In New Zealand 35.18S 174.07E
Alan Franklin/Lynne Gane
Thu 29 Oct 2015 07:50
Jenny is now safely berthed at Opua, Bay of Islands marina. Another bumpy but quick journey curtesy I feel of “El Nino” with weather windows available for the trip quite brief as opposed to previous years when the norm was for accurate predictions - 7 days of knowing what to expect - this year only 4 days knowing and then pot luck after, despite advice from the weather experts. Nearing North cape NZ our expected south westerlies became southerlies and gave us an extra day on the passage short tacking into headwinds and big seas - not the welcome we wanted! Still a passage of 2 hrs short of 8 days was good, averaging well over 150 miles a day.
I’ve had time to see only a little of the North Island - but its just lovely. Little England in some ways maybe, but also quite different. The people are very friendly and helpful - so much so we may well support the All Blacks in the Rugby World cup final - the local sailing club opening at 04.45 sunday morning just to catch it live.
We had a quick trip already - We’ve seen the kaure (pronounced cody) forest parks with trees some 2000 years old measuring over 5 meters in diameter, the tree of legend in Maori tales - they are very protected now as 98% of the Kaure forests have gone,
In Kerikeri we saw the oldest stone building in NZ - its a store for tourists of course, but its setting is glorious - right next to a beautiful river, and waterfall - there’s no end of waterfalls here it seems!
Even at this stage there appears to be so much to see and do I can’t imagine how long it will take before we will have had our fill of NZ which was always our end year target. Where we are - the bay of islands is literally just that - 144 islands and pristine scenery - such a wonderful sail cruising ground.
Weather hasn’t been too great since we got here - England in May would sum it up so fleeces always handy - its thundering and raining now as I write.
I still have Nat and Chris - my crew for the Tonga-NZ passage, and they probably won’t leave the boat until our lift-out in Whangarei (pronounced Fongaray - nothing sounds as it looks round here!). We will visit just a few of the 70 anchorages listed on the way down to Whangarei, hopefully arriving there on 6th November where I can prepare the boat, ready for lift-out on the 9th November.
The boat is still in good shape with minor problems not forgetting the Onan generator, which failed 2 days out with its usual problem, sea water pump failing - but an easy if uncomfortable fix in the bowels of the boat! Somewhat less appreciated is the wind generator failing - only 18 months old. and one of our newish rigging wires has a problem too - probably caused by the bumpy passages we’ve seem to have had over the year. Its not a major wire however we’ll take it easy down to Whangarei and have arranged the fixing for when we are here sometime next year.
Seems strange to talk about next year - the time flies by, sometimes.
Looking forward to my return on 12th November and catching up with everyone.
Some pics on the way