|Landfall New Zealand ! Not in the tropics anymore ... (Doug Munn photo)|
Well, it is over a week since we emailed to say that we were safe and sound in NZ. To make landfall, we diverted to Opua, which was 60 nm closer than Whangarei. Opua is a sheltered little bay with a marina and Customs in-clearance, but not much of a town; it was a bit anticlimactic to see how calm it was there on Friday afternoon when we arrived (surely we could have carried on to Whangarei??) but when Max ran into some folks who arrived later that evening, they were pretty shell-shocked from the windy conditions, and we were glad to have done what we did. The Customs/Immigration/Quarantine process was really efficient, and even though we didn't have time to "prepare" the boat (read: tidy up after our passage), they were very understanding, and took a minimum of items away in their black bag (mostly cured meats that we had had aboard for treats on passage - very little that we can't replace here in NZ).
|Official NZ Welcoming Dolphins. (Doug Munn photo)|
|Our friends in SV Sequoia. Small ocean ... they left two hours ahead of us 850 nm prior and our CPA when they came back on AIS was 550 ft. (Doug Munn photo)|
|All the girls (SV Lumaz and Nirvana girls) over to Fluenta to watch "The Sound of Music". All the boys are over to Exodus for a boy movie.|
|Exodus comes to the same dock as in Opua ! Time for Lego ... (Doug Munn photo)|
|Benjamin's First Birthday Party. Cake decorated by Victoria. (Doug Munn photo)|
|Benjamin's First Birthday Party. Cake decorated by Victoria.|
I spent most of the day with Benjamin asleep in my arms (nice, but not especially productive), then we had two rounds of company come by the boat - Chris from Whanake (our friends from Niue) came by in the late afternoon, and Michael from Patanjali (last seen in Mexico before his Pacific crossing in 2013) stopped in in the early evening. The result was that we all had dinner together aboard Fluenta - complete with Benjamin making up for lost time chowing down on bowls of pasta :) [On the menu: fresh albacore cooked on a hot pan in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, served with pasta and stir-fried fresh veggies, tossed salad, and fresh bread - it was so nice to have been to a grocery store that weekend]. I really love the way cruisers socialize without the advanced planning that we are used to in other places.
|Internet and coffee from a coffee shop !|
|Approaching Cape Brett|
|Capt Doug at the helm.|
|We were not the only ones to visit Opua. (Doug Munn photo)|
|Whangamumu (love the NZ names !) Anchorage. Not a bad place to be stuck although I did not see much of it while being sick. (Doug Munn photo)|
|Not in the tropics anymore photo#2|
|Whangarei Bridge shaped like a Maori hook (Doug Munn photo)|
|The view from the foredeck of Fluenta. Our friends Breeze ahead of us in front of the Christmas tree.|
|The view aft of Fluenta.|
|We do not need to put up a Christmas Tree here as the town has already done it for us. This is where all the local bands play to give me music while I work on the boat.|
|Saturday morning rush hour. We are at the end of the navigable portion of the river so not a lot of boat traffic.|
Well, I think that pretty much catches us up. This will be the last of my sailmail "dits" until we gear up to go back to the tropics in a few months.
We are working pretty much flat-out at the moment to get ourselves and the boat ready for our trip to Canada in about a week (Victoria is continuing to count down the days for us - marking off a block on her chart is the first thing she does each morning), but we are well and enjoying the transition to terra firma.
Love to everyone,
At 06/12/2014 10:20 AM UTC SV Fluenta was at 35°43.45'S 174°19.56'E