Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Opua day 7

There are many small towns near Opua but the largest is just North of here called Kerikeri.
They had an interesting exhibit at the domain.
And the football season has just started here with winter just around the corner so the soccer players were out practicing.
It's looking more and more like a Tuesday departure to Tonga.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Opua day 6

While we are waiting for a weather window here in Opua, we have been settling into a routine. After breakfast we we first exercise, then we do boat chores, then we do the tourist thing before making dinner. Today we cleaned all the teak on the boat using a mixture of saltwater, bleach, dishwashing detergent and some fresh water. They came out looking like new. This afternoon we walked up to Paihia, a distance of about 7km.
They had a historic Anglican Church.
Persimmons are in season here and the trees are a common sight.
Weather forecast is getting worse between here and Tonga so we are so glad we waited. It may be another week before there is another weather window.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Opua day 5

Today we made the decision not to leave NZ for Tonga because of the weather. Here is the passage weather forecast for next Saturday.
As you can see, we would be caught out in some quite nasty winds and waves.

So anyway we are making the most of the great temperatures here in Opua while we wait and today we walked a lot! First up the coast to Paihia, then across on the ferry to Russell.
Russell used to be called the hell hole of the Pacific with all the whalers, traders and ex-convicts so it has some colorful history. The local graveyard contains many of them.
We had lunch at a beautiful hotel called the Duke of Marlborough.
We walked another 11kms back to another ferry to get us back just after dark and on the way I got to see a kiwi. This was only the second kiwi I had ever seen in the wild so I was quite thrilled.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Opua day 4

Today we rented bikes and biked the coast to coast old rail trail.
We headed to a town called Kawakawa that has public toilet with ceramics.
The train goes up the main Street on the weekend.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Opua day3

Today we visited the Treaty grounds in Waitangi where the Maori chiefs signed a treaty in 1840.
Weather is still a concern but we will make up our minds when we look at the weather tomorrow on whether or not to go on Tuesday.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Opua day 2

Today I walked with Linda and Carol on a bike trail next to the marina called the Twin Coast bike Trail.
The tunnel is actually closed for repairs but we walked through it anyway. The old railway tracks run about 100km from here to the other side of the island to the Tasman Sea.

We spent the morning doing boat chores, getting ready to leave on Tuesday. Weather wise, there is a potential tropical storm labelled 95l developing near Fiji that we are keeping a close eye on. It is supposed to fade away but if not, we will be here another week. Also we were hoping to stop off on the way at Minerva Reef but it looks like it will be too difficult to sail into the trade winds at that point so we might just sail straight to Tongatapu.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Opua day 1

This place is a Mecca for cruising boats.
A lot of the boats here are preparing to leave for the islands because it's the end of the cyclone season. Every day they have activities for the cruisers provided by the local council who own the marina. Tonight they had a get-together for everyone and it was good to share information and talk weather to the other crews making the same voyage. I listened to the local Burnsco rep about fishing from the stern of the boat by dragging lures and he had a table full of products for sale.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Bland Bay to Moturua Island

You can track our boat on the Internet at the link above. What a gorgeous sunrise to start the day.
Today we actually got to sail. We had a nice sail for a few hours without the motor and the boat performed beautifully despite her 35 gross tonnage.
We passed the hole in the rock which from far away doesn't look very big but if you look closely at the photo, you can see a big tourist boat in the hole.
We trolled a fishing lure again today without luck so we tried fishing at our anchorage and managed to hook some “pannies” for dinner.
Tomorrow we are heading into Opua to the marina there to get ready to push off for the islands early next week. So far all the systems on board have worked well on this shakedown cruise and everyone is happy and doing well. We had a little glich today when we forgot to wind in the fishing line when anchoring so the lure got caught around the prop. I ended up donning my shorty wetsuit and dived into the water to cut it off. Brrr! I can't wait to get to the tropics.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Marsden Cove to Bland Bay

Today we were up before sunrise and got petrol at the fuel dock before casting off.
Then it was a motoring day up the coast for 6 hours in light breezes. Linda made us a delicious lunch using basil from a plant growing in the cockpit.
We ended up in Bland Bay about 4pm and dropped the hook in the most delightful place you could imagine.
It is so quiet here that the waves crashing on the Sandy Beach nearby is about all I can hear

Monday, May 13, 2019

Through hull fittings

One of the biggest differences between Onapua and the new boat I am on is the number of through hull fittings on board. To me the fewer the better but whereas my boat has 5, this new one has 16. Mind you they are all top quality bronze Groco fittings and they have an easy map to locate them.
Tomorrow we set sail for Bland Bay, about 40 miles north of here in Whangarei. Weather is going to be nice but with light winds, we may have to motor most of the way.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Comparing boats

It's hard not to compare this beautiful boat with Onapua. My sleeping quarters in the vberth here are nothing short of luxurious.
On my Westsail 32 I have to climb up into the vberth and it is more like a cave than anything. Here on Alora, I have a regular bed with sheets and pillows. Mind you that is in Port. It might be a different situation once we start sailing. More than once on my boat, I have slept on the sole or the floor where there is less of a chance of being thrown about and I am sure that this will be the same here.

Friday, May 10, 2019


Seeing we will be gone for so long, I decided to freeze 10 meals before we set off and store them in the freezer onboard. There is a kitchen not far from here in Snell’s Beach that agreed to make them and freeze them in aluminum trays. At first I was going to try and make them myself, but I don’t really have the expertise to do a good job and they gave me such a good price I couldn’t say no. The chef who prepared them used to make meals for the oil rigs fellows offshore so he knew just what I wanted. I was initially going to get all vegetarian meals but ended up compromising on the following.

Beef Ragout
Lamb Tagine
Ham & Cheese Quiche
Beef Lasagne
Vegetable Linguine Pasta
Mushroom Risotto
Seafood Kedgeree
Shepherds Pie
Apple & Feijoa crumble 

They are 1 kilogram each, enough for a hearty meal for the 3 of us or perhaps to split in half for later.


Ok so I know it is not my boat Onapua but for a wee while, I plan on sailing aboard Alora, a Hylas 56 up to the islands from here in NZ.
I am going to be sailing with Linda and Steve who have sailed Alora from the USA through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific on the Coconut Milk Run, putting into New Zealand to avoid the cyclone season.

I'll post to my blog whenever I get a chance. Initially we will be leaving Whangarei to sail up to Opua, both in the North Island and waiting there for a weather window to sail up to Tonga via Minerva reef.

I've had a great 6 months here in Kiwi country working on my bush clad bay in the Marlborough Sounds and managed to build a shed on it to collect water in a water tank.
But with the approach of winter it is time to move on to a warmer climate.