Day 1 New Zealand to Fiji… or not

We are just about 24 hours out from our departure from Marsden Cove toward Fiji. The past day has been an ideal one from the cruising power boat perspective: very light winds, comfortable slow-rolling seas, no rain, running at  nearly 10 knots. The four of us had a marvelous meal last night, pan-seared New Zealand gurnard ( a mild, sweet white-fleshed fish,) broccoli, some simply boiled potatoes with a bit of mint. Then we watched a movie in plush comfort, and chatted with a few of the sailboats we were overtaking who had left a day earlier than we had but travel at half our speed. Skies are blue and the sun is shining as I write this, barely a cloud to be seen.

So, are you hearing the ‘Jaws’ theme in the background, ever so slowly increasing in volume?

There was a low pressure system developing near Fiji at the time of our departure. It was not expected to be much of a low, and was anticipated to move well to the southeast before we arrived in that area. We have been keeping a close eye on it, of course.

This morning we didn’t like what we saw on the GRIB files we use to visualize and predict  regional weather patterns. It was looking like this low would be more of a problem than we had hoped. Just as we re-routed our course to carry us further west, keeping us on the west (best) side of the weather, and delaying our arrival to it besides, we started getting e-mails from our weather routers, and multiple calls on our satellite phone.

Seems everyone is concerned about Buffalo Nickel having her day potentially ruined. Opinions were in sync with our own, but perhaps our boat’s designer, Steve Dashew, put it best when he told us, “Treat this as a potentially deadly blow and plan tactics accordingly… Hopefully it will be nothing more than a good story for your web site.”

We considered some options, mainly either heading due west and slowing down while we wait for the system to make its way in the other direction like a good little storm; or, since we are only about 18 hours from the Bay of Islands in New Zealand, making an about face. Then we learned that there’s another system headed across the Tasman Sea, so heading west could potentially get us crunched in between, where we’d get hammered anyway. We are truly concerned about some of the sailboats north of us, because there definitely could be some problems over the next day or so. We have fingers crossed on their behalf.

But we decided to about-face. The four of us are referring to ourselves as ‘Buffalo Chicken.’ Hope that moniker doesn’t stick, but to our concerned friends who have been watching this weather become more and more ominous, know that we are stampeding home. Just cause we can.

Hummus-crusted chicken with rosemary and lemon tonight, side of butternut squash. And we’ve decided to avoid Tarantino this evening, opt for something sweet and escapist instead.

Stan, Val, Stan and Diane
32 21 S
174 57E

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