The trip down from Qamea was pretty good in spite of our slight misgivings at the forecast suggesting we'd sail into a low pressure trough this morning. We set off at 06.00 yesterday with Colin and Ana on Ithaka and once again found that Maunie could hold her own against a bigger (43ft) boat; we were well-matched for speed and had some lovely sailing in bright sunshine for most of the first day. You can see our route on http://www.yit.co.nz/yacht/maunieofardwall
During the night the first signs of the approaching weather system arrived in the form of sudden heavy rain and big shifts in the wind direction; it swung from ENE to NNW and then died so we motored for several hours in the night. At about 7.30 am the next stage was a sudden move to the SW and an increase to 15 knots to give us a great final couple of hours sailing towards the narrow pass into the Fulaga lagoon. By pure chance we met two more boats in the final approaches, the German yachts Anico and Antares, both of who we know, and there was a kind of holding-pattern, after-you, no-after-you moment as we contemplated the slightly tricky pass in drizzle and poor light conditions that would make visual identification of the reefs difficult.
As the only boat in the quartet to have been here before, Maunie led the way and, thankfully, our procession of boats made it safely into the beautiful anchorage. There were already some visiting boats here, but just five of them, so the villagers will be delighted at today's influx of newcomers. A fishing boat came past us just after we anchored and there was a lot of waving and shouts of "Bula, Graham & Dianne!!"
After a some recovery time for the rest of the day we will head in to the main village to present or sevusevu in the morning and to meet our host family this year. After his death last year, Meli's widow Jiko has apparently moved back to her family village across the other side of the lagoon so we hope to see her sometime in the next few days. That'll be an emotional reunion.