Waiting for a “perfect” weather window to sail to New Zealand – and we are off to see the wizard

Slow Flight at our mooring ball in Musket Cove, Fiji

It is amazing how time flies but it has been almost 3 weeks since we started to look at a “perfect” weather window to head south to New Zealand.  There is lots of advice out there and lots of sources of information but I think what was the most important thing for us was to buddy boat for this passage to New Zealand.  I won’t bore you with all the weather jargon nor all the discussions we all have had with other cruisers about the best routes and the usual “recipe” to make a safe and less eventful passage…..but let’s just say this passage is different from the crossing from Mexico to French Polynesia and the other westing passages we have made even though this passage is only about 8-10 days while the pacific crossing was 23 days……  mostly because we are headed to higher latitudes meaning closer to the south pole rather than closer to the equator….this means the weather is a bit more severe, not to scare anyone!  My point being we, and all the other cruisers headed to New Zealand and Australia, take extra care in planning their trip south.    After pouring over multiple weather models for weeks we finally decided to take the leap and head out of Fiji.  Our next post will likely have some technical stuff on our route and stuff but…. for now I will share what we have been doing for the last 3 week.

Musket Cove … STILL… but loving it!

Clay from SV Me Too being watched by 2 feline friends at the Musket Cove Cafe
Is that a poisonous water snake in our dinghy that has been in the water this whole time?
Holy snake!
Oh crap…how are we going to get it out of the dinghy?
Trevor heroically hooked it and got it out. The crazy thing is the dinghy was right next to our boat and we were loading up to have a BBQ…can’t image if that thing had gotten inside our big boat!
LOTS…and LOTS…of screen time! Data is relatively cheap here, especially with the provider Vodafone so we were able to stream TV show…how cool is that?!

Bingo night – I had originally purchased bingo cards and dobbers for the kids to play as we knew there would be lots of kid boats….. But the true inspiration was Aimee off SV Terrapin who LOVES bingo… So it turned out to be an adult bingo night as the kids preferred to playing tag and such…it was super fun and all the other guests at the bar were a little jealous (LOL)

Aimee…wearing her lucky bingo hat that she made Phil (hubby) go back to the boat for (Hahaha)…
Phil…wearing his Bingo face : )
Jeff and Miriam (SV Enough) looking for ….. These guys were Awesome!  And Miriam was ASIAN TOO! We had a few asian giggles : )
Ann-Helen and Halvard (SV Wilhelm) taking a drink break and contemplating what numbers he needs next to win
Mike-a old friend/guest on SV Te Poe Rava playing the role of the “caller”
I guess this round was intense! Too much unexpected fun playing Bingo

Cloud 9 – I was invited to tag along aboard SV Wilhelm (Ann-Helen and Halvard) to go diving at a site called “Gotham City” where there were a school of bat fish?! Long story short…there was no place to anchor safely so the girls stayed aboard and the guys took a dive….the current was high so this was not a beginners dive.

Jill running the dinghy to drop off and later pick up the boys (Halvard, Dan, and Mike) from their dive

On our way back to the Musket Cove anchorage, we decided to take a little detour to a floating bar called the Cloud 9…. becuase why not

A view of Cloud 9… it happened to rain a bit on us when we arrived but what is a little rain… it generally clears up in about 20 minutes
So big tour boats come and drop/pick people up but since we were in a sail boat we just anchored near by and dinghied in. Unfortunately we couldn’t tie our dinghy up to the bar so Dan had to tie it onto a mooring ball and swim back…again, no big deal
There was a second floor sort to speak and you could dive off it…all but myself did it…I was cold…..
Jill and Mike jumping off the second floor deck…Mike doing a somersault. However…as much fun as were were having…Mike ended up dislocating his shoulder (really bad…no photos as we all were so concerned…however we all wished we had..it looked awful and we wanted to show Mike) after slightly slipping right before he dove into the water and we had to get him to seek medical attention. This was not as easy as you think. It was a real team effort from everyone..including the local tour boat that speed him and Dan away to shore and the other worker who helped me call the medical center. Jill who called the rest of the fleet (Phil, Clay and Trevor) to meet them at the clinic and thank goodness…the little lady at the clinic did not have the physical strength to do it herself….after a multiple tries, Clay was the one who popped it back in! All is well for Mike…..for now!

Funky Fish resort – SV Me Too and us decided to take a break from the BBQ at Musket Cove and head through the reefs to a semi-close by surfing resort for dinner and drinks, the Funky Fish.

