Opua, New Zealand, to Savusavu, Fiji

Well, we finally arrived in Fiji after a pretty eventful passage of 1244.3 miles. We started out in strong winds and had to work hard not to get blown too far to the east. Gusts of 40-50 knots were experienced in very short interval swells. We made good time and worked our way north as quickly as we could to avoid the next low coming through. The early part of the trip was very tough. Then we hit low winds and our engine started playing up. So Richard went down the hole and I kept the boat running. We ended up doing this numerous times so neither of us got as much sleep as we needed. But, at this point, we were optimistic that he would fix it so not a problem.

Despite numerous attempts and efforts dismantling and checking the systems end to end the result was that we couldn’t fix it in a seaway. By then we were closer to Fiji than New Zealand (and don’t forget that deep low now being felt over New Zealand) so we carried on. The passage was stressful in the circumstances but we had good strength winds most of the time and, although the sea was lumpy and bumpy, we made good time. But then, of course, we had no wind and got pushed by a current towards an island. We realised what was happening so made sure we moved in the opposite direction (at less than 1 knot but it kept us out of trouble) until we were able to start back in the right direction. We encountered some beautiful skies whilst at sea and check out the colour of the deep water.

With no wind forecast for entry into Savusavu we wanted to organise a tow from outside the passage….this was done but people just didn’t reply in a timely fashion to emails. I understand that they are just emails to them but, for us, it felt like we were sailing into oblivion heading towards a tow which may or may not be there waiting for us. We prayed a bit at this point…..

We arrived, 15 minutes late (on Friday 7 June) only to find no tow there waiting but, hang on a minute, the wind just blew up from nowhere and also from the right direction. We sailed through the passage on a reach, hardened up and went at 30 degrees to the wind to sail up towards the creek. At the top we were then hip tied to two boats and were taken in and placed on a mooring ball.

Within 10 minutes the biosecurity guy was on board, followed quickly by customs and immigration – then, voila, we were legally in Fiji. All very easy and pain free. We were then pulled across into the marina berth by a long line and were secured in place. Fantastic!

That afternoon a diesel mechanic (recommended by the marina) came to see us. Chris (Sea Bear) and Phil and Sarah (Serenity of Swanwick) came over to say hi and later on we went to a BBQ with them and caught up. I have to say we might have had one too many beers that night! What a relief to be here….

Bye for now