After a great visit back to Taveuni Fluenta is back on the dock at the Copra Shed. Now to get Fluenta ready to head north.
Back on a mooring in front of Paradise Resort after a nice visit further north on Taveuni - family visit, Diwali, a wedding, Indian night, waterslide visit (of course) and more.
Moved north and crossed the dateline to be anchored near my parent's place. Shorter commute now.
Anchored beside the ferry dock on Taveuni. Check how close to the dateline we are anchored ! Tried to anchor further north yesterday but it was untenable with the northerly winds. Fun tide rips with the 20 kt winds and 2 kts of current to retreat back to here.
Back on a mooring in front of Paradise Resort to pick up the big kids and Granny who took the bus down the island to meet up with us.
Fluenta is back at the Copra Shed Marina at Savusavu after a very nice stay on a mooring off Paradise Resort.
Fluenta is back at Paradise Resort on Taveuni. Kids were swimming in the pool a few minutes after the mooring was secured ...
Anchored in front of Dolphin Bay Resort after a nice short passage on the inside route between Nasasobu and Dolphin Bay. We first visited Roland and Viola at Dolphin Bay 11 years ago as tourists. Snorkelling and maybe diving on the agenda for the next few days.
Anchored near Dakuniba after a calm motorboat trip from Savusavu this morning with a 0500 departure. No fish caught. Quiet bay with lots of bird song from the mangroves.
Arrived Savusavu early this morning. Nice fast passage - under three days - and Victoria caught a walu just before arrival. A big treat as tied to a dock for a few days to catch up on some maintenance and prepare for guests. Fun to be back to a place where the staff remember us.
Making great progress and past the Lau Group mostly in the daylight and now crossing the top of the Koro Sea so nice to be back in familiar waters. Averaging speeds in the mid 7's all day. ETA Savusavu later this morning as 28 nm to run to Savusavu
Can see why people seek out tradewind passages. Has been a nice day sailing either wing on wing or broad reaching with about 12 kts of wind and sunshine. About a 2m swell behind us. Seas are calming but so is the wind. Forecast with both EC and GFS was to have 1.9 kts of wind by this point so happy we have avoided motoring so far. Nice birthday celebrations onboard with a cake produced by Victoria.
On the road again ... Heading towards Savusavu, Fiji. After not seeing many whales in Vava'u (and so many in Ha'apai) was nice to have a little whale show as we sailed away from Tonga. Enjoying some actual trade wind sailing with the sails wing on wing with the wind and swells from far aft.
Back to town to provision, clear out and fuel up. Was very tempting to stay at Kenutu for another day of kitesurfing as the kids making great progress.
Considerations in modern passage planning: Found an anchorage with 3G coverage (sort of), close to a kitesurfing location and suitably safe in the 20+ kt winds we have been having all day. Progress made on school and admin with the internet and a good afternoon kiting on the Kenutu sand bar.
Anchored near Tapana Island to spend some time with the large group of boats with teenagers. Fun dingy raft-up sundowners. Still boat work to do before leaving for Fiji but hoping to get in some kiting at Kenutu tomorrow.
Back to the big city of Neiafu in Vavau to do some work on the boat, catch up on logistics/admin/school and to clear out of Tonga. Nice if slow passage from Haapai dead downwind in 8 to 10 kts of wind and then close hauled threading our way through Vavau in the moonless dark. Lots of whales to watch during the daylight hours - we even altered course as a pod seemed to converging from our port side and then they dove and reappeared close on our starboard side. Arrived around 0200 but could not find a mooring ball so anchored in almost 100' of water at 0300. A few bites on one of our fishing lines but no fish. The last fish, a wahoo, lasted for five days of lunch and suppers for the family so time to catch another.
After some great whale watching, playing on the beach and kitesurfing at Nukupule we are back at Foa to say goodbye to the nice folks at Matafonua and for the kids to have one last play with the kids ashore. The whales came to say goodbye too as a mum and calf loitered around Fluenta at anchor for over an hour today coming to within a boat length. A bit bumpy with the leftover swells from the westerlies and not quite enough wind for a final kite (I did get to rescue a kiter who unintentionally was heading towards Fiji when he could not get upwind against the current but was drifting down to Fluenta).
Anchored mostly in the lee of Nukupele Island. Lots of whales and can even hear whale song inside Fluenta. Pretty little island and hopefully the wind picks up a bit tomorrow so we can see if the island is good for kitesurfing. We have never heard of anyone anchoring here before so were surprised when a Fijian mini-cruise ship (MV Nai'a) anchored behind us just before sunset.
Anchored near Luangahu Island. Not an ideal anchorage but a nice place to watch the whales around us.
Nice short sail to anchor off Uonukuhahaki Island (Lobster Island East, we think). Lots of whales but none too close this time. One small tuna caught but returned.
