The decision to sail directly to Auckland, and bypass Niue and Tonga, has proven a good call as the storm that has been around Fiji for a while has expanded into a Category 1 cyclone and now extends to cover Tonga and Niue also. We are quite a way south of this activity and Bruce Buckley (weather guru from Perth) advises we are on the southern edge of the stronger winds but the south of is is the convergence zone and light winds. Hopefully we will hang a slight left in a day or so and head for Auckland, still some 1,300 miles off.
Have just had the hospital ship ARK Peace pass us to leeward, quite close but heading east.
We have just completed 48 hours at sea since leaving Rarotonga and covered around 350 miles on fine weather with ESE winds at between 18 & 23 knots in across sea so quite comfortable. On board are Goran and me plus John Mellars who flew in, jumped on board and the we immediately departed. Although the irritating and sarcastic woman at Customs came close to insisting that we depart the following day as we arrived two minutes after closing time after first having got the Port Authority clearance and completing immigration formalities. We managed to get the clearance though and the parting gesture was to hand me a nice warning letter! Officialdom in the islands!
However we enjoyed Rarotonga and it well exceeded our expectations.
So with Pam off the boat for the first time ever the challenge is to keep the boat running efficiently and maintain culinary standards. It is an upstairs downstairs deal on board as Pam knows where everything is downstairs and now we have to find it!
Our ETA into Auckland is looking like the Sunday or Monday of Labour Weekend although may extend if we strike lighter winds. You can view real time progress on our link here