18.48S 174.54W 28th September 2011

Mojo 2
Andrew Partington
Wed 28 Sep 2011 02:53
Mojo 2 is mobile again and heading west. Rob and I dropped our mooring at Neiafu Harbour at 7am on a rather bleak morning with strong winds. We had some rain overnight and I heard the wind start up in the early hours of the morning. By 8am we had sailed to the entrance to the harbour and headed out into a strong south-east breeze and grey skies. Once we were in clear air we were sailing in a consistent 23 knots and gusting to 27 knots. Thankfully, although the seas were large they were following, so the boat was riding pretty well. We sailed west so we could pass to just the north of Late Island, some 43NM from Neiafu. We passed it just after lunch and were amazed that this high volcanic island did not appear to be inhabited. We are now well past it but it still looms large on our horizon to the east. We have sailed all day with just the genoa but just now at 3.30pm the wind has backed off to 12 knots, just off our port stern,so we are sailing with the genneker.
We have decided to sail directly to the east coast of Australia and make our next landfall at Brisbane. The crossing is around 1900NM and we are hoping to arrive in Brisbane in around 15-16 days time.
We had a great but frantic stop in Vava'u. For two days we were non stop [well nearly!!] preparing the boat to the next leg. Thoroughly enjoyed the stop though. Vava'u is used by cruising yachties as the jumping off point for the summer season in New Zealand. They head there to avoid running into a cyclone through summer and will not leave for NZ before November so as to avoid the chance of gale force winds further south. There are a few watering holes dominated by yachties on the foreshore but our hangout was the Aquarium Cafe. Great little place which was showing the rugby non-stop and had half price beers every night for a couple of hours. The islands here are beautiful and there are dozens of anchorages. Provisioning was tougher than Tahiti. Prices were high and there was a very limited range of products.
Had big problems again accessing the internet. Rob was able to get onto Wi-Fi at the cafe but for some reason my laptop would not work.
At close to 4pm we have come 52NM from Neiafu and Brisbane is 1842 NM ahead of us. Both the wind and seas have now settled down so hopefully a good first night at sea ahead of us as well.