We made it to NZ! 1000 miles in 7 days. The eagle-eyed followers may have noticed I scheduled old blog posts after we were out at sea. I will put up some interesting photos from our brief three weeks in Tonga – one could easily spend months or a year exploring the island groups.
We cleared in and out of the capital on Tuesday night after seeing the weather warning to “Leave now! Or wait 7-10 days for the next window.” We dodged the reefs before sunset and close reached overnight at 9 knots. This last leg to New Zealand was fast, wet, and became colder and colder. Living on Piggy means you’re essentially living outside, and we’re quite happy in tropical weather. Less than 20 degrees is now miserable! Sorry to all the Canadians enduring frost and snow.
Crossing from 20 S to 30 S reversed the changes in the ocean we saw between Canada and Hawaii – the ocean lost its “tropical blue” hue, Velella and other jellyfish were prominent, and dolphins joined us. No floating rubbish this time.
We dodged a rather wicked storm with 6-7 metre waves (those would peak halfway up the mast, and be steep and break over the boat)… we only encountered 2-3 metre swells. We spent Monday night drifting and becalmed 70 miles away, waiting for the next system to build so we could reach Opua on Tuesday night. One day later there’s a gale blowing with gusts to 40 knots (70 km/hr); the weather systems move incredibly fast down here.
And then we had the best greeting of this trip with an old friend meeting us on the wharf with beer, rum and good cheers. Thanks John! What an introduction to Kiwi friendliness. Amazing.
For now, we will trip around the Bay of Islands area and then head to Whangarei to seek out a river pile mooring for long-term.
It is special to be back in New Zealand, same captain and same boat, exactly 40 years later. The customs official was baffled.
In 1974, Tom and Don’s original “shakedown” cruise to New Zealand in 1974 ended with somewhat of a shipwreck on the Northland coast (arguably, a catamaran can’t wreck on a sandy beach). Tom wrote a short story, “Stick the Plans,” which details how straying from the design details during construction meant the beams started separating from the hulls during a stormy crossing from Fiji to New Zealand. And of course in the days without EPIRBs, sat phones, GPS, VHF radios…
The short story is a much more exciting account than the writings on this blog. It’s worth your time!