Domino 2

Wed Dec 27 20:16 2017 NZDT
GPS: 36 25.39S 174 49.7E
Run: 9.5nm (17.2km)
Weather: s18kn 1% cloud cover 1/2m s swell

Anchored in Mansion House Bay with about 20 other boats in calm conditions with a sunset taking its time - not as fast as the tropics! Had a very pleasant downwind sail with only a reefed main ( Sue doesn’t’ like any lean). Only big motorboats passed us though.

Checking conditions for trip to Smokehouse Bay Gt Barrier either tomorrow or Friday. Either way I hope to have snapper for the smokehouse. Only a small kahawai today though.

Mansion House Bay with namesake in the background
Sat Nov 4 22:15 2017 NZDT
GPS: 36 17.21S 174 48.4E
Run: 77.5nm (140.3km)
Weather: Wind nil. Swell 1m northerly drizzle.

Left Opua about 6.30am with lighter than forecast wind that gave us a slow ride until Wangamumu Then 15-20 knot NW that meant wing on wing sailing at 8knots until Sail Rock off Mangawhai.

Then just as the rain came the wind died so it was a late arrival here at Leigh Harbour. Caught a reasonable ( legal) kingfish just off the Hen & Chickens and hope to try our luck tomorrow off Kawau.

Sat Oct 28 23:03 2017 NZDT
GPS: 35 18.777S 174 07.339E
Run: 141.4nm (255.9km)
Avg: 5.4knts
24hr: 130.2nm
Weather: 5kts SE 50% cloud cover. Nil swell

We have arrived safely at Opua. Just missed customs clearance by 2 hours so spending the night on the quarantine dock looking longingly at people enjoying beers at the yacht club just metres away, but out of reach for us. Fortunately they will clear us on Sunday as crew have to get back to their real lives.

Been great having Jonathan onboard learning his sailing techniques , and of course good company. At 8 days the passage really was smooth sailing (with a bit of motor thrown in). I just wish the temperature was a little more tropical...

Fri Oct 27 21:00 2017 NZDT
GPS: 33 20S 173 30E
Run: 158nm (286km)
Avg: 6.3knts
24hr: 151.5nm

Smooth seas again with temptation of 10-15kn for spinnaker ride but only got to 10 max so became 5 knots as we were moving away from the wind at 5 knots too. Nevertheless the spinnaker filled and the motor was finally off for a while. Then the fisherman was re-hired as he caught a nice Big Eye Tuna and a big fat Albacore as well. In tshirts 100 miles from Cape Reinga was a good sign for summer although as the sunset the temp has plummeted!

We toasted the yellow orb with red wine and thanked the weather gods for calm weather and just maybe if it's not too much trouble a little NE breeze to carry us into Opua late tomorrow.

Thu Oct 26 19:58 2017 NZDT
GPS: 31 09S 172 42E
Run: 126.3nm (228.6km)
Avg: 5.8knts
24hr: 140.2nm

Great day for water skiing 200 miles north of Cape Reinga. Unfortunately our motor doesn't go that fast so we have been chugging away all day on a flat calm sea.

At least it is sunny so a chance for a shower, a read and a sunbathe out of any breeze and pretending we are still back in Fiji. Really could do with the NW breeze we are still waiting for. Fisherman needs to be sacked too.

Wed Oct 25 22:21 2017 NZDT
GPS: 29 29S 173 34E
Run: 108.8nm (196.9km)

Steady 11 knots SE so zig zagging all day whilst wind. Swapped no 1 genoa for no 2 we have been using because furler had jammed and kept it up there. So up the mast mid ocean in 2 metre swell whilst mainsail up was an interesting experience. All good now and making better progress albeit zig zag to get to the Cape. Light N to NW wind expected soon which will help our progress hopefully.

Tue Oct 24 0:00 2017 NZDT
GPS: 27 55S 173 44E
Run: 154.9nm (280.4km)
Avg: 54knts
24hr: 1296.6nm

Magical night last night, ghosting along on a black velvet sea, with a zillion diamonds scattered in our phosphorous wake. Then a light drizzle came and took the wind, so 6 hours of motoring until daylight. We had everything today - rain, sun, head and tail winds, no wind, spinnaker and close-hauled, but now have a brisk, steady 13 kn SE as we close in on Cape Reinga, with a long period 2 metre Westerly swell.

Cooking dinner was a challenge, but chicken sweet chilli and lime with me goreng all made it safely from our plates to our mouths.

Mon Oct 23 21:07 2017 NZDT
GPS: 25 41S 173 57E
Run: 83.5nm (151.1km)
Avg: 7.5knts
24hr: 180.9nm

We estimate this is our half way point, being 570nm since leaving Denarau, 3 days and 7 hours ago. If we keep up this pace, we should make Opua on Friday, just short of 7 full days! Winds lightened today and tended to North, as expected. Currently NNW 10 kn apparent, with 7.4 speed over ground, as 1 metre following sea helping. Tried fractional spinnaker in light winds, and will try again tomorrow too. A bit of zig zagging off Rhum line to keep moving along, but nicely set up now, if wind stays as predicted. No boats about, just a few birds searching for elusive fish. Bangers ‘n’ mash tonight, then!

Mon Oct 23 10:03 2017 NZDT
GPS: 24 35S 174 30E
Run: 195.5nm (353.9km)
Avg: 7.9knts
24hr: 189.1nm

Another nice morning with 10 kn of NNE wind and 1m swell. 50% cloud cover. Avoided expected showers last night and scootered along 7.5-8 knots, with stars our only company. Approx. 600 miles to Cape, but we will zig zag to avoid unintended gybing with full main and poled out no 2 genoa. No fish, but still lots of food in freezer, so eating well.

