Without delay, we leave Apia bay the morning of Saturday 8 October 2016 for Pacific Harbour on the south coast of Fiji. Along the way we enjoy this beautiful day tacking towards the island of Beqa renowned for diving with "sharks". Beautiful navigation, entering the east pass. We try a first anchorage but it turns windy with a heavy current. We change place and enjoy a quiet anchorage to allow three divers on board (Laure, Candy and Amélie) to plunge into the water. Back on board, Laure, visibly shaken, mentions the "worst" dive she has done ... We only understand later that she saw a large shark in rather murky waters ...
The Pacific Harbour is not far away and we reach it by nightfall. It is impossible to enter the pass as the tide is too low and the wind strong. It will only happen the next day after a night anchored in the shelter of a reef in the sea! On the morning of Sunday 9 October, the tide is high and we enter the port where Fleur de Passion is obliged to make a U-turn in a narrow channel of 60 meters. This isn’t the easiest manoeuvre, but finally the boat is moored at the dock of a hotel complex. A welcome stop after days at sea. Three of the passengers on board, Laura, Philippe and the designer Ambrose leaves us, filled with an collection of memories. We all benefit: sailors, young and the remaining passengers, of a few days to visit the island. We can see that the last cyclone Winston in February 2016, has left important traces on land and at sea!
Before leaving, we welcome aboard two new passengers, David and Carlos, who settle into the rhythm on board as old hands. We leave the evening of 14 October for the islands to the west of Viti Levu (the main island). The first night is magic under an almost full moon. The next day, the wind picks up and we take advantage to reach Vanua Levu, two uninhabited and gorgeous islands. The seabed is wonderful, even if the rain comes at night, everyone will hold an unforgettable memory. The young ones have again spent the night ashore as budding Robinsons.
Soon after we must leave. Lautoka, the departure port of Fiji, is waiting for the usual administrative duties that we will perform on 18 October. The departure from Fiji will take time for another reason: because of a technical problem at the dock we have to, again, "make water" - fill the tank of 1,700 liters - with 5 liter cans! But finally we depart with all sails set, headed for New Caledonia.
In late September 2016, the expedition is in the archipelago of Vava'u in Tonga. Fleur de Passion anchors in various spots among the different islands available to the crew, while they continue to register underwater sounds and to take samples of surface water as part of two science programs.
The stopover in Apia, the capital of Samoa, earlier in September enabled for a visit on board of scientists of the Oceanic Regional Environment Programme (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme), invited by the Honorary consul of Switzerland on the island.
Three new crew members joined the boat in Apia: two passengers, Laure and Philippe, and a fourth youth from the socio-educational program Youth at Sea.
First nights at sea and last moorings for the crew of Fleur de Passion before continuing into the Pacific crossing, as reflected in the logbook.
Moorea - Huahine
After a first anchorage at Cook Bay on Moorea just after leaving Tahiti, Friday 2 September 2016, a first night at sea in direction to Huahine is proving challenging for the entire crew. The night is beautiful, the wind in good range. The watches are set for the coming days. But soon, the team members feel the lack of point of reference and a long night of suffering begins for the six newcomers, victims of seasickness requiring attention at all times from the rest of the crew. As a result, the night is short for everyone!
Huahine - Bora Bora
We arrived Saturday 3 September 3 around 14:00 hrs in Huahine. After two mooring changes, we are able to visit the town. The following night is calm and soothing and sailing towards Raiatea and then Tahaa, the next day, much better tolerated by all. We enter the shimmering lagoon of Raiatea which amazes us. It is absolutely gorgeous.
Bora Bora is off in the distance, we'll get there sailing at nightfall with a beautiful sunset for an entry in the night passes. At 21:00 hrs on the dot wee anchored in thirty meters deep in a place spared from the wind gusts. The night is mild and restorative before the real start to the second part of the Pacific crossing.
Monday 5 September, the last postcards are sent, a little bit of the blues hits the younger crowd after a final contact with Switzerland and their relatives for the next several days. At 15:00 hrs, we weighed anchor. The first crossing to Rarotonga ahead in ideal weather. Force 4-5 SE veering NE-N before a depression with strong South swell that we will spend at the port of Avatiu. We have 600 miles to go in four days. "Nana," goodbye in Tahitian.