11/08/2008, Opua, New Zealand
We are here!! Gone to party, more later.
We have been busy since arriving in New Zealand with such things as renting a car, obtaining a cell phone, exploring and the numerous party's. To recap the trip down. We left Tonga November 2, 2008 and arrived Opua November 9, 2008. We spent 2 nights anchored at Minerva Reef. That put our total travel time at 5 days and 12.5 hours. Total miles were 1058 although we traveled more because of strategic zigs and zags to avoid low pressure systems and other weather events.
The days leading up to departure day were full of weather analysis. Trying to get from Tonga to NZ at this time of year is like crossing a six lane hi-way on your knees. Weather systems develop fast and so trying to plan a smooth trip is not easy. In the end I think some luck is key to a good trip. However if we could influence the outcome we did. For example when we left Minerva Reef we choose to motor south at a good clip to avoid a low. Of the three boats that left that day, the two of us that motored missed the low and the third boat had 40 knot winds and did not arrive here until yesterday, a full 3 days after us.
Many boats will make the passage down to 35 degrees south this season and most will arrive here in Opua. It is a special thing to share the excitement of the crews as they arrive, some having been below praying with no sails up while the wind raged outside over 50 knots and others, like ourselves who never saw more than 35 knots and had a pleasant passage.
11/03/2008, Minerva Reef
We are anchored 265 miles southwest of Tonga inside of Minerva Reef. There is no land, just an almost perfect circle of reef 2-3 miles in diameter with one opening to the ocean. The reef is submerged at high tide and partially dries at low tide. Last night we had 35 knots of wind and it was nice and smooth in here. The depth varies from 30 to 100 feet. We left Tonga Sunday at 11am and arrived Monday (yesterday) evening at 7:30pm for a total time of 32.5 hours. The last two hours were tense trying to race both an oncoming storm and darkness into port. The wind is forecast to go slack so we will wait here for it to return before pushing on to New Zealand. Our friends on Malachi and Upps should be arriving within the next hour. Unfortunately they were not in here for the storm last night but all is well on both boats. Orca III is leaving Tonga this morning so only 2 days behind.
Nous sommes ancres 265 miles au sud-ouest de Tonga a l'interieur du Recif Minerva. Il n'y a pas de terre juste un cercle de recifs de 2-3 miles de diametre et une seule entree sur l'ocean. Le recif est submerge a maree haute et partiellement sec a maree basse. La nuit derniere, nous avons eu 35 noeuds de vent et c'etait tres tranquille a l'interieur. La profondeur varie de 10 a 35 metres. Nous sommes partis de Tonga a 11h du matin Dimanche et nous sommes arrives Lundi (Hier) soir a 19h30 avec un total de 32.5 heures. Les dernieres deux heures ont ete assez intenses, nous essayions d'arriver avant la nuit et la tempete annoncee a la meteo, nous sommes entres juste a temps!!!! Le vent va ralentir et nous attendrons donc a Minerva son retour avant la derniere ligne pour Opua (Nouvelle Zelande). Nos amis Malachi et Uups devrait arriver dans une heure ou deux. Malheureusement, ils ont du passer la nuit dehors dans la tempete mais apres un contact radio ce matin, tout va bien. Orca III part de Tonga ce matin, ils seront donc 2 jours derriere nous.
10/29/2008, Nuku'Alofa (Tongatapu- Tonga)
Happy Birthday Mom!!!!!
Bon Anniversaire Maman!!!! Je voudrais tellement etre avec toi aujourd'hui, alors je t'envoie de gros bisous et toute ma tendresse... Vous me manquez beaucoup beaucoup!!!
Une photo avec mes copines, Marg que tu connais de Malachi et Dionne de Orca IIII, des super canadiennes!!!
10/22/2008, Neiafu (Tonga)
We celebrated Alec's birthday in Neiafu. Five other kids boats were present and they had a lot of fun. The afternoon was followed by a sleep over on O'Vive. It was our last day in Neiafu , we decided to finally depart for the south islands, the Hapai then TongaTapu, our last stop before the big hop to New Zealand...
Nous avons fetes les 13 ans d'Alec a Neiafu. Cinq autres bateaux etaient presents, ils se sont bien amuses et tout cela s'est termine par un "sleep over" party sur O'Vive. C'etait notre dernier jour a Neiafu, nous avons finalement decide de partir pour les iles Hapai (plus au sud) puis Tongatapu ou nous attendrons la bonne meteo pour le dernier saut ..... New Zealand.....
10/12/2008, Neiafu (Tonga)
After an afternoon of dinghy sailing in anchorage #8 (Nuku island), we decided to do a "peanut" crossing, we mean a serious crossing of 6 miles from anchorage #8 to Neiafu in a Davisson sailing dinghy of Orca III that we renamed "peanut". Peanut can only hold three of us comfortably so Jocelyn, Maya and Alec skippered the first leg of the trip and got "the easy downwind part" say Kyle, Emilie and Jenny who had to tack multiple times into the entrance of the harbor.
It was a real crossing with a major brake, luckily at the end of the voyage, the aluminum mast broke, nearly hitting Emilie ....but all in all it was so much fun! It took us 2 hours and we almost kept up with the big boats (Malachi, Orca III, and even speedy O'Vive) who were following along. We had up to 20 knots and went almost 4.5 knots at one point. The coordinate of the transfer point was 18' 40 355S (we are in the southern hemisphere); 174 02 003W (West).
Kyle says: "It took Orca III for ever to pass us, I felt very proud!"
Alec says: "It was intense at time, when it gusted to 25 knots!"
Emilie says: "It was so much fun to sail on our own!"
Maya says: "We were spreading like peanut butter with a peanut!"
Jocelyn says: "It was fun and faster than I thought it would be!"
Jenny says: "We were so excited to pack our lunch that we ate it as soon as we got in the dinghy, good so it didn't get wet!"
Check out more pictures in the pictures gallery (on the right) under Tonga