Sun Oct 22 9:14 2017 NZDT
GPS: 21 46S 174 47E
Run: 149.4nm (270.4km)
Avg: 8.7knts
24hr: 209.6nm

Nice morning with 1/2 metre sea and beam on 14 knots, making our Rhum line at around 6.5 kn average. Have been keeping pace with Revilo through the night, and at 3am had a fishing boat about 2 miles away that had no AIS on. As we sail into this, high winds will lighten so we are making speed while we can. Both well on board, enjoying the sail.

Sat Oct 21 16:08 2017 NZDT
GPS: 19 45S 175 37E
Run: 178.9nm (323.8km)
Avg: 4.3knts
24hr: 103.4nm

Mostly sunny skies and deep blue sea as we march south at average 7 knots wind on the beam, and confused one metre wind swell. Wind up to 25 kn last night making journey uncomfortable, as short handed, but have done about 160nm in 24 hours, so all good.

Thu Oct 19 22:36 2017 NZDT
GPS: 17 46.359S 177 22.919E
Run: 12.8nm (23.2km)
Weather: 10knts E 80% cloud cover

Customs booked for 10 am Friday at Denarau for our departure along with 6 other boats here. Must mean a good weather window I hope.

Wed Aug 16 17:35 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 46.315S 177 11.236E
Run: 58.4nm (105.7km)
Weather: 12kn SE easing. 98% cloud cover

Back in Musket Cove after a good sail back on Monday. Our first rainy day today after a wild night on a mooring buoy here as wind got up to over 40knots from the north at about 4am. Seems to have settled down during the day and we may even get a sunset on dusk. Boys leave the boat in 2 days so good weather would stop us playing cards, watching movies and drinking the boat dry!

Wed Aug 9 21:21 2017 NZST
GPS: 16 56.687S 177 22.046E
Run: 19.6nm (35.5km)
Weather: ENE 12-18kn gusts. 50% cloud cover. 1 metre NE wind swell

Another 'dancing with Mantas" morning with less people and many more Mantas in the water. They performed somersaults and synchronised dancing for us and at times we felt so close we thought we might bump into them, but they were totally in control dipping slightly or curving off just before any contact. They seemed to love the go pro showing all their moves as they coasted back and forth through the Drawaqa - Naviti Pass (just on high tide as usual). For more pics see Facebook: 'sailing Domino'

After this and greasing the. winches we tested them in the stiff breeze sailing north on to Blue Lagoon Beach. Dolphins frolicked on the bow a while and 5 fish strikes on the lures but only one landed - a Razor-back of modest size that was barbecued for dinner.

Might go north tomorrow to the underwater caves at Sawa -I- Lau.

Tue Aug 8 21:42 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 10.287S 177 11.335E
Run: 22.1nm (40km)
Weather: 20kn Easterly gusts with many calm patches. 30% cloud cover

Back off Drawaqa Island and planning to snorkel with the Mantas again tomorrow if they are still around. Spent last night off the sand spit between Waya & Wayasewa. All night there was a huge brush fire above Yalobi Bay that coloured the night sky but fortunately avoided the villagers below. At sevusevu with a neighbouring chief today he passed it off as a normal thing but the fire seemed huge and totally out of control. A huge area of forest was laid waste for no reason apparent to us.

Anyway I have enough problems of my own as my crew mates have said I now look like the character in Castorway and have given me a coconut to call Wilson as well - too long in the sun!!

Sun Aug 6 21:34 2017 NZST
GPS: 16 54.778S 177 23.088E
Run: 1.8nm (3.3km)

Maintenance day fixing or tweaking things on the boat then it was time to search the area. We snorkelled the same reef pass from last week and saw 2 lobsters and a 6ft+ sand shark ( harmless) amongst all the stunning coral.

Trev & Don found a dive spot that would hire out tanks so next day we moved to Blue Lagoon Resort and went ashore for dinner and a Fijian show there.

Next day we went to a dive spot called The Zoo out near a major reef pass. Made good friends with Navi, a dive instructor and got pawpaw & coconuts from him and we returned the favour with Some fish caught on the way there. I love the banter system going on!

Had a session of kava at the resort and got Johnny playing the guitar for the guests - again a good trade!

Wed Aug 2 19:49 2017 NZST
GPS: 16 56..8891S 177 22.063E
Run: 20.1nm (36.4km)
Weather: 12kn Easterly 30% cloud cover - 1 metre swell SE

Dropped the hook at Blue Lagoon (Nanuya Lailai)) this afternoon after a boisterous sail up into a 20 knot headwind. Our reward on the way was another Walu and Tuna on the lure plus a fisherman trade of 2 lobster and 2 crabs for the cost of a single meal. Dolphins accompanied us for an hour spinning off the bow and eyeing us looking down on them.

Have just had our first course of serviche Tuna with crab legs - delicious! Bring on the lobster and pass me another wine will you?


Tue Aug 1 23:15 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 10.101S 177 11.317E
Run: 13.9nm (25.2km)
Weather: Variable 5 - 10 kn tending Easterly. 1/2 m SW swell 5% cloud cover.

Another special day above and below the waterline at Manta Ray Pass on Drawaqa Island. Started with a great snorkel near the shoreline by the boat then - just before high tide, we were gliding with giants as the manta rays came ghosting along from the depths.

Initially scary because of their size we soon relaxed as their graceful motion had us spellbound. Such a wonderful experience that lasted for an hour as they dove then reappeared with mouths agape ( both theirs and ours) feeding in the nutrient rich Pass.

Another bloody sunset followed with cocktails and minstrel Johnny's ballads to send off another day in paradise.

Sun Jul 30 18:58 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 21.81S 177 08.236E
Run: 33.9nm (61.4km)
Weather: 10 kn Easterly. 80% cloud cover

Back in the Yasawas wth new crew of Don (maintenance guru), John (music maestro), & Trev (cook extraordinaire) so life is sweet! Rained at Musket last night - first time I'd' seen rain in 8 weeks but we were too busy gorging on pizzas & getting photobombed by the staff ( see pic) to notice.

Light winds for our sail out here to Kuata Island - the start of the Yasawas. Another bloody sunset with fresh Walu on the barbie and Guitar Johnie serenading us into another great week ahead.

