New Zealand Day 7 and a bit - We made it in daylight and the morning after

Position           35:18.82 S 174:07.35 E

Date                1745 (UTC +11) Tuesday 11 2014

                        1945 (UTC+13) local time New Zealand

                       

Distance run    Last 5 hours 45 mins 42nm over the ground, 40nm through the water

                        Distance (OG) covered from start 1064nm

                        Original distance to Opua (direct route) 890nm

 

Well, the forecast in the Day 7 entry was spot on and as an added benefit we sailed some of the distance.

 

Making ready the courtesy and Q flags

 

2000 local is definitely dusk and we made it with 15 minutes to spare.  Sailing through the Bay of Islands to Opua was an exciting end to the journey even if we did not see it at its best due to the failing light.

 

The final approach to Opua

 

The approach to Opua was not difficult and whilst the Quarantine berth is isolated from those already cleared in Firefly, Paul, Suzie and Gareth a friend who had joined them for this passage, were there waiting to take our lines which given the increasing wind, of course, and a couple of knots of current running though the marina, was handy.

 

Journeys End – the following morning – Caduceus waiting for the Customs team

We had been tracking our friends Dagmar and Christoph with their Amel 54 Flomaida who had a predicted arrival time of 0200.  In good efficient German style when I set my alarm clock for 0155 there they were on AIS just coming around the corner towards the marina and I was able to rouse myself and take their lines.  A celebratory beer later and I was back firmly asleep.

 

Come the day and come the dog.  Customs and Immigration arrived shortly after 0800 as did the Bio-security team complete with two dogs one of which searched our boat.

 

Beagle Olly complete with protective booties, a very happy dog with a mission

 

The booties incidentally are to protect the boat from the dog and not the other way around.  The dog’s mission interestingly was to search out any stray fruit and vegetables.  The danger of hitchhiking fruit flies and parasitic insects being a major threat to New Zealand agriculture.  The whole clearance procedure was thorough, efficient, conducted in good humour and well mannered.

 

The final move into our berth could be considered exciting.  The wind, of course, decided to blow at a steady 15 knots indispersed with 30 gusts on the beam; oh, and there was an audience.  Fortunately he boat is well behaved and I have been practicing.  I also waited for a calm between the gusts before aiming for the berth.

 

A particular treat was being met on the dock by David Haynes, a very old friend with whom I shared a house at University, is Andrew’s godfather and who transferred to the New Zealand Army and emigrated over thirty years ago.  He lives with his wife near Auckland and drove the three hours up to greet us and provide assistance with trips to the bank and sort out mobile phones.  We look forward to spending time with him next week when he and Nocky are joining us for a cruise around the Bay of Islands

 

It is wonderful to be stationary and for the world once again to be on an even keel.  We do however feel a sense of achievement; the boat and crew have stood up well to the pounding and we arrive with nothing broken or damaged, just the odd bruise.