January 11, 2019
Tasman Sea,Day Four, 42’ 20 S 163’ 01 E
After a fine sunny day our good wind shifted and slowly left us by the late afternoon. When our boat speed dropped under four knots we reluctantly furled the sails and turned on the Yanmar engine which continues to push us forward, pitching and rolling in the leftover seas. I will need to belt into the coffin tonight.
Sun, Jan 12, 2019
Tasman Sea,Day Five,41’ 21 S 166’ 45 W
The wind is gone. I am keeping an eye on the barometer as we motor across a high. I hope we reach land in two days before the pressure drops and the new low arrives bringing a gale and rough seas. If this trip were longer we would sail further south where the wind is and ride the gale but, if the forecast is right, we can just beat it by paying the price of more motoring. The swells that herald the approaching change are just starting to roll us, and, after a peaceful star filled night, the wisps of mare’s tales are just appearing.
I have just called in our daily position report to the ham radio "Comedy Net". This Australian based group of radio enthusiasts tune to 7087 LSB each morning at 7:30 AST to track boats. We are the only one on the high seas so we get first priority. Maritime ham radio is dying. Most boats today rely on satellite tackers and Iridium text messages with the advantage of constant contact instead of our once-a-day, if conditions allow it. I am confident in our abilities and HF radio has worked for us since I learned my Morse code and passed my test before we left Maine twenty-seven years ago. I have long forgotten the code but still have my ham radio call sign-N9TAW.
Our one technology upgrade is AIS, a collision avoidance system that uses short-range radio. If a receiving vessel has a satellite uplink it will transmit our position to the internet Ship Tracker website (see it at the top of our website). I don’t think this has happened since we passed a cruise ship on the first night so the Comedy Net is our link to the rest of the world.
The clocks have been rolled forward two hours to NZDT and we have just picked up the news for the first time on New Zealand National Radio am. Not much has changed - no wall and no budget.
January 13, 2019
Tasman Sea,Day Six, 40’ 38 S 170’ 41' E
Happy to be sailing at eight knots, gliding on flat seas, a relief after motoring for so long. Under power we burn a liter a mile so our power range is about 2000 miles, more than this trip. However, we don’t like it. We sailors are addicted to the music of water passing along the hull and the freedom of wind power without the mechanical drone.
The trip meter just dropped under 200 miles to go which is Jeannie’s que to do a little dance. We should be in phone coverage by this time tomorrow morning and be checked-in by noon.
Yesterday, Jeannie made an apple cake to use up the forbidden fruit to which we topped off with ice cream for last night’s dessert. Andy just got up and declared he had been dreaming of apple cake; took a picture to preserve the memory; and carved a slice for breakfast.
January 14, 2019
Picton, 41’17 S 174’00 E
Nelson was a port of entry the last time we made this trip. To choke off hull borne pest infiltration, New Zealand has just limited pleasure craft to four clearing ports so we had to sail past Nelson for another twelve hours and the customs and immigration officers had to drive the two hours from Nelson to meet us. They viewed our recent invoice for painting the bottom and decided we did not have to haul out for inspection. Freighters and cruise ships are exempt from this.
An hour before we landed Jeannie got to work on our traditional last-chance omelet that included all of the eggs, vegetables, sausage and some of the cheese we had left. We planned to dine while waiting for the customs team to arrive from Nelson but were surprised to find them waiting on the arrival dock. Niki, the agricultural protector, was annoyed when she saw what was cooked up but told us to go ahead and eat. It was terrific.
After our rewarding hot showers and naps we stepped onto shore at five-thirty pm and walked to the large open porch of the waterfront Oxley Hotel for a cold beer, our first drink in a week, and a shore meal.