Mon Jul 24 21:54 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 51..101S 177 12.299E
Weather: SE 20 knots swell 2 metre SW 30% cc

Big waves at Restaurants today - was all going great until the monster set arrived just before dead low tide. Caught us all off guard - 6 boards broken, a few surf tour boats badly rattled and half the lineup gave up surfing after that including Tom and I. Thankfully I have spare boards on the boat!

Hope to catch it a little smaller tomorrow.

Mon Jul 24 21:54 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 51..101S 177 12.299E
Run: 5.6nm (10.1km)
Weather: SE 20 knots swell 2 metre SW 30% cc

Big waves at Restaurants today - was all going great until the monster set arrived just before dead low tide. Caught us all off guard - 6 boards broken, a few surf tour boats badly rattled and half the lineup gave up surfing after that including Tom and I. Thankfully I have spare boards on the boat!

Hope to catch it a little smaller tomorrow.

Wed Jul 19 6:14 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 46.289S 177 11.196E
Run: 0.1nm (0.2km)
Weather: Variable direction and under 5 knots. 40% cloud

Last day for P D J & C so we trolled lures a bit, surfed Swimming Pools, snorkelled Namotu reef and still had time for a swim and sunbathe by the pool! A nice meal at the restaurant capped off a great 2 weeks.

Sun Jul 16 22:00 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 46.277S 177 11.134E
Run: 66.4nm (120.2km)
Weather: 18-22 knot SE that followed us every time we tacked.

Back at Musket Cove after a long motor back from Waya Island straight into a 20 knot headwind. Had a few good strikes on the lures with only one landed on the boat - a Mackerel Tuna. Chef Paul 'cooked' this with limes, lemons, cocunut and a medley of secret herbs and spices - yum! You put the lime with the coconut, you shake it all up .....

Fri Jul 14 18:32 2017 NZST
GPS: 16 50.867S 177 27.9220E
Run: 5.5nm (10km)
Avg: 6.2knts
24hr: 148.3nm

Fri Jul 14 17:38 2017 NZST
GPS: 16 50.867S 177 22.922E
Run: 6.6nm (11.9km)

Parked up at Sawa - i - Lau after a windless day motoring up from Blue Lagoon. Amazing limestone island that has a hidden cave ( wel,l hidden behind a metal door preventing access until you have paid the key owner F$55 each to go through). Glad we decided to as we got a guide who let us in and showed us the huge cathedral-like interior where we snorkelled through to more underwater caves inside that had shafts of light from the jungle 40 metres above. Both spooky and stunning as he regaled of the spirits that live within.

Later we went ashore to find more caves on our own ( pic attached) and climb coconut trees to get juice for our rum cocktails!

Wed Jul 12 22:31 2017 NZST
GPS: 16 56.569S 177 22..086E
Run: 11.2nm (20.3km)
Weather: 8knot Easterly that died away to glass around an hour before sunset. No significant swell.

Dropped the hook around midday at Nanuya Lailai Island known more famously as the spot for the movie Blue Lagoon. Unfortunately Brooke Shields couldn't be there so we settled for the wonderful scenery at and below the waterline. We,d read in a guide book the coral was not great because of all the tourists. The first snorkel spot we chose was just a bit of weed in shallow water with sand. Thinking we'd try one more spot we went to the edge of the main pass between the 3 islands just 500 metres from our anchor and what a spot! We all agreed it was one of, if not the best snorkel yet with huge varieties of coral and fish of every colour and shape. Unfortunately no pics to show here as they are still locked in the GoPro. I only hope they can do justice as it was a sight to behold in only 2 - 5 metres depth in water clarity of about 25 metres. We spent close to an hour in the bath warm water with no current or concerns of larger fish species bothering us (we haven't seen a shark during any of our surf/snorkel time in Fiji).

Of course above the water is equally impressive with deserted white sandy beaches backdropped by palms and rugged hinterland. If they need to do a sequel to the movie the stage is still set and ready.

Early this morning Jason caught 2 Giant Trevally, one of which we released with the other eagerly accepted by a passing Fijian boat ( we have been warned about risks of eating these), so lunch was last nights leftovers - in a fitting location for a crayfish salad.

Tue Jul 11 21:02 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 04.840S 177 16.702E
Run: 8.5nm (15.4km)
Weather: 8 kn SE under 1/2 m S swell. 5% cloud cover

Anchored for the night next bay up from Somosomo village. We came here to snorkel a WW2 plane wreck that was in about 2 metres of water in a bay a short walk away. We met up with a typical friendly Fijian that came over to chat and see if we had any spare hooks. After giving him a selection he offered to guide us to the wreck site. Thankfully we agreed as the track was almost overgrown and twice the distance we had thought. However Sayeed found us sustenance from the bush walk with a grove of paw paw trees growing wild. A few swift slices with his machete and we were gorging ourselves. On arrival he whooped with delight at finding a single Jandal so his walk back wasn't entirely barefoot. On our return he introduced us to his wife who had been gathering seaweed to consume and sell on Thursday on their weekly 4 hour round trip to the mainland in their tiny boat. The seaweed was caviar-like in size and tasted quite nice.

Soon after getting back to Domino another boat came by offering to sell us a wriggling crayfish for F$15 - some days are just golden!

Mon Jul 10 21:53 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 10.137S 177 11.308E
Run: 9.2nm (16.7km)
Weather: 15 in SE with no noticeable swell roll. 10% cloud cover - full moon about 25 degrees

Parked up for the night by Manta Ray Passage with about 7 other yachts. Apparently the mantas have been on vacation for 4 weeks so we didn't see them but not to worry as the reefs here are stunning with pristine corals of every colour as were the reef fish. Water clarity was probably 50 ft so everything was on show and this was about 100 metres from the boat. Great anchorage in about 15 m of sand with no roll tonight even though it is blowing 15 knots SE as it has all day. As the sun was setting I flipped on the barbie the huge butterflied lamb steak that Paul had brought over from N Z. Our yachty neighbours asked us to please turn off the BBQ as it was driving them wild. Could have been the rosemary & garlic or honey drizzled over the stir fried veggies but washed down with a nice NZ Chardonnay it was the best of both worlds for us.

