Friday, May 25, 2012

The Crossing: Pt. II (Minerva Reef to Fiji)

Minerva Reef (for coordinates, see previous email) is an amazing place to say the least. Think of a land mass that is maybe slightly higher that mid-tide and is a constant state of water flowing over it. At low tide if you are in the lagoon you can dingy right up to the inside edge of the reef (one to three meter depth) and the water is cascading over the reef and down into the lagoon like a small waterfall. Except it isn't all that small considering it does this all the way around the lagoon, in this case about 6 miles! So if you can visualize this mini waterfall that goes all around the lagoon, well it's amazing as I said. The reef section itself is about 100 meters wide and is flat enough to walk easily on, but you do have to watch where you're going or you could end up in a deep channel that flows back out to sea. The weather hasn't been all that nice with the wind still howling (20 - 30 knts) and every so often a squall blows over dumping a little rain. But it's still nice sitting at anchor and sleeping through the night as well as visiting other boats for dinner and making some music. Lots of fun with some great people!! The plan is to leave here tomorrow if the weather settles down a bit as it's suppose to do. That should put us in Savu Savu on Wed. or Thurs. at the latest. The word is that there aren't any mooring balls available there right now and anchoring there is really deep so lets hope a few boats take advantage of the coming settled weather window and leave there opening up a few balls for us folks. We'll keep you posted along the way. See ya- David

(Later in the same day) 
After reading the sailmails that Capt David has sent to you, I think you must have a good sense of what we are experiencing. The reef walk yesterday with Alene and Bruce was definitely surreal and I was able to snorkle back to Sdiewinder in the beautiful, clear, aqua-blue water. Alene and I swam along the reef for awhile, and the colorful coral and abundant beautiful fish made me fully realize just how much I love this tropical area; the water is not quite as warm as Fiji, but it was a great swim and very invigorating exercise! Today the winds are supposed to be even stronger than yesterday, but let's hope not; last night there were gusts up to 45kts reported here, but we were happily playing music and didn't feel it. We are indebted to our friends who have been driving us around in their dinghies and we owe them bigtime! It was very fun to see Graham from s/v Adamite yesterday, and we look forward to visits to all when we are safe and sound in Savusavu.  As David said earlier, our intention is to leave tomorrow, but we need to assess the weather in the morning. Meanwhile, it looks like we may hang out here on Sidewinder today; I may swim back over to the reef this afternoon, but it all depends on the conditions.  Suzi
We're busily preparing to go out in the winds once again, but hopefully they will be laying down in the next few days and we will have a wonderful sail to Savusavu. It is sunny and very promising today after so much intense wind. Love to all. Suzi and David
Hi there! We are well on our way after leaving the pass yesterday around 10AM. Although the seas are a bit confused, coming from every which way, the wind has been mostly favorable, fluctuating between 18 and 25kts on our aft starboard beam, and we have managed to do a pretty comfortable reach with a few waves turning us sideways now and then. Last night we had one major squall which brought gusts of 35kts, but it passed us quickly, thank goodness. We are still with lots of boats, some we can see far away, and we can still communicate on VHF,which is comforting. We will have another full day of sailing, as the winds begin to lighten up (hopefully not too much), and we should arrive in Savusavu sometime on Wednesday. Hope all is well with everyone. Love you,  Suzi and David
Still sailing but the wind is dying and we are toying with the idea of heading into a different port of entry in the old capital of Levuka, Ovalau Island, which is about 30 miles closer. We shall see. Hope all is well.   Love you,  S&D
So great to be in the islands of Fiji again! We had a wonderful sail yesterday and all through the night, with flat seas, consistent 11-13 kt winds aft, warm wind, warm sunshine and stars. My goodness!! We are now motoring through the pass to Levuka and should arrive there in about 4 hrs, perfect timing to check into the country of Fiji. I contacted Kendra at Waitui Marina in Savusavu and she said she would pass on our paperwork to the Customs here so we hope all will be fine. She actually encouraged us to do this because there are so many boats in Savusavu at the moment, there are no available moorings and the check-in there will be crazy, especially with all the boats coming in today. It will be great to check out this historic town which was once the capital and enjoy a new adventure. The anchorage is very exposed to the Easterlies and we just hope they continue to drop, or our stay will be short and sweet. Supposedly there is a fresh veggie/fruit market on Thursdays.....YAHOO! Love to all,  S&D

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