Shortly after I wrote the last update I was treated to the most beautiful display of rainbows across the western sky. Despite there being only ocean and sky out here, it is truly amazing how the combination can change just enough to make an impression.
The last 24 hours have been a fast and wet ride. We've been averaging about 8.5 knots (speed over ground- that's with almost a knot of current against us!) Paikea Mist actually managed to stay completely dry for the first full day and a half. I remember watching the first wavelet grace her deck, a hint of more to come, as wind and waves turned more to the east. Water is now regularly washing over her decks and sometimes finding its way into the cockpit. Water in the cockpit is always a big yuck, especially if you manage to get drenched by it as Michael did on his midnight shift. He changed into shorts, it's getting warm here folks!
The conditions are lively, with 2-3 meter "swells" every 4-7 seconds. That's right folks, there's nothing too swell about that! All said though, Paikea Mist is riding them very well, and we kept our course due north all day with winds 20-30 knots on the beam. We plan to head back to Vanuatu later today as the winds come round.
Our spirits are high, we've passed the half way mark (467 nm) as of midnight last night AND we are celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary today.
Love, Gloria and Michael
Miles to Vanuatu: 427 SOG:8.9 (true wind speed 26 knots from 88T) Sail plan: third reef, genoa in and out depending on wind strength.
05/03/2012, New Zealand
Does anyone know a massage therapist who does boat visits on the high seas? In the last 24 hours, Paikea Mist and her crew flew along in winds anywhere from 12-22 with one sustained gust of 28 T. Although she's in her groove her crew is still finding sleep when we can and working on our serious sea legs again.
The day was overcast, but with lots of seabirds to enjoy, including one albatross who stayed with us for miles. They are such a large bird, yet very difficult to capture on film, as they zoom by the boat with incredible speed and agility, while the boat has it's own movement to deal with.
We were a pretty busy crew yesterday with sail changes, starting out with the Code Zero and finishing the day with the main double reefed and the genoa furled in.
We've pulled down the recent gribs which show the low developing south west of us. This will bring more northerly winds to us eventually, so we have steered a course due north (wasn't that where we were trying to head last year Martin?) to put some 'in the bank' as the saying goes. The idea is that once the wind turns more north we can turn west on it to head directly to Vanuatu. For the moment our barometer is steady at 1025.
Skies are clear today, and I started my 4 am shift with a shooting star. But no massage therapist in sight! therapist in sight!
miles made good: 175...
05/02/2012, New Zealand
We've had a great sunny start to our passage flying our Code Zero sail, we nickname 'Bluebird'. The sail has a giant bird on it, and no fewer than 4 also giant albatrosses circled Paikea Mist to check out Bluebird in our daylight exit from Opua! The day flew by, with the sun setting at 5:40 pm. We ate a early dinner of gourmet meat pies(from the Opua Cafe) and fresh spinach and mandarin salad and watched the sun sink over the horizon. Feels wonderful to be at sea! Conditions have been fabulous, with wind from 12-18 knots - we are also eating up the miles, almost 90 in the first 12 hours. This is a great ride, considering we are finding a current against us of almost a knot. We've slowed down a bit in the wee hours, but that allows us a nice sleep anyways! We've been more or less following the rhumbline, having to make some adjustments for winds that are not always from the same direction. The wind is slowing coming more from the east, and is presently 11 knots from 119 deg. I expect day break may see us changing our sail plan - but we will try to ride Bluebird for as long as we can. Indoor cabin temperature is about 16 deg Celcius, I'm wearing two layers of lightweight merino, a fleece and my fowlie jacket outside where there is a definite nip in the air. Stay tuned for the next 793 miles!
05/01/2012, New Zealand
The time has come for us to depart New Zealand. We have loved it here, and have many great memories of the two season we sailed, hiked, camped and kayaked to some amazing places.
This morning we are leaving for our next adventure in Vanuatu. We will be sailing to a small island in the southeast corner where we will be checking in - Aneityum on Anatom Island (S20 14.291, E169 46.603). The distance is about 930 nm, and the winds and seas look favourable (20 - 25 knots of wind for aft of the beam, with 2.5 to 3.5 meter seas).
It is a beautiful sunny morning here, but quite cool - we are looking forward to getting back into the warmer climates!
Love to you all, Michael and Gloria
Check out our new photos in the photo gallery taken from hikes as we circumnavigated New Zealand's North Island this past season.
05/01/2012, last day in Opua
New Zealand- what a country! Over the past year and a half, Michael and I have been lucky enough to have spent almost 8 months of our time on the road here, sort of speak! Last year exploring by car we focused on all the major tourist spots that New Zealand is famous for and had a blast. This year we circumnavigated North Island and spent almost 2 months exploring the North end of South Island. In case any of you are wondering, the sailing version won hands down.
Thank you New Zealand! We have experienced nothing but kindness and genuine interest during our stay here. A very special thanks to the people we have encountered along our travels for sharing a little part of their country with us.
We admire you Kiwis, living your lives out in this country; you sure have heaps to be proud of as a country and a people. You might think I'm talking World Cup here, but that is surface material only. Pin your hat on the things that matter- a country where people take the time to meet and greet strangers, a country that is (almost insanely at times) environmentally focused, and where a young child can name the bird she hears in the bush because she still spends time outdoors. May you always harbour such a warm human spirit. Look after these islands, they are a gem worth cherishing. But of course you know that better than anyone.
Here are some random things I love about New Zealand, I guess my own person list of why I find New Zealand "good as gold"!
- Kiwi speak: Kiwis have their own brand use of the English language which makes for a bit of confusion when you first arrive. Their vocabulary is loaded with expression that I don't think you'll hear in too many other places, unless they slip from the mouth of a displaced New Zealander. There are too many to account for on this page, but here's two that are heard often. Good as Gold- a way of saying things are completed and looking really great. Sweet As- just perfectly good, can't get better! Kiwi word substitutions are great: togs-swimsuit, tracks- trails, tramping- hiking, bush-forest, slips- land slides, jandals- sandals judderbugs- speed bumps!
-apples, crispy juicy fresh off the tree New Zealand apples YUM!
-Shirley's plum sauce
-bird song- there is nothing like a dawn chorus here in New Zealand, especially if at anchor.
-Fantails flitting through the forest, especially if backlit by sun shining through their translucent tail
-tramping and DOC. New Zealand has the best hiking and walking paths anywhere! I'm not just talking about the famed 'Great Walks", the whole country is a host of trails, all with good signage where ever you go. Thanks to their Department of Conservation (DOC) for maintaining them.
-the light at dawn and dusk- simply some of the deepest colours anywhere- exquisite.
-barefeet- often 'worn' by adults as well as kids even on city streets, not dependent on weather. As in no sandals (known as jandals here).
- Air that is warm when the sun shines and cool when the wind blows
-icecream- oh soooo good
-wine- fantastic selection bought a grocery stores at sale prices- there is always a good bottle of wonderful NZ wine on sale at any given time!
-beautiful green pastures in the countryside, grazed by multitudes of sheep and cattle.
-and the very best part: the people!
Thanks New Zealand!