Tonga to NZ – Update 4 from the Minerva Reef Yacht Club

Minerva Reef Yacht Club Hangout

October 16 –¬†Anila and her crew are waiting for our weather window to open so that we can leave the protected anchorage of Minerva Reef, re-enter the open ocean, and resume our track for New Zealand. We expect to depart the reef on Wednesday morning based on the latest forecasts.

We’ve used the downtime today for chores around the boat, passage preparation and crew rest and relaxation.

For tonight’s update, thought we’d take a moment to paint a snapshot picture of our immediate environs.

We sit in a shallow lagoon (depth 10 m), about 5 km across, ringed by a circular coral reef rising a proud 10 cm above the water’s surface. The wind blows a fresh and steady 25 kph from the east. We’re anchored at the eastern edge along with 8 other neighboring yachts. Each vessel points, just yards apart, nose to the wind. Nine small islands of eager human anticipation. Looking out, just ahead, we watch the ocean’s waves breaking on the reef.

After a morning spent organizing the deck storage lockers and double checking all tie-downs, we assembled an away crew for a reef exploration mission. Nick, John, and Mike donned their snorkeling equipment and swam off, against the 1-2 mps surface current, toward the underwater reef to study the tropical habitat. They returned safely, a bit chilly (water temperature 18C), reporting sightings of sharks, clams, and all manner of colourful fish inhabiting the reef.

During their mission, our neighbor Brian (of Counting Stars) dropped in for a visit, and also to bring us a quantity of rolled oats (American: oatmeal, Kiwi: porridge) to replenish our dry stores. Thanks, Brian!

This evening we enjoyed an amazing meal, prepared by Nick, of Tahitian smoked chicken, spiced green beans, and butternut squash. Peach pie and brownies for dessert.

We’re well fed, in good spirits (and drinking good spirits), and are cohering rather well as a crew and as a team. Tonight, we dream of the passage ahead.

Dave, Kevin, John, Mike & Nick

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