Three weeks in

Right. I’ve set myself the job of writing something this morning. It’s been over three weeks since we made landfall in NZ. Time to knuckle down and organise some thoughts on paper. Well ipad, you know what I mean.

We are at anchor off Orokawa in the Bay of Islands, near Opua. It’s been blowing a hooley on and off for over two days now. Gusts of close to 50 knots. The vhf radio pipes up occasionally, “Sea area Brett, gale warning”. We are eight miles in a straight line from the lighthouse at Cape Brett.

It’s driving me nuts. I’m not good being stuck on the boat. Our present location is a good place for protection from the prevailing winds, the holding is excellent meaning the anchor is solid, keeping our movable home safe. Cruising is not always a carefree existence. Shelter drives our lives when at anchor. Getting on and off the boat at will is not always possible. Grace needs looking after and humans are required.

Currently the sun has peaked through, following torrential rain an hour ago. The weather is unstable. Locals tell us its particularly crappy. The sun and stable weather will definitely turn up around Christmas, allegedly. The cockpit tent provides an extra room on Grace when it’s wet and windy. It’s very welcome providing more space. 

Before this latest weather system hit, we squeezed in a few fine days buddying up with the crew from Seneto, Bill and Kate. The Bay of Islands are spectacular, the passing sun showing them at their best. A few of the small islands are wildlife reserves. The sound of the birds living there undisturbed by killer vermin and domestic cats, is vibrant, melodic and smile inducing. We chatted about how lovely it was to hear such a noisy cacophony. The question arose, is there a difference between a bird watcher, a birder or a twitcher?

The marina laid on a festival for overseas yachtie’s so we went to the talks giving out free food.😀 We learnt about fishing kit for snapper, the latest in electronic safety devices and raced in the round the bay race. We met quite a few local racers in the club afterwards where beers and tall tales were shared. 

A kind lady, Dawn, who also has a Hans Christian 43, took me to the nearest large supermarket to stock up and we bought a new outboard as the one we bought from a Frenchman on a beach in the Bahamas died. We can’t run it at full pelt yet as it needs running in. Looking forward to whizzing soon. 

Drawing breath – NZ

It only rained 6 inches a few nights ago. Welcome to NZ. Our passage from Fiji was a mix of mostly light winds, some squall avoidance and no breakages. The latter makes us happy. Our arrival and brush with the authorities was friendly, professional and straightforward.

The first few days here were filled with celebrating our arrival, trips to town to catch up with other folks we know through boat life, some cruising around the Bay of Islands and a few walks.

Here’s the first batch of random snaps. The sun has come out since then and we’ve been racing. It’s lots of fun here in Opua.

More words and photos to follow.