The wind overnight was not as strong as forecast so in was a little slower than anticipated, I really wanted to make some miles and reduce the time in the strong winds closer to the Bay of Islands. It turned out fine the wind picked up in the morning and I had a good thirty knots from the north west to blow me down to New Zealand. I sailed with the storm staysail and a small jib at an easy six knots with Micky the wind-vane in charge as usual. What a marvellous friend Mickey has been, keeping us on course in even the lightest winds and never complaining.
We rounded Cape Wiwiki and the outlaying Tikitiki Rock at four in the afternoon in gusty rain squalls. A rough welcome but one that I relished. It seemed fitting end to the voyage. Soon we were motoring up the veronica passage to Opua where we berthed alongside the customs dock just after six in the evening.
A couple of boats came in after me, both New Zealand boats coming back from Fiji. We all sat at the customs wharf overnight waiting for customs and biosecurity clearance in the morning. It’s not possible to go ashore until customs clearance has been obtained but I was happy to stay on board and relax. Now that truce was safely tied up and the voyage finished I had an extra tot of rum, reflected on the voyage and had a good chat to Ngozi now we are in phone range again. I will sleep in the forward cabin this evening and luxuriate in the extra bed space.
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.
It’s a good job I made muffins yesterday – it would never have happened today, conditions are far too boisterous. The day started out with a rain squall and front just after midnight. Then a strong south west wind and swell set in and we have been using it all day make our way south the best we can. Our starboard bow is in the weather for a change, pushing aside the SW swells and sending a deluge of spray all over the boat.
We are still looking at an ETA into Opua on Tuesday. Hopefully just ahead of the thirty-nine knot winds that are forecast.
I was thinking about the motion on board Truce today and realise she is very light compared to when we started the voyage up in Canoe Cove. Then we had on board provisions for six months and the weight of cases of soft drinks, beer, drinking water bottles, tinned and bottles provisions – a great weight. The fuel levels are now quite low and water is about half full – no wonder the movement is lively.