Going West To Go East
26 May 2008 | at anchor in Urquart's Bay, New Zealand
We are getting ready to head off for Australia. We left Town Basin Marina around noon today, and stopped by the fuel dock to hand over our fortunes. Steen paid the bill with what looked like a pile of Monopoly money, (from the sale of the van). Diesel is currently $1.72/liter NZD ($6.50 NZD a gallon, or $5.10 USD). That's the duty-free rate. Gasoline (Petrol) is worse at $2.00/liter ($6.00/gallon USD). Luckily, we had our great van tour of the North and South Islands before this spike in oil prices. More about our great time here in NZ in a later posting.
We are once again bringing up the rear of the cruising fleet and one of the few boats going straight to Australia. Most of the fleet has already gone from New Zealand, with most headed to New Caledonia or Fiji before they go west to Australia. We're essentially going west to go east, as our objective is to visit family in the US. We can't keep the boat in New Zealand for more than six months total without paying an exorbitant Importation Fee, (20% of the boat value). That's a lot of money, regardless of the fact that you can get the money back under some circumstances upon departing. Long story... so we're sailing to Australia where you can leave the boat for twelve months without importing it, sometimes longer.
Since many of our friends have already sailed on to other destinations, we have already said quite a few goodbyes. Today, we said some more; to our friends aboard Moet, Filos, Valkyrien, and Provider, to name a few, and to the teachers and kids at Malou's kindergarten. I think we've said it before, but it's a little like moving house, as the Kiwi's say it, except that the house is moving too.
I'm not making any sense. It's my Mom's birthday, so I'm missing her. Well, we should hit the hay early tonight, Monday, to get ready for tomorrow. It's nice being at anchor again; fairly peaceful and quiet, but tonight with an occasional moaning of the wind coming down over the hills surrounding the bay. After the boat sitting stock still in the marina for so long, it's good to have a night at anchor; the gentle rocking of the boat will hopefully ease us back into the sea's rhythm before we tackle the open ocean swells tomorrow. In the morning we will cross to the other side of the river/bay and check out with Customs, then it's only about six nautical miles 'til we round Bream Head, into the Pacific.
The boat's ready. We're ready. More tomorrow. We're remote posting via SSB, so hopefully we can transmit over these bluffs.