23:37.06S 178:54.80W

Wed 20 Jun 2018 23:45
My nerves settle in Minerva
Actually its our nerves settling but it doesn’t go so well with Minerva does it. So Zoonie moves very gently at her anchor in this amazing lagoon (every ocean should have one) alongside our dear friends Hannes and Sabine on Cayenne. Rob will dive down today and see if there is anything wrapped around their prop as Hannes thinks there may be from a strange noise.
Our strange noise seems to be a vibration/resonance sound which comes and goes, appears to be doing no harm, we surmised on our knees staring down at the geabox/propshaft area at some unearthly hour one night. Cause of worry number 1.
The first couple of days gave us expected southerlies and the Diva gave a fine performance billowing blue ahead of us pulling Zoonie along at 7 – 8knots. The sailing we have had has been beautiful, some close hauled at 5-6 knots to get here. It pays to have a clean bottom.
Then the calm started and caused us to do 114 hours of motoring in which Rob felt Zoons was using more like 3ltrs per hour instead of two and we were getting through the diesel much more quickly than we should. Causes of worry numbers 2 & 3. So within minutes of arrival the table was unbolted and moved, the floorboards unscrewed and moved and the diesel viewing hatch (25 ish bolts) were carefully undone and put in a pot. Rob gently levered the hatch off and there flowed a sea of fluid, pale pink and down only by 7” (out of 21” with a hull shaped tank bottom using the hollow top of the keel) so we guess we have used just over half to 2/3rds of the fuel capacity instead of about 3/4. The conclusion will come when we fill up. Guys would you know if it makes any difference to the fuel consumption of an engine if it has been through a mostly fresh water rinse (submersion) because I cannot see it would if it was cleaned and dried straightaway? She sounds exactly the same as before and there is no smoke astern. Our relief was like a yoke being lifted from our shoulders.
Cause of worry number 4 was getting ahead of the oncoming Low which appears to have slowed as the High that gave us the calms is holding it back. The expected southerlies will help us all in to Fiji (400 miles away) in a couple of days and we just hope everyone is clear of the Low before it arrives.
It seems incredible to be sitting in the coral reefed rim of this, the oldest type of volcano on earth. Once in very ancient time this erupting volcano stood high above the ocean venting forth. When it ceased it sank back down into the ocean at the rate of around 2cm a year until the marine corals could encrust its rim. Some people were on the rim exploring the pools as we came in. The crayfish are good in this area but I feel it would be kindest to leave them alone.
The grib files show the Low to the south west of us drawing in wind from all angles like a Catherine wheel. A shower of rain in the night did a fine job of washing all the salt off Zoonie’s decks and windows. The sun is lovely and warm as we sit and soak up the surroundings. It is impossible to photograph this area and do it justice as the beauty is in what is not there; no foliage, no mountains, no bold colours. Pale grey clouds with blue patches down to the horizon which sits on a pencil thin line of grey being the ocean outside the lagoon.
Then irregular waves break white on the outer edge of the circular reef which reveals itself as a green band three times as wide as the horizon line. When we first approached we saw lots of black specs standing above the reef. It would be easy to think they are hulls at a distance but they are rocks that must have been sitting there through every tempest for millions of years. Where else would they have come from?
Next job after breakfast, inflate the tender.
Yesterday we rowed across to Cayenne and chatted with Hannes and Sabine over coffee and delicious vegan nibbles. Then Rob donned his wetsuit and dived into the pale blue depths to reassure them both that there was nothing nasty around their prop and the cause of the hissing noise as they entered the lagoon was probably the tide in the entrance rushing over the shallower sea-bed.
21st June and still in Minerva
Tregoning is well west of us at present and plans to keep going for Fiji. They will have weathered the Low passing through last night and hopefully pick up the southerlies that are due to cover this area from midnight tonight. It is on these winds that trail the Low that we will set off early tomorrow for the last 400 miles.
Rob caught a beautiful squid this morning. Its mate stayed with it while it was hooked and it keep shooting out black ink which looked very dramatic in the pale blue water. I landed it in a bucket and Rob removed the hook before it went back to its mate in an array of changing colours. So what amazed us was how it changed to the exact colour and pattern of the artificial bait, as you will see when I eventually get the photos to you.
We ate with our friends last evening and motored back with our well behaved outboard on the back of the tender after dark to our floating home. This evening they are coming over to us before our joint departure tomorrow when Zoonie should be facing the beacon to the south of us signalling favourable winds.