Okay, okay, no more griping about the discomforts of passage making. We had idyllic tropical sailing for the last two days of our voyage, consistent, 15-20 knot winds from the northeast that felt like an easy, tropical breeze. We had sunny skies, full appetites, whale spout sightings, and enough avian fly-bys to make staring at the sea a worth while activity.
I first spotted land during my graveyard watch early Saturday morning. Around 0330, we passed beneath one last squall and found ourselves under starry skies with the twinkling lights of civilization off the starboard bow.
At 0500 Dominic took the helm, reducing sail and boat speed to avoid landfall in the dark and taking evasive action to avoid tangling with a local, 500 foot fishing vessel.
At 0910, we dropped the hook in deserted Momi Bay on the western shore of Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island. After a champagne toast, we had an extravagant breakfast of eggs, two kinds of bacon, and corned beef hash. A triple meat breakfast was just what skipper and crew needed to be fueled through a day of lounging, swimming, and napping.
We sailed 1,220 miles through the water and were underway for a total of nine days, 21 hours, and 35 minutes. Our progress was mostly northerly, crossing nearly 18 degrees of latitude, comparable to the distance between Cabo San Lucas and San Francisco. A passage marked by highs and lows, we had some wonderful conditions (sailing on a beam reach under sunshine in tropical seas) and also some of the more hectic conditions we’ve seen underway. We had nary a moment of downwind sailing, except for when the 30 knot winds whipped around to the southwest mid-lightning storm. We hit another milestone while underway: over 10,000 nautical miles sailed since leaving San Francisco.
So bula vinaka, welcome, to Fiji—after nearly half a year outside the tropics, we’re looking forward to spending four months savoring Fiji’s 322 islands and reaping the sweet benefits of our salty labors.