If the previous night was a magical sailing night – one to remember, last evenings fare was from the other end of the spectrum and easily forgettable.  From six in the evening to nine I struggled to get Truce to hold a course, the wind and sea were all over the place.  In the dark I just couldn’t figure out what was going on.  We were moving about so much the heading reading from the GPS was going wild and I had to use the magnetic compass as reference.  Eventually everything sorted itself out, settled down and we continued slowly towards North Minerva Reef – to arrive in the morning.

North Minerva reef
North Minerva reef

I didn’t cover much distance overnight, I chose slow sailing comfort setting to have a good rest – we were in no hurry.  In the morning the weather was sparkling and an easy sail to Minerva reef, to be anchored for lunch time.  Minerva Reef is a strange place, a circular reef in the middle of nowhere with a large lagoon in its centre.  The surrounding reef protects the lagoon from the ocean swells bringing comparative calm inside the lagoon.

It’s quite surreal to be anchored in what appears to be the middle of the Ocean.  Truce is the only boat in the lagoon and it feels very lonely and desolate.  For some reason I don’t feel very comfortable here and will be happy to move on.

The reason I am at Minerva is of course the poor weather conditions further south, preventing me from sailing to New Zealand direct.  I decided to stop at Minerva and assess the conditions as it’s on the way from Tonga.  Unfortunately, there is a big low on its way to the top of New Zealand on the eighteenth / nineteenth bringing strong southerly winds and large swells on my route – that will persist for some days.

Bob McDavitt has suggested an alternative route to the west, almost as far as Norfolk Island.  This route adds considerable distance to my voyage but has the advantage of being something I can start on tomorrow if the forecast is good overnight.  Apparently, another yacht departed Minerva reef earlier today to sail the westerly route to NZ.  Anyway, as suggested, I will sleep on it and decide tomorrow.

This evening I took a rum and coke for sundowners in the cockpit.  I watched the sun go down and thought the conditions were ideal for a green flash event.  I picked up my phone to be ready to take a shot.  Bingo, there was a green flash and I took a burst of photos at the same time.  But the green flash can’t be seen on the photos – I wonder why.  That’s the second green flash I have seen since leaving Honolulu – very lucky.

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