Our dive fest had to end sometime - and with the wind switching back on, it was time for us to move on. I thoroughly enjoyed Fiji again, and don’t regret the hard-yards sail back upwind to the islands from Australia...
We had yet another visitor - I had been chatting to Monica as potential crew to Australia, but with her limited connectivity and our schedule, we didn’t manage to get things sorted. I’d discounted her. She had a couple of bad boat situations, and though we had intended just to meet for a drink, she ended up onboard for a couple of nights. We managed to fit in a dive with her (her first real dive after her OW quailfication) - and she said she wished she’d joined us first, and would have liked to stay on until Vanuatu. However, by that point she’d already booked a ticket home to Madrid. It’s clear that for both crew and skipper, it is important to meet before hand and ensure that plans mesh! We’ve stayed in touch anyway.
We cleared out yesterday. Officially you have to leave immediately, but they always lag on clearing you out. Appointments are somewhat moot, as though customs is in Port Denarau, immigration have to come from Lautoka and they stopped at Vuda Point to clear a tanker on the way. So our 9am kept getting pushed back.
In the end, the lovely customs lady did it all - which is annoying as she could have done it all at 9am, rather than making us wait. You have to be relaxed and go with the flow though. The problem for us was that by the time we had cleared, arranged for the next boat to collect the customs lady, stowed the dinghy, put the lifelines out etc and were generally ready to put to sea, the afternoon sea breeze had kicked in with a vengeance. 20knots of W winds made it slow and uncomfortable going, so we chose to stop and anchor for the night before we cleared the western reefs of Fiji.
This morning, the wind had swung back SE and was 11knots in the anchorge. Closer to 22knots out here, but that means good speeds at least until the wind starts to drop around midnight tonight. We touched 11 knots SOG through the pass with plenty of current behind us, and the resulting lively sea wasn’t too bad. We’ve now punched through that and are making good progress offshore. The lines are in and we’re hoping for yellowfin!