Saturday, October 12, 2013

On the way to New Caledonia - Day 1

Our last few days in Fiji were spent in the typical dance of provisioning, watering, saying good-byes, and finally clearing out with customs and immigration. The sleek catamaran 'Light Speed' was in Lautoka during this period and we spent am enjoyable day with Dave and Cathy in a small harbour to the north of the port, hiding from strong southerly winds.

The customs officer fills the roll of immigration, too, when you check out of Lautoka, and he asked that I row him to our boat to make sure that it was just me and Rani on board. The young man weighed well over 100 kgs and we had a few tense moments getting into and out of our little dinghy. Fortunately we avoided a repeat of our check-in to Tonga when we dumped the health inspector into the harbour!

We are about a hundred miles offshore now running off before a strong breeze with a furled jib only. The wind and seas surprised us, as we had expected fairly light trade winds and even seas. For a while last night we were down to half the small jib and a three-reefed mainsail and were still averaging over 7 knots on a beam reach. We dropped the main altogether after an hour of this and turned off the wind to make things more comfortable so that the off=watch person could get some sleep. Things are still pretty bouncy and it took a while to tie down the spare water bottles and anchor floats and to stop the crockery and condiments from dancing their noisy little dance.

Our position at 0530 on Sunday Oct 13 is 18 03 S 175 38 E. We are running west now in anticipation of an easterly shift as a front passes below us.

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