeLorean has passed into the stratosphere and we are right there alongside it, having time travelled into the future, it didn't hurt a single bit, there was no beam of light, no weird sounds or unusual flashing colours, in fact it seems pretty much the same as it was back in the past!. I am now calling Gerry Marty McFly - because that's how my sense of humour is rolling today! We crossed the international date line around 8.30pm last night, I was asleep and totally missed the excitement of the moment. Marty and I had spoken at length about making sure we got a screen shot of the change over from West to East longitude and we were both geared up to get the screen shot if we were the one on watch when it happened. I was a little disappointed to come up for my watch and hear the news that it had happened whilst I was sleeping and worse was to come - Marty had epically failed and not recognised the change from West to East for quite a while after it happened, so there was no screen shot. It seems very strange to think that we were sailing into the sun set and now we are sailing into the sunrise whilst sailing in the same direction and without a complete turnaround. So what does the future hold for all of you folks who are still in the past - not too much difference really, the weather forecasters still can't get it right, there are still no fish left in the sea, Covid hasn't been cured, world peace hasn't yet been achieved and we aren't quite at our Fiji destination.
Our night was a bit of a mixed bag after changing the clock and day, we had really slow winds for the most part of the night and had to run the engine to keep moving along. I spotted a trio of lights when it was my turn to keep watch, this was cause for excitement as we had seen nothing for the last 14 days. There was no moon and it was quite dark so I watched carefully to see if the lights were on land or on the water, turned out they were on land - the first lighthouses we would see as the Fijian Islands began to surround us, we were now going through a whole lot of coral lagoons and small uninhabited rocky outcrops which make up the Fijian Islands, still quite a way off to the big main islands, where we are headed. I went down for my last sleep and left the watch in the care of Marty, I was woken up when the boat began to bang and crash through the waves and roll violently from side to side. I scrambled out into the cockpit to find it was pouring with rain and the wind was howling through at 30 Knots (nowhere in the weather prediction was this mentioned). Marty had furled away all but the main sail and we were roaring along in the pitch black with rain pounding at us, good job that George had it under control! We had 2 hours-worth of this and managed to get just about every seat inside the cockpit wet as the rain found its way through the small gaps in the enclosure that are necessary to allow lines etc to pass through. We also had a few waves break over the top of the enclosure which didn't help matters. Marty had checked the radar to see how big the storm cell was and we were astounded to find it was 8 miles in every direction - a pretty big storm which had obviously been building during all those quiet calm days we have been seeing! Just after 8.30am it stopped and everything calmed back down enough that we could make coffee and drink it without wearing it. The clouds hung around for a whole lot longer but didn't produce any more rain and the sea became much more pleasant to be on, eventually though the wind disappeared and we were back to wallowing until we turned the engine back on to help move us along. As the morning wore on we began to pass more and more Islands and coral reefs eventually we were alongside the main island - so close to our destination that we could smell it even though we still have a long way to go before we reach the target. We have done a couple of gybes to try and keep the wind in our sails and we have put the spinnaker pole away - we won't be using it for the rest of this passage, of course it rained whilst we were putting it away. In just the last hour we have seen a few patches of blue sky and the sun is trying its best to poke through the clouds. It looks like we have broken (or it's just come undone) the first reefing line on the main sail but we aren't going to investigate it until we are safely in a marina - it'll just be one more job to add to the list!. As we have had to run the engine there was suddenly a bit of a cough and splutter earlier this afternoon, Marty was in panic mode for a while and changed out the 2 fuel filters and happily that seems to have settled the engine back to normal running. Presently we are motor sailing as we are back to less than 4 knots of wind - where is this weird weather coming from???? Out of our port side we can see the hilly coastline of the main Island, we just need to ravel along it and through another lot of reef before we arrive in Port Denarau. On a very sad note we are now out of chocolate so it's a good job that we are almost there before the withdrawal symptoms check in.
We have covered 124 NM in the 24. Hours and of that 9 hours were mechanically assisted.
By this time tomorrow we should be securely tied up in a marina berth, thank goodness!