Tasman Sea last day
A dirty night lies ahead. Our destination, Nelson, lies at western side of the top of the South Island, just below the notorious Cook Straight, a narrow passage through mountains which joins the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The forecast is for twenty-five knot winds to come at us from the Pacific. If it gets too bad we will hove too and wait for a weather chance but so far it is just uncomfortable as we pound into the dark sea. Every fifth wave slams, knocking our boat speed from six back to five knots. We will not sleep well tonight but tell each other it will be so nice when we are safely tied up tomorrow night.
30 miles to go
We must be just ahead of the strongest winds. After peaking at 21 knots last night the head winds dropped steadily to 18 then 14 and 10. As the seas came down and our speed picked back up to seven knots.
We are now running down Tasman Bay toward Nelson at the bottom. This is a huge basin with a big sky rinmmed by the Tasman Mountains rising to the south and west and the Bryant Range to the east. Above the mountains hangs the long white cloud for which the Mori named this place Aotearoa. It smells like land.
Dock A6, Nelson New Zealand 41'15S 173'17E
Customs has cleared us in and our food out. Remote New Zealand has never had rabies, hoof and mouth disease and fears genetically modified crops. It is the toughest place to clear into. For the past two days we have been listening to the radio broadcasting the discovery of three Australian fruit flies on a farm near Auckland several hundred miles to the north. When the agricultural officer boarded I asked-the count is now four. He was extra diligent.
We are too tired to go out. We will see what is left to cook for dinner and then climb into a welcomed bed.
March 14, 2015
Chicago and New York
Last October The Crusing Club of America had told us we would receive their žFar HorizonsÓ award to be presented at their annual meeting at the New York Yacht Club on March 6th and that we were expected to accept in person.
We do not keep a blue blazer and black dress on Onora so our flight plan called for a closet stop in Chicago before New York.
We left New Zealand on March 3rd and landed thirty hours later to find dirty snow and ice on our hometown lake. After two nights we continued to New York for the three dinners including the Thursday commitee dinner for awardees, the award presentation on Friday and the meeting of our Great Lakes Chapter members on Saturday.
We were at the gate, bags checked, when the gate crew announced that our flight was cancelled. The departure monitors which had showed everything Žon timeŪ now showed multiple flights to LaGuardia 'cancelled' and the same popping up for JFK and Newark.
After already traveling nine thousand miles we were not going to stop with just 850 to go. Eighteen hours later, after attempting to reconnect in Charlotte and Baltimore, we arrived at Penn Station in New York on Amtrak and walked the rest of the way to the New York Yacht Club to arrive at 3:00am.
There is nothing casual about the NYYC and we had no clothes other than our corduroy jeans and casual shirts. Inappropriately dressed Jim attended a 7:30am meeting but this committee were all sailors so that was not a problem. Jean boarded the train to Garden City for lunch with her brother and sisters and nieces who promised to escort her to Lord and Taylor to replenish the wardrobe.
After his meeting Jim made an emergency trip to LaGuardia where, behind the baggage section in a storage room, he found the missing bags and called Jeannie in time to cancel the shopping trip.
It is nice to be recognized. We never considered what we were doing as extraordinary but, after twenty years of blue water cruising the miles have piled up. We have been lucky to be able to pursue our dreams and, as we age and the going gets harder, to be satisfied with what we have accomplished instead of regretting what might have been.