Back in the tropics, yeah! We arrived in Suva, the capital of Fiji after a two and a half day sail from Minerva Reef. Minerva Reef was a nice nine day break. We were there with a few other boats we know, so we snorkled, socialized, walked the reef, and caught up on a few boat projects. North Minerva reef (there is also a South Minerva) is quite interesting. Like a little oasis in the middle of the ocean. It is a circular reef, about 4 miles in diameter, with one entrance. The reef wall itself is about a half mile wide and dries out a low tide. The picture below is us walking the reef, the dinghy is anchored on the lagoon side, in the distance you can see the breaking swell on the outer reef wall.
We left New Zealand much later than we had planned. We were all set to go the first week of May, just waiting for a good weather window. Then we discovered we had a leak in one of our fuel tanks. Replacing the tanks was a job we knew we would have to tackle one day, given the age of the tanks and what other Norseman owners had done. We just didn’t think we would have to do it now of course. After reviewing various options, we decided to build a fiberglass tank to replace the existing two 50 gallon black iron tanks. The main reason was that if we chose new metal tanks, we would have to go with a smaller size, as they wouldn’t fit through the companion way hatch (the original tanks were installed before the deck was put on). As well, our friend Ted is very knowledgable in fibreglass boat building and has constructed tanks in the past. So we hired Ted to help, and tackled the three week job. This is the part of the cruising life they don’t take about in the sailing magazines! Anyway, glad the job is done, and we are happy with the result. Now back to the fun part!
We think we will depart Suva next week, after filling with diesel (have to jerry can it to the boat, yuk), getting fruit, veggies and beer. Then sail south to Kadavu (diving the Great Astralobe Reef), then east to the Lau Group, some of the most remote and tradional parts of Fiji. Next update will be more exiting stuff, not fuel tanks!