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.
No wind this last twenty-four hours and the engine has been running constantly. The diesel bunker is getting low now so I was grateful when the wind finally showed up just after noon. Since then we have been sailing nicely straight down the track to Opua in beautify weather.
In anticipation of the big blow this evening and tomorrow morning I have hanked on the storm staysail. A no nonsense robust little thing, built like a brick outhouse. I hope it’s not needed but better to rig it now than be fighting with it in the dark on a pitching deck and a howling wind.
This morning I saw another yacht ahead and to Starboard. They are now astern, I can just see the tip of their mast showing above the horizon. They may catch up later as I usually ease off at dusk so I can rest easy during the night. They are on the same course as me to Opua so we may meet up at the customs dock.
During my morning walk around the boat I noticed a few small squid that had come on board during the night. This seems to validate my theory about flying squid. They were perfect eating size, I wish I had got to them when they were still fresh. The bird life is back again this afternoon, they came back with the wind. Good to have company but the albatross has not been back.
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.