Ntombi

22 February 2013 | Opua
23 January 2013 | Opua
01 January 2013 | Boatyard, Opua
22 November 2012 | New Zealand
27 October 2012 | Tongatapu
28 September 2012 | Tahiti
09 September 2012 | Apataki
01 September 2012 | Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas
26 August 2012 | Hiva Oa
14 July 2012 | Pedro de Gonzalez, Las Perlas
03 July 2012 | Panama
29 June 2012 | Panama
20 June 2012 | Curacao Spaanse waters
20 June 2012 | We left Bonaire at 24h00 in order to arrive at Curacao during daybreak. The sail was very bumpy due to the direction of the waves in the strong wind. We did not sail with the main, but only the headsail with the pole. The wind was mostly from the stern
17 June 2012 | Kralendijk, Bonaire
04 June 2012 | Trinidad
23 May 2012 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
20 May 2012 | Storebay, Tobago
15 May 2012 | Scarborough Tobago
30 April 2012 | Fortaleza, Brazil

Opua

22 November 2012 | New Zealand
Nuku'alofa, Tongatapu island, Tonga to Opua, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Total miles: 1052
Average speed: 4.0
Max: 122 Nm on day 9
Min: 64 Nm on day 3
Time: 11 days 1 hour
Motor: 111.1 hours 41.8% of this journey

The South Pacific has an interesting weather pattern. You get high and low pressure systems following each other and the low's bring very strong wind with very high gusts. The high pressure system brings low winds with about 3 days of calms. There is normally a low pressure system crossing the path from Tonga to New Zealand every 5 to 7 days. Everybody therefore warned us that we can expect to encounter one "storm" on this passage. Our experience of the low coming through whilst at Tongatapu (74 knot gust) caused everybody to be a bit nervous about the trip to New Zealand.

We therefore studied the weather maps very carefully and waited for the "correct" window to start sailing to New Zealand. We saw 2 high systems following each other, without any lows (storms). This is actually the perfect window for this trip, except that you can expect to motor quite a bit. We left Tongatapu island along with 9 other yachts. On the first night there was quite a few yachts around us and it was interesting to see how they moved during the night. Some sailed on a more westerly course to stop at Minerva Reef whilst others went ahead with the advantage of size, speed, etc.

We were three boats of similar size and speed that stayed together for most of the voyage . Daniel, from Angeline, got the weather prediction daily from his Dad in New Zealand. He would then contact us and Privateer with the update. Sometimes we could not hear Angeline, and at other times we were unable to hear Privateer. We were however able to get the weather update from either of them. It was the first time during the 14000 mile journey that we were able to stay in a group sailing together.

We sailed in light winds for the first 4 days before we started motoring to get out of the calms. We sailed through patches of coral drifting on the water, looking like islands. There were very big coral (like a baseball) between the smaller pieces.

We sailed with full sails in the light wind and Ntombi was making good miles. It was such a delight with low seas that we were convinced she is the best boat on the voyage. The bigger boats fell behind due to their weight constraint. Whilst motoring on one of the calm days, we heard a strange noise from the prop-shaft and it was growing loader. I was unsure what caused the noise and I decided that it would be advisable to double check the cutlass bearing. We therefore took the sails down, stopped the engine and waited for Ntombi to get to a standstill in the middle of the ocean. Luckily the waves were almost non existent and I took my snorkel gear and dived down to inspect the cutlass bearing. Francina was almost hysterical when I went into the water. The cutlass bearing was still fine and there was no need for her to worry about me.

On Monday, 19 November the barometric pressure was 1016 and rising. On Tuesday 20 November the barometric pressure started falling whilst it was overcast and we sailed through patches of rain. We realized that there is a low pressure system coming through and we can expect stronger winds. On Wednesday it was raining and the wind became stronger with very strong gusts. We reefed down and were still sailing over 5 knots. The wind however changed to a South Easterly and we were unable to sail directly to Kerikeri in New Zealand. We were either sailing to the east or to the west, but not making any way towards our destination. The connector of the one glider broke, as well as the stack pack fastener. Francina's sewing of the stack pack fastener on the voyage to Tonga was not very well, because it was the same one that came loose. At 17h00 we decided to heave to and wait for the wind to change or ease to 10 - 15 knots. We were able to get some sleep before we started motorsailing at 23h00 to arrive in Opua at 9h45 on Thursday, 22 November 2012, still raining.

The breakwater is the Q-dock where you have to moor for the clearing in process to be completed. The breakwater is not connected to land at all and there is a toilet for the boats without holding tanks. When we approached the Q-dock we saw Angeline was already moored and Daniel helped us with our mooring lines. Biosecurity was already waiting for us to get on board to complete the documents and relief us from any seeds (beans, popcorn, etc) and fresh produce, which is not welcome in New Zealand. Next in line was customs, which also represents immigration. Lastly, the representative from Security came on board to find out if we are carrying any drugs. He explained the process and told us that the last step in the clearing in process is the sniffer dog. They however never brought the dog on board. When we were cleared, we moved to a walk on mooring in the marina.

