We arrived back in Opua New Zealand Nov 9 after a tough 9 day passage from Fiji. This was our third passage between the Tropics and New Zealand, each one being quite different. On this run, we had a weather window leaving Fiji that would get us to NZ before the next low pressure system ( they roll accross NZ every 5-7 days this time of year). We started out as planned and we were travelling in the vicinity of four other boats that left the same time as us. The trick was to get as much easting as possible, so we were hard to the wind the whole trip. Not the most comfortable point of sail, but the wind generator loved it! Here is a video clip before we got the strong winds.
About three days in, a large tropical low developed north of us, just south of Tonga. This came out of nowhere, certainly not picked up by any of the forecasters. We were in a much better position than boats that left a day or two behind us. As it was we had strong SE winds, 36 hours of winds 30+ knots. The strongest gust we saw was 47 knots. The boat handled it well, but we had some wave damage to our dodger. Water would then find it’s way through the hatch seals. We used every towel on the boat drying the ceiling and floor. Not fun, but we were much luckier than others. One boat was lost and the crew rescued by a freighter in the center of the storm. The sailboat Adventure Bound turned back and responded to the Mayday call and stood by the stricken vessel for 48 hours until the freighter arrived. They put themselves at risk and suffered some damage in the process. When they arrived in Opua this week, all the cruisers here gave them a standing ovation as they pulled into the customs dock. Various business and cruisers donated gifts to help them on arrival. Liliane donated a massage to the two on board. Much appreciated!
When the weather calmed down
It felt great to arrive at a dock. But the work just begins. First step was to do a mega laundry and dry out the boat.
We have our dock space until Jan 19, that will allow us time to complete our boat project list and enjoy Xmas and New Years. Our good friends Ted and Karen have lent us their second car for us to use while we are here. We have joined yoga once a week and have rented a hall for us to train karate twice a week. Busy busy.