We left Opua, New Zealand on May 6th bound for Suva, Fiji Islands. The open ocean passage took us eight days, and covered some 1,100 nautical miles.
May 6, 2004 - Day 1 - Departure from Opua
left Opua for Fiji this morning at 11:00am. We
loaded up with our tax-free diesel at the gas dock by noon, and
then we proceeded through the Bay of Islands on our way
to Fiji. This will be the test for me - an open ocean passage for 7-10 days.
I had forgotten how rough the open Pacific Ocean is. The first day out is always a challenge to sailor's stomachs. Also, we are close-hauled on a beam reach, which means the boat rolls more since it is taking waves broadside. I'm feeling fine, but I had a light supper just to be safe.
Craig, Barbara and I are doing 3 hour watches, so that gives us about 5-6 hours of sleep. During daylight hours we do other things when we are off watch, so we have to be careful to get enough sleep, because the last thing you want to do is fall asleep while on watch!
May 7, 2004 - Day 2 - Passage to Fiji
I'm on watch 6-9am, then again 3-6pm. The early morning watch isn't bad, but the
wind has died to 5-10 knots - not really enough wind for Sequoia.
She really needs 15-20 knots to make headway, and she can handle 20-30 knots of
wind - the only problem is after about 25 knots, the crew have problems handling
it! Within half an hour of taking
the watch after mine, Craig decides to motor sail since our
speed has fallen to 3 knots
under sail. At that rate, it would take 2-3 weeks to get to
May 9, 2004 - Day 4 - Passage to Fiji
I have the midnight-3am watch, and around 1am we are running along the edge of a series of squalls, which is mainly to the east of our course. I'm a bit concerned, however 45 minutes later we are mostly clear of them. Clear sailing ahead!
There are lots of stars out this evening. It is so dark on my early evening watch before the moon rises. The Milky Way is a brilliant cloud of stars from horizon to horizon such as I have never observed before. This is the Crux region of the Milky Way. In the Northern Hemisphere, we see the Perseus region - another arm of the Milky Way.
May 11, 2004 - Day 6 - Passage to Fiji
The last few days have had their moments. With NE winds and our course being
to Fiji, we have been close-hauled. This has made for an uncomfortable few
days since we left Opua,
since the winds are often 20-25 knots and the swells are in the 2m range
coming at us off our beam. I
haven't felt much like writing in my journal while my body adjusts to the boat
motion for my first open ocean passage.
May 12, 2004 - Day 7 - Passage to Fiji
Today was the first day
I have worn shorts. We saw a very nice sunset. Venus was so bright this
evening - there was a glowing ripple off the ocean as it set in the west. Although there
are some clouds, the view of the Milky Way was superb.
lovely and warm at 84°F as we ate dinner
in the cockpit under a beautiful clear sky while observing stars (LVM must be at
least 6.0). I finally identified the Large Magellanic Cloud for the first time.
We watched Venus set into the west, with its light reflecting off the waves.
Later Sirius gave us the same beautiful spectacle.
May 13, 2004 - Day 8 - Arrival in Suva, Fiji
My first watch is 6-9am, so I see the sunrise with the Viti Levu landmass
now visible on the northern horizon ahead of us, as well as Kadavu
Island to the west. It is
shirt sleeve weather - clear and 77°F, and it is only 6:30am
as I write this. As it turns out, the Vanuatabu lighthouse appears to be
has been fishing the last couple of
days, but pulls his gear in, preparing for our arrival in Suva Harbour.
Next >>> Suva 2004
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