A fast sail home

Tue 27 Oct 2015 22:49

A fast sail home


After getting the thumbs up from our weather router we headed south out of Suva on Monday 19 October.  We had a range of weather conditions back to NZ some good and some not so good – but overall a fast trip.  We can’t really complain given how difficult the weather has been in the tropics this year. 


Luckily Navara carries a decent load of fuel – so we happily motored through calm conditions…..




Luckily Navara is also a quick boat – so here we are happily speeding towards NZ at 9.5k …….




It was clearly time to leave as supplies were getting very low.  We are at the position on the chart at the very tip of the dividers – with nearly no Earl Grey and Carl with only 1 razor left.  We had already run out of English Breakfast, Gin and cheese L




About 3 days out – mainly at night – it became clear that we certainly were not in the tropics anymore – here I am – snuck downstairs for a bit in the middle of the night warming up while listening to the radio for a bitJ




After the cold front went through (they always come in the wee small hours of the morning) we had fine weather behind it for the last run into NZ – we knew we were getting close when in an otherwise cloud free sky – a long white cloud is clearly visible on the horizon ahead of us J




After a fabulous day’s sailing on our last day out from NZ  - just before dark the wind dropped all together and was forecast to remain that way – so we took down the sails – tied everything down good and strong – took off the main halyard – expecting just to motor directly to the Bay of Islands.  A couple of hours later – the sea starting getting jiggly and then wham – bam – 25k on the nose waves crashing over the bow!!  Ggggrrrrrrrr….


So close and yet so far ……….. 


Since it wasn’t forecast at all, we decided this probably wouldn’t last that long so tacked towards land, pulled out the heady and set off for the shelter of the Northland coast about 50 miles away.  We eventually got to the entrance of the Bay of Islands only to be greeted with a huge amount of shipping traffic.  Our fancy pants new AIS (automatic identification system) identified 4 tankers / cargo vessels inside a 10 minute period – 2 of them predicted to pass within 1 nm at current speed and course.  Clearly someone had to move and working on the “might is right” theory – we spent the next few hours sailing nice and slow on heady only or weaving our way around to stay well away.  It’s amazing – we had just sailed over 1,000nm and not seen another vessel – and here they all are and predicted to pass very close - (tired and frustrated sigh).


So, long story short – just when we thought we had it done and dusted we had only an hour or so’s sleep here and there on the last night and arrived in Opua at 6.00am on Tuesday morning.  When we were gliding past Russell towards Opua on calm, mirror-like water just before dawn we both commented that we could smell something.  We can usually smell land after an offshore passage – but this was different.  We sniffed away and decided it was a sweet, nectar-like smell – it was as if we were in a room of flowers.  The odd Tui was chattering away and we wondered whether it was all an effect of sleep deprivation.  Next day it turned out the hills were covered with flowering Manuka and the fragrance was drifting down onto the water in the pre-dawn chill.  Just lovely - (happy sigh).


So – after virtually no sleep at all on our final night we had a couple of rum and cokes and a big feed of bacon and eggs and fell into a deep , deep sleep -  only to be awaked 2 hours later by Customs officials banging on the hull.  We managed to remember our names, produced the required paperwork and they had the most in detail search of our boat that we have had anywhere.  Apparently after the fruit fly scares they are going to be paying more attention to off-shore yachts from now on – which is fine by us – they got a job to do that benefits all of NZ.  The only disappointment was that they didn’t bring their new sniffer dog with them – he’s called “Snoop” and for anyone that is familiar with the lyrics of American rapper “Snoop Dog” – someone in customs has quite a sense of humour J  Apparently he comes on board wearing little pink booties and is very, very cute – maybe next time.


So a fast sail home – 7 ¾ days – can’t complain about that!  For now – we are getting our “land legs” back – the boat is still pitching whenever we lie down or stand still – but that will pass soon.  Looks like we’ll sail down to Tutukaka Monday so we’ll sign off the blog for this season.


Looking forward to seeing you all soon.


Navara clear.