Well, suffice to say we made it to New Zealand! The last three days were a long hard slog, but we finally tied up to the quarantine dock at Opua at 3am, 9.5 days after leaving Neiafu. The straight-line passage is approximately 1200 NM, but we racked up just over 1400NM after all the tacking and zig-zagging.
After an oh-too-brief sleep we were up to welcome Gary from NZ Customs and Mike from Quarantine, both of whom were very pleasant and made our check-in as smooth as possible. As expected, we had to relinquish any left-over meats, fruit, vegs and eggs, plus our stocks of honey and popcorn, but as we didn’t have many supplies left it wasn’t too big a sacrifice. After checking in we got to say a big hello to our cruising buddies on “Rehua” and “Escape Velocity” who were anchored nearby, and then motored back out the channel with them to anchor off Russell, a quaint and pretty village.
It was a delight to be walking on land again, seeing all the beautiful greenery and flowering plants of North Island. And even more delightful to find a real supermarket with an array of wonders that we haven’t seen for months. It was hard to restrain ourselves from buying out the whole shop, but I tell you I can’t wait to do our first big shop at the supermarket!
We had a delicious lunch on the waterfront, followed by more celebrations on board “Rehua” that evening, followed by the best sleep I’ve had in ages!
A few more days resting up in Russell would have been great, but with the clock counting down to our flights to Australia at the end of the week, we needed to get to Whangarei where we had a marina berth booked for the month. So we reluctantly raised the anchor on Sunday evening, heading off for just one more overnight sail – hopefully the last for a while. Late Monday we arrived in Whangarei after a frustrating sail with wind on the nose (again!) and a growing list of boat jobs. But those will have to wait until we get back from Australia. For now we’re just so excited about seeing our family and friends over Christmas and New Year. There’s likely to be a bit of a break from blogging for a while, so in the meantime we want to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year and we’ll back online sometime in 2016. Merry Christmas everyone!