Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tonga to Fiji, Day Three

During our morning radio schedule with Sorceress, we agreed that the previous night had been one of our least favorite passages. But we were closing with our approach waypoint and hoped to get some shelter from the confused seas once we were among the Lau Islands. Sorceress had decided to bear off for a better ride and would find a different route from here.
 By ten we could see several islands ahead of us. Our pass was to the north of Katafage island, a route used by another vessel in 2002, but we had also been warned by many others to watch for uncharted dangers throughout Fiji.
 Thus we were hypervigilant as we approached the pass. We could see breakers on the barrier reef to our left, but the heavy overcast made it impossible to see any shallows once we had entered the calmer waters in the lee of Katafage. While sailing in these calmer waters we were able to go forward and properly stoe the main and to check on the condition of the boat and gear. Everything looked fine, so we carried on to the next waypoint, still with no main and only a small fraction of our genoa.

With less confused seas our speed was much greater, and we realized with some relief that we would be clear of all but one of the dangers by nightfall. About 8pm we made the turn at Vatuvara island and bore off toward Savusavu.
We had hoped to be running dead downwind through the night, but the wind had veered to just W of S and so we found ourselves angling across steep seas that periodically broke against the side of the boat, giving us another very wet and uncomfortable night.

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