Time to Head South

This time of year planning departure south to New Zealand is the topic of conversation amongst all us cruisers here. We look at the weather models every day, waiting for that all important “weather window”. Two important things we look for 1: making sure there is no developing system above us that could clobber us on the way down (early tropical storm or cyclone), and 2: making sure we don’t arrive in New Zealand as a front passes over the North Island (which seems to be every 5-7 days).

PWC_rnd_mm_48_18_178.771_-17.685_.3.2015.11.20.03And the weather models are just that, computer generated projections. Which become less reliable the further you look forward. With the passage from Fiji to New Zealand taking approximately 8 days for us, you see why we look at all this closely.

This will be our fifth trip down (ninth passage between NZ and the tropics), and no matter how much planning you do, you just deal with what you get once you set sail. We can of course get weather updates along the way through Pactor modem.

All things considered we are looking at departing tomorrow (Friday Nov 20). That should put us in Opua NZ around Saturday or Sunday (28th or 29th).

A quick update about what we have been up to since our last post. We arrived in Savusavu from Tonga on Oct 2. Music seems to be our focus the last while. Liliane has been busy writing songs (some great ones!) and learning to play the Blues. I have started learning to play guitar. Now we are fighting over her guitar!

We also had hoped to do some diving at Namena, but the weather wasn’t suitable for the long dinghy ride out to the reef. So it was snorkelling near the boat, and of course music. Upon leaving, while pulling up the anchor, we found our chain wrapped around a steel grappling hook (what the fishermen use as anchors). The chain was wrapped every way imaginable around the three prongs and the shank. We could only bring it within two feet of the bow without damaging the boat. And there was still 75 ft of chain hanging in the water (Namena is a deep anchorage). So I get in the dinghy to try and get some of the chain unwound, and the swell is making this a dangerous plan. At one point one of the hooks slice the dinghy (luckily not my head), so there went that idea. We were finally able to get the snubber hook on the chain below the wrapped mess to take the load off. I still had to cut one of the hooks off with a cutoff wheel. We finally freed the chain, after about two hours. Don’t have a picture of all this, we were to busy swearing. And I end up with a sore back, which I further aggravated a week later trying to land a large wahoo (that managed to get away). So to recap all this, a ripped dinghy, a sore back and a lost fish. Such is the cruising life.

Anyway, it’s getting really hot here. Looking forward to the New Zealand climate and seeing our friends.

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