I’m just posting a quick one now to let you all know that we had a stonking run into New Zealand -155 miles in the final 24 hours – and arrived just before dark on the 28th. Sarah has some wonderful pictures and we intend to do a proper blog in the near future. South Minerva Reef was particularly spectacular.
Since we arrived we have spent far, far too much money buying all sorts of boat bits that we have been denied for the last couple of years. We even invested in a major luxury -a water heater! (It’s freezing here. Well………. 16 celcius really, but it might as well be freezing after two years in the tropics. We’re bundled up like the Michelin Man)
Bob is tucked away on a pile mooring up the Kerikeri river. The anchor has been removed, the chain reversed, the water maker ‘pickled’ for storage, the main engine flushed with fresh water, a float switch installed on the bilge pump and over the next week or so we’ll remove the sails and put her to bed. We have picked up our camper van, Jacangi, but even she will be abandoned for the next two months as we fly (shock/horror! Flying is cheating!) to Thailand to visit Sarah’s family.
As of noon today, Sunday November 26th, we are 200 miles from Opua, the most northerly customs port in New Zealand and our destination. It’s a lovely day – the sun is shining for the first time since we left Minerva. We shook out the 2nd Reef this morning and are plowing along at nearly 6 knots under a single-reefed mainsail and full 110% working jib on a lovely beam reach. The seas are considerably diminished compared to what they were a few days ago and the motion is gentle and agreeable. Despite Sarah’s scopoderm anti-seasickness patch having expired beyond it’s 3-day lifespan two days ago she’s bounding around the cabin doing such productive things as making bread with the last of our flour and has even hidden the last of our olives in the dough. We’re down to our last half a courgette, a third of a cabbage, two small potatoes and two small onions as far as ‘fresh’ provisions go, so it looks like we got it just about right and won’t have to relinquish too much to the New
Zealand biosecurity officers upon our arrival. Maybe a coconut or two. Then again maybe we should make the effort to eat them before we arrive. After all, we might not see coconuts again for quite a while.
We’re looking at a night-time arrival in Opua, perhaps some time around midnight tomorrow (Monday) night. Subject to the winds of course. We have been exceptionally lucky on this passage not to have needed to motor at all. The mast is still pointing up. Spirits are high. It’s been almost three weeks since we saw land and we can almost smell it.
As of 1000, Friday morning, November 24 (UTC+13) Bob is at 28 17 S, 177 37E heading SSW at about 4.5 knots under deep-reefed mainsail and a sliver of jib. Conditions have been considerably rougher and windier than forecast. Our friends aboard ‘Local Talent’ to the South reported sustained winds in the high 20s and ‘Serengeti’ to our North reported high 30s gusting into the mid-40s two nights ago. We are somewhere in the middle of those two – I was estimating about 30 knots sustained. Bob has taken a bit of a beating from having to crash her way through Southerly swells but is performing admirably. Spirits are good on board. The motion is much better today with the swells diminished and on the beam, and the wind is showing signs of reducing permanently rather than coming in fits and lulls as it is at the moment. We’ll be able to shake out a reef then and speed up a bit. Sarah is making bacon and eggs for breakfast, with chips and beans. Yum 🙂
We ended up staying at the Minerva Reefs for much longer than expected (9 days in North Minerva and 3 days in South Minerva) waiting for a suitable weather window to New Zealand, but we’re now finally on our way (again)! We set sail from South Minerva yesterday afternoon and have been enjoying wonderful sailing conditions since then. As I write this we have just crossed over into the Eastern Hemisphere, which is quite exciting. Alex tells me he has never sailed in this half of the world before.
I think we made the right decision not to leave in the potential weather window last week. The low pressure system that everyone was trying to beat sped up and hit New Zealand a day and a half earlier than forecasted. Two boats were lost in the heavy winds and whilst we don’t know the exact details, we heard all the people on board were rescued and there was no loss of life. Unfortunately, our late departure means that we’ll miss out on the various events of the All Points Rally which are held in mid November in Opua. But most unfortunately it means we’ll miss out on seeing our friends, Eileen and Alex, who were visiting New Zealand recently. Sorry guys, I really hope our paths cross in the not-too-distant future and we hope you had an amazing time exploring New Zealand.
The current weather window is being described by meteorologists as ‘as good as it gets’. So hopefully it’ll be pleasant sailing from here to Opua where we expect to arrive in just under a weeks time.
We’ve been here at North Minerva Reef for a little while now, waiting for a good weather window to make the passage to New Zealand. None has presented itself yet so we’re waiting………………
All is well. We went for a dive yesterday in the pass and saw a tiger shark – very exciting! Also lots of smaller fish that we’ve never seen before, such as the Palette Surgeonfish, better known as Dory from Finding Nemo 🙂