Fiu in Adriatic
Sailing North - Cook Strait, Wellington, Gisborne, Great Barrier Island, Auckland
Across Cook Strait, to Wellington, windy city renamed by us rainy city! Here we saw the newly launched Volvo 75 Movistar Telefonica during its pit stop before heading for Cape Horn (they estimated a 9 day journey to do 3000 nmiles. Their maximum speed coming across the Tasman from Australia was 36 knots. We also saw the Russian boat Apostol Andrey as it came back up from it’s circumnavigation of Antartica. And in Wellington (lovely town if not for the rain) we met up with Ivo’s ex-colleague Andreas & his family from his physicist past, and Elaine, a friend who also used to live in Singapore. Elaine kindly drove us around showing us the town sights, amazing historical buildings some of them built in kauri.
After a week in Wellington we headed north, out into Cook Strait and then up the Eastern coast. Cook Strait produces a funnel effect of winds and in order to avoid gale force & contrary winds, there are only short windows of opportunity. But we were lucky and left on a northerly which helped us out of Wellington harbour into the Strait and then the wind veered and we had southwesterlies going up the coast. Fiu luck!
We stopped in Gisborne (first landing of Captain J. Cook), then Tauranga where we met up with Tony from Holly B and his wife and friends. We then headed up to Great Barrier Island which is supposedly one of the best places to sail in NZ. And it is very sheltered as we found out. We stayed there for two nights during torrential rain and gale force winds outside. On our way up to Great Barrier Island we caught a marlin which after a battle of a couple of hours, ended up swimming on the line just of our stern and wondering how to escape while we were looking at him wondering how to bring him onboard! Well eventually he managed to chew the line and did escape to some relief really – what would we have done with 60 kgs of fish??? New Zealand really is a great fishing ground – every time a line or two is sneaked overboard, up comes the catch of the day, whether it’s tuna, kingfish, local ‘salmon’ or dorado.
After sheltering in Great Barrier Island which we didn’t really see much off due to torrential rain, we then headed off for Auckland in the Haurake bay..
A two week stay in Auckland (April 14th to May 2nd ) during which time Ivo went back to Sydney and Susan and Fiu stayed in Westhaven marina. Here in Auckland we met some old friends: Mariusz from Katharsis is moored just across from us, Deep Blue is here too and Sympatica the catamaran we saw in Galapagos and Marquesas. Julian from Alexandra III lives in Auckland and of course came down to visit during our stay. Susan went on a Friday harbour race with Julian and his team mates (of course they won the race on handicap), and nearly fell overboard! We made some new friends: Kathy & Andy who were preparing their yacht for a crossing straight to New Caledonia and then onwards to South Africa. Perhaps we’ll meet them in Darwin later.
Winter is setting in: snow in South Island, freezing temperatures in North Island. Lloyd from Deep Blue lent us a spare heater, otherwise it would have been too cold to stay onboard. Fiona and Susan went for a quick drive up to Kerikeri and Opua, and Whangerei.
Paul joined us in Auckland and we then sailed up to Bay of Islands, trying to stay ahead of winter! We spent a few days here, enjoyed Russel, a lovely little village but otherwise got ready to the 1200nm crossing to Tonga! Went to a talk by yachtie famous meteorologist Bob McDavitt who declared the Cyclone season officially over. As we wanted to leave two days later, we certainly hope he is right.
Next - Tonga - Sailing from New Zealand to Tonga