Arrival in New Zealand
From 26 miles out Franco could see Cape Brett lighthouse flashing. We would keep it to port. The rich earthy, sometimes smokey, smell coming off the land filled my nostrils and I breathed it in, greedily. I may no longer be a landlubber, but I’m certainly a land lover. The moon was full, like a big bright orange in the northern sky.
I checked the chart, we were approaching a small reef called Tikitiki Island. I scanned the night, and there it was, backlit by the moon, a large sea stack.
An hour had passed and the moon, now vermillion, was setting over the Purerua Peninsula. On the opposite side of Caramor, the sun was rising over Pukehuia Mountain on the Brett Peninsula. This was a proper sunrise, with yellows, oranges and blues, one you have time to appreciate, not like those tropical affairs where if you blink, you miss it.
So far, New Zealand was making a good impression.
By 6am we were in the bay and approaching the limit of the harbour. Ahead were the lights of Paihia, a small town. We turned left up the river, dodged a car ferry and were soon tying up to the quarantine quay at the Bay of Islands Marina, in Opua. Fatty and Carolyn of Ganesh were waiting for us. They had started motoring earlier and had arrived the night before.
Thirty minutes later at 8:30, a dinghy pulled up alongside, it was Customs and Quarantine. It took all of 30 minutes for these friendly officers to sign us in. The only food we had to hand over was our remaining fresh produce (the cabbage and garlic) and the whole chickpeas and beans (they could germinate). We are guessing that fresh and frozen meat would also be taken but we didn’t have any. Split peas, dairy products (UHT or dried), dried and tinned food, including meat, oats, flour, rice, etc. were fine to bring in. We were asked for a receipt for the anti-fouling paint, which luckily we had, and for photographic evidence with dates of when we last painted Caramor’s keel (it has to be within a year) and the last time we scrubbed her bottom in Tonga (it has to be within 30 days).
We now have a 6 month visa stamped into our passports and are looking forward to exploring. First though, we will do some cleaning and lots of sleeping.
Caramor motoring across a windless Pacific