We Made It!!!
22 November 2012
It was a weird and difficult final 24 hours encountering dense fog, no wind, too much wind, lots of traffic and tonnes of rain (and "NO FISH!! Charlie says :( ). We started off using the engine again with Wondertime off on their own without us. Then we were given the heads up that there was lots of wind ahead so we reefed early and sure enough we were doing 6.5kts with triple reefed everything. Lots of shipping with ESL operators ("You go starboard now....Yes?!). Doug and I were changing out shifts in the cockpit regularly as you couldn't leave the position for too long. In no time we were in the down home stretch to Opua, just when our electronic charts failed. Not to worry as we purchased one paper chart for the area. It didn't cover the entire entrance to Opua but hopefully far enough...great! A little nerve racking but we did it. Turns out it was the easiest passage into a harbour ever. Many people were chatting at how bad the conditions were but once you have experienced Oregon/Washington coast - this was pretty good.
We pulled into a beautiful marina with one of the nicest Q docks (quarantine berths) ever that made a sleepy arrival too easy. With no way ashore this is an excellent way to keep you put. While we waited for Customs, Immigration, & Biosecurity, the Marina gal made her way to each boat delivering a hand made woven handbag with paperwork, info, candy AND RUM to each boat. We like NZ already!!! Clearance was a breeze and the drug dog India was a hit with the kids. No hits on our boat so we were cleared to enter. We received a berth and within no time our friend caught our lines then joined us at the local cafe for coffee and laughs. The Kindergarten fleet was back together again. These people had amazing stories of their harried sail here during the cyclone 10 days sooner versus our no-wind sail adventure. They all faired amazingly well but would never want to duplicate those conditions again.
While Liz took me to town to grocery shop, Doug went car shopping! Yes - we have been here 1 hour and he is already looking for wheels. He found a 2004 Toyota Avenis station wagon for $6K and they will give us $4k back when we leave in 4 months...so we bought it. How can you not? While he waited for the paperwork to be completed, Doug and the dealer were talking sailboats. Would you believe this guy used to own a Hans Christian too?! It was a 43 ft Traditional just like ours. This guy boat his boat in Florida, but he only owned it for a couple of months. It was going to be the boat he would sail around the world in but Hurricane Frances came and wrecked his boat. "It had a Spanish name,...I can't remember..," he said. Doug said, "I know the name of the boat. It was Free Alfin." "Yah!! That's it! That was my boat!" he exclaimed with a surprised look on his face. "That is my boat now," Doug said. We are 10,000 miles from home and can you believe the guy we are buying a car from, one hour after arriving in NZ, is the same guy who owned our boat when it was wrecked eight years ago! Not just a story as we compared the names on the bill of sale for the car and it's the same name on the bill of sale for our boat. As we sit here and write this blog, we still can't believe it's true. And to think he could have bought it from the insurance company for $5K. We are certainly glad he didn't!! This just couldn't be true and yet it is - we are still in shock :)