As we raised a final glass of fizz to our epic time in Fiji, I don’t think either of us was prepared for how emotional we would feel about leaving. It’s been a long, long time since a country, and its people, has touched our hearts so much. Fiji delivered so much more than we ever expected and we will look forward to a return visit one day – hopefully to see it buzzing with tourism.
But cyclone season and a visa to get into Australia has made us move swiftly on. Our check-out process at Denarau Marina was quick and easy...next stop Brisbane!
As we left Fiji, the weather forecast was for light winds to start and then 12 knots on the beam, so we expected a calm motor sail for the first day before getting into the trades. In reality, the wind was several knots more, the seas a little more boisterous than expected and Two Drifters was like a horse out of the starting gate at Aintree, galloping away at great speed.
At this stage, a reminder that we’ve only really had gentle island-hopping sails in the last couple of months in Fiji, so our passage sea legs (not to mention tummies) weren’t quite ready to be thrown in at the deep end! But aside from a few bruises as we moved around the decks in choppy seas, we are both fine and settling into the passage routine nicely.
My first night watch entertainment came in the form of a large unmarked vessel, lit up like a Christmas tree with deck lights, but no navigational lights, so I couldn’t see which way he was heading. Waking Skipper up - in case we needed a swift sail change to avoid collision – we watched as the vessel made a beeline for us – seemingly unaware of our presence. When the vessel didn’t answer our VHF call, we shone a big torch on our sail, highlighting our proximity, which worked. The vessel, a fishing boat with huge nets out on each side, passed about 80 metres behind us, perhaps a little close for comfor t - and still without any navigational lights! Grrrrrrr
Day One: Monday 8th November
Total miles sailed in 25 hours: 166
© Two Drifters Travel
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