Here is Estrellita’s home for the cyclone season, and you may have noticed she isn’t floating in the crystal clear blue waters of the Marshall Islands.
No one is certain (still) whether this year will be an official El Nino year or not, but with the increased west wind anomalies and the elevated risk of typhoon activity in the Marshall’s, the fact that the Marshall’s are atolls (and our own sucky experience with wind from the wrong side in an atoll), we decided to delay heading to the RMI until next year.
We debated staying in Tonga, and were on the waiting list for the keel pits in Fiji, but by mid-October had decided that we would head to New Zealand for the first time. After planning to be in NZ at the end of 2012 we figured it was about time! We had gone so far as sending in our arrival paperwork to NZ, in a 24 hour period we were notified that we had a spot in the keel pits in Fiji if we wanted it and we had a pretty fantastic opportunity to as caretakers as a resort in Tonga.
The decision: Ultimately, we decided to make the passage to Fiji, put Estrellita in the keel pit, prep her for leaving, and fly back to Tonga for some resort time near our favorite kiting location in Vava’u. And so we did…
I’ll write more about the passage, our experience going into a keel pit, what we did to prep the boat, finish up my memories of Tonga by boat, and write about our land travel over the next few months.
The plane plan: We aren’t certain where we will head after Tonga. NZ by plane is a real possibility but we are staying open to other opportunities (anyone have any flight passes from Nadi or Auckland?) but we’ll end up back in Fiji in time to do a month or so of work on the boat and splash in Fiji at the very start of the season to start exploring a new country.