Thursday, June 2, 2011

Welcome to Minerva!

Yesterday morning, May 22nd, we pulled into South Minerva Reef and took a breather from our 1220 mile passage to Fiji. We are anchored in the middle of the ocean. Minerva Reef has the shape of a figure eight and when you look at the horizon you see lots of blue water and waves breaking. There's no land in sight except at low tide when a few coral bombers peep out from the sea. We are anchored in the eastern lobe of the figure eight. The seas and wind are calmer than the rough waters we've experienced the past few days on our journey making for a fantastic full night sleep without the task of waking up every three hours to take watch.

We're not alone in the middle of nowhere. There are four boats total: Wonderland, Tyee, Coee and us. Evi our sailing grandmother on Wonderland is here on her way to Tonga. She has a full boat with five on board, a few who got seasick along the way.

Tyee is a Canadian catamaran with two boys that we met in Panama. Tim hopes to kiteboard with them today. And there's a new friend, Coee, captained by Bronte, a South African, and his German wife who plan to call this isolated reef home for an entire month. Bronte with his grey beard and stalky frame looks like he emerged from a Hemingway novel. He's here for the fishing and takes his dinghy outside the protected reef to spearfish. "There's a lot of nothing out there in the deep," he told Tim yesterday as he described his technique of attaching the spear of his gun with a long line to a boogie board so that when he shoots a fish he can retrieve it easier. He continues, "...but then suddenly you're surrounded by six or seven billfish and that's when it gets exciting."

Bronte ventured out yesterday afternoon and returned with a five foot long Wahoo that he had speared in the head. He gave us the entire fish as a welcoming gift. We've had sushi last night and will be eating fish all week. What a treat!

Rumor has it there's oodles of lobster here as well but we're trying to figure out the technique for finding them. South Minerva and North Minerva, which is about 20 miles away where we had stopped six months ago on our way south to New Zealand, are owned by The Kingdom of Tonga, but Fiji claims it's theirs. Fortunately, none of the patrol boats are here to chase us away like they have with other sailors passing by.

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