Auckland Bayswater Marina
36°49 S 174°46 E
We landed in Auckland, took the Skybus to the ferry and were soon back on Onora with a new appreciation for breathing. As usual, the projects that were promised to be done while we were gone were backed up, this time by the Christmas break. We will leave anyway and have our main halyard, deck cars and life raft couriered as we travel south.
The haunting opening of Hemmingway’s Snows of Kilimanjaro
tells of a frozen leopard carcass found at 19,710 feet. “No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.”
Bayswater has a female leopard seal which poked her head up to measure us like a shopper at a meat counter while we were putting our bikes together. It’s natural habitat is the Antarctic ice pack where, except for the rare orca, she sits at the top of the food chain. It dines on penguins, other seals and the rare scuba diving scientist. The last one we had seen was at Palmer Station strached out on an ice flow snapping at our lines.
The Bayswater fishermen have noticed that fish are scarce. None has a clue as to what she is doing at this latitude.
January 18, 2017
Sailing Gisborne to Napier
39°02 S 178°00 E
We left Auckland four days ago and sailed to Gisborne. A weather update this morning made us decide to leave right away to get in front of the big winds due tomorrow so we did and will arrive in Napier late this evening. It is hot on land but pleasent here and we will be in and secure when the winds build tomorrow.
The reacher and poled out jib are moving us along at 7 knots in 13 knots of wind. It is sunny and flat seas-perfect for sailing. I just set the fishing pole up and before I had finished rigging the quick release I had caught a kingfish.
January 22, 2017
39°29 S 176°53 E
We are securely tied up in the howling wind at the Napier Sailing Club wondering when we will get out of here. We have a plane to catch in Wellington in ten days and thirty hour sail to get there with no place to stop in between. Shelly, the manager here, says there are several boats waiting to make the same dash south. The weather has been very unsettled with storm following storm all blowing against us.
Yesterday was the annual wine fest for six vineyards. We boarded a quiet bus at 10:30am in town and by 11:00 were enjoying the music and country scenery. After each hour we boarded the bus for the next vineyard and each time the volume increased until it was full mayhem including one mooning passanger.
February 9, 2017
41°17 S 174°47 E
We had a refreshing two day visit with Chicago friends, Clark and Jean Fetridge, who landed in Napier on their grand tour of New Zealand. This got us off the boat and away from projects. When they left we returned to the company of sailors for whom the weather is the only serious topic. All agreed that this is unusual with so much wind blowing up from of the south where we must go. I resumed consulting my ‘Predict Wind’ program twice each day when updated wind models arrived.
A strange ‘double high’ pressure zone appeared on Friday and we left at nine AM in light winds with the promise of an easy overnight run to Wellington. The prediction was wrong and the winds peaked at thirty-six knots in the darkness but came down by dawn and, when we turned into the Cook Straight, found it bathed in sun and quiet.
Wellington is rebuilding after the November earthquake. Scaffolding and empty buildings appear alongside healthy ones. We love Wellington but it holds the crown as the windiest city in the world, is built on hills and is prone to earthquakes. It is not a good place for a city.
On February Second we flew through Sydney and Adelaide to Port Lincoln for Miles Stephens wedding to Petra. This was a long trip but having the chance to see old friends made it a special opportunity. In route, Brian and Eva Oldfield from 'Zofhia' landed in Adelaide from Perth and we went to lunch on the beach before rebounding for Port Lincoln. They remain two of the most entertaining sailors we have met. Brian was nursing bronchitis but that did not slow him down.
After landing we stopped by Miles’ home in the getting ready for the wedding mess to meet Petra and a beaming Miles.
The next four days zipped past marred only by rain arriving with the wedding at Miles’ home.
We reconnected with Ann and Kym Clarke who invited us for a barbeque at their house which included Wayne and another of their friends whose wives were out of town. Trump became part of the conversation of course. Most but not all of the Aussies are scared of him and this was the day he hung up on the Prime Minister, but those who think there are too many regulations are witholding judgement. Kym, a contractor, told of taking his crew and giving up a job when the Health and Saftey Inspector insisted that Kym wear long sleves and pants when on the job site. "I only wear long pants to weddings."
We returned to Wellington on the seventh to discover that the life raft had not arrived. After a dozen calls back to Safety at Sea, who had serviced it back in Auckland, we were told it would be delivered yesterday. It did not arrive and this weather is rare so when it arrives it will be returned to Safety at Sea and we will figure out where we can have it reshipped. I hope it has not been lost.
- [ Part III ] -