New Zealand: Part 3

New Zealand, Opua.

Landfall was made in Opua in the Bay of Islands. We are now at a dock in Whangarei.

Last year we were in a tropical climate during the rainy season, while we this year came to New Zealand together with the spring. It is nice to have the longer days, hear the birds sing, see green fields with cows and sheep, and experience the smells from spring flowers. It is however more difficult to adjust to the colder climate than we thought. After more than two years in the tropics, where our feet have not worn shoes, and where jacket and long trousers only were worn on a cold stormy and wet night watch, it feels a little odd and tiresome. The consequence of this is a rusty voice and a dripping nose.It has been an eventful year with many exiting adventures. We sailed through the Panama Canal, crossed the Equator and the Date Line, visited a couple of the most interesting and remote islands on earth, and sailed thousands of miles in the worlds most spectacular waters where there is so much animal life and variety.After the arrival in New Zealand December 8. we have been occupied with many practical things, like finding a place to park the boat for the coming months. This has not left time to take a closer look on the country, but no doubt that it is a spectacular country which we look forward to explore.The boat is docked in Whangarei on the North Island. It is a town settled 13 nautical miles upstream a river, which we can only access at high water. Auckland can be reached by car in two hours. The marina is small with only 30 spaces, and it is nice to meet sailors of all nationalities who are in the same situation as us.

Everybody wants their boat repaired and checked before the NZ summer ends, so they can be ready to sail back in the tropics as soon the hurricane season there has ended, which is in April / May where the southern winter begins. Time shall also be allowed for going home to family and friends and to explore New Zealand.

New Zealand, North Island, Whangarei (January – June 2009).

After having been docked in Riverside Drive Marina for much repair and maintenance work for almost 6 months, we are happy to leave the New Zealand autumn and head north for the tropics.

It has been both a busy an interesting period; however New Zealand needs to be explored much more, so Dana Felicia will return to New Zealand for cruising here in the summer season.

Pacific passage from New Zealand to Fiji (Viti Levu Isl., Lautoka) (June 2009)

As mentioned earlier this passage can be difficult because many different weather types can be expected on the way. We waited for a “weather window” for almost a week and left Whangarei with 20 knots of wind from the South West in a rough and confused sea; however soon the wind increased to 35 knots veering to West and North West.

After a couple of days we had wind in the 20 – 30 knots range coming from the South, and sometimes during the night down to 10 knots and below from South to North East. The last couple of days were quite rough because we constantly had winds above 30 knots, and the closer we came to Fiji the worse it got. We had to face winds above 50 knots for the last 24 hours gusting to 65 knots (12 Beaufort!), and with steep waves and breakers coming from the East.

We were happy to enter a wide Navula Passage in the reef to the lagoon of Viti Levu just before dark in 50 knots of wind and heavy rain.

The weather reports and weather faxes did not indicate this storm at all. In fact the report said “nil storm warnings” in this area at this time.The 1028 Nm passage took 6 days and 6 hours without any motoring.

Map Location