Bar and pool
Beach side cabins…we were also told they have a hostel type lodging here for super cheap
Ping Pong anyone? I wonder how many ping pong balls are in the ocean?
Chillin’

Cast Away Island-really Modriki Island – SV Wilhelm and Slow Flight boarded SV Te Poe Rava for a day trip to dive and visit Modriki Island where the Movie Cast Away was filmed.  Originally Trevor and I thought we wouldn’t make it to this island but since we hadn’t left yet…. why not!

Trevor getting ready to dive off the boat. This was his deepest dive at 106 feet down a wall.
Since there was no place to anchor the boat, Mike and I stayed aboard to watch for the divers to come up and pick them up….Captain Mike at the helm did such an amazing job!
After diving…Captain Dan of Te Poe Rava played bartender…amazing gin drinks with fruit juices, tonic, and fruit…thanks Dan!
Modriki Island…the beach where the movie was filmed. Lots of tourist but we didn’t care, we just snorkeled around them and dived off the boat.
Halvard (SV Wilhelm) got some drone time! He set this lilttle guy up and took some amazing shots…. below are a few
Drone shot of Te Poe Rava anchored off Modriki…mind you that there are lots of little islands around so in the movie it is all CGI waves ; )
Drone shot of all of us by this huge “Help Me” sign made out of coconut husks….I am sure one of the tour groups maintains this sign…but it was fun to be pretend we were on a stranded island
Drone shot of all of us….this drone can go 400 feet!  Trust me..Trevor already ordered himself the almost exact one!

Back at Vuda Point – Preparing the boat and Casting off –  We returned to Vuda Point Marina where we could easily access the the offices to check out of the country (Musket cove is not a place where you can do this).  We had started to prepare meals earlier on, do some boat projects/maintenance in Musket cove but now it was on…we had a window that looked decent and we were planning to leave.  Last few stops and now were are off!

Trevor changing the engine oil and checking fuel filters, etc. This was among other things like checking the pressure on our newly replaced hydraulic lines for our auto pilot that went out and we had to make an emergency trip to Port Denarau to get hose lines constructed.
Dinner with Dan and Mike…however Mike broke the side of his left foot stepping on Te Poe Rava so he is in a wheel barrow as we couldn’t find him crutches that late in the night. Mike was a trooper and had a really good attitude…I think he still was enjoying Fiji despite his medical complications…right Mike?
Since we are headed into colder weather, we expect we will need to wear our foul weather gear at some point in this passage. Trevor trying it on for size….. but it’s hotter than hell here in Fiji still
Trevor and Clay and Jill went to the near by town of Lautoka to check out of the country. We could of checked out of Vuda Point Marina but it would of cost us $40 usd and 24 hours advance notice. Instead we paid $30 usd round trip to Lautoka and didn’t need to make reservation as weather can be finicky.
The casting off crew-Te Poe Rava (Dan and guest Mike), Me Too (Clay and Briley and Jill-unfortunately Jill is flying to New Zealand rather than sail there), and us. This was right before we untied the lines from Vuda Marina
Mike and Dan waving goodbye as we left the dock
Slow Flight flying the Fijian nautical flag for the last time as we head to Momi Bay for the night before we start our ~ 1100 nautical mile passage
Buddy boating is important to us….for so many reason, safety being number one! Number 2 reason is picking up maple syrup for a pancake dinner : ) Love you Clay and Briley…. let’s rock this passage!

This will be our last post until we get set up in New Zealand, in about 8-10 days, weather depending.  Some of you may look at the weather and see models brewing up stuff down there…and we know….we will be safe and feel like we have prepared for what we can but there will always be the unknown.  Despite all the drama around sailing and getting “lost”, Trevor and I don’t pretend to be better or smarter than any of these individuals who have made the news in recent weeks, but trust me on this…we will call for help if we need it… Again this passage is the most nerve wracking for me (at least) but I will do my best to make sure you all know where we are at.

Loves and hearts…next post…we have officially crossed the ENTIRE Pacific Ocean!

3 comments

  1. Safe sailing to New Zealand. Looking forward to seeing you when we arrive in Whangamata on Jan. 1 to celebrate the New Year with you. We have reservations at a nice B&B from Jan. 1 to 4–hope it is near where you will be docked and where Lisa and Jake are located. Let us know when you have a tel. # in New Zealand so we can communicate. Love, Mom and John

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