Wow, 10 day have passed since we arrived in Neuw Zealand. But it feels like a month. Strange. Maybe, because we've been here already? Because Marcus has lived here for half a year? Because we have friends there? Because we like it? I can tell you it's great to be back.
What an adventure when we arrived in heavy fog. I had a glimpse of land, a very light shadow, before it disappeared in the fog. This was all to make it more exciting for Markus, for whom it was his first crossing and thus the first time reaching land after a couple of days of nothing but water. On our one motoring day, this is how the crossing looked like:
Salt on the solar panels from the waves washing over and splashing everywhere and the bluest sea ever!
So when the fog finally lifted upon arrival, this is what we saw:
Arriving in Opua was great. Customs came to our boat shortly after we arrived at the Q-dock (quarantine dock) and we were cleared in and in our berth within an hour of arrival. Cool. Couple minutes later our friends, who had arrived the night before us, came by to greet us. That was the beginning of a social couple of days with sundowners, super thanksgiving party and dinners in Opua with our friends from Red and Huck, a welcome party in Whangarei on our friends boat „State of Mind" who had also, as a surprise, invited other friends (Anico, Mares) whom we hadn't seen in over a year! We had such a great time. And Rod and Brenda are now happy I picked up my boxes full of stuff for Alita, Marcus and me. That meant that a day later I was busy taking as much stuff out of the boat to be able to get the new stuff in. I was exhausted in the evening. All the old stuff (all good and party even new) went to the „Recycling area", meaning the area with the trash bins. I put it all nicely in a box and by the next morning most of it was gone, or, recycled on other boats and homes…
Once we had spent enough money for Alita (like a new, bigger anchor) and had all our materials for the next working projects on board, we left Opua and headed out to the Bay of Islands. We were all grateful for the beautiful peaceful anchorage at Urupukapuka. Once the anchor was down we were in our hiking clothes and did an about 2,5 hrs hike up and down the hill along beautiful cliffs for a nice work-out. Such a lovely place, where the trees swing in the wind like anemones in the water and the birds sing in a choir with beautiful harmonies, undermined by heartwarming sounds of the sheep, while wind and waves make the dramatic orchestra sound to it. The smell of this land, this incredible green (after a winter full of rain) feels like home and make you never want to leave. A cold bath after the hike topped this wonderful experience. It feels so great to actually be able to cool down. Ok, the water is VERY cold, like around 16-18 °C, but nice. By now I am used to it and am able to swim for 20 min no problem….
So the last days we have been moving from bay to bay, with lovely names like Whangamumu and Whangamuru, hiking every day. At Whangamumu we had to stat 2 night due to weather situation, which gave us a chance to do more hikes (our crew Markus went on a 7hr hike!) and to rely an afternoon watching a beautiful dolphin swim around us - and even two penguins showed up!
Oh, THIS is paradise for me! I know this sounds crazy, cause most people love hot and would probably prefer Fiji or something, but I am in HEAVEN.
As we left the Bay of last night's anchorage, a dolphin came to surf at Alita's bow. It was sooooo cute and enjoyed the ride for quite a long time. I did not get my camera, I just enjoyed withing the dolphin enjoy himself.
At this anchorage, last night, I also, for the first time ever, heard Kiwis „sing". What an experience!
For the finish of our crew member Markus' last sailing day with us, we were able to pull up the Parasailor and enjoyed a nice ride down to Tutukaka, where we are now and where Marcus and I will stay for a while and do our boat jobs until my friends come on board in a bit less then 2 weeks. Lots to to until then.