Sun Jul 9 22:29 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 16.55918S 177 6.41359E
Run: 39.4nm (71.3km)
Weather: No wind ( all day) but small sw 1/2 m roll of swell. Cloud only on horizon all day.

Anchored in 10 metres on sand just off Octopus resort at Waya. Our first night in the Yasawa group of islands. Diane, Paul, Chivaun and Jason on board since Friday night pick-up at Denerau.

Had a great time last week with Mum Ian Chris & Pauline based in Denerau. Was so good to see them and show them how good life is here in Fiji. Great meals, conversations and a day sail to Malolo Island to show off Mi Island. Thanks to all for making the effort.

Headed off to Musket Cove with DPC& J to show them round the resort and swim in the pool before the All Blacks vs Lions final test ( the draw score was a good game but poor result). game was shown in the resort hall and a great atmosphere especially when the ABs had ball in hand

Motored off this morning to Waya hoping for wind and fish but got neither although a stunning day nevertheless. Went for a snorkel in the bay with super clear water and such colourful coral and marine life. Another bloody sunset ( stunning) with fresh NZ fillet steak on the BBQ and great tunes on the iPod Mike had set up. My guests are already thinking up ways to stay here forever too!

Tomorrow we buzz around the corner hoping to swim with manta rays at Manta Ray Pass ( surprise, surprise). It really is pristine here and with a full moon and stars in abundance a very special day indeed!

Sat Jul 1 21:54 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 50.44636S 177 11.0749E
Run: 5.1nm (9.2km)

Another great day at Namotu Island. Surf was glassy and head hi to well overhead and breaking long and fast but makeable. Caught a fish on the way out on the fish factory set-up that Rob Bayes left for me after his visit- basically strong nylon attached to bungee cord with a peg that I separately attach to it. When a fish catches on the lure the peg gets stretched then lets go and pings on the head of whoever is at the helm. Today's catch seemed like a few good meals until I found out it was a barracuda which are supposed to be not great eating. Oh well plenty more fish in the sea ( so they say....)

Scoffed the last of my large Walu tonight under a stunning sunset. It's just great to eat outdoors each night with no flies, mozzies or bugs of any kind - Sue, you'e gonna love it here! See pics

Thu Jun 29 22:55 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 46.05658S 177 11.79331E
Run: 0.6nm (1.1km)

Still in Musket - pretty hard to leave here when it's so close to surf, a safe anchorage, a cheap barefoot bar and a pool with sun loungers when you are all surfed out - sure is hard to beat! Surfed Tuesday & Wednesday at Restaurants ( pic attached) with good size but Aussie school kids everywhere and a strong offshore wind too. Made retrieving the anchor a little more tricky but the wind was perfect for a genoa ride back to base. Wind too strong today so caught up on a few boat jobs and built a boat out of driftwood on the beach.

Took a few pics of the place and posted them on Facebook under sailing Domino - enjoy!

Surfer slotted as I prepare to leave all surfed out
Driftwood on the beach that had to be put to good use. Sister ship Domino behind
Mon Jun 26 20:38 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 46.219S 177 11.237E
Run: 5.4nm (9.8km)

Spent last night at Denerau marina as I dropped off Branko and Glen after their 15 day surf trip on the boat. It was a fantastic time spent with them and their last day started with another superb session at Restaurants. Apparently Kelly Slater rates this as his most favourite wave in the world - we were lucky enough to score about 6 magical sessions here and I would rate it right up there too.

Having free water at the marina allowed me to wash all the salt and grime accumulated from the trip and the boat feels just like you do after a well eared shower!

More scrubbing Monday morning to finish off and a few groceries later and I was off back to Musket - this time without crew for a week. Not sure my day will change much as there's a big swell expected Tuesday/Wednesday so it's an early night ( after another scrumptious meal of Walu on the BBQ) so I can get out to Restaurants early to watch the magic unfold.

It's a tough life but someone's gotta live it!!

Sat Jun 24 22:18 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 50.805S 177 12.163E
Run: 12.9nm (23.3km)

Just got back from Musket Cove resort where we watched the All Blacks soundly beat the Lions. Probably 90% of the room were Kiwis - is no-one working back home?

Yesterday (Friday) started with an amazing surf at a hollow Restaurants where I was alone in line-up for at least half an hour in cranking shoulder to head-hi waves. I could smell the pancakes and coffee from the Tavarua restaurant and knew it wouldn't be long before the American resort guest filled the line-up. They did at 8 am as the tide dropped exposing the treacherous reef and several limped back to the resort with momentoes of the reef soon after. The wind picked up and lasted most of Saturday so we did a little trawling and managed to hook and land another nice Walu (Spanish Mackerel ) so plenty of fresh fish for the BBQ now (see pic on )

With a little time on our hands we replaced a sail line up the mast and did some walking on Mololo Lailai ( little Mololo) marvelling at the spectacular views up the hill overlooking the resort, reefs, and boats at anchor. Then after building up a sweat it was off to the resort pool to sunbathe away the rest of the afternoon before the game.

Life is tough some days ........

Thu Jun 22 20:14 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 46.317S 177 22.972E
Run: 16.9nm (30.6km)

Had to drop Wyn off at Denerau to catch his flight this afternoon. After 12 days of surfing, snorkelling and enjoying the warm weather, the thought of NZ winter was not one he was relishing. However the last 2 days were top class waves with no wind at Swimming Pools and Namotu Lefts and a swim at the resort pool watching the sun set with a bourbon was a pretty nice way for it to end

Whilst in Denerau we refuelled and watered as the water here is fine to drink as opposed to Musket Cove which is a little more suspect. Of course a bit of food shopping too with the obligatory stop at the local bakery for fresh mince pies - including a couple for the freezer!

