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A family travels from Florida to New Zealand aboard their St Francis 50 catamaran
Warm welcome from Opua Yacht club
11/15/2008, Opua (New Zealand)

This week has been a busy one to say the least....Everyday was filled with an entertainment organized by the Opua Yacht Club. It Felt so good to reunite with all the cruisers that made the crossing and to meet the people from Opua, John and his wife from Windflower live on a boat right here in Opua and they (and of course a lot of other people from here, I can't remember all the names) organized a really fun week for the "All point rally to Opua", it is just so nice of them, we got to eat very good (barbecue, pizzas, seafood from the bay....) and went to an amazing show retracing the New Zealand history with traditional Maori songs and dances...We saw that the Maori facial expressions are surprising and very different than in the other part of the pacific, they were used to impress the newcomers and gauge their courage . The women dance also with some "pompons" at the end of a string that they swing around with expertise....the tip of their fingers vibrate when they dance (comparing to the fluid slow movement of the hands of the other islands traditional dancing.)
The New Zealanders are proud of their dual heritage (Maori and Europeen) and although their history did not go without confrontations, they did work out their differences to create one unique nation...they seem to be really genuine people very concern of their environment, close to nature, loving the outdoor (how can you not when you roam through such beautiful landscape!!!!).
We already visited quiet a lot around Opua, Paihia (a small touristic town on the bay), Kerikeri ( where we go food shopping, has a great market and plenty of wonderful vegetarian gourmet café for lunch, a delight!), Russell (a historic village with stunning surrounding)... We also took a long ride to the north tip of the island (Cap Regina) where the Tasman sea encounters the Pacific Ocean, the 90 miles beach (where you can drive on 4X4), and the sand dunes (the kid's favorite spot, they could actually surf on them!)...
Nous n'avons pas arêtes de la semaine.....Chaque jour, une activite organisee par le yacht club d'Opua a permis de reunir tous les bateaux de la traverse 2008 ainsi de faire connaissance avec les cruisers locaux. John et sa femme de Windflower (et beaucoup d'autres dont je ne me souviens pas le nom, desole) ont organizes une semaine fantastique pleine de repas au club (barbecue, pizzas, fruits de mer) et une soiree inoubliable de chant et de danses Maori relatant l'histoire de la Nouvelle Zelande. Les expressions facials Maori sont tsurprenantes et tres differentes des habitants des autres iles du Pacifique que nous avons visites, ells etaient utilisees pour impressioner les nouveaux arrivants et jauger leur courage. Les femmes dancent avec des pompons au bout de ficelle qu'elles bougent de facon expert dans l'espace, leurs mains sont agitees de vibration (ou tremblements) qui sont aussi tres different du movement lent et fluide des mains des tahitiennes.
Les New-Zelandais sont tres fiers de leur dual heritage Maori-Europeens et bien que leur histoire ne soit pas sans confrontation, ils sont arrives a regler leur differences et creer une nation tres originale. Ils semblent tres vrais, pres de la nature, aiment les sports, randonnees, camping, voile et sont tres concernes par la protection de leur environement (comment ne pas vouloir proteger ces splendides paysages!).
Nous avons déjà explores pas mal les alentours d'Opua: Paihia (une petit village touristique du bord de mer), KeriKeri( ou nous allons nous approvisionner, un tres joli marche et de tres bons petits restos vegetariens), Russel (un village historique ou nous avons decouvert une balade geniale).... Nous sommes alles jusqu'au cap Regina au nord de l'ile ou la mer de Tasmanie et L'ocean pacifique se rencontrent, de tres beaux paysages, une plage de 90 miles ou les 4x4 peuvent rouler, et les dunes de sable (les enfants ont pu surfer sur les dunes, super!)....

Arrived in New Zealand
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.

11/09/2008 | Vincent DYE
Enfin ! la fameurse NZ de vos reves ! quelle aventure ! les kangourous après les Kiwis ?

bises à tous . Vincent DYE
11/09/2008 | Vincent DYE
Enfin ! la fameurse NZ de vos reves ! quelle aventure ! les kangourous après les Kiwis ?

bises à tous . Vincent DYE
11/10/2008 | Vincent DYE
Happy Birthday Captain David !
This time i do not forget and i can express you our wishes ; Happy Bithday and Enjoy your great Time !
Vincent + Ivana
11/11/2008 | Nancy & Joe
Happy Birthday Wishes to Dave & Alec too (now you are13 & 1 month old!). Enjoy your newest vacation adventure in Kiwi country! We miss you, Love, N,J & W
11/15/2008 | Philippe
It's good to know that you have well arrived in NZ.
Congratulations to you all and big kisses from ALFONSI's family !!
11/22/2008 | Pat Reischmann
Got your message Dave, the CD was great, confirms my thoughts about the St. Francis as a good cruising design
12/03/2008 | Sara & Pam
Congratulations! What a wonderful journey!xoxo
Anchored in the middle of the ocean
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.

08/11/2013 | Eric Chapman
Queen (for a day) of the Republic of Minerva! Cool pic!
Bon Anniversaire Maman!!!!!
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!!!

02/05/2009 | gil de cholgas
Avec du retard bon Anniversaire
Cholgas va partir de NZ pour les Gambiers 14 02 2009 donnez moi de vos nouvelles
Alec 's Birthday
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.....

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