Anchored near Tatafa with some protection from the reef for the forecast westerlies tonight. Nice, if slow, passage here today with many whales sighted and one decent size wahoo caught.
Back to Foa Island a few days ago. Anchored off the very friendly Sandy Beaches resort. Lots of kiteboarding for all (excepted Benjamin) and the bigger kids have been camping ashore the last few nights.
Appeared to be taking root at Foa so on a short side trip to the western side of Haapai. Anchored off Ofolanga Island. Lots of whales sighted breaching and several came to welcome us into the anchorage. Amazing water visibility so looking forward to our exploring today and tomorrow.
w: TWS 4 kts TWD 178 Baro 1012.4
Arrived yesterday morning off Foa Island in the Haapai after a bumpy close hauled trip from Vavua. Lots of whales sighted including two who breached by the boat around midnight on a moonless night. Amazing swim with the mum and calve whales today. Photos to follow at some point.
Back to the big city (okay, small town) to resupply and get our local movement clearance to go back to the Haapai. Fun racing last night on the well organised and well sailed SY Darth Vader with a mix of Tongan and Palangi crew (oh, and we won).
Anchored near Nuapapu Island yesterday in preparation for the "Tongan Feast". Tongan feast was fun and shared with a visiting billionaire couple and 17 crew who anchored near us in their 285' ketch.
Fun times swimming into Mariners and Swallows Cave yesterday but with the shift of the winds to the west it was time to move again. Now anchored near Taunga and Ngau in 10' of pretty green water with sand beaches to windward. Looks like a great place to sail Trickle and, maybe, kitesurf if the winds pick up tomorrow.
No kiting surfing winds forecast for awhile and potentially some westerlies so it was time to move. We are now anchored between Nuku Island and Kapa Island in preparation for exploring Mariners and Swallows Cave tomorrow.
Anchored in the lee of Kenutu Island. Thank you Carol and Livia for the waypoints. Very pretty anchorage with lots of snorkeling and kiting potential. Just as we were going through the narrow Fanua Tapu pass we sailed past a humpback mother and calf.
Anchored in the very protected anchorage of Vaka'Eitu. Nice little passage yesterday with a few whales spotted. In the anchorage with two other Canadian boats, one with kids ! Seems the trough has passed through so nicer weather again.
On a mooring at the town of Neiafu. Wow. Lots of boats and idle radio chatter here.
Anchored off Avalau Island in the Vava'u Group in preparation for heading to Neiafu to renew our visas. Nice passage with a 0400 start to ensure a daylight arrival. Lots of whale breaching and one small tuna caught but released. A lot more boats here than the Haapai.
Anchored off Foa Islands in front of the lovely Sandy Beaches Resort. Rather tight to get into the anchorage and just enough swing room between the reefs but very nice. Interesting night here to nights ago when a large squall reversed the winds - we were fine but of the four boats here one boat wrapped their chain around coral and another had to reanchor in the pouring rain at 0430. Not enough wind for kiting but lots to do including snorkeling to see the leopard sharks.
Anchored outside the harbour for Pangai so we can clear in.
An unusual stop for Fluenta. We have stopped mid passage for lunch and a snorkel. There is a small indent in the reef just before the Auhnga Mea pass and we have anchored there. Should be able to snorkel from the boat and leave the dingy hoisted. A small (approx two meals for th family) rainbow runner caught so far.
Anchored behind the sandspit connecting Uonukuhifo and Uonukuhaki Islands (West Lobster and East Lobster Islands in Tongan) in about 15 feet of water. Great time kiteboarding off Uoleva Island the last few days but time for a new place. From what we can see it should have great kiting and snorkelling and a possibility of camping ashore on the uninhabited islands (although there are apparently a few pigs).
Anchored at Ouleva after a close hauled sail from the previous anchorage. The winds and seas have calmed down so a pleasant sail. A very protected bay so we are looking forward to the boat not rolling for awhile. We commented that it looks busy - when we realised that we were getting spoilt and perhaps six boats in a massive bay is not really busy. Lots of kid boats here and hopefully Liz and I can get some kiteboarding in.
Anchored in the lee of Ha'afeva island after a vigorous little sail from Nomuka. Quite squally conditions on the passage with winds varying from 19 to 26 kts. Lot of rain. Time to prepare for Canada Day festivities tomorrow.
Anchored off Nomuka Iki after a fast but rather bumpy passage here from Tongatapu. 0330 departure so we could arrive here with good light. Nice passage - whales about a boat length away and we caught two small tuna (both returned) and an approx 30 lb walu (was fun to filet as we rolled).
Anchored off Pangiamotu in Tongatapu. 'Q' flag is up and will clear Customs etc on Monday.
