Leaving for Fiji today

Sunday morning we were up at a reasonable time and had coffee in the marina cafe. The weather was overcast and chilly with lots of squalls coming through so we returned to the boat and started looking in earnest at passage weather again. Tuesday was starting to line up on all the models as a potential departure date so we talked to Bob, the NZ weather guru, and he agreed to look into it for us. The rest of the day was just spent down below relaxing with the occasional spurt of activity.
Monday morning and we headed to the cafe for coffee and bumped into Phil and Sarah so we had a weather chat with them. We were all feeling a bit confused by the various models and the changes that were happening on an almost hourly basis! We returned to Morphie and decided to do our last preparations in stowing everything properly and getting grab bags ready to allow for a relatively feisty passage combined with high seas….but continued to sit on the fence about our actual departure time. The main concern was over a large low which is coming across North Island at the weekend and extending out into the Pacific – so we needed to be at 25 degrees south (which is about 500 miles offshore) to be certain of avoiding the strongest winds. So we talked, we prevaricated, we ran the weather models again and again and got Bob’s detailed passage information for both a Tuesday and Wednesday departure. By the evening the low had dropped further south so a very early Wednesday mo rning departure was looking more comfortable. So decision made we emailed customs to request a Tuesday check out for early Wednesday departure.
This morning, Tuesday, we awoke to an email from NZ Customs stating that they would only clear us on the actual day of departure – and the office opened at 9am on Wednesday. Very frustrating as they had cleared the Tongan rally participants on Monday for a Tuesday departure, so they can do it when it suits them! But this threw us into another debate – leave today into strong winds or risk leaving later on Wednesday and not getting far enough north to avoid the low. Or, even, abandon the whole thing and stay put for up to another two weeks?!? In the present circumstances we have chosen to leave this afternoon although the conditions aren’t great. We have faced this type of weather before though without too much difficulty and, if necessary, we can run with the wind on our port quarter and back to the rhumb line when conditions ease. We just need to get our sea legs back and had hoped for a more gentle reintroduction to ocean sailing LOL.
Anyway, you may have noticed no photographs with this blog. This is because I am now submitting via the Iridium Go! and testing out my new automated system for posting to our Morpheus of London Facebook page. So many ways of tracking us during this passage – you can follow the posts via FB; you can watch our progress by checking the Where are we now? page on the blog; or by subscribing to the blog itself so you receive email updates. Please note that when we are at sea we are unable to read your comments until we get internet coverage again.
Anyway, lots to do, so bye for now and I’ll keep you posted from the ocean when the conditions allow.