Banging to windward all last night and today on starboard tack. Getting to New Zealand is a battle, every mile must be won. I am not complaining – some are still in the north waiting for a break in the weather and one yachtsman is sheltering at Raoul Island.
The daybreak this morning was beautiful and the day is sparkling but the wind is cool from the south west. I am seeing more birdlife today, this morning we were visited by an albatross. The bird circled a couple of times before flying alongside, looking us over with the beady eye of the ancient mariner. What majestic animals.
This morning I was completing our voyage records and discovered that today Truce and I have just completed 10,000 miles together today. We did 2,700 plus miles last year between Canoe Cove and Glacier Bay in Alaska. This year we have done over 7,200 miles across the Pacific, from Canada to New Zealand. I would say we know each other quite well although I still have much to learn.
Now less than 300 miles to Opua. But we still have a calm patch and a gale to get through. The maximum forecast winds for Tuesday have just increased from thirty-nine to forty-two knots. Oh boy – I don’t fancy that. I will hank on the storm staysail tomorrow.
I have been back in New Zealand since the end of January. Living the good life, eating, drinking and enjoying the warm summer weather. Generally getting fat, contented and too comfortable. Apart from a couple of mammoth record breaking rain events the weather has been beautiful, real Kiwi summer. Ngozi and I had a few days away in the Far North, enjoying he beautify scenery and taking in the quiet pace of life that exists just a few hours drive north of Auckland. February always seems to be the best month.
Recently there has been a chill in the air at night and I am thinking more of my return to Canada next month. Time for action, I have booked a one-way ticket to Victoria for early April. Then down to Canoe Cove and meet up with Truce again. I feel guilty about leaving her all winter, I hope she hasn’t suffered too much. I expect she will need a thorough cleaning and airing, the weather will have been cold and damp over winter.
I have been thinking about the route I will take back to New Zealand. First I think it’s down the coast to San Francisco, I have never been to San Francisco and I feel the need to sail under the Golden Gate bridge. From San Francisco, I will probably head towards Hawaii before turning south towards New Zealand.
Anyway, before heading off from canoe Cove I have anti fouling and heaps of boat preparation to get out of the way. There are always jobs to do on a boat – to keep in the sweet spot between perfect working order and total breakdown.
The start of 2017 finds me standing on the bridge of a vessel steaming up the Malacca Strait, passing Port Dickson. It’s a beautiful balmy night with a faint offshore breeze bringing out the smells of vegetation and wood smoke wafting the water.
There’s searchlights ashore piercing the sky, must be part of the New Year’s celebration. A few of the ships passing up and down the straits are giving New Year’s greetings over the VHF radio, they are a bit disjointed, it looks like they are on different local time zones.
I am now on my way to the UAE, delivering a new ship from China, a fairly routine voyage. Looking back on the last year there has been a lot of water passing under the keel of various boats I have been on. 2016 has certainly been a year full of adventure and interest.
Sailing on a calm sea in the early morning hours is a great time to have a look back and reflect a while. Since I took delivery of Truce last March in Canada I have had an amazing journey, visiting so many interesting places, awesome Alaska, wildlife, meeting so many different people and learning a new kind of freedom and peace away from everyday distractions that don’t add to the quality of life.
But it doesn’t take long to start thinking about the coming year and the return of spring to Canada and the preparation that needs to be done for the coming year. In 2017 I want to bring Truce back to New Zealand, that will entail a long ocean voyage across the Pacific. I have crossed the North Pacific countless times in ships and I have a deep appreciation of its awesome power. The South Pacific is somewhere I have never ventured and I have not crossed any ocean in a vessel as small as Truce.
So, steaming into the New Year and thoughts turning to preparation for the next adventure.