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Crossing From French Polynesia to Fiji

The Prelude: Departing Tahiti – Tuesday 1 June 2021
Nev here…with a very warm “welcome aboard” to all our sofa sailors as we set off on the 1,800-nautical mile sail from Tahiti in French Polynesia to Savusavu in Fiji. The final on board safety checks have been carried out and we are ready to leave!

But, just before we go, let me fill you in on the last few days, as it’s been a little bit stressful trying to do everything to a timetable during covid-times. As Dorothy said, “we’re not in Kansas anymore…”

The procedures for leaving a country and sailing to another have become extremely complicated. No longer is it a case of simply seeing a weather window, making your way to Customs and Immigration to check out and you’re on your way.

To enter Fiji, we must first prove a negative PCR test, taken 72 hours before departing French Polynesia. The results are sent by email to our yacht agent in Fiji and o nward to the Covid Risk Mitigation Taskforce, who will give us their final approval for departure (which we now have)!

From a sailor’s point of view, committing to a weather window three days in advance is not always viable. And, as we’ve just discovered, our weather window has indeed changed. If we hadn’t just paid £300 for the PCR tests, we would probably have delayed our departure, as the wind looks like it may drop out on us for a while.

But it’s not the covid tests we’ve had to co-ordinate in fine-tuning our departure…

Checking out of Tahiti on a Saturday and Sunday is a no-go as Customs and Immigration are not fully operational at weekends, so getting the PRC test done on a Wednesday or Thursday is out. And while we’re at it, the PCR test unit is shut on a Sunday.

Looking ahead, we need to time arriving in Fiji to be during office hours on a weekday, as it costs more than double to get signed in by Customs and Bi o Security out of hours or at a weekend! Let alone getting a second PCR test done on arrival. Hope you’re still following me?!

We expect the passage to take us about 13 days - and we have to add on a day as we cross the international date line (so excited about that one!). So, by the time you put all these factors together, without doubt, Tuesday is the best day to depart Tahiti. Phew, thank goodness for that! 

So, after a manic few days of form-filling and admin, we’ve provisioned with all sorts of lovely goodies to eat en-route and have pre-made some food for the freezer to eat on passage, such as lasagne, chilli and sausage surprise!

It’s lunchtime and, as we’re going to be a dry boat for the next two weeks, we have chance for one last glass of fizz to toast our wonderful time spent in French Polynesia.

That’s it! Skipper has declared that it’s time to lift the anchor. We’re off to Fiji. Sofa sailors, we hope you are ready with your life jackets, books, camera and suntan lotion…let’s go sailing 

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