After 7 days and 7 nights of sailing across the Tasman, we finally made it to beautiful Opua, NZ in the Bay of Islands around 1 am NZ time on Saturday. We had amazing weather the entire time although the wind wasn’t always what was predicted and went in the opposite direction of what we needed for at least a day or two. The last 24 hours we were motoring straight into a pretty strong headwind and were only able to average 4 knots/hr the last day which was somewhat frustrating as we just wanted to get there by that stage. It was a relief when we could finally turn off the engine and be still after pulling up alongside the quarantine dock earlt Saturday morning.
Andy and I moved into an easy rhythm of doing watches and cooking for each other and thankfully, our third crew member (the autopilot) is working great and did all the steering so we could mostly relax and read, watch movies or anything else to break up the time. For those that don’t know, everything on a boat is a bit of an effort when you’re underway and heeled over. Moving from one end to the other requires a lot of core muscles as you try to stabilize yourself and not crash to hard into the wall or the floor. Showering is also really fun and I mostly stood on the wall with my butt braced against the other wall…this works great until you actually add soap then it’s all just a slippery mess of trying not to crash into anything in the small space or slide to far over and land in the toilet.
The Tasman Sea is known to be quite fickle and at times with crazy weather that can turn at a moment’s notice. We were lucky enough to have beautiful blue skies every day of the week and the sunrises I saw every morning were incredible. I was always on watch when the sun rose as I would take over around 2 AM most nights and the sky would start to get light around 430 am with sunrise around 530 am.
When we left Lord Howe on Friday morning (Feb 17th), we had so much meat, dairy, eggs etc that we thought we’d have to discard once customs checked everything over in Nz. We were pretty creative with our culinary masterpieces and combined interesting ingredients to try and use as much food as possible. One night Andy added a seafood marinara mix to ham and cheese prepacked tortellini so we had lots of different protein sources for that meal and it was palatable at least. Fortunately, the quarantine inspector didn’t take every single thing as some things from Australia in original packages are actually ok. So we still have some food left and got to keep the bacon!
Rogue waves always seemed to hit when dinner was in mid prep and despite our best efforts, we’ve managed to have stirfry and another night, chicken fajitas go flying across the boat and greasing up under the nav desk…so much for cleaning as you cook…at least there was only a little that went flying so we still had enough for the actual meals those nights.
Despite being pretty scared of this whole part of the voyage and doing it with just the two of us, I realized that we work really well as a team, Andy is actually pretty patient and neither of us fell over the side. I think this bodes well for the rest of the year. We will be in New Zealand until sometime after the cyclone season finishes in the Pacific (March 31st) and after doing some minor boat repairs we plan on doing some actual exploring in the coming weeks. Feel free to come visit us!!
-Bre & Andy