Thursday, Friday 12 June, 2015

Luna Quest
W. Eric Faber
Thu 11 Jun 2015 22:03
Position: 17.18S 178.59W

Daily run: 120 miles

We had timed our entry to the pass correctly and we were not alone. Another 6 yachts appeared from different directions. We were the 5th yacht to line up for the pass in 24 knots of wind (Force 6) and as we had the benefit of seeing where the first four had gone, our passage was made considerably easier. We had expected a mass of white foam to obliterate any sight of the pass, but the reefs were well below the water and there did not appear to be much breaking of seas until we were quite close and could see the reefs and their choppy waters. Some of today’s electronic charts aided by gps have made navigation quite reliable.

None of the navigational buoys that show rocks, reefs and bommies on the chart were in evidence in the lagoon. Neither could we see any of these obstacles themselves despite having entered the pass at the recommended time with the sun behind us. Not that we could see much of the sun as the sky was overcast with thick white and grey clouds scudding about. We weaved our way around the hidden obstacles by the evidence on our electronic chart plotter that Julia read from the saloon while shouting directions to me in the cockpit helming the boat under reefed genoa. We were making about 6 knots of speed across the 10-mile wide lagoon and by the time we were across, there was quite an aggressive chop like that you might experience on the lee shore of a huge lake. There were many boats at anchor, all undergoing clearing in by the Fiji authorities. We passed round the back of them and anchored in shallow waters behind a small island inside the lagoon. Immigration, bio security and health officials came aboard in the afternoon to do the paperwork while customs would come Friday morning.

We were fortunate to have anchored where we did as the boat anchored closest to us was owned by yachtie friends we made in Tonga. The invited us to have dinner with them on their boat, a large catamaran complete with dining table, deep freeze and wine store, a different world to that of life on Luna Quest.