Tuesday, 9th June, 2015

Luna Quest
W. Eric Faber
Mon 8 Jun 2015 23:55
Noon Position: 18.07S 175.53W

Daily run: 128 miles

It seems that most of the time ashore is taken up with effecting small repairs, socialising, trying to get an internet signal and deciding where to have an evening meal. However, we did manage an excursion to a vanilla farm, where there were more pigs than evidence of growing vanilla. We also had a boat trip out to the coral gardens, where we snorkelled to admire the landscape and the thousands of multicoloured fish that abound in these tropical waters and a huge cave that we entered by boat. The Kingdom of Tonga is a stretch of hundreds of small, mostly uninhabited, islands, where one could be cruising an entire season, seeking shelter from the trade winds behind the islands, but not all of them have a shelving seabed so that anchoring there is not always possible.

Our next landfall is in Fiji, a collection of islands many more times that of the Kingdom of Tonga. Special arrangements have been made for us to clear into an atoll island called Vanau Balavu. At the same time another 20 boats from the Island Cruising Association are checking in, so that around 35 boats will have to enter the pass into the atoll during morning hours with the sun behind you to enable you to see see the ‘bommies’, a nick name for coral heads within the atoll just below the surface of the water. Several boats have already been damaged in other atolls and it is therefore essential to enter the pass through the reef between 0900am and 1000am. Heavy seas break either side of the pass. The distance from Vavau is only 283 miles and we aim to cover it in three days. Bigger boats can do it in two days, but for us there is not enough puff in the breeze to log 141 miles per day. Currently, therefore we are aiming to make about 100 miles a day.