Back out to Musket tonight for another 5.15am start in the morning to hit the surf breaks with my 2 remaining guests Grom & Branko who are staying on for another 3 days longer.

It will seem strange to be on my own for a week for the first time since arriving a month ago. Surfing with mates every single day over here has been a dream come true for me and I know they have enjoyed every minute of it too.

Oh yeah, time for a beer!
Another great day on the water
Tue Jun 20 21:32 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 49.551S 177 07.91E
Run: 4.3nm (7.8km)

This may be tedious to the non-surfers reading this but yet again a perfect start to the day Monday hitting swimming pools surf break with no wind and a lined up swell (proof pic of Grom included). We'd picked up Darren from plantation resort and he was pretty pleased to get such warm water waves on his 2nd day of holiday..Tried the afternoon there but the rip was fierce threatening to take us to NZ so we trolled lures instead. This morning was a similar windless, cloudless day so Namotu Lefts was the call.with water so clear that waiting between sets you'd see he whole reef floor and colourful fish at 3 metres deep without needing a mask or even putting your head underwater! One of the guys in the lineup says it was the best lined up swell he,d seen and he,d worked at the nearby resort for 6 years! Eventually our aching arms forced us back to the boat and we tried towing lures down the outside reef near a break called Desparations - so named because when everywhere is flat it still breaks here as the very deep water suddenly wells up to a shallow reef and is a haven for big tuna and Mahimahi So what did we catch - zip! Only one strike that was lost soon after when it bit though the lure,! On our way back we were treated to a special encounter with a pod of pilot whales that stayed near the boat for 20 minutes. They would creep up behind the towed dinghy a then race to the bow twisting sideways to eyeball us then peel off and repeat the exercise time and again. Looking forward to seeing that go pro footage for sure! I've added some pics on the yit site for those interested.


Grom bottom turns at Swimming Pools
Pilot whales acting like dolphins on the bow
Sun Jun 18 22:01 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 50.904S 177 11.567E
Run: 0.8nm (1.4km)

Up at 5.20am to get a surf to ourselves early at Restaurants. It was a fair bit smaller and very low tide so we had a few close encounters with the reef but no injuries. Motored out to Cloudbreak trolling with just the one strike which we lost as it neared the boat. Ended up the afternoon surfing Swimming Pools off Namotu in a fun wave with a fair rip on it. Interesting bunch of surfers with 2 that were crew from a super-Yacht. Nearby and another that is working on the TVs series Survivor film set at Mana Island for a few more months.

Returned back to base to finish off (for dinner) the Spanish Mackerel from yesterday We were forced to eat it under a stunning sunset as the pics attached show. Pretty fortunate eh?

Yum Walu!!
Sat Jun 17 21:41 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 51.115S 177 12.217E
Run: 14.2nm (25.7km)

Pinch me, I must be dreaming! What a day! We left Mana Island as the surf was no better in the morning and we were keen to catch the big swell at Restaurants ( a world famous fast reef break off the restaurant at Tavarua Island). It did not disappoint as by midday we were paddling into clean low tide barrels 4-6 ft having the time of our lives. The surfing pros had left the day before (Kelly was surfing huge Cloudbreak), so the lineup was ours and we made the most of it hooting each other into some of the best waves of our lives. With so much time in the water lately all our surfing style was as good as we get and I even got a hoot from pro commentator Stryder as he went past!

Eventually the sun started to dip and we made our way back to Musket to cook our first decent sized fish - a metre long Spanish Mackerel known here as a Walu. A recipe from a fishing magazine onboard gave us inspiration so a spicy sauce of fresh ginger, limes , coriander chilli, pineapple, and rum ( was it meant to be 1/4 cup or 1/4 bottle?), made delicious complement to the barbecued fish. Topped off with a dessert of fresh bananas and pineapple in ice cream as the sun casts its red glow over the yachts at anchor you can see why I think I must be dreaming!

Fri Jun 16 21:40 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 40.176S 177 06.224E
Run: 8.9nm (16.1km)

Rolling a bit tonight off Mana Island where we dropped the hook to show the guys where we surfed last week with Mike & Jamie. Unfortunately the swell was not as big so it was a small surf in the afternoon with the chance of a build-up tomorrow morning.

It was a slow start this morning with some sore heads from last nights rums celebrating the Fiji Pro finals so we did laundry, bread/ milk run and then jumped on push bikes to have a tiki tour around Mololo Island. Some enviable house set ups with sweeping lawns overlooking the lagoon and yachts beyond. Biked to the farm where all the veggies and fruit are grown for the resort - very organic looking and nestled in a valley sheltered from the dry south-east trades. Lounged by the resort pool until we finally made the decision around 2pm to sail off to Mana Island. Of course just then the wind dies so we motored along the edge of the reefs casting popper lures into the shallows hoping for a GT or wahoo to take the lures. Alas we were once again fishless so we tested the Webber BBQ with a whole chicken and roast potatoes - worked a treat with fresh limes in the stuffing to give the roast a distinctly Fiji flavour.

Thu Jun 15 22:38 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 46.272S 177 11.237E
Run: 0.3nm (0.5km)

Well what an awesome day! It started with motoring out from Musket Cove at 5am to get to Restaurants surf break on Tavarua Island by daybreak (6am. The wind was offshore and no crowd so WinnieGrom, Branko and I had it 2-3 ft to ourselves until about Midday - what a score! A short bit of snorkelling under the boat (coral heads and so many colourful fish), and then we motored out to Cloudbreak to see the semis and finals of the Fiji Pro in perfect barrelling waves along with a huge flotilla of boats of all shapes and sizes. Blue skies, clean huge swell and we were right next to the action! But wait there's more! After seeing Wilkinson get crowned champion we motor sailed back to Namotu and caught the wind shift to surf 2-4 ft Swimming Pools surf break on one of its better days. Washed that down with a few bevvies and a huge meal on the barbie back at Musket Cove to end an amazing dream day! Woohoo!

