November 14, 2016
Whangarei Town Basin
Jeannie and I landed in Auckland on November 3rd and Rent-a-Dented the two hours north to find, after six months, Onora quietly waiting at the dock. We had a good dinner at the adjacent Quay Restaurant which replaced the shuttered Riva. The next morning was spent refilling the batteries with water, bending on sails, washing down the decks, reassembling the binnacle and the dozen other jobs to get Onora ready to motor down the inlet to be haul-out for new blue anti-fouling bottom paint at Whangarei Marine.
We were awakened last night by what sounded like a car alarm that would blare stop and resume. I got up to make sure that our rental was not the offender but the sound was coming from the opposite direction with an up high flashing blue light and a faint smell of smoke. It seemed like it had already been noticed-how could it not? We closed our ports, put in ear plugs and fell back to sleep.
This morning we received several concerned texts from back home asking if we were all right. We were puzzled until the radio news reported that the South Island had been hit with a 7.8 earthquake and the alarm had been a tsunami warning.
November 22, 2016
Anchored at Robinson Island
35'14 S 174'10 E
These are busy days. Getting jobs crossed off the list always feels good but new ones creep on which are minor setbacks. After all of these years this is normal and they just have to be dealt with. We had the jobs done by the fifteenth, our 47th anniversary and celebrated by a return to Quay.
On the 16th we left to anchor out at Limestone Island for two nights, waiting for the strong northerly winds to swing south. The good wind arrived on Friday morning.
November 27, 2016
35'37 S 174'32 E
It is howling twenty-five knots but our new riding sail is working and we are resting after a fast 35 mile trip from Urupukapuka Island in the Bay of Islands. We left this morning knowing that it might be a while before we return to the Bay. I had mixed feelings of leaving familiar land and friends but it is time to explore new experiences.
We arrived in the Bay of Islands a week ago and, after a pleasant evening in Ore Bay, we rounded the peninsula to find Kelly and Jos in Waipiro Bay; we joined them for dinner on Mistral.
We reconnected on Thanksgiving Thursday for lunch at their home on the Kerikeri inlet which Kelly has been rebuilding since we said goodbye seven months ago. It has grown in size by a third with a large open kitchen, living, dining room that extends by sliding doors onto the deck overlooking the inlet and Mistral bobbing at anchor below.
That evening was the annual Thanksgiving for cruisers at the Opua Cursing Club where a $25 ticket and a shared desert purchased a turkey dinner and the chance to meet the latest arrivals from the South Pacific. We always feel like party crashers as most of the participants are excited about reconnecting after last seeing each other in Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti or Panama. We sat with Patrick, a Dutchman, and Edith who had arrived from exploring Vanuatu and a San Francisco family with two young sons named Noah and Horatio.
Friday was the annual dinner for the UK based Ocean Cursing Club at the home of local Port Captains Tony and Nina. Half of the guests sailed here years ago and stayed. Most are from the UK or Australia where it is easy to emigrate from.
A US transplant, David Berg, who does yacht projects and deliveries, knew Carl on Tamor from our first circumnavigation. I had always wondered what happened to Carl and if he settled down to run his bar and grill in York, Pennsylvania. He was heading back there non-stop when we last saw him on St. Helena Island twenty years ago. Not so, said David. Carl's partner had become fed up of running it alone and sold it, keeping all of the money. David thought Carl was now in Thailand.
November 28, 2016
Bradshaw Cove Great, Barrier Island
36'10 S 176'19 W
We arrived three hours ago after a lively six-hour fifty-five mile reach that started in sun, went to cloud and finished with sun again while the wind and seas rose and we shortened sails. One wave drenched Jeannie's pants and another got mine.
This is a well protected steep-walled anchorage which is calm while twenty-five knots of wind is blowing over the top of us. Two 'fiz' boats, 'Nugget' and '007, came in for shelter after us to drink beer and clean fish.
'007' left and has just returned. The crew, in wet suits, is warming up with shots. Jeannie says I should go ask them if they want to trade a warm shower on Onora for a crayfish. I don't think I will ask.
- [ Part IV ] -