We had to visit the marina office for the formalities there and discovered that we needed insurance in order to be in the marina. We therefore had to go to The Marina Shop to take out insurance on Ntombi. We also had to visit the customs office to complete the process of importing Ntombi into New Zealand. Our passports were stamped and we are therefore in time for our Permanent Residency visa to be effective. Only a few years to get citizenship.....

It is ironic that we started this very long journey in March on Francina's birthday and we completed it on my late Dad's birthday.

Two main islands comprise New Zealand: North Island with 44 200 square miles and South Island, with 58 200 square miles. Both islands are long and narrow and 1100 miles separates the northern and southern extremities. No point is farther than 68 miles from the sea. The country is predominantly mountainous. As huge and permanent as the mountains seem, New Zealand has changed its shape many times, for it is a region where the earth's crust has long been changing. This is particularly true of the volcanic and thermal area. The remarkable thermal activity is most spectacular at Rotorua, where geysers spout and mud pools bubble and plop like boiling porridge.

The hot shower and 'no movement' on Ntombi allowed us to sleep right through the night. We did not even woke up once, which is a first in 8 months! The next week or two will be spent working on Ntombi, seeking employment, sourcing a car and sorting out a few administrative challenges for SA, like SARS returns, etc. Luckily Bill from "The Marina Shop" has kindly offered his car for us to use to go to Pahia, Kerikeri and/or Whangarei. We also met a few South Africans in the marina and the towns close by, ready with advise.
Comments
Vessel Name: Ntombi
Vessel Make/Model: van der Stadt, 2001
Crew: Johan and Francina Botha
About:
Johan is a qualified Diesel Mechanic who worked the last few years as a Technical trainer. He specialised in MTU, Detroit, DAF, etc engines. Francina is a full time Literature Evangelist. [...]
Extra:
Sailing in Mauritius in 2003 changed our perception of sail boats. The focus therefore shifted from motor boats to sail boats. We bought a Holiday 23 after completing our Yacht Hand and Day Skipper licence with Ocean Sailing Academy in Durban in 2006. We sailed her on the Vaaldam and the dream [...]
Ntombi's Photos - Main
Photos taken on walks in the morning, and the surroundings after we went back into the water (whale rock damages). Waiting for the weather window to sail to attempt to sail to Auckland again.
12 Photos
Created 5 May 2013
Pictures taken of the keel being fit back on after it got loose when we hit whale rock
10 Photos
Created 5 May 2013
Pictures taken during our visit at Petrus and Alicia in Greymouth in January 2013
25 Photos
Created 9 February 2013
Pictures of New Zealand and the people we met
30 Photos
Created 20 December 2012
Photo's taken from the time we left Tongatapu until we arrived in New Zealand
20 Photos
Created 6 December 2012
Sail from Tahiti to Tongatapu island, part of Tonga
75 Photos
Created 5 November 2012
Sail from Hiva Oa, Marquesas to Apataki in Tuamotu
64 Photos
Created 9 October 2012
Photo's taken whilst sailing from Apataki to Tahiti, as well as photo's taken during our stay in Tahiti
99 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
Sail from Las Perlas to Hiva Oa
44 Photos
Created 20 September 2012
Sail from Balboa yacht club, Panama City to Las Perlas
76 Photos
Created 20 September 2012
More photo's of the canal transit and the stay at Balboa yacht club
71 Photos
Created 10 July 2012
Stay in Colon and Balboa as well as the transit through the canal
124 Photos
Created 3 July 2012
Trip from Curacao to Shelter Bay marina in Panama
39 Photos
Created 1 July 2012
Trip from Kralendijk Bonaire to Spaanse Waters Curacao
37 Photos
Created 1 July 2012
Trip from Trinidad to Kralendijk, Bonaire
39 Photos
Created 18 June 2012
84 Photos
Created 11 June 2012
Short visit to Storebay in Tobago with nice snorkeling reefs and white beaches
24 Photos
Created 11 June 2012
Trip from Fortaleza to Tobago. Visit in Scarborough, the capital of Tobago
57 Photos
Created 31 May 2012
Photo's from the trip between Ascension island and Fortaleza, Brazil
15 Photos
Created 31 May 2012
Photo's of the trip from Ascension island to Fernande de Noronha, Brazil
33 Photos
Created 27 May 2012
12 Photos
Created 15 April 2012
Voyage from Cape Town in South Africa to Saint Helena Island in the Atlantic Ocean
25 Photos
Created 15 April 2012
Photos from the day we took ownership to the day Ntombi was transported from Vaaldam to Richardsbay to sail in the Indian Ocean
1 Photo | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 28 December 2011
Photos of Ntombi when we took ownership
6 Photos
Created 28 December 2011

Sail with Jesus

Who: Johan and Francina Botha
We were very fortunate to be sailing in Cape Town Harbour at the start of the Volvo harbour race. Even more fortunate to meet Laura Dekker, the youngest sailor to do a circumnavigation.