We ended up staying at the Minerva Reefs for much longer than expected (9 days in North Minerva and 3 days in South Minerva) waiting for a suitable weather window to New Zealand, but we’re now finally on our way (again)! We set sail from South Minerva yesterday afternoon and have been enjoying wonderful sailing conditions since then. As I write this we have just crossed over into the Eastern Hemisphere, which is quite exciting. Alex tells me he has never sailed in this half of the world before.
I think we made the right decision not to leave in the potential weather window last week. The low pressure system that everyone was trying to beat sped up and hit New Zealand a day and a half earlier than forecasted. Two boats were lost in the heavy winds and whilst we don’t know the exact details, we heard all the people on board were rescued and there was no loss of life. Unfortunately, our late departure means that we’ll miss out on the various events of the All Points Rally which are held in mid November in Opua. But most unfortunately it means we’ll miss out on seeing our friends, Eileen and Alex, who were visiting New Zealand recently. Sorry guys, I really hope our paths cross in the not-too-distant future and we hope you had an amazing time exploring New Zealand.
The current weather window is being described by meteorologists as ‘as good as it gets’. So hopefully it’ll be pleasant sailing from here to Opua where we expect to arrive in just under a weeks time.
We’ve been here at North Minerva Reef for a little while now, waiting for a good weather window to make the passage to New Zealand. None has presented itself yet so we’re waiting………………
All is well. We went for a dive yesterday in the pass and saw a tiger shark – very exciting! Also lots of smaller fish that we’ve never seen before, such as the Palette Surgeonfish, better known as Dory from Finding Nemo 🙂
We’ve made it to North Minerva Reef and amazingly there are 17 other yachts here! So much for minimal human interference, but at least we have plenty of company. The sun is shining and the waters are crystal clear – I can’t wait to go for a dive and see what’s around. I wonder if the resident tiger shark will make an appearance…?
And we’re off! The weather forecast over the next week or so is a dynamic piece of modern art. No consistency, order, rhyme or reason and it changes drastically from one day to the next. An opportunity to make the hop to Minerva became apparent but beyond that is anybody’s guess. At any rate we decided to make the most of it and are currently en-route to Minerva North. TongaTapu is 160 miles astern of us and Minerva North is about 80 miles off our port bow. We’ll slow down at some point or heave-to for a few hours in order to ensure an arrival in daylight tomorrow, but for now things are comfortable under a double-reefed mainsail and a third of our jib, and we’re making about five and a half knots.
It’s raining today in Tonga so we’re having an internet day. We’re currently testing out a new feature which will (hopefully) allow us to post while we’re at sea 🙂