We have been in New Zealand for 6 days now and somehow never got back to writing our blog until now. On the trip I was filled with all sorts of deep, serious thoughts about sailing and wanted to write more about how the trip was, but now that we are here and comfortable and safe and warm, it is hard to do that. The best analogy for the passage from Tonga to New Zealand is really childbirth. Before it starts you can’t really believe all the horror stories you have heard, and are sure that for you, it will be easier. Then it starts and for a while you just can’t deal with how bad it is. The “doctors” say it is “uncomfortable”, but it is way more than uncomfortable. All you can think about is being anywhere but where you currently are. You can weep and swear and do whatever you want, but you just have to keep going. You also want to kill the guy who got you into this predicament. “You got me into this, you ***…….. “. He is standing nearby, all calm and comfortable, and telling you that it’s not so bad and it will soon be over. Then it is over and, within a day, you feel that it couldn’t really have been that bad, and maybe it was all worth it. By the next year you may be ready to try it again, especially since everyone says that it really is never as bad the second time.
On our trip the boats who were within radio distance from us talked twice a day on the SSB (single sideband radio). Originally our informal radio net was called Y2K for “Yachts to Kiwiland” but after our weather difficulties, it was renamed the “Hindsight Net.” The Hindsight Net decided we would all write poems, limericks and songs to remember the passage. Last night we had a party in the Opua Cruisers Club to celebrate and share our creations. Here is mine with a picture of me presenting it and wearing our official hindsight glasses– hope you like it.
Ode to Hindsight
by Laura Pitt, “Sabbatical III”
A bunch of tough sailers in Tonga
decided they couldn’t stay longa.
McDavitt* said “Go!
I promise this low
Won’t hit you, and I’m never wronga. ”
The first 3 days out were amazing.
Every crew was relaxed and just lazing.
When suddenly all,
with our forecasting ball
could see trouble and worries and danger.
McDavitt said “Head west and hurry.
This system gives me cause to worry.”
So we all took a tack ,
we were scared to hang back
in great fear of confronting a fury.
For two days we headed off course.
Our minds filled with fear and remorse.
The skies and sea grey
We just headed away
With SSB check-ins of course.
On Sunday we went through the low.
Perhaps you could call it a blow.
But conditions like these
With wind, rain and seas,
Were nothing we all didn’t know.
By Monday the low had roared by.
To New Zealand we wanted to fly.
But on our way back
with seas that did whack
we suffered and cursed and asked “Why?”
On Tuesday we waited in vain
as those westerly winds never came
We tacked and we gybed
we coaxed and we cried
but our distance from port stayed the same.
Kate and Jim on Asylum, the Nutcase**,
Reminded us all this was no race.
Through thick and through thin
We’ll surely come in
and meet on the land face to face.
Now we’re all in Opua, so safe and secure-ah
Our foulies*** are hanging to dry,
We all made it by golly
We’re safe, warm and jolly
And next time I think we should fly!
*Bob McDavitt, the New Zealand weather guru we were all paying to get advice from
** Katie and Jim on the boat Asylum were the moderators for the Hindsight SSB net. Nutcase is the name of Asylum’s dinghy
*** Foulies are foul weather gear – rain pants and jackets
What we have been doing recently in New Zealand
Our friends on Risho Maru, Yara and Afriki, who all left Tonga about 5 days after us had a really good trip. It was much easier than ours, and it only took 8 days, as opposed to the 11.5 days it took us and 19 days for some other boats in the “hindsight” group. We are happy for them, but pissed we didn’t hang out with them in Tonga and get their weather for the passage. Oh well, at least we are all here together, safe and sound.
We rented a care yesterday with Peter, Alex and Finn (Risho Maru) and had a great little tour of the northern part of the north island – went to a winery, a chocolate factory, bought blue jeans, drank great coffee, saw huge 500 year old Kauri trees and lots of sheep, took a ferry across the bay with our car and drove around one of the beautiful tourist towns here (Russell) and ate as much as we could!. It was a great day, but sad, as it will probably be the last whole day we get to spend with Risho Maru before we head down to Whangarai where we will be leaving our boat . They will be staying in New Zealand until we return, enrolling 8 year old Finn in school, and just living here until at least May. We hope we will be able to coordinate with them when we continue on to Fiji next year.