Who would have thought that it would work out that well… there was this perfect weather window that allowed Karin to join us for the passage to New Zealand and to be on time for her flight back home. We never would have planned it that way – things just fell into place and worked out well.
Normally the passage from Tonga to New Zealand can be quite challenging as the weather forecast is usually not precise yet for the last few days on the day of departure. Therefore you might suddenly get some uncomfortable winds which were not yet predicted when leaving Tonga. Luckily there is Minerva Reef 350 nm off of Tonga and 800 nm off New Zealand. You can anchor there in the middle of nowhere , sheltered from the waves and wait, until you got a good forecast for the rest of the passage.
When leaving Ha’apai we were not sure yet if we would stop in Minerva Reef or not but strong wind and waves were building up and it seemed more pleasant to wait 3 nights in Minerva Reef until it would calm down a bit. So we anchored in this surreal place together with 10 other boats. Most of them we knew from the Vavau Bluewater Festival but also our cruising friends BAJKA and ROGUE were there.
Minerva Reef is probably the most weird and special place we ever anchored in. The wind was blowing with 25 knots but we were protected from the waves, even if we did not see any land. We spent our time with discussing the latest weather forecast, exploring the reef, baking cake, looking for some warmer clothes in the hidden treasures of the boat (as it was getting a bit chilly) and Jaël and Amina enjoyed some playtime with Nael and Ilian from BAJKA.
On Wednesday everyone left (except one boat, which we tried to persuade that it will not get any better) as the forecast for the 800nm to go looked brilliant. We had a very good passage and arrived in Opua, Bay of Islands on Sunday night around 10 pm. It was a long night on the Quarantine dock as almost every 30 minutes there was another boat from our Minerva Reef cruising group arriving.
The following day we were astonished about how efficient, well organised and friendly everyone was. We can highly recommend Bay of Island Marina in Opua to anyone as a port of entry in New Zealand.