Monday, 19 May 2003

"Happenings" Number 6 - 2003

Farewell ‘Aotearoa’ New Zealand- 2003

Autumn is here and its warm bronzing hues remind us that ‘cruising yachties’ are very much seasonal people and that change is in the wind for us as well. Soon “Envy” will depart this beautiful country, with both the land and its people indelibly in our hearts.

It’s late in the day as we enjoy a BBQ on the deck taking in another glorious crimson sunset from our privileged vantage overlooking extinct Rangitoto and Auckland’s other satellite islands in their postcard setting nestled in the Hauraki Gulf, just a kilometre or so across from our special friends’ Maraetai Beach home.

Last weekend we sailed “Envy” down the 20 nm from Auckland’s West Harbour to Pine Harbour Marina at Beachlands to be near Ralph and Yvonne for our last 10 days here in Auckland, as we prepare for departure.

Today is Good Friday and this Easter celebration pretty well marks the end of our New Zealand adventure as we attend final preparations and provisioning of “Envy” in nearby Pine Harbour, making ready for our departure on April 22, back up the coast to The Bay of Islands, where we will clear Customs out of NZ enroute to Tonga around 12 May 2003.

What a wonderful experience we’ve had here in ‘Aotearoa’, happily surpassing our greatest expectations, and since neither of us had been to NZ before, every day was excitingly new.

Now we have many happy memories, some wonderful new ‘Kiwi mates’, as well as hundreds of digital photos to share with family and friends, and also enable us to re-live those memories as we view them on our large screen TV during the years ahead.

Buying the old van was undoubtedly the best move we made, providing total independence, freedom and ‘free’ accommodation those 4+ months of ownership, whilst taking us 13,000km over much of this great country discovering both the North & South Islands and Stewart Island as well. It doesn’t come much better than this, but you need mobility to visit all the pick tourist spots and time to smell the roses along the way.

Fortunately we had both and saw a tremendous amount of NZ, at a surprisingly low cost, though no doubt, some friends may fairly question the lack of comfort associated with our travels.

We have a ‘buy back’ agreement with the man who sold us the van, at a small monthly rental cost to us, and arrangements are in hand to return it to him on Easter Monday, prior to “Envy’s” departure the next morning. Can’t get a more convenient deal than that!

Now our sights are set on putting as many Snapper fillets as possible into the ship’s freezer from the waters of Great Barrier Island enroute back up to Opua, (even we can catch fish over here!), as we settle down to sea life and get used to hanging on the anchor once again.

Then it’s all go with passage plans, course navigation and radio ‘skeds’ for our continuing cruising adventure into the South Pacific. It is almost the same distance to Tonga from here as it is to Brisbane, around 1100 nautical miles (2200 km), and we hope to cover the distance in 12 days of non-stop sailing, similar to our passage across the Tasman.

Final plans will depend on many factors of wind, weather, comfort, time and convenience but for the moment, we’re considering the following, and look forward to all the challenges and interest that Polynesia and Melanesia offer, though email contacts during the months ahead may be few and far between. We’ll keep you posted.

“Envy” Itinerary 2003

May 12 depart New Zealand at Opua

May 24 arrive Tonga

July 22 depart Tonga

July 25 arrive Samoa

Aug 5 depart Samoa

Aug 10 arrive Fiji

Oct 10 depart Fiji

Oct 15 arrive Vanuatu

Nov 3 depart Vanuatu

“ 6 arrive New Caledonia

“ 20 depart New Caledonia

Dec 1 arrive Australia
(Either Bundaberg or Brisbane depending on wind & weather)