Town Basin Marina is a log-jam of cruising boats waiting for a weather window to leave NZ. Sharon and Brian at the Marina office are wonderful at being able to squeeze in ‘just one more’, including us. In fact, there’s so many big cats here it’s starting to look like a safari park…
It’s wonderful to be floating again, and to be back within easy reach of town amenities, including our favourite ice-cream parlour at ‘The Fudge Factory’! The dock is abuzz with cruisers finishing last-minute jobs, doing endless provisioning runs to “Pak n’ Save”, loads of laundry, and filling water and fuel tanks. The topics of conversation all along the dock are ‘where are you heading?’, ‘when are you leaving?’ and constant analysis of weather windows (or lack of) and charting options. It’s a fun place to be, and there’s much socializing and camaraderie.
Each season the local Whangarei Marine Services group hosts a welcome and departure party for cruisers. We missed the welcome party as we were so late arriving, but the departure party this week was a big success and a good opportunity for more socializing between yachties and tradies. They put on a great buffet dinner, with entertainment from the local Kapa Haka group to end the evening. Overall, we’ve been very impressed with the local marine service providers here in Whangarei – helpful, friendly and efficient. Australian marine services could learn a thing or two from them!
This week the first weather window cracked open, and the exodus from the marina has begun. With each departure, Sharon races out of the office to blow her airhorn in farewell, and the rest of us wave our goodbyes and wish them fair winds. It’ll be our turn next, as soon as our good mates Geoff Sherman and Scottie Hamilton arrive from Sydney to join us for the passage to Fiji. We’ve also signed up with the Sea Mercy group to assist with delivering aid to some of the outlying islands in Fiji that were so badly devastated by Cyclone Winston. We’re not exactly sure where we’ll be deployed or what we’ll be delivering but I’m sure it will all become clearer once we arrive in Savusavu. We think it’s the least we can do in return for being able to visit these wonderful locations. In the meantime we’ll sit tight and be just a little jealous of our cruising buddies heading north to warmer climes. It’s getting decidedly chilly in Kiwi land!