Cloudbreak with Joel in the barrel
Wed Jun 14 0:00 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 46.21597S 177 10.96418E
Run: 0.5nm (0.9km)

Lost our anchor at Namotu! Fortunately a neighbouring Yacht ( Florian & Martina of Esperanza had dive tanks on board as try as we might to find it by snorkel it was out of our diving depths at 15 metres. No worries in 10 minutes he had it on board and we could go about repairing the shackle that had torn open on a coral head causing the anchor to fall off just as we were bringing it onboard earlier. Then time for a surf at Namotu Lefts but what do you know the dinghy anchor wraps on a coral head and necessitates another deep 10 metre freedive to rescue it ( by me) once the tidal rip had calmed down. Not a great day for anchors but with no losses and lots of experience gained , all torned out for the best. Tried trawling lures up and down the reef passes but still no luck!

Sun Jun 11 22:50 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 46.47098S 177 11.36072E
Run: 0.3nm (0.5km)

Back at Musket Cove with the new crew. Had a great last day surfing Wilkes with Jamie & Mike with no wind and a good swell running. Spent so long in the water that when we had finished a late lunch no-one had the energy to go out for another surf. We headed back to our mooring and a big last night at the Barefoot bar but again, after an early dinner we were all ready to hit the sack - tragic!

Early next morning was the 3 hr run to Denerau to pick up the new crew (Branko, Winnie & Grom) in bright sunlight and no wind - what a scorcher of a day!poor guys didn't know what to think having come from a rather wintery r Auckland to 30+ A few drinks at the Hard Rock helped but fortunately today ( Sunday) was a much more pleasant 28 with a cooling strong wind. This made for a poor surf day but snorkelling the reef at Namotu seemed to easily trump that. I enjoyed showing the guys my 'backyard' that I'd started to take for granted. So after a long trawl out to Cloudbreak to show them around in windy conditions we gave up on chasing sport fish for the day and sailed back to Musket enjoying a bevvie as the sun bobbed slowly below the horizon.


Thu Jun 8 21:55 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 46.28S 177 11.239E
Run: 9nm (16.3km)

Wednesday was windy and onshore for the reefs so catching up on emails etc became the order of the day - as well as lounging by and in the pool at the resort we are now lifetime members associated too. Very nice to be able to use all the facilities and at a cost of the occasional mooring for the night..

Today (Thursday) was meant to be windy but turned out to be the opposite so we motored out early to Wilkes for a surf and snorkel of the reef and then had a big fry-up as I'm exchanging crew on Saturday and a bit of food was getting close to its well-past-use-by date.

We were moored in the crystal- clear waters off Namotu when a large pod of dolphins came by to check us out. Grabbed the GoPro and snorkel gear and headed out in the tender to meet them. They seemed nervous when we jumped in with them staying about 10 metres below us but when we moved the tender off they all followed spinning and frolicking by the bow. Haven't seen the footage yet but Mike had the GoPro under water following them on the bow. After that it was the right tide for my sixth new surf spot in 9 days 'Swimming Pool' so named because the water is sooo clear. Great right hand mellow waves on the longboards and of course just Mike and I to enjoy the 2 hrs of.constant peelers.

This gave us a healthy appetite which was well satisfied tonight at Dick's Place (Mololo Island Resort) with a pig on a spit buffet ( or as a passing kid said to his mate "yum spit on a pig - my favourite!"). As I write this the wind is zero and it's about 28 degrees inside the boat so I may just retire to the hammock outside to sleep the night away under the stars with the full moon.


Tue Jun 6 20:36 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 40.184S 177 06.162E
Run: 0.2nm (0.4km)

Stayed the night off Mana and had a smaller surf at our spot 'threesomes' again with no-one around except us three. Tried to troll the line near the reef-break but nothing happening there. Motored back to Musket in the 20 knot headwind and got a Spanish Mackerel and almost a Barracuda. Sushimi'd the Mackerel - not one of my favourites and then headed in for a shower and a few groceries at the local store. Wind expected for next 2 days so may get time to do some boat jobs or horror - cleaning things like clothing and bathrooms aargh! Perhaps a hike around the island might become more important in the end.

Mon Jun 5 20:18 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 40.118S 177 06..116E
Run: 14.4nm (26.1km)

A day of exploring today.

Seek and Ye shall find and so we sailed off with the south-east trades at our backs and headed for Mana Island as a google search had indicated surf potential. A few reef passes (hairy) and a visit from NZ Navy to check our credentials on behalf of Fiji customs and we dropped the hook off a beautiful resort weirdly named Mana Island Resort. Went ashore to check if anchoring there was ok and to see how the rich people live and boy was it flash! Not to worry we had just as good 100 metres off the beach! Took the tender with boards to a reef set-up nearby that had peeling left-handers and offshore winds. Didn't notice It was crowded until we saw 2 turtles in the line-up (but no-one else) so another 3&1/2 hr session far from the maddening crowd. Back to the boat for another Corona moment in the setting sun as we toasted 'Threesomes' our newly named break. Early night to catch it again tomorrow morning and a sail back th Musket Cove most likely so we can do some more pro surfer stalking around Tavarua.


Sun Jun 4 21:18 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 51.103S 177 12.211E
Run: 1.8nm (3.3km)

Watched first round of Men's Fiji Pro today at Cloudbreak. Huge waves with strong offshore wind made for some epic rides. Wind was making it hard to position Domino near the lineup as anchoring is not possible with coral bottom. Rain drove us away a few hours later and the timing was right for going surfing at Restaurants just off Tavarua resort. 4-6 ft barrels grinding down the reef gave us some of the best waves of our lives plus a few hold- downs testing our lung capacity to the max. Lots of pro surfers showing us just how good they are and providing us with epic footage for later viewing.

Back on a mooring tonight at Musket Cove as winds are 20 knots and the coral shallows are not far away. Meat lovers pizza at the bistro rounded out another special day for us.

