After a very relaxing weekend's break in the North Minerva Resort, with 17 other boats, we are about to set sail again – as soon as the bread rolls come out of the oven.
The time here allowed us to recharge batteries (ours and Maunie's) and we've eaten well and banked some good sleep. Di has baked some moral-boosting choc chop cookies (thanks for the recipe, Clare Murtagh!) so we're good to go. The passage ahead is still 420 miles, so just under 3 days; we always underestimate the length of this voyage from NZ to Fiji and have to remind ourselves that it's the equivalent of about two fifths of an Atlantic Crossing and probably more testing in terms of weather systems.
Talking of the weather, it did exactly what was promised last night – at about midnight the weather front crossed over us, bringing rain, squally winds and a very quick change in direction from NE to SW. So we should have good 18-20 knot following winds to push us up to Savusavu – we aim to arrive there early on Thursday morning local time. Our route takes us past some small islands and reefs in the Koro Sea so there will be some careful navigation; at least the moon will be bigger to help us at night.
Once again the SSB radio has been well used in the past couple of days. Yesterday a boat called Pacific Cool, en route to Vanuatu, called up to say that they'd hit a big wave and the skipper had fallen and injured his back so they were diverting to New Caledonia, about 2 days' sail away. They didn't know anything about medical facilities at New Cal so, on their behalf, Graham called up Taupo Maritime Radio in NZ who were super-helpful. They gave us details of email addresses and phone numbers for the coastguard centre in New Cal. and also passed on the information to them so that Pacific Cool would be on their watch list. On this morning's radio Net we were able to pass on all this to the boat so that, when they arrive, they should have a reception committee as well as medical advice over the satellite phone. New Cal is a French-governed island so facilities there are very good, apparently – there's even a Carrefour!
We'll the timer has just beeped for the bread rolls and they are looking delicious, so we'd better get on with some sailing!