Saturday, 21 July 2012

Snorkeling, coconuts and Sophia racing

The title of this post pretty much sums up our lives at the moment. We are loving and enjoying the cruising life and we already feel we have adjusted well into it. We have slowed down a little bit and are now ‘only’ changing anchorage every 2-3 days with a few day anchorages mixed in as well. We’re still super keen on snorkelling and are in the water every single day, except in Neiafu where the water isn’t as inviting, although not bad at all.

We try only going into Neiafu once a week for groceries, internet etc and try and time it with the Friday afternoon yacht race. It’s very easy to spend money while in town, even if you’re cheapies like Phil and I. Back to the yacht race. Last Friday was our first and it was a great day for it, sunny and a 15-20 knots breeze. I think it was my first race in only shorts and t-shirts ever! Arrochar, another Lyttelton boat had arrived in Vava’u the same week and we cajoled them to join us as crew. Phil was happy he got to use his no 1 head sail (some semi-fancy race sail). Spinnakers etc weren’t  allowed and there’s no handicap, first across the line wins. There were about 10 yachst in the race, most much bigger than Sophia, except Sala, a 29 feet half tonner, owned by a young NZ couple. Because Sala was below 30 feet she was allowed a leg less than the rest. Thanks to Phil (but of course) we got a great start and were first to the top mark, quite surprised ourselves. We kept our lead and were only beaten by Sala because they had to do a shorter course, but they also did really well. It was pretty funny beating all these big 40-50 foot fancy yachts.

We have just done another race yesterday and despite much less wind (10 knots), amazingly we were again the fastest boat. All credit goes to Phil though, he always puts us right on the start line right on time and is coaxing the maximum speed out of Sophia the whole way along, continously trimming sails (which of course are in excellent shape and almost new). It's also a great way to meet new people afterwards and have some fun.

Snorkeling just gets better and better as we have moved to different anchorages where snorkelling is supposedly good. We look forward to going down to Hapa’ai and checking out the snorkelling there as it’s apparently even better. We have now seen a moray eel and a shark (Phil’s first, it was funny, he moved behind me and grabbed my arm, whereas I tried to swim closer to get a better photo, without success though. It was just a small white tipped reef shark, maybe only ½ meter big). Also lots of clown fish and their anemones, my favourites.

One of our highlights so far has been Swallows Cave. We joined forces with another NZ boat (Wind Song, a couple from Wanaka) and did the long dinghy trip together. We had sailed past it a few times as it’s on the way into Neiafu harbour and were really looking forward to going. It’s a massive cave with an entrance as wide as maybe two dinghies, letting in a good amount of light. Unfortunately there’s a lot of graffiti in there, but it’s still a cool cave. The coolest part was under-water though! Huge huge schools of fish!
Last subject for now is coconuts. Yummy. I love the coconut water, Phil is still getting used to it, but at least he has learned how to get into them (Arrochar showed us, they had been taught by locals). The white flesh is also really tasty and I’m now contemplating how to use it in a cake ideally also with chocolate. If anyone has a recipe, please do let me know. Again, check out the Vava'u album on facebook for pictures to match our adventures. Here are some pretty tropical flowers.

1 comment:

  1. Robyn and Stev21 July 2012 at 18:31

    what a fabulous time you are having. I think I would do more than step behind Steve if I saw a shark...I would walk on water for sure!!!!
    Love to see all the lovely photos. Steve laughed to hear you had used your code Zero!