Opua - Bay of Islands - NZ - 35 18.796S 174 07.344E (I See No Sheeps!)

Mike and Liz Downing
Tue 9 Nov 2010 10:21
We're here!! Tied up at the customs dock at 18.00 yesterday (Monday) having sailed 1,273 miles in 9 days and 4 hours, crossing 17 degrees of latitude in the process. Coming in through the Bay of Islands the landscape looked very familiar - green rolling hills, and not a palm tree in sight. We expected to see sheep grazing, but so far we've not seen a single one - they must be hiding! Had to remain on the customs dock overnight and not go ashore until customs and bio-security visited this morning. They check the boat out, taking away any fresh produce and all the rubbish. We even had to empty the vacuum cleaner into their big black bag to be disposed of safely. They're trying to prevent any unwanted creatures/bugs/plants from the tropics invading NZ. We've refueled and are now in the marina for a few days while we find our way around and wash the boat down to get rid of all the salt. Opua is very small with only one food shop, but quite a few boat services, including 2 chandlers that are as good as any in the UK. We haven't seen anything like it since Trinidad a year ago. The land is just as cold as it was when out at sea and the locals are saying that the spring/summer is slow in coming this year. We couldn't use the diesel boat heater at sea as one of the exhaust brackets broke in the rough weather we had at the start of the passage and I needed to get into the cockpit locker upside down to fix it. That's now done and we have a nice warm, cosy boat once again.

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