Acclimating to Opua
25 November 2012 | Opua
The Opua Cruising Club was kind enough to throw a Thanksgiving feast for arriving American yachts. The only trouble was the tickets were all sold out by the time we got 'round to buying them. Seems like more than a fair share of the attendees were native New Zealanders, wanting a piece of the Thanksgiving action (or pie as it were). This was slightly annoying at first, but we decided to crash the thing anyway and at least have a cocktail before the meal started. Though the effort was nice, the atmosphere was more of a mess hall and the emcee announced "be sure not to take too much food so the others can have enough." That really seemed to go against the grain of a true American Thanksgiving. Instead, we were kindly invited to join Bill and Becky aboard Water Music. They had only just arrived and were also unable to get tickets. Other guests in attendance were Russell and Trevor (Moonwalker) and Linden. There were a gaggle of kids down below, so the adults took over the cockpit. Dinner fare was steak, tuna, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Lolo made two deserts: a pear tarte and the apple pie crust thing (always a hit). Linden also brought a "Pavlova" which was a cross between angel food cake and meringue, served with fresh whipped cream and kiwi slices. Not turkey, but we had a much better time drinking wine and telling stories with some of the nicest folks on the planet. Next day, we were whisked off to the Paihia Yacht Club for some dinghy racing. Lolo and I joined Russell aboard a Soling with a chap named Shonte and raced against 3 other Solings. We were quite pleased to whip up on the local twenty-something's, beating them soundly 2 out of the three races. Pete was officiating and joined us at Karin and Russell's for dinner afterward. Pete owns a classic 1800's gaff rigged sloop called Undine that he sails 2-3 times per week and we were promptly offered a ride the next day. Saturday dawned bright and sunny - a perfect day for just such a relaxing sail and we cruised around the bay amongst other classic schooners, modern trimarans and the incoming stream of foreign yachts pouring in from the pacific. It's good to be here and Russell was square on the mark - telling us about the warm hospitality we'd encounter in New Zealand. Don't think I've met a nicer bunch of people anywhere. Hope it stands true for the rest of New Zealand. We've moved the boat to an anchorage across from the Opua marina and have an appointment with a sail maker in the morning. I think we'll then move a bit down the bay and visit the town of Russell - the first English settlement in all of New Zealand. It's supposed to have the oldest church and the oldest pub in the country. Funny how they seem to go hand in hand.