|A long way from home|
Hello from Opua on a sunny Anzac Day!
Our latest forecast suggests that we might be able to leave on Wednesday so we're working towards that; the extra days give us time for a few more jobs whilst we're connected to electricity in the marina (the sewing machine is currently out for a few tasks).
We thought we should let you know where we plan to go this year. You may remember that our original plan was for a 3-year circumnavigation, so we'd be leaving here to go to northern Australia then across the Indian Ocean to South Africa and on to Brazil, the Caribbean and home (in the summer of 2015). Well our plans, like those of a lot of boats here, have changed a little! The Pacific islands are so beautiful that we decided it would be a terrible shame to rush on past them without having time to visit places like Fiji (particularly as it's unlikely we'll get down here again in a boat). So we have decided to add a year to our journey.
This season, therefore, we'll head back to Tonga (with a visit to the remote and beautiful Ha-apai group of islands, which we didn't have time to see last year) and then head west to Fiji where there are around 300 islands to explore and a whole new culture to get to know. Out in the Fijian islands, visiting yachts still have to make the 'Sevusevu' - presenting a gift of Kava root to the chief of the village and in return being given the welcome and protection of the villagers. Depending on time we might then head to Vanuatu and New Caledonia but, whatever the route, we'll return to New Zealand in November for another NZ summer and more exploration, of North Island this time, in the car and tent.
So, for the first time since we left England, our voyaging won't driven by the need to keep moving ever westwards towards a destination by a certain time and it'll afford us the luxury of being able to choose to linger in places that we really like. This 'island loop' is quite common for NZ-based boats so we'll no doubt meet other yachts, who are currently here, en route.
The excitement of an imminent departure is tinged with a little sadness that some of our sailing friends will be setting off with different destinations in mind. Quite a few boats are heading straight to Vanuatu and then across to Australia and north into Indonesia so we'll be sorry to say farewell.