Thursday, November 26, 2015

I don't taste like bacon, therefore I am

Sunset from our anchorage in Opua
It's Day 3 of our passage from Fiji to New Zealand and we have run out of the quiche we made before we left. We eye each other hungrily. Matt says, "Don't worry, if you tasted like bacon and cheese, I'd have eaten you a long time ago." Comforting.

Dock rats
Compared to what others have experienced, our passage to New Zealand went relatively well. The trip took seven and a half days, and only required about half a day of motoring. We went through 3 different rather abrupt fronts, which made this the most technically challenging sail we have experienced in a while. Although the resulting confused waves and wind on the nose were uncomfortable, we got to sail more than we thought we would based on the forecast when we left. Our sail repair held and nothing major broke. One of our reefing lines chafed through, requiring a mid-trip repair, and we found out as we went to drop anchor that a good portion of chain had worked its way out of the drain hole in the anchor locker and was banging itself against the outside of the boat.
Kids' fishing competition.

On night watch during the passage I was treated to a front row seat for some spectacular red and green meteors (the Leonid Meteor showers were going on) for as long as I could stand to stay outside. As we crept closer to New Zealand, the water and air got cooler and cooler. We pulled into the quarantine dock at around 8:30 p.m. in a cold rain just as the last light of the day was fading away.
The trail from Opua to Paihia

The Bay of Islands is scenic and friendly. We made it in time for the last hurrah of the sailing rally and we are seeing a lot of the same boats we met in Panama and French Polynesia. As our friend Darya says, it's a low-budget production with the same cast of characters. We are enjoying being back in civilization but still adjusting to the relative cold compared to Fiji. We are seeing 60 degrees Fahrenheit some mornings. Seeing as it is snowing back in Chicago, we try not to complain too much.

We've been busy since we've arrived.  We've had to do some major shopping because we showed up with almost no food due to NZ quarantine restrictions.  Thanksgiving and Mark's birthday are coming up. We also have a long list of boat projects to tackle while we're here and new ones always have a way of popping up. As we moved our boat the other day, the transmission in the starboard engine started to make a horrible noise. It turns out that our 2-1/2 year old ZF Hurth tranny is on its last legs. Oh well, if we were going to have a breakdown, this is a better place for it than anywhere we've been in the last several years since Opua has pretty much every boat service you would need.  Hopefully we'll sort out all the projects and have plenty of time to explore this beautiful country both by boat and by land. 
Matt has been honing his mechanical skills

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