Life on the horizontal again
27 November 2017 | Opua, NZ
We arrived in Opua at noon yesterday, tying up to the crowded Customs dock, joining the long line of other recently-arrived boats awaiting clearance from NZ Customs and Biosecurity officials. Unaccustomed as we are, to returning someplace we've previously been, we enjoyed the experience of sailing past familiar landmarks (Urupukapuka Island! Paihia! Russell! Opua!), seeing familiar species of seabirds (shearwaters! petrels! prions! gannets! gulls! cormorants!) and arriving at the familiar Customs dock at the marina, where we encountered some of our cruising buddies (Free Spirit! Pilgrim! Enough! Local Talent!).
Kelly, you asked if it feels like coming "home"; yes it does. In Whangarei, we have favorite restaurants, friends we're looking forward to seeing; even a car, Baxter, waiting for us in a field behind the Norsand Boatyard. I awoke this morning to the melodious, flute-like song of a tui, and KNEW it was a tui.
Our passage from Suva to our waypoint just outside the Bay of Islands took us 6 days and 2 hrs, giving SCOOTS an average speed of 7.25 knots for the entire trip. Speaking of SCOOTS, she gave us another safe and fast passage, converting the wind into forward motion and ignoring the waves' obnoxious behavior. The first thing we did after checking into the Bay of Islands Marina was to give her a good soaking with fresh water, washing off six days' accumulation of salt and squid slime.
After we docked, I did my usual goofy, "Look, I can stand on one foot!" flamingo pose, an act that would be injurious if attempted while underway. After almost a week of living on a slant, it feels wonderful to live on the horizontal again: I don't have to prepare before attempting to pull something from the lower portions of the fridge, having Eric hold the top shelf to keep it from guillotining my forearm as I reach deep; I don't have to calculate where to put things that I'm using to prepare a meal, so that they don't fly onto the floor, or where I can stand so that I remain in the galley when SCOOTS rolls with a particularly large wave; I don't have to brace my hands against the door of the head (bathroom) while I'm using the toilet. Such luxurious living, this life on the horizontal. I'll bet you land dwellers don't even think about that, as you live your horizontal lives 24/7!
We'll be using our time in the marina to accomplish the rest of the post-passage cleanup: laundering lots of salty clothes and towels, cleaning all the surfaces that were dampened with salt water that found its way inside during the prodigious and repeated deck washings, reorganizing all the items that shifted (or were tossed, thrown, or tumbled) during the passage; moving all the storage items from the forward cabin back to their usual spot in the aft cabin (where we slept on passage).
About a week from now, we'll make the short trip to Whangarei, where SCOOTS will rest while Eric and I fly to the States for a few weeks over the holidays.
That's it for now, from horizontal Opua.