Fluenta was galloping towards Tongatapu for most of the day. The forecast light winds were actually 16 to 20 kts straight down the rhumb line allowing us to stay wing-on-wing with average speeds in the 7's with peaks to the low 9's when given a push from the waves. Classic landfall dilemma: we kept our speeds up in case the forecast light winds arrived and we would be too late for a daylight arrival. Now we have slowed the boat so we do not arrive too early !
Making decent progress wing-on-wing deep downwind towards Tongatapu. Caught a 30+ lb bigeye tuna coming out of the pass at Minerva reef and then later a decent size Bonita tuna.
Trough was not too bad last night. Some gusts but I do not think over 20 kts but lots of heavy rain. Skies have mostly cleared and wind from the west. Time to go ! Intention is to head out this morning towards Tongatapu.
Fluenta anchored at North Minerva Reef this afternoon after a great if occasionally boisterous sail to get here with sufficient light for the pass and to go across the lagoon. Average over 8 kts for several hours and rarely did our speed last drop below 7. Intention is a short stay here this time and once the weather looks better for sailing then depart towards Tongatapu.
Great sailing today. Most of daylight close hauled in 6 to 8 kts of wind. Wind built to about 16 overnight now averaging about 11-12 kts. Turned a bit downwind as will likely divert to Minerva Reef for a day or so to get better winds to Tongatapu.
Nice Fathers Day onboard - some sailing, brunch and maintenance. Sailed for awhile when the winds went between 6 to 10 kts for awhile but mostly motoring in very light winds. Glad we brought lots of diesel - quite a contrast from our 21 day passage from Mexico to French Polynesia when we only motored for 7 hours. Appears from the forecast that we are north of where most of the unpleasant weather is expected to form, although may catch the northern part of the trough, so hope to start sailing again when across this ridge tomorrow. Various blog updates posted (SV-Fluenta.blogspot.ca)
All is well onboard. Light air day - motor on all day to get north across this ridge before the unfavorable winds fill in later in the week. Glad we left with our largest load of diesel ever.
All is well onboard. Spent the day either sailing deep downwind wing-on-wing or motoring. Motoring now to make progress north before the forecast unfavourable winds start. Two tuna caught, one returned as too small.
Slowly heading towards Tonga. Very comfortable conditions but slow considering deep downwind. Passed several humpback whales. We are assuming they are going to Tonga too so we think we are going the right way. Two small tuna caught but returned to the sea.
At Marsden Cove in preparation to clear Customs tomorrow.
Intention is to head down the river today to Marsden Cove for a Wed departure towards Tonga.
Our few days stop in Whangarei has stretched to weeks ... Latest thought is to leave tomorrow for Marsden Cove and, perhaps, head for Tonga.
Alongside Whangarei Marina.
Anchored in Urquharts Bay after a nice passage from Tauranga. Sweet weather window in the SW winds.
After a productive six week maintenance period in Tauranga we are heading towards Whangerei for a visit and finish up some remaking maintenance.
Alongside Tauranga Marina to start our month long (or so ...) maintenance period. Nice sail down from Slipper Island close hauled or a very close reach the whole way.
Anchored off Slipper Island (just past Shoe Is of course). Good sail here which especially nice as the forecast was much light winds. No fish landed but hooked something big briefly. It broke our big bungee, ripped off the beefy double hook, snapped one barb of the treble hook and broke the others. Even snapped off the dive fin off the front of the Halco lure.
Move to Peachgrove Bay. Successful stop for scallops on the way - limit of 40 in about 15 min.
Moored in Huruhi Harbour on Mercury Island. Very pretty and a friendly welcome from a caretaker as we came in. Lots of bird song. Already invited to watch the sheep shearing and given coordinates for scallops diving and snapper fishing.
Anchored in Otautu Bay.
Anchored off Mcleod Bay - yoga for Liz and camping for the kids coming up.
Anchor down in Whangaruru to stop for the night. Pretty civilized stuff this coastal cruising. Nice day passage. Dolphins came out to play.
Securely anchored for the leftovers of Cyclone Gita. Should not be too bad this far north.
Moved to anchor off Totara North to see if we can do a minor reprovision here. Won’t be buying too much as fridge/freezer just blew a line and vented all of its refrigerant. Will move tomorrow to a more secure area to prep for the leftovers of Cyclone Gita
Moved out of Whangoroa to Stephenson Is to make water (The water in Whangoroa looks like a mud puddle after all this rain). Had a private dolphin show as we came into anchor - dolphins jumping so close the the boat that the boat was splashed. Pretty rolly in the anchorage but scenic. Spearfishing scheduled for the afternoon.
Anchored in Rere Bay in Whangaroa. Fairly dense fog for the last hour of the passage. Good radar refresher for the crew.
Moved over to near Russel due a gale warning.
Off the dock after repairs and anchored of Waitangi in prep for Waitangi Day !
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