Sunday, June 23, 2019

South Minerva Reef

Minerva Reefs are a popular stopover on the passage from New Zealand to Tonga.  They are about 600 miles from New Zealand and 250 miles from Tonga.   A week-long passage is split up into two shorter passages with a break in-between.



I've been reading about Minerva Reefs for many years so I was eager to spend time exploring them on our way North to Tonga last year.  We were quite enchanted by the place.  The unspoiled reefs and abundant fish are exactly what we are seeking here in the South Pacific.  We planned for additional time at the reefs on this year's trip to Tonga.  Unfortunately, an unusually large high pressure cell stalled out over the region - creating several weeks of high winds and large seas.  In the 3 weeks at Minerva we had about 4 days where the winds fell below 20 knots.   The seas were still quite large but we are comfortable snorkeling in large seas and made the most of it.

South Minerva is our favorite of the two reefs.  It's shaped like a large "figure 8" and seems to be the lesser-visited of the pair.   On one of our two clear days I sent the drone up to 1500 feet to get a video of the entire reef.

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