Thursday, May 31, 2012

On Our Way to Niue

Well, the wind finally quit blowing, and we did get in a few more dives with Fins and Flukes. The last one was the best, out at a remote bommie (patch reef) called Lafa Lafa. It was very live with coral, LOTS of fish, a turtle, a few sharks, etc.

Meanwhile, our friends on Dreamaway, coming up from NZ, started emailing us about meeting them in Niue (pronounced New Way). Niue is 250 miles EAST of Tonga, kinda dead upwind. We had really wanted to go there least year, but just ran out of time. And the weather at the time we were contemplating it was 'blowin' a hoolie' and we decided to hang out longer at Suwarrow instead.

At first we thought "No Way!", and we talked Dreamaway into stopping off where we were in Tonga, since it wasn't far off their path from Minerva Reef to Niue. But we started looking at the logistics, and the weather, and decided it really was do-able for us, without having to t-t-t-tack.

There is a front and low passing south of us, which has turned the wind to a westerly direction. This is usually a problem in the Ha'apai Group of Tonga, because the chain runs North and South, and there aren't many places to hide in West winds. So we solved that problem by checking out for Niue.

We met Dreamaway at an anchorage just near the pass, late yesterday, had a reunion dinner and bottle of wine, and got ready to go this morning.

We left the pass just south of Uoleva (near Lifuka) today at 1pm, and expect these winds to carry us right to Niue in 2 days. In fact, right this second, we are struggling with having to run too far DOWN wind. (Our autopilot, Janet, does well 'DDW' (dead down wind), but doesn't like ~135 degrees apparent AT ALL, and that's where we want to steer for the direct course to Niue. She wanders like crazy and the sail's either luffing up or flogging because it is blanked by the main. But the wind is expected to slowly back from SW to S to SE in the next 36 hours. We have timed our arrival at Niue for when the winds have turned back East.

Niue is a unique place with no harbor, and almost no anchoring space (the Niue Yacht Club has put in moorings for passing yachts to use). There is no dinghy dock, but a lifting crane--you have to have a bridle on your dinghy, and hook it to the crane and lift it out of the water. Renowned for great diving, sea snakes, and very friendly people. Check out

If the wind turns west while we are there, we'll have to get out of there quickly, as there is no protection at all. So we'll watch the forecast carefully, and probably only stay about a week. Then we'll head for Savu Savu, Fiji, I think.
Sherry & Dave
Still in Tonga for another few weeks, then Fiji

At 05/31/2012 7:01 AM (utc) our position was 19°49.39'S 173°48.13'W

1 comment:

  1. Niue is great and if it does blow west you can ask to tie to the supply ship mooring ball which puts you a bit further from the reef. Some friends of ours stayed on that bouy with 30 knots from the west.