Monday, July 20, 2015

Minerva Reef: an Oasis in the Middle of Nowhere!

Our British friends, Susie and Paul on S/Y Firefly
On May 2, we departed Opua, NZ in the Bay of Islands for Ha'apai Tonga via Minerva Reef. Another rough North- South trip! I am beginning to hate them. I did learn about a drug called Pahia Bomb that works really well for sea sickness. Unfortunately, I didn't take it early enough so the first few days were hard. After I recovered and had a break at Minerva Reef, I was able to take the Pahia Bomb as it only works is you take it before you get seasick. It is my new drug of choice - so far! 

The fleet at the Masquerade Ball on Minerva Reef!

Minerva Reef was a nice respite two-thirds of the way to Tonga from Opua, NZ. It is a little atoll in the middle of nowhere! Past Pacific Circuit Rally cruisers have been able to walk on dry land at low tide. Not this year.
Snorkeling at Minerva Reef.
In the middle of the ocean! Wild!

Actually, the surf was so strong outside that we were never able to make it onto the reef itself, but we did snorkel and the ICA Rally held a Masquerade Ball in our dinghies! Unfortunately, I forgot about it so we had no costumes, so we went as seasick sailors. No masks needed for that look!

We are now members of the most exclusive yacht club in the world: The Minerva Reef Yacht Club. Like the Nuie Yacht Club, you must sail in from somewhere and sail off to somewhere to be a member!

Once in Tonga, we experienced the real South Pacific. The Ha'apai group is full of islands with white sand beaches and palm trees. It is much different from the Vava'u group where we were last year.

One of several potluck BBQ's with the fleet.
Most of the islands in Vava'u rise straight up from the sea with few beaches. Ha'apai is a quiet paradise ! I love the big white sand beaches for walking and shell seeking. This is the South Pacific I expected everywhere!

Traveling with the Island Cruising Association's Pacific Circuit Rally, we had many beach events and meals together. Lyn and John actively participate in the fun and they sing and play the guitar as well. Great fun in the evenings - almost like being at summer camp!
The anchorage from the Ha'api Beach Resort.

We cleared into Lifuka Island at the Ha'apai Beach Resort where Matt and Jody had arranged to bring the officials to each boat. That made checking in easier. After several evenings of Sundowners and a BBQ there, we moved south to Uovela Island to spread the wealth to two other establishments. 
Rob and Jenny treated us to a lovely dinner at the Serenity Beach Resort. Since it is off season, we were the only dinner guests. We met Patty, the owner, who used to live in SE Michigan. She said she wanted to meet the boat listed from Grosse Pointe Farms. And I said, "That would be us!" From then on, we were treated as old friends!  She also served the whole Rally the next night for our big arrival party!

Patty is a very interesting woman. She has sailed most of oceans and has had more than a lifetime of experiences. Her dream was to create a secluded resort where clients would enjoy yoga, massages, beach walks, snorkeling, whale watching and beach bonfires. This is it!

The guys found the trip north exciting. I had other thoughts!
She had the main building pre-made in Bali. There are no windows or doors - totally open on all sides with a wonderful ocean breeze.

It is a wonderful space complete with candles and oil lanterns for light. She does not use electric lights as the generator is only used to keep the refrigerator cold. Solar lamps and candles are everywhere. It is a lovely get away place.

Jenny and Rob heading off for a real vacation in Tonga!
And the best time to go would be July through October when the Antartica whales come to breed and give birth. They swim here ever year for the season. After breeding,they return to Antartica for the twelve month gestation period.
Then they swim back to the Ha'apai area to deliver the babies. After several months, the young are strong enough to swim back to Antartica where they stay for several years until they are ready to mate. I wish we were going to be here to see the whale invasion.

This view never gets old!

No comments:

Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you here. You can see earlier posts at