May 25th, (Eastern Hemisphere), 2011 – 8:30 p.m. Our Last Night at Sea….
Conditions: 18 degrees 45 minutes SOUTH 177 degrees 20 minutes EAST Wind: East, 30 knots (It\’s still blowing!) Swell: East, 2 – 2.5 meters (We\’re getting some reef protection) Heading: 340 True Speed: 5.5 knots 3 reefs in the main, no head sail (We\’re trying to go slow for a daylight entry) Barometer: 1013.8 and rising 55 miles to \”Navalu Pass\”, the reef entrance to Lautoka 75 miles to Lautoka, Fiji (Fiji\’s second largest commercial port near Nadi (pronounced Nandi))
Dear F&F, As this is our last night \”at sea\” and the left side of my \”Deep V\” into and out of New Zealand. I thought it was important to reflect on \”Yesterday\”. I listen to lots of music out here and this song which we\’ve all heard 1000 times had me feel today why it was a timeless melody. It will be the end of tonight\’s post.
We\’re approaching Viti Levu, the main Island of Fiji. Fiji literally has 100\’s of islands, but Viti Levu and Vanua Levu (where we will go to Savusavu \”someday\”…:)) are the two largest. This is considered the most complicated navigational area in perhaps the entire world. There are still lists of \”uncharted\” reefs, possible underwater volcanos, etc. that are not published and not on navigational charts. As such, it\’s a place to be especially careful of at night. When approaching a place like this, one doesn\’t do so without a great deal of caution. Night entries are not advised! That\’s why we will wait till morning light before going into the reef system. It\’s pitch black out here tonight, no stars or moon with 100% cloud covered sky\’s. Other vessels are around too. On the radio tonight, we heard two other boats waiting to enter the pass in the morning. There could be several more we didn\’t hear too.
We\’re finally getting some protection to the east by Kandavu Island, the Great Astrolabe Reef and Beqa (pronounced Benga) Lagoon\’s reef system. These are what\’s knocked down the \”fetch\” distance reducing the swell from the full oceanic 3.5 meters to a much more comfortable 2 meters.
Most beginners to boating think it\’s the long distances of passages that are the greatest danger. In truth, it\’s actually being near land. Hitting \”land\” (reefs) is much more hazardous to our health than banging into waves. We must be more vigilant in our watch keeping close to shore and maintain the best possible night vision. There are navigational aids (lights in particular) here, but we must still approach with caution as these sometimes don\’t work in the third world or a change that hasn\’t been published shows us an aid that is mis-marked. Such is the life of the ocean going sailor, amateur, professional and everyone in between.
So on this note, I will leave you with my day\’s catharsis and tomorrow give a synopsis of our passage and plans over the next few weeks.
\”Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though their here to stay, oh I believe in yesterday. Why she had to go, I don\’t know, she wouldn\’t say? Something\’s wrong, now I long for yesterday.\” I guess it says it all. I have no choice but to move forward. I\’m still shocked and confused, I long for \”Yesterday\”…..
Nighty night, don\’t let the bed bugs bite…..I hope you\’ve all enjoyed my musical tour, sailing from Auckland, New Zealand to Lautoka, Fiji. It\’s been for the most part, a \”downwind joyride\”….. Scott with resting Kate