Friday, January 8, 2016

Opua, New Zealand    November 2015

We finally made the dreaded crossing from Fiji to New Zealand in late October.   "Dreaded" was a label derived from my impression of how awful this crossing could be.    Indeed, it has had some bad press, but with monitoring weather progression from Australia, a sailor can make a reasonable crossing with, hopefully, minimal bad stuff.     Leaving Fiji, we had a great sail from the marina to the Navula passage that would get us out to open water.    The predominant SE winds make the first 8 hours or so at sea a bit rolly with 6 ft seas off the beam.    You know you've been in the marina for too long when stuff starts flying around the cabin that you forgot to put away or cinch down for the voyage.    Fortunately we didn't break anything and got the cabin squared away for the rest of the trip.

It took us almost 10 days to finally arrive in Opua where we joined with the ICA All Points Rally for a week or so of festivities, seminars and socializing with new friends.    We don't really like most rallies, but this was basically a "welcoming" rally to encourage cruisers to consider coming to New Zealand for the cyclone season, and promoting Opua as a cruiser haven with entry formalities,  a marina, plenty of stores and workshops to help cruisers with parts and repairs and topping that off with just being in the Bay of Islands, one of the prettiest and interesting cruising grounds in New Zealand.

The dinghy dock was crowded with folks coming and going from their boats at anchor near Opua.   The Opua Cruising Club was especially welcoming to cruisers and had good food at reasonable prices.

 We ran into cruisers Tom and Fran from "Dagon" who we had run across from time to time in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.    They just finished their cruising life and are readying Dagon for sale now.
 There are many Agricultural fairs that take place around New Zealand.    We took a day off to go out to one.   I think we'll be seeing a lot of these guys as we travel around.
This is one of the beautiful, century old missions found out in the countryside in Northland.

The owners of Cater Marine were especially helpful and welcoming to cruisers with a sausage sizzle event and a bacon and egg sandwich breakfast.   They give you a good discount on supplies and can order just about anything you need.

 New Zealand has a growing wine industry and you can have a lot of fun trying out the varietals in the cellar tasting rooms.   This was at Omata Winery near Russell, just a $1 ferry ride from Opua.

 Oyster farming is a big business in New Zealand, too.   These guys pull in often in Opua to offload their "catch".
 The Stone Store near Kerikeri is a pretty tourist attraction now with a garden behind it.

The Princess of the Sea party closed out the formal rally events.    Some of the cruisers really got into the spirit.   Here's the Dutch crowd as mermaids.
I had to do a lot of cajoling just to get Jim to wear the stupid tiara.    I'm not sure myself what I went as, a conglomeration of a shark hat, whacky sunglasses and a kaftan from the Middle East.

No comments:

Post a Comment