Sat Jun 3 20:20 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 50..376S 177 11.088E
Run: 4.3nm (7.8km)

Boring - another beautiful day at Namotu Island snorkelling the reefs in the morning and surfing the building swell at 4 ft with the occasional 6 footer cleaning up the line-up. Got to use the shortboard Mike & Jamie had made for mr. Worked really well racing the fast clean walls until a large section closed out the ride and the reef made its presence felt. Another home cooked meal on the boat and we are feeling like hitting the sack and it's only 8.30pm. Probably an early start to see Cloudbreak Reef at 8-10 ft - perfect timing for the first day of the Fiji Pro men's division.

Sat Jun 3 8:19 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 46.3345S 177 10.399E
Run: 7.5nm (13.6km)

Surfed Wilkes Passage the last 2 days glassy and clean with sometimes just us out. We carefully place the dinghy anchor in a sand crevice so we can both retrieve it and not damage the stunning coral under the waves. Caught 2 mackerel tuna which made great sushi I and a great meal on the BBQ too. Now official members of the Musket Cove Yacht Club that is only for Yachties who have sailed to Fiji. We now have free access to the pool and showers of the resort here - nice! Had a beer in the Barefoot Bar on sunset with swaying palms and yachts in the lagoon - a sight to file away in the memory banks - assuming I ever leave this place,

Wed May 31 21:45 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 52.731S 177 11.568E
Run: 7.4nm (13.4km)

Watched the quarters and semis of the Womenns Fiji Pro at Cloudbreak for most of the day. Some good waves but quite windy for the contestants. Quite funny getting live feed of the comp to the iPad while it was happening 200 metres away. They called off the final until Saturday so we raced out there to catch 2 hrs surfing one of the best waves in the world with just 5 people out 3 of them being us). The wind even dropped away so a few choice waves were had. Motored back to Musker Cove in the dark using our cookie trail on the chart plotter to avoid the reefs. Another gorgeous sunset with dolphins on the bow to show us the way in. Surf is expected to be small Thursday so may head to land to do some hiking to stretch the legs and catch up on some work chores.


Tue May 30 18:51 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 46.360S 177 10.956E
Run: 13.1nm (23.7km)

Dropped the hook in Musket Cove after an afternoon surfing Namotu Lefts - just Jamie, Mike and I A nice mellow introduction to the reef with no accidents. Beautiful day listening to good music from Mike and even a few tunes on the Ukelele. Perfect sunset with almost zero wind. Gotta love this place! Will head out early for a surf ttomorrow then go to Cloudbreak to watch the finals of the Wmens division of the Fiji Pro.

It's a tough life!

Sun May 28 23:21 2017 NZST
GPS: 17 46.33046S 177 22.91391E
Run: 72.5nm (131.2km)

Finally arrived at Denerau Marina around 3pm with light Northerly and clear blue skies - gotta love this weather! Dropped the pick at 4.30 am this morning at Monica Bay just inside the Navulu Passage near Cloudbreak surf reef. Thankfully no swell through the pass as only Rob and I on board doing 4 hr shifts with limited battery (regulator issue) so no auto helm. Old school sailing just using the stars and feel of wind on your back to keep you on course. JB & John left the boat in Suva on Thursday so Friday midday we sailed out to Beqa Island to surf Frigates Reef next morning. Spent the night at a deserted beach next to a point called Conspicuous Mango Tree and you guessed it, up on the hill was a mammoth mango tree with a trunk the girth of an old Kauri.

After a tropical fruits breakfast purchased from Suva markets (pawpaw, bananas, pineapple and oranges to die for) we zig-zagged our way through the Beqa Lagoon minefield of coral shallows to anchor inside the Frigates Reef surf break. Only 2 guys out but once we dropped the pick they left and we surfed the 1-2 ft zippers for 3 hrs to ourselves! Awesome place about 5 miles from any land - just a reef part exposed at low tide. Bath-warm water so clear you could see the tropical fish under you in 4 meters without having to stick your head in the water!

Down-side was we stayed til 4pm so had a 10 hr sail to Navulu Passage as described above. Happy to be in the Western Division of Fiji now as all the surf breaks are close and don't require much travelling. Change of crew tomorrow as Mike & Jamie arrive to get ready for the Fiji Pro that starts soon. Will be awesome to be able to watch that live in the channel.


Thu May 25 8:49 2017 NZST
GPS: 18 07.524S 178 25.204E

Lovely sunny day in Suva. Ready for customs clearance at 8am, as advised, but Quarantine came at 10.30am, and other 3 departments at 2.30pm - welcome to Fiji time! Never mind, as plenty of time to dry out the entire boat, and effect repairs to dodger and post passage reorganising of stowage and some laundry.

Went into Suva Yacht Club Marina for fuel, water and a Fiji Bitter, and recount our journey to fellow yachties. Off to food market and pay customs bills af four different locations tomorrow as Fiji is 'off-line', as described by the happy officials. Might do overnight sail tomorrow to Western Division area, closer to Nadi and surf breaks we are keen to get amongst.

Wed May 24 8:57 2017 NZST
GPS: 18 07.524S 178 25.204E
Run: 372.9nm (674.9km)
Avg: 6.1knts
24hr: 145.8nm

Update revised, incorrect co-ordinates posted.

Wild ride yesterday, with winds twice the forecast and large seas to match. Driving rain all day, making cockpit helming a tricky exercise. Tried to shelter at Matuku, but wind too strong at 35+ knots to aim that high. Fortunately Suva entrance was dead downwindso 12 hours later, we lined up the leading lights between the fringing reefs in darkness and 4 m swells. Not for the faint hearted! But we made it, with a few repairs required today, and lots of experience gained. Wind has dropped away to a soft 15kn from SE - typical, eh? At least safely in Fiji now, and slipping into Fiji time, too.

Tue May 23 0:00 2017 NZST
No position sent.

