Day 2 - Tonga to Fiji
22 August 2016 | 17 51'S:178 43'W, On Passage
Date & Time: 0900, Aug 23, Fiji Time Position: 17 51S, 178 43W Course: 269 @ 6 knots
Days at sea completed: 2
Distance sailed in the last 24 hours (nm): 135 Distance sailed total (nm): 269 Distance to go (nm): 138
Wind Speed & Direction (knots): ESE 14-19 Waves (ft): ESE 4
We are well into the reefs and islands of the Lau Group now and navigation through them as been no problem at all. The hard bits are where they are supposed to be and there are enough bits above the water to give us a radar back up as well on their position. This is a big relief as so many cruisers had sad bad things about passing through here. It was way overblown, as it usually is!
Yesterday afternoon when the wind was up to 25 knots we were way ahead of schedule with just a 3rd reef main up. We knew that we needed to slow down dramatically at some point on this passage so we dropped the main and just sailed under bare poles for several hours. It was surprising that we still were making 4.5 - 5.5 knots with no sails up at all. I knew that the fine hulls of a Manta had a reputation for being easy to push through the water, but I didn't expect these speeds with bare poles in only 20-25 knots of wind! Anyway, the slower speeds worked well for us so that we entered the Lau Group at about 4am just as I was coming on shift. At about 5:30am I had a very nice sunrise and could see the widely spaced islands all around us.
I continue to sleep well on this passage, just like on the last passage. I think it is because Dee is getting better on the helm, can be trusted to keep a course, and knows to get me up if anything unexpected is going on. Those are all important things in a captain's mind. Dee, of course, continues to sleep like a cat! If she lies down anywhere for a few minutes she can get a nap in. I am not there yet, but am hopeful!
It's comfortable on the boat, although a bit cold. Yes, cold! With the cloudy and wet weather that we have been having, the temperatures have dropped down the low 20's celsius. Sometimes you would never know that we are close to the equator. We are looking forward to some warmer, dryer weather in Fiji.
Right now we are sailing along with just the jib up, making about 6 knots. At this speed we should arrive in Savusavu just after dawn tomorrow - perfect timing to get the anchor down and start the procedure to clear into another country.