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We motored into Opua shortly before 9 this morning and joined the boats already on Q dock. Border officials, ever polite and efficient, collected the usual pile of paperwork and leftovers while the drug dog took one sniff of the skipper and went AWOL.

A shower, some veg and some diesel and we left for Auckland. ETA Thursday morning. Thanks for following. The blog will take a break till we next head offshore.

day six

We have motored since dawn yesterday under clear skies and gentle head winds crawling slowly towards Opua. Fushing operations continue with much though and discussion put into lure selection. Alas the fush remain unimpressed. The score so far is Margarita 0, fush 1 and the clock is running down. We expect to dock at Opua tomorrow morning. Sweepstake entries range between 9.18am and 10.20am; not that we are bored or anything

Only 144 miles to go



Our delightful sailing started at noon yesterday and ended at dawn this morning. For 18 hours Margarita scooted comfortably towards home at 200 miles per day pace. We even got the screecher out for a couple of hours and touched 11 kts at times. Exhilarating stuff. We would like more, much more but it ain’t happening on this passage. Our delight ended this morning with the arrival of a gentle front. The rain started, the wind headed us and then dropped to too-little-to-sail-too-much-to-motor. The sun is out again and we are motor sailing again. Of course we 30 degrees off-course. 300 miles to go. Delight has been replaced with stoicism.

All’s well onboard


Highs and Lows

Since 3.00pm yesterday we have been motoring across the centre of the high. Slow progress as we spin out our fuel least these calms extend most of our way south. For now the signs are hopeful. A fitful westerly is helping out and will shortly, according to the forecast, develop into a comfortable sailing breeze for the next day or so. Beyond that a longer period of calms threaten. Opua is still 470nm distant and our eta retreats with each estimation. However the sun is warm, the air is pleasantly cool, the sea is near calm and complaints are muted. We have yet to do our mid ocean swim. It may be too late for some. The water is 19 deg. 10 deg less than some are accustomed to. Perhaps Lance Armstrong has something, more effective than spag bol, for thickening the blood?

Conway Reef is far behind. Malcom has come up with the goods again. It is claimed by Fiji and re-named Ceva-I-Ra. Against the odds it was “discovered” by the HMS Conway in 1838 without going aground. However it has claimed a number of vessels even in these days of GPS. Perhaps next time we will pass in daylight.

All’s well onboard


No Fushing

The wind increased throughout yesterday as we sailed towards Norfolk Island reducing sail for comfort till left with only a double reefed main. From dusk the wind eased and backed. Now, under full sail, our bows are pointed towards Cape Brett for the first time. It’s been a rough 24 hours, three course meals abandoned. Also abandoned the dishes from the simpler fare that replaced them. The wind is stubbornly forward of the beam but gentler times lie ahead. Just as well. We are running low on heat-and-eats. By evening we will probably be motoring as we cross the centre of the high. Fortunate. Motoring means a plentiful hot water and after three days we are all in need of that. Dinner will be spag bol with enough left over for mince on toast for the night watch. The weather grows colder but the sun shines and shorts are still preferred. Our position is 25 13S, 172 38E. 550nm due north of Cape Maria Van Diemen. All’s well onboard.


How far to go?

Day two of a seven day passage is a little early for this question but yesterday afternoon, with little else to do, we turned on the plotter and measured the precise distances to Opua and Marsden Cove. They were 884nm and 922nm respectively. A looong way across an empty ocean. Job done, a casual glance before turning it off the plotter shows a dot on our track. Zoom in and Conway Reef appears. Yikes! Never seen that before! By 10pm it’s 20 miles off and still dead ahead. Already close hauled we bear away to pass it unseen 5 miles to the east. It’s a pity we pass at night. The chart shows a pin prick of land 2m high surrounded by a mile of reef. A sighting would have been interesting and a landing even more so. Almost all of these mid-ocean hazards are named after the first ship/person to run into them and survive. Alas Lonely Planet comes up short again. Our curiosity will have to wait.

This morning finds us at 22 20S, 173 54E still heading SSW in a moderate SE wind. By tomorrow evening we should be motoring through the centre of high with westerlies to follow.

All’s well onboard.



The winds since our departure have been moderate from the SSE as forecast. The ride’s a bit bumpy but we are making good progress and there are no fronts in sight. Our position is 20 10S, 175 30E heading SSW at 7 kts. We expect to arrive at Opua or Marsden Cove on Wednesday. No fush yet. All’s well onboard



It’s dawn at Musket Cove. Silence but for the village roosters, the soft grumble of the resort’s power plant and the buzzing of the day’s first drone. Margarita is scrubbed, stocked, stowed and cleared. Soon we will slip the mooring, motor past Cloud Break and set sail. We; Martin, John, Georges and Bruce, ate well at the Island Bar BBQ last night and anticipate New Zealand by Tuesday. The forecast promises several days of more southerly than easterly trade winds. Some motoring in the variables of sub tropical ridge and with luck westerlies to finish. With Auckland no longer a port of entry for “small vessels” our choices are Opua or Marsden Cove. Circumstances will decide which.


Tacking On

In the Koro sea between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu lies the Namena Barrier Reef which is bisected by Save-a-Tack Passage. For the name alone the passage has been on the bucket list for some time. This morning after a leisurely breakfast, a lap of the market, and coffee we departed Savusavu for Namena Island via Save-a-Tack Passage. The trades are a gentle 12 kts from the SE and ahead Namena Island is slowly rising out of the sea. It was once home to a popular dive resort sadly destroyed by Cyclone Winston and not yet rebuilt but the corals and fish are still there.

Savu Savu has been fun, as usual. This is a town on the move. Lots of building work going on including a several hectare resort being reclaimed out of the swamp 300 metres across from the mainland.

Many shops have signs advertising for workers. There is a general feeling of prosperity. The many eating places are filled with not only yachties but also local families. 

Beryl flew back to Auckland on Thursday but not before a flying visit to Labasa on the north coast. It was great having you onboard Beryl and sorry for not spotting the 50 sign.

Beryl paying her speeding ticket at the Labasa LTA.

We met up with our old friend, Liz Thurston, again. She lives in very nice house in Savu Savu. She had been away visiting her new grandson in Australia. Her house was burgled the first night she was home. But everything was recovered because the thief was spotted wearing her Akubra hat. Phew! We first met Liz sailing with their children and us with ours. 

Time to move on. We are looking forward to catching up with Kim and Will, cousin Hortense Idoine and Sue and Brian. We are well provisioned but a fish or two would be welcome. 


It’s been a sailing day today. The wind has kept us amused shifting between NE,N,NE, E,SE, and varying from 10 to 30 knots, mostly in inconvenient ways so as to not allow us to set a direct course. Apart from that and the flying fish it’s been a quiet day at the office.

By 10pm we should see the first outlying Fiji island. Then thread our way through the reefs and if the wind cooperates we will get to Savusavu in time to clear customs before they close tomorrow afternoon.

Happy birthday Mindy, hope you have had a fun day!

All’s well onboard Bruce Dinah and Beryl.