New Zealand>Fiji - Day 8 (2014-07-29 21:00 UTC - 16:46.6S 179:19.6E - DTF 0 nm - Track 1284 nm)
Early in the morning of 30 July we dropped the hook at the entrance of the creek of Savusavu in Savusavu Bay, Vanua Levu, Fiji, after 7.5 days of sailing, 1284nm and only 4 hrs of motoring. At 30m a bit deep, but with our 100m anchor chain we should be fine. Sunny, some 25dg, water temperature around 24dg and, judging from the clearance procedure, truly a different world from not even so hectic New Zealand. Lovely people, very welcoming, and everything easy. The only reason clearance took a bit longer was the number of boats that came in this morning (some 6). Immigration-, customs-, health- and bio-security officials come on board to verify if all is in order, verification being a big word for filling out forms and paying dues. No problems, it all went smooth.
On the final leg of the trip we really had to slow down, all in all we hove to for some 14 hrs and we still had to fully furl in the headsail not to arrive too early in the morning. I guess we could have easily made it the day before and still have time to do clearance, but that is hindsight. Contrary to our very stormy trip down from Tonga to New Zealand, we sailed in beautiful conditions from New Zealand to Fiji, most of the time at a broad reach with only one day of very squally weather. Our good friend Alex from SY Alaeris faithfully kept us abreast of what weather to expect, even during stopovers on his way to the other side of the world, thanks mate! The surprise there was that we did not have to motor at all, whereas we thought we would have to motor at least for some 2 days upon departure.
During the night before our arrival all of a sudden I heard a very loud hissing sound and even in the pitch dark of a night without moon, some 20m on port side of the boat, I still saw a large whale surfacing, apparently welcoming us to cruisers paradise.
Later that morning Santa Paz sailed in as well and during the day more and more familiar faces showed up of cruisers we have met during our travels in the last five years. Tonight a good night sleep, and tomorrow evening we’re already booked for a pot luck (BYO food and drinks) at Savusavu Marina.