Waiting on weather in New Zealand

Sunday morning we awoke to the news of a tropical cyclone bearing down on Fiji. We also heard from Bob, the local weather guru, who confirmed that an imminent departure was definitely not on the cards. Oh well, nothing to do but just carry on with our jobs and sit it out.

Later in the morning we headed over to Serenity of Swanwick to catch up with Sarah and Phil who we had not seen since our Pacific crossing and joint arrival into New Zealand in late 2017. So we had a lovely reunion over a cup of tea. We then headed to the laundry. I returned to the boat with the clean laundry and cooked more passage food and made the bed. Richard, meanwhile, took over from me in the Visitors Lounge downloading satellite images of Fiji.

At 6pm he hadn’t returned so I walked back up and collected him before we went over to the Cruising Club for our Sunday roast. Beef with horseradish this week – very nice. We also chatted to a number of the Tongan rally people who are getting increasingly anxious about their departure, many of whom have never been offshore before, and weather delays were making them a bit jittery. Sarah and Phil joined us later on and we had a nice evening together.

Monday morning we picked up our small rent a dent hire car. We gave Sarah and Phil a lift into Paihia and dropped them off at the supermarket before we headed to the doctors. We saw the doctor together and got our regular prescriptions sorted out and she gave us six months supply but warned us not to try to get the prescriptions filled all on one day. Good advice – so we dropped the first lot off in the pharmacy – picked up Sarah and Phil again and returned them to the marina before we drove to Waipapa as we wanted to revisit the large Warehouse store again.

This time we were after cheap and simple gifts for children in the more remote islands that we plan to visit (and they can’t need batteries). Laden with lots of bubble makers, tennis balls, bouncing balls and boomerangs we were happy with our selection. Job done we then visited Countdown ourselves and got our bread and vegetable supplies for the week. We also got some petrol as we have heard that the Fijian petrol supplies often come pre-mixed, which is fine for our outboard but not good if we need to run the generator.

Richard then dropped me off at a local hairdressers while he returned to the boat and unpacked everything. He came and picked me up in town later and even recognised me with my very short haircut LOL. We then went to the dollar store to look for more girlie things for the kids and came across lots of small pretty hair slides which we thought would go down well.

We then returned via the pharmacy to collect our pills and back to Morphie and continued to organise ourselves.

We then had a quiet movie night on board. Although the tropics are getting battered with wind, waves and rain the weather here is quite settled with little wind although it remains cloudy, overcast, and cold.

Tuesday morning after a bit of a lay in and a leisurely breakfast we got everything out of the cupboards and made lists so that I could complete the Fiji advance notification documentation. Armed with evidence of the ORIGIN of ever item on board (packaged, canned and fresh) we both then went up to the Visitors Lounge to get online. I had fun filling in the forms and Richard continued downloading charts. We also ran the weather gribs again and there doesn’t look like a suitable weather window will be happening any time soon. We were really worried about Chris on Sea Bear as he left New Zealand on Tuesday and his tracker indicated that he was heading straight into the bad weather but he detoured and is now safely anchored in Minerva Reef – phew! Back on board we had a nice lamb dinner followed by another quiet night, this time reading and relaxing.

Wednesday and we continued just getting ready to go to sea. We are virtually at the end of our boat jobs just leaving basic cleaning, tidying, waxing etc to be done. I headed into town on the shuttle bus run by the marina shop to get the remainder of the prescriptions filled and left Richard working hard. One of the final jobs was to reattach the toilet seat which he had spray painted. There was nothing wrong with it except that the lacquer had come off and it looked dirty as a result. Amazing what a coat of special paint can do LOL, looks almost new again now.

By the time I got back from town my legs and back were giving me some grief. The cold and damp has not been helping so I took some time out, reluctantly took some medication, and rested up. Richard headed back to the Lounge again for more downloading. We then had another quiet movie night on board.

Thursday morning and we had a late start, neither of us wanting to get out of bed on these cold and chilly mornings. Richard continued to organise the rear lazarettes ready to go to sea as, with all the work that we had been doing along with Clive’s visit, things were not really in their right places for offshore passages. The time to organise everything is now. In the meantime, I got on with more passage food cooking and form filling. I finally finished the Fiji advance notification form, even with an idea of our plans whilst we are there, so all I need to do now is submit that once we have a confirmed departure and proposed arrival date. Fiji sure looks pretty…can’t wait to get there!

Later on we did a few boat jobs in the morning and then headed back to the lounge. During the afternoon it drizzled with rain so we had a cold and damp walk back to Morphie before having another night down below watching some more episodes of the TV series, 24.

Friday morning we treated ourselves to breakfast in the cafe.

The weather patterns remain unpredictable so our departure next week continues to be in the lap of the gods although next Wednesday is looking like a possibility. We contacted Bob and, again, the fronts are moving through very fast and would put strong headwinds in our path at least twice on the journey (with even stronger gusts) so we’re probably here for a while yet. Frustrating but we’re not going to risk our safety because of impatience. That happened to another cruiser earlier in the season when he got knocked down by a rogue wave, sustained damage and had to divert from his intended destination of Fiji to New Caledonia instead. The actual recommended time to leave New Zealand for the tropics is the end of May and the beginning of June, so hopefully it should settle down soon. Fingers crossed.

In the evening the temperature plummeted so we ended up wrapped in blankets reading and relaxing before having an early night.

It is now Saturday morning and it is a beautiful flat calm day here in the marina.

Richard is doing an oil change on the outboard and then he’ll secure it in the lazarette. We have decided not to secure it on the rail for this passage as we do anticipate some lumpy seas and don’t want to put any strain on our Kato arch as we have decided to leave the dinghy up there as it is significantly lighter than our old Caribe. After I’ve finished this blog I’m going to input the waypoints on our plotter for the forthcoming passage, which is about 1100 miles so will take between 8-10 days. Tonight we are planning to go to the cafe for dinner and then up to the club for a few drinks. We haven’t been out since last Sunday so it will be nice to be sociable again.

So the rest of the weekend will be taken up cooking more passage food (just one last meal to prepare) and cleaning….and, probably, more laundry….. The downside to this unexpected weather delay is that we will probably be at sea and will miss the European Champions League final. COYS.

Bye for now