It's ANZAC Day!
25 April 2011 | Slip F27, Opua Marina, New Zealand
It's ANZAC Day today. April 25th is a national day of remembrance in New Zealand and Australia, amongst other countries around the world. It's the day the Australian New Zealand Army Corps fought at Gallipoli, in Turkey, during World War I. Along with the Easter holiday weekend, all is pretty quiet here. It's also raining today. Blah! It's been raining a bit more lately and the temperatures have been dropping. Winter is coming in the southern hemisphere. Speaking of weather, the new weather station is great. What a segue, eh? I installed it on the back deck with a wireless display center at the nav station. It shows current data and trends barometric pressure, temperature highs and lows, wind speed/direction and so much more. It is an amazing source of weather data on board. [TRL: We don't really know what to do with so much data, but we have it. And that's the important thing, right? It also gives Gary one more way to entertain himself (by staring at it for hours on end), so I'm no really complaining.] Living on the sea is so much safer when you know what weather is coming. Especially when we are sailing. We get far better information via the SSB radio, from cruiser nets, weather faxes, and published forecasts. The problem with those is they aren't customized to our location (how rude). The weather station is helping us figure out what is happening right around the boat and after watching it for the last few weeks, we're getting better at short term forecasting. [TRL: Never fear, we're not giving up the professional opinions.]
There is a rally leaving for Tonga next week. Lots of boats are returning to Opua as this is a good jumping off point to get back to the tropics. We're all getting ready to go now. We were going to join the rally, as we are kind of heading that way and we know most of them from our time here in New Zealand, but their schedule and speed is different from ours. We do not do very well with schedules and when we get back up into the tropics, it will get even worse, so we decided we'll just bump into them along the way instead. But I guess the point is: boats are starting to leave now. The way things are going, we should be heading that way, or ready to go as soon as we get a good weather window in mid May. We're going to make one more trip to Auckland to pick up our new Givens life raft and also our EPIRB. EPIRBs need a new battery every few years and we had it replaced by an authorized company in Auckland.
It is a 1200 nautical mile passage to Fiji from here, so it's a little longer than some. It will probably take around 10 days to make the passage.
A friend I met here in New Zealand is a boat rigger, so we are going to tune the rig this week (adjust the tension on the standing rigging), then Tara and I will drive to Auckland for the pick-ups, grab some last minute stuff and then we will be pretty much ready to leave the marina. Yahoo! Probably by May 1. We want to cruise around the Bay of Islands area here for a week or two in order to make sure all systems are good before hopping off. I have done so much, to so many systems on board, that I want to give everything a good shake out before the big hop. It's far easier to fix a problem here than dealing with it up in "Fiji time". It's slow and painful in the islands. No materials or parts either. Here we can buy anything and there are great services available. English is spoken here, and via Fed Ex, anything can be brought in. The next good working stop will not be for a while.
We are up in the air where we are going to go for the next storm season. We were planning on heading up to Thailand via Indonesia, but now we are wondering about cruising down the east or west coast of Australia for the next season. Who knows? That's about 6 months away, so it's way off in the distance. It will come clearer when we are a little closer where we want to head. I'm getting pretty excited about sailing again. Night skies filled with so many stars. The waves and the wind [TRL: and autopilot, creaking wood, etc] are the only sounds. Just sailing. I can't wait! [TRL: me either]