After another very rolly night, with winds up to 27 knots (and sail plan reduced to a furled foresail only), we were delighted to be able to turn the corner at first light this morning and head south along the sheltered west coast of Vava'u. We rafted up with Stormvogel and Exit Strategy at the main wharf in Nieiafu for a very friendly clearing-in process which involved four different officials coming aboard. The crews of each boat looked pretty dog-tired after the challenging passage from Niue but, once again,we are really pleased with how Maunie handled the difficult conditions – Tom on Exit Strategy had to hand steer for a lot of the night due to the big waves knocking the boat off course, whilst on Maunie we had Winnie the Windpilot driving superbly well, with only the occasional drama. We did, however, have one rogue wave dump itself into the cockpit, just as Graham was snoozing in the afternoon sunshine.
The harbour here is a long and well-protected estuary with densely-wooded banks. The water's quite deep (and full of jellyfish) but there are commercially-rented moorings for only about £6 per night so we're on one of them, with lots of boats that we already know moored around us. Once we've recovered from our sleep depravation, we'll be in a fit state to explore ashore tomorrow.
Sleep isn't the only thing of which we are deprived; we appear to have lost an entire day! This is not as careless as it sounds – we crossed the international date line last night so moved seamlessly from Saturday 21st to Monday 23rd and are now 13 hours ahead of GMT. All a bit confusing but there we are. Luckily Sunday the 22nd September wasn't an important date for us – it'd be a bit of a bugger if it was a birthday.
Photos and more to follow once we've worked out the options for getting wifi here.