Wild ride yesterday, with winds twice the forecast and large seas to match. Driving rain all day, making cockpit helming a tricky exercise. Tried to shelter at Matuku, but wind too strong at 35+ knots to aim that high. Fortunately Suva entrance was dead downwindso 12 hours later, we lined up the leading lights between the fringing reefs in darkness and 4 m swells. Not for the faint hearted! But we made it, with a few repairs required today, and lots of experience gained. Wind has dropped away to a soft 15kn from SE - typical, eh? At least safely in Fiji now, and slipping into Fiji time, too.

Position deleted by ghradio as clearly an error.

Sun May 21 19:33 2017 NZST
GPS: 23 04.194S 179 16.441W
Run: 61.1nm (110.6km)
Avg: 2.7knts
24hr: 65nm

Good night's sleep at South Minerva, then off early with brisk trade winds and following seas. Charging on some waves at 10 knots - great fun as receded main, and partially furled genoa for stability. Aiming to buzz Matuku Island on our way to Suva to see its surf potential. Unfortunately have to clear customs in Suva before stopping anywhere (except Minerva, as that is disputed territory between Tonga and Fiji. A shame, as it will be a beat into the trades of a full day/night if we have time before the crew change. Anyway, great sailing for the next two days with this wind.

Sat May 20 21:00 2017 NZST
GPS: 23 56.530S 179 07.211W
Run: 285.1nm (516km)
Avg: 5.3knts
24hr: 126.7nm

Safely negotiated south Minerva Reef entrance, despite Nav light being moved to a totally new location, two miles north and nowhere near any entrance. Anchored in crystal clear lagoon, 20 metres deep. Short swim and snorkel,and had first real shower in (ahem) a while! Will head off for Suva in the morning, as breeze and swell is picking up over next few days, so that will be a surf trip in itself. Great to have a level boat for the night.

Thu May 18 15:01 2017 NZST
GPS: 27 14.638S 178 08.284E
Run: 137.1nm (248.2km)
Avg: 9.1knts
24hr: 219.1nm

Never make predictions on arrival time! Huey doing his best to slow us down with a miserable mileage as we zig-zag into the wind. Bit lighter today and even sun to work on the tan. Flying fish appearing now, so bring on the mahimahi! Shame about extra day on passage, at this rate. Would prefer wind from any direction except this, but could be worse - we could be working! Speed is 5 knots, heading 022M, weather 12kn apparent N 1-2m wind swell, 65% cloud cover

Thu May 18 0:00 2017 NZST
GPS: 25 27.301S 179 05.728E
Run: 212.5nm (384.6km)
Avg: 32.5knts
24hr: 779.7nm

Lovely sunny day in the trade wind belt of 25 degrees South,. Breeze is still elusive at 6 knots, but at least from the East, finally. Empty ocean with long lazy 3 metre sw swell. Very relaxed now - breakfast took about one hour to eat - fresh mango yoghurt on muesli with tomato on toasted Vogels, washed down with fresh brewed coffee, Why rush that? Good to finally have the boat level and steady a while. Fish are still elusive, but freezer is still bringing us delicious home cooked meals - thanks to our respective wives. Speed is 5-6 knots, heading 006M, weather 06kn apparent NE 2-3m swell, 10% cloud cover

Wed May 17 17:27 2017 NZST
GPS: 28 24.810S 178 09.284E
Run: 174.7nm (316.2km)
Avg: 5.4knts
24hr: 129.6nm

Sighted two whales marching up with us, about 300 metres away. Beating into 20kn Northerly, waiting for the Tradewinds at 25 degrees to kick in and take us to Minerva Friday morning. All in good spirits, eating lovely home cooked frozen dinners and putting on weight. Speed is 6 knots, heading 337M. Weather 18-25kn, apparent NNE lumpy wind swell, 95% cloud cover. Lots of rugby and surfing anecdotes occupying our conversation time.

Tue May 16 9:06 2017 NZST
GPS: 30 47.513S 179 08.274E
Run: 113.1nm (204.7km)
Avg: 5knts
24hr: 120.4nm

Finally no motor and nice close hauled sailing, with approx 490 mn to Minerva. Speed is 6 knots, heading 357M, weather 11kn NNE, no swell, 95% cloud cover

Mon May 15 10:34 2017 NZST
GPS: 32 20.206S 178 30.259E
Run: 147.6nm (267.2km)
Avg: 6.3knts
24hr: 150.1nm

Light winds, motor sailing for height, for possible headwinds later. Warmer, but not T-shirts yet! Speed is 5 knots, heading 006M. Weather 5kn NE 2-3m SE swell, 90% cloud cover

Sun May 14 10:57 2017 NZST
GPS: 33 56.965S 176 49.894E
Run: 175.7nm (318km)
Avg: 4.7knts
24hr: 113.3nm

Rolly swell, wing on wing, making reasonable progress, but bit of a stomach churner for some. Speed is 6.8 knots, heading 022M. Weather 9kn SE, apparent 3m SE swell, 80% cloud cover

Fri May 12 21:44 2017 NZST
GPS: 36 10.119S 175 19..932E
Run: 55.6nm (100.6km)

Safely anchored out of swell and winds that are expected to be more favourable in the morning. Domino handled conditions well though. All well on board.


Tue Apr 25 17:09 2017 NZST
GPS: 36 50.03705S 174 45.17218E
Run: 0.3nm (0.5km)

Tue Apr 25 12:15 2017 NZST
GPS: 36 50.243S 174 44.913E
Run: 2.8nm (5.1km)

Finishing jobs

Mon Apr 24 12:52 2017 NZST
GPS: 36 47.83135S 174 45.57129E
Run: 2.4nm (4.3km)
Avg: 15.2knts
24hr: 365.1nm

Mon Apr 24 12:43 2017 NZST
GPS: 36 45.73805S 174 45.89315E
Run: 0.3nm (0.5km)

Getting ready

No blogs available for this yacht.

Loading map and updates ....
Loading track, please wait ....