28/06/2014 – A slower day

Sometimes it is advantageous to sail slower, let me explain. The Fiji waters are dotted with hazards, not all charted, so it is best to arrive in any tricky area in daylight. Our first 24 hour run to 1000 hrs yesterday was a stunning 156.6 miles, an average speed of 6.5 knots. If we had continued at this speed we would definitely have arrived in the dark, we needed to average just over 7 to arrive Sunday evening, which is only achievable with half a gale behind us! We weren’t worried because the wind was forecast to drop. It slowly subsided during the day and our rapid progress was hampered, eventually John put on the engine at 0345, probably several hours later than necessary. We are now in Fijian waters, having reached our waypoint a safe distance south of the Lau group at about midnight. Our next waypoint, still 60 miles away, takes us above an area with a number of reported shoals and between 2 islands, Matuku and Totoya. From there we will alter course for the Kadavu Passage, between Viti Levu, the main island, and the North Astrolabe Reef and Kadavu to the south. After that the navigation gets particularly interesting i.e. challenging! Caduceus has motored ahead of us now, finally overtaking us overnight. Chez Nous is also ahead. We knew our lead wouldn’t last! They are now the pathfinders, to warn us if any land masses disagree with their charted position on the chart plotter. Reassuringly, Jonathan on Chez Nous called up during the night to say the radar reflection from one island was spot on the chart. In the past some islands have been a mile out. We hope the latest electronic charts are accurate. The highlight of yesterday was a 36 inch long mahi-mahi or dorado which John landed. It weighed 4kg and cut up into 8 fillets, 500 gr of smaller bits suitable for a curry and another 260 gr of smaller strips which I turned into Poisson Cru, a Tahitian dish but common throughout the South Pacific. Small pieces of fish are marinated in lemon or lime juice which ‘cooks’ it, then drained and mixed with coconut milk and mixed chopped veg. No heating, so saves on gas. The fish timed his catch nicely, mid-afternoon before I started to prep the dinner. The rest of the fish is in the freezer, John is banned from fishing again just yet as the freezer is full. As you can tell, not a lot happened yesterday. Joyce

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