West meets East - crossing the anti-meridian
We left Neiafu harbour in Vava’u around lunchtime on Saturday. Motoring out to the ocean through the beautiful green-clad Tongan islands was a special experience, but soon we were heading West once more.
Three days of almost non-stop down-wind sailing has
taken us to within 100 miles of Lautoka, our destination on the West coast of
We have also had lots of rain storms, and have amused ourselves by trying to dodge at least some of the rain clouds as they headed towards us. Robert has set up an intricate arrangement of plastic pipes so that we can now collect rainwater from the bimini roof and pipe it straight into the water tanks, saving us from having to run the generator to make water.
We have been eating through our provisions in
preparation for the likely confiscation of all fresh on arrival in
On Monday, at around 4pm our time (12
hours ahead of GMT), we crossed the 180° anti-meridian line, so that all our
longitudinal co-ordinates are now ‘East’.
We celebrated with a bottle of Panamanian bubbly and Charles appealed to
Aoleus, the Greek God of the Winds, for our safe passage by throwing
his surplus coins into the deep.
Maintenance, cleaning and mending things
continue to keep us busy, but nothing prepared us for this morning’s surprise
event. As Robert was tightening it,
the main halyard snapped.
Fortunately the halyard, which takes enormous strains and was probably
past its sell-by date, broke between the winch and the rope clutch which meant
that the huge mainsail did not come tumbling down. As a result of a big team
effort, including sewing a ‘messenger’ rope onto the stub end of the halyard, we
were able to get the halyard down without losing it up the
We were fortunate that this happened when we were
only 100 miles from land, so rather than rig up a jury halyard we decided to
motorsail under jib. All we need to
do now is to buy a new halyard (67 metres of 12mm Dyneema) when we get to
Much of our recent conversations have focused on
‘life without Andy’, as he jumps ship in
All around us now are the islands which make up