The first of October, we started looking for a weather window for passage back to New Zealand. We had about 3 weeks before we needed to leave the country as our 6-month visitor’s visas were going to expire. Lots of jobs to get done before going offshore.

We spent a few more days at Nananu-I-Thake, making some preparations for passage and kiting when we could. Here are some shots of where we were anchored for 51 straight days and over 2 months in total this year.

S/Y Roxanne in the foreground, Whistler on the right.
Monty and I hanging out on Whistler
Roxanne, soon to be put on the market if you are looking for a great sailboat!
Kite Beach on Nananu-I-Thake at low tide. Great snorkelling on the reef on the right.
Kite Beach. We had to take care beaching our dinghy with the coral fringing the beach.
Monty jumping, with Lynn (S/Y Roxanne) in the background

Several horses live on Nananu-I-Thake. We rarely saw them as they roamed the island normally well away from Kite Beach. A couple Fijian caretakers were taking them for a ride. Pity the poor horse that had to carry the larger Fijian!

They were a bit skittish as they aren’t frequently handled.

The horses seemed healthy enough normally running free on this large private island estate island. However, their hooves were splitting and curling up. I politely mentioned to the caretakers that the horses could use a blacksmith.

Reminding me of our beloved Fidelio

Monty cleaned the bottom of the hull, props and shafts one more time. We had to ensure we would not bring any invasive species into New Zealand. We were told NZ Customs asks for photos of the condition of the hulls before passage so Monty took a few documentary shots.

Cleaning the bottom
Prop and shaft

We had some no wind days and took advantage by snorkelling on the reef next to Kite Beach. Here is a video of some underwater life. It is a large file, in 1080p, so open it when you have free wifi!

Marine Life-Nananu-I-Thake from S/V Whistler on Vimeo.

On our way back to Port Denarau, Monty put out the fishing lines, at my insistence. He was done with catching and releasing skipjack. Please, please , a Spanish Mackerel? But no, a Giant Trevally bit the hook. And a second GT later in the day!

Giant Trevally hooked on one of Savusavu Curly’s lures
A fine looking specimen
Another angle. Not great eating, we were told, so Monty released this serious reef fish predator back to the sea.

We had a few boat issues to address in Port Denarau before leaving on passage. It can be next to impossible to get a slip at Port Denarau. Cruisers book a year in advance to ensure they can leave their boat and fly home. It is getting harder and harder as many charter boats are using the docks full-time. We were fortunate to sub-lease a mooring.

Port Denarau

We worked through the “Preparation for Passage” list that the former owner, Christian, had left us. It is a comprehensive list with things like preparing passage meals, checking the navigation systems, lights, instruments, ditch bag, rigging, securing the dinghy, topping up fuel and water. We have added to it over the years, things like stowing paddleboards and kite gear and bringing out our warm blankets, hoodies and toques (how Canadian, eh?).

Checking our Gale Sail

We got lot of maintenance done ourselves but Monty hired a “sparky” (marine electrician) and engine mechanic for some problem-solving.

We checked forecasts twice daily and advised our weather router we were looking for a passage window.

We had some heavy rains in October. The weather was definitely changing, getting hotter and more humid. It was a reminder to head south before cyclone season.

Downpour in Port Denarau
Our dinghy was filled up in minutes!
Monty pulling the plug

On a weekend, we slipped out to Musket Cove for more kitesurfing session, a little break from the maintenance and preparations. Here is a video link. Again, only open the video when you have free wifi or lots of data.

Kitesurfing – Musket Cove from S/V Whistler on Vimeo.

Next up, our passage to New Zealand.