our sail north...
Our sail north – the passage that was …….
Our plan was to latch onto the tail of a big low pressure system that had just passed over NZ and use the “sling shot” technique to fire us on our way north into the centre of a nice big (but not too big) high pressure system towards Fiji. However it turned out the “tail” we were trying to catch was moving way faster than us meaning that the trip north was “one for the Arabs” as us cruisers say. Light winds and plenty of fossil fuel burning with awesome sunsets until 2 days out from Fiji as the wind increased and was right on the nose L God forbid we had to tack a couple of times to clear the Great Astrolabe Reef and safely lay a line to Suva town.
It was surprising on this trip to come across so many Asian fishing vessels – all mid passage days from anywhere – in international waters doing who knows what dastardly deeds. One night our new radar and AIS (Automated Identification System) picked up 2 vessels side by side a few miles ahead to port. Suddenly – one vessel veered off and came round to get behind us while the other stayed on a collision course. Remember – this is in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere! The vessel that circled behind us started in close in astern – pirates? – (surely not!) - were we about to sail into an enormous net? (Hope not!) – we thought we’d best call them on the VHF. Naturally no reply – maybe no speak da engly?
(our boat is at the base of the straight line in the image below – the 2 triangles are the other vessels and the dotted lines the direction they are heading)
Meanwhile – we pop up like Meerkats for a better look with binoculars …….hhhhmmmm…. that’s strange – I can see the port light (that’s left for you dirt dwellers) but he’s closing in on us ahead – doesn’t make sense – crap – so we veer away quickly from what is now looking like the Bermuda Triangle on our AIS (or perhaps the Taylor Triangle has followed us from Opua “Chris with a C”?). Double crap – time to put the pedal to the metal and get the F….. out of here! Turns out that the vessel bearing down on us is actually REVERSING mid ocean – hauling in HUGE nets and who knows what the guy behind us was doing. Lesson learned that even with all the latest technology - sometimes things are not what they seem. Also the fact that people are still raping and pillaging the oceans away from prying eyes. Anyone who complains about a few Marlin taken by sports fishermen need to redirect their energy towards the bigger picture and the even bigger emerging markets and their insatiable desire for food.
I think we might tow a lure and try to catch a Tuna on the way down to Kadavu – that’s if there’s any left !