All is well out here. We have made great time thus far having sailed 195 miles since leaving early yesterday morning. We are halfway to Savusavu. We plan to be off Vanua Belavu (Lau Group) at sunrise tomorrow, transit the reefs and then sail overnight to Savusavu, arriving Friday morning at first light. We wish we could stop at Vanua Belavu, but the authorities require you to continue on another full day to Savusavu for clearance. Frustrating.
We slipped our mooring at 0430 Tuesday morning and transited the 8 miles out of Vava’u in the dark with the aid of lighted ranges, chartplotter and radar navigation. The only thing we worried about were whales but luckily we didn’t have any more close encounters. The chopsticks held up well and the engine purred and the temp stayed around 154 degrees. Once clear of the last few islands in Vava’u, we raised our sails, set the monitor windvane and tore off across the Pacific bound for the Fijian Islands. The past 30 hours have been very fast sailing with 20 knots on the beam. We were shooting for the well known Oneata Passage due west of Tonga but the wind would not allow it. It was too hard on the boat and we fell off to the north. We are now aiming for Vanua Belavu and will transit through the reefs of the Lau group just south of Vanua Belavu. There is an island to the south that we should be able to pick up on radar (Katafaga Island) to verify our position before threading the needle through the reefs. Once we put Katafaga to port we should be able to pick up Munia, Mago and Vatuvara before using the lights on the points of Rock Island and Vuna Reef to guide us towards Savusavu Bay. If someone can send us waypoints for the Vanua Belavu passage that would be a nice comfort. Also, check Google earth satellite images to verify all the reefs are included in the latest Navionics charts (you can view these charts online for free). We would need before midnight tonight.
The wind is forecast to continue clocking east, allowing us to put the wind on the quarter instead of on the beam. The leftover seas have been a but uncomfortable but are subsiding now. We’re hoping for the rest of the passage to be more pleasant.
If someone can send us info on the Vanua Belavu passage that would be greatly appreciated. If someone can look at this on Google to see if there is a reef there it would be much appreciated.
If we can’t verify some waypoints then we’ll likely stand off the outer reefs until first light and then sail through.
We’ll write again tomorrow morning while transiting the reefs of the Lau Group.
Lewis & Alyssa
August 12, 2015
On passage Tonga to Fiji
17 59 S
177 17 W
7.1 KTS SOG