Once we arrived in Nuku'alofa, we tied Puddytat up in the small boat harbour, med moored to the breakwater, David climbed into the dinghy and went ashore to clear us in, and to tell them that we were here to apply for the NZ visa and that we'd be leaving soon.
|One of the fish we caught.|
|Brilliant sunset and great sailing weather! for a change.|
|Main street with the huge rain tree on the left, near the post office.|
|Under the Rain Tree.|
|This mat skirt is worn by men and women. This one is elaborate though.|
|A local sight seeing boat..|
|The Kings Palace.. garden needs work.|
|We caught a bus and went to see the flying foxes... they're about 12 inches long.|
|Tau'olunga Komipiuta. Fast Internet $1 for 15 mins. |
On Salote Rd before Tupoulahi Rd. Almost at the T of Fasi-moe-afi Rd.
|Inside the place.|
|Ros and David paying for their internet usage.|
|The Owner. Always with a smile.|
|Ros, getting some air and a lot of water.. ha ha the rogue |
waves keep breaking over her, she's soaked!
They'd decided to carry on towards New Zealand 800 nautical miles away. They asked us to follow them as soon as possible.
As you know I had to wait for my passport. Nothing we could do about it, so we filled in the time as best we could.
Once I got my passport back and cleared out with customs and immigration, we spent a quick Saturday morning shopping for fresh fruit and veg, also filling up with fuel and water. At 11am we left the fuel dock did a motor-by Evi and some other yachts and headed on out towards NZ and Minerva Reef.
In the reef it was the weirdest feeling, to be anchored out in the middle of the ocean, no land or trees in sight, just some waves breaking all around us showing us that there was something there. Ros and I jumped into the water and cleaned the hulls. David was working on something inside the boat, I can't remember what now, but it was a far hotter messier job than we had. The next day, after he'd completed some other work on Puddytat, David had his turn, he wanted to give the props a good clean so in he went. It was late afternoon when he finally finished and the wind was still too southerly and still very strong. Soooo frustrating, it was hard for me to relax. We stayed another night and early on Wednesday morning we left Minerva reef North. We were almost a full week behind them.
We had a totally uneventful sail to New Zealand, the winds were alternatively stronger and then lighter as the sailing goes on long trips. So some days we had all the sail up and others we reefed down sometimes to two reefs. I must say that I do prefer to sail on the Atlantic ocean as against the Pacific. The Atlantic is a much smoother sail, much more comfortable and has many more dolphin that come and play around the bows of our boat. Puddytat flew over that water, we made the best use of the wind and clocked an average of 9 knots. We sailed, listened to the radio and after two days got another position, I plotted it and couldn't find the x. So I plotted it again, still no x. I'm standing there looking at the chart plotter thinking, what am I doing wrong? Then something made me zoom in, or out, I can't remember now and there it was a beautiful red x right under us.. YAY!!!! We were exactly where Kudana had been 14 hours before. Now to try and find them, a tiny yacht on a HUGE ocean. David said that logically my Dad would be trying to make as straight a line to Opua as possible, so we'd do the same. It's what we'd been doing the whole time and it had paid off so far. He instructed Ros and I to call Kudana on the radio every hour. So we did this through the night on our watches. Morning came and we hadn't heard anything. A tad worrying as we knew they were only doing about 3 knots at most, we should have caught up with them by now. After breakfast David got up and went to the radio, he'd decided to call again. Oh Joy of joys my Mom answered the radio and we started to cry. I hadn't realised how tense with worry I'd been. It wasn't much later when we spotted her and we sailed up to say hi. We were 400 nautical miles from Opua. Still a way to go, but we'd found them and that was all I cared about.
We asked about the two positions, how'd they been the same. Dad said that during that storm, we'd been sitting out in Minerva reef, they couldn't steer and had sailed in a huge circle and ended up where they'd been before. A very strange thing to happen, but it did. We also asked why we hadn't heard regular position reports. He told us that his SSB had gone on the fritz and he worked on it trying to repair it and managed to get it working long enough to hit send on an email to my brother, Kevin who lives in NZ, and then Kev sent it on to the radio ham guys to transmit to us. At the time he didn't know if it had gone through. He just had to hope that it had.
|Kudana, 1.5 miles away.. even though she's on top of a wave she's hard to see.|
|Down in the trough and she's almost impossible to see.|
We don't ever buddy boat with anyone so this was a new experience for us. It was now only 105 NM to go till Opua, we thought we'd get there on the 27th Dec.
|Making our New Zealand courtesy flag...|
|Under Tow for the next 100 nautical miles.|
When we came into the sheltered waters of the Bay of Islands, we dropped the tow and came alongside Kudana and rafted up with her. From then on we had to motor. Customs and Immigration were well aware that we were on our way in. All the sailors in the area were aware as well. When we arrived at the Q dock, where all newcomers to NZ have to go to clear customs and immigration, there were loads of people at the yacht club watching our progress.
The space between the fuel dock and the Q dock isn't large and David had to maneuver both yachts in and dock us. I was in charge of tying us up he said... He first turned us around so that it would be easier to get out and then docked. As simple as that. He made it look so easy. Many of the sailors came to us afterward and said that they hadn't seen seamanship like that in years. Made me so proud of him.
The Customs guys were great. We couldn't have asked for nicer treatment, even though they had to relieve us of some fresh veg and such, it was all done with a smile and a joke. They came down and attended to us even though we'd have been happy to spend the night on the customs dock. They told us there was bad weather coming and they thought that we'd need to get out into the anchorage and get our anchors in well and good and this was the time to do it. How nice is that! Thank you guys.
Once we were done with them, I slipped the lines and we went off to find a spot to drop the anchors. First we dropped Dads anchor and pulled back on it hard with both engines at 1800 rpm, to dig it in nice and deep, then we went and dropped ours, did the same, switched off the engines and looked at each other... Time for a drink we all said at once.. LOL what a relief to be safe and sound, to have my folks safe and sound. I slept really well that night.