NOT OUR LAST LONG DISTANCE PASSAGE AFTER ALL!
17 March 2015 | Opunga Cove, NZ
Photo above is of sv Hemisphere which is the largest sailing catamaran in the world. It's 142 feet long and just under 500 tons displacement.
We have now been in New Zealand for about four months having arrived in early November. At first we spent a great deal of time primping up the boat for sale. Always Saturday was listed with a broker starting November 1 and for two months afterwards we worked continuously on improving the boat doing painting, varnishing, re-rigging the standing rigging, and general maintenance.
We were very excited with the prospect of returning home to a land life. As many of you know, Nancy always has been eager to return home. But after last year's long passage from Fiji my attitudes shifted as well and I have been eager (but pensive) to proceed with a sale and move ashore.
We worked very hard and the boat started to look really very clean. We gave away a lot of extraneous equipment, some stuff we will even miss. We sold what we could and we threw out a lot. Our boat is now much less cluttered but still quite full as we are live boards.
It's now four months since the boat was put up for sale, we have had not one prospective purchaser come even to look at the boat. The boating market in Opua is extremely slow and it seems quite unlikely that we will be able to find a buyer at any reasonable price. If we were ready to give the boat away at $.50 on the dollar then perhaps we would find an available buyer.
Meanwhile, at home, our tenants seem to be happy to pay their exorbitant rent and the houses is being well maintained. It seems the silent hand of fate is guiding us on and whether we like it or not we are now preparing to stay on the boat another year and travel to Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and finally to Thailand. This represents a lot of open water including a two thousand mile passage but once we get to Indonesia the cruising should become spectacular.
So the boat is pretty much ready to go except for buying new spare parts. All the systems seem to be working well... at least today! And we are both have had attitude adjustments!
We have signed up as participants in a rally of sailboats that are going to sail to Indonesia and cruise through the islands eventually bringing us to Singapore in November of this year. Paperwork for Indonesia Immigration and Customs is extremely detailed and time-consuming. The rally provides us the paperwork necessary to travel through Indonesia without restriction. There is a great deal of corruption in Indonesia and every official seems to have his hand out.
Many boats leave from Darwin, Australia and join the Indonesian rally in late July. We will sail directly from Vanuatu through the Torres Straits and start our Indonesian trip just to the west of Papua New Guinea. Indonesia is replete with some of the world's best diving opportunities; drop dead beautiful water and lush forests.
Nancy is getting excited to film Komodo Dragons and we want to see orangutans in a national forest where they are rehabilitated and put back into the wild. We also are looking forward to catching up with some old sailing friends who are now in Australia and will be joining the same rally at the same place that we join.
As some of you have asked us what we do for fun? Well yesterday for example we left our mooring in Opua and traveled to Upunga Cove where we will be more protected from cyclone Pam which is approaching. This class V cyclone destroyed Vanuatu last week and is about to strike a glancing blow off the East Coast of northern New Zealand.
So for fun, while it was raining and blowing like hell, we put down a second anchor and got ready for the festivities. Later in the day, the winds picked up to 30 to 40 kts and by midnight we experienced close to 50 kts with higher gusts. We had little fetch so no waves. All was well no boats hit each other and the sun is now out and life is good again.
New Zealand has wonderful albeit expensive Internet coverage so we are sitting on anchor with our telephone modem easily communicating with all of our family and friends.
Since we are going to be in a photographer's paradise we are redoubling our efforts to take more pictures. We are relearning Lightroom and Photoshop. Nancy also hopes to post more pictures on our blog.
Because I'm such a lousy typist I'm now trying to use Dragon Dictate and hopefully that will work well enough to save some time in generating blogs as well.
Next topic will be garbage management under underway! How to clean the bottom in less than three days! Provisioning with foods that won't be confiscated at the next port of arrival. And finally the progression of our holiday alcoholic beverage sloughs.
Our love to everyone.
From the Crew of Always Saturday