Tuesday 28th April 2015
We bade farewell to Anne & Mike on Sunday morning for their trip home to Athenree, having enjoyed a lovely few days in their company out in the bay. It was excellent timing on their part, for later in the day a rather unpleasant weather system reached the north of NZ and it was time to batten down the hatches as the wind howled and the rain poured as we rode it out tethered to our 4-ton block. It was a very uncomfortable night which gave way to an even wetter and windier Monday. There was no point in attempting to put the dinghy in the water, so we did inside jobs until early in the afternoon when all of a sudden the wind dropped and the clouds parted revealing bright blue sky and peace was restored.
So now begins the task of making the boat ready to leave New Zealand. Today has been one of much activity as I began re-stowing everything in its rightful place and made a trip to the launderette. We sorted out the camping stuff in the back of the car and brought some of it, plus the cruising chute, back to the boat. The rest will stay in the car when it goes to Anne & Mike, its new owners, for use or sale. Steve has been on a couple of runs to the petrol station with the diesel jerry cans, and the tank and jerries are now full. He then made a couple of runs ashore to fill up water jerries borrowed from Rod and bring them back to fill up the water tanks. We will need to recommission the watermaker over the next few days to check it’s working ok and to keep the tanks topped up.
Whilst in town Steve also ordered some foreign currency for the islands we plan to visit this season – Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. We’ll collect it tomorrow on our way to get some groceries. In most countries there are ATM’s to get local currency, but it’s useful to have some when you arrive to pay clearance fees. Clearing in can be a very time-consuming activity at the best of times, without having to interrupt it to find a bank to get money.
And then we will wait and watch the weather forecasts until we find a suitable ‘window’ to set off on our passage up to Fiji, probably via Minerva Reef. Readers of our blog may well remember this reef, mentioned on our way south as a possible stopover. We did not stop there then, whether we do on the trip north will again depend on the weather. The passage is around 1100 nautical miles, and should take about 8-9 days. The average ‘window’ of favourable weather is 5 days, hence the possible need to sit out a front in Minerva Reef. On the way down we were lucky to get an 8-day window of favourable weather and didn’t need to stop. Fingers crossed!