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Crossing to Fiji From Tonga

We departed Neiafu (the town), Vava'u (the island), Tonga in early afternoon, after dealing with some difficult engine issues, and motored to a nearby cove to spend the night. We didnt' wish to leave for the crossing so late but the Tongan authorites don't work on Saturday and we had cleared out on Friday: we had to leave. We were forced to trickery, claiming to be leaving but spending the n night locally before setting out.

The crossing was very difficult the first two days because the wind was off the bow, and we had to "beat" into the wind. Seas were rough, winds was strong, and we were in full-fledged crossing mode, rather than the easy weather that had been forecast.

View from the cockpit shows big seas up to 10-15 ft seas. The vertical unit in the stern is the Hydrovane wind steering, taking all of the steering load for us. What a great device. At right, is the rope that extends to a trailing propeller. The propeller turns the rope and the rope turns the generator, producing electricity as we sail along.

After we had entered Fijian territory, we began to see the hundreds of islands that make up this nation of islands.

A view of our new whisker pole in action! After some issues with the delivery of a faulty pole for our Pacific crossing, we finally received this one and began using it. It's the BOMB for deep reaches, say, 130 degrees off the wind. It allowed us to sail when we would have been forced to motor. The whisker pole (named, so we imagine, because it protrudes from the boat's bow like a whisker) is held in place by three lines: a "topping lift" that supports it vertically, and a fore and aft guy, all three of which can be seen here. The pole should be horizonal and is held on the fore side of the mast with a very expensive piece of stainless steel.

We cross the International Date Line at 180 degrees West and East. Note that the values are counting down rather than increasing. 0 degrees is at Greenwich, England of course. I snapped this photo on my watch at 0200 or so.

Sunset on the crossing shows the rough seas and great beauty of an ocean crossing.

Conni had purchased a pinapple in Tonga. She has a "still life" of it in the Tonga section. I butchered it during the crossing and she loved it!

Conni on reef watch as we enter Mololo Pass and enter the main lagoon of Fiji. The islet at right is the southern side of the pass. Water depths rose from thousands of feet down to 50s: a rise that makes a sailor pucker. We knew that we need manuverability so had doused the sails.

We've entered Mololo Pass and this is the inner side of the islet above. The hills do look like Baja California or the California coast to us.



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