Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Things to celebrate

We have a number of things to celebrate and be grateful for.

May 2nd, 2012 is the date we left England to begin our circumnavigation.  10 years on and we’ve only made it halfway, though we aren’t completely to blame for that. We are very glad to have the opportunity to spend so much time up in New Zealand and avoid the worst of the Covid lockdowns.

Larus's has benefited greatly from our lengthy stay. Over the 2 and a half years here, she has new sails, sail covers, anchor, stainless steel chain, generator, wind generator, steering pedestal and Tim installed the pre-ordered solar panels. We refreshed the Coppercoat on her hull and replaced the bearing on the rudder. 

We have been here long enough for Tim to have two teeth implants and for me to have surgery to remove a pesky benign lump from might right knee that has probably been causing me issues for years. 

As you can imagine, Larus is truly shipshape and Bristol fashion and we aren’t far behind her.

Why mention this all this?  Bragging? A little. Reassurance? A lot. Satisfaction that our floating home and crew are ready and willing for our next adventure? Definitely.

We are pleased to announce that there is a very good chance that in just over a week’s time we will be on our way to Fiji.  

Just as exciting, we have flights booked to Canada and the UK. Flights, I might add, that are fully changeable and refundable. What flights would be available should it be necessary to change them is another issue altogether and we don’t see any need to even worry about that at the moment.

Having been cloistered in Jacinda’s protective embrace, we have little experience of living with Covid in the community. We just head to anchor whenever it raises its ugly head.  It’s a little unnerving though as the ‘everyone’s going to get it eventually,’ attitude of the moment could scupper any part of our plans. Getting Covid in no way fits into our timeline so we are taking every precaution.

So far so good.

The cyclone season officially ended on the 1st of May and we seem to have a good weather window in the next week or so.

Our time is now spent preparing for the passage.


Tim using the Deck Snorkel to give the hull one last scrub.  Tiny barnacles start forming pretty quickly in the murky waters of marinas and river fed estuaries. He doesn’t expect to use the 5mm hooded wetsuit in the foreseeable future.


The beginnings of a happy freezer.  

We can’t bring any fresh fruits or vegetables into Fiji I prepare things like lasagne in the white container and muffins made with ripe bananas for the passage. I plan to have vegetarian meals frozen of the whole 9 day passage.  You can only bring in unopened meat and cheese from NZ into Fiji and I’d rather not have to worry about it on arrival.  There are still things to be used and replaced with Fiji-friendly foods.

We eat quite a lot of plant based meals these days. Our latest favourite is  Spaghetti and White Bean Balls. I have always avoided wholewheat spaghetti like the plague but had been given a very thin type by a friend and as the recipe called for it, I gave it a try. We were astounded to find we liked it better than the regular spaghetti. I have a lot of the bean balls frozen as you could eat them in a sandwich like a burger or serve them with a dip as a snack.

Other meals are chilli and curry and we have two of each type of meal. I make a big batch, have one meal that evening and then freeze two. Oh, and lasagne x 2!

We haven’t had to keep night watches for an awfully long time and I want life to be a simple as possible.  We generally do watches of 3 hours on and 3 hours off from dusk till dawn. After that we take turns depending how we feel and the daily chores that need to be accomplished.  

As part of our preparation to leave New Zealand, we’ve made sure we did things that we had always intended to do, but hadn’t.


This is Basin Marina, Whangarei where we took a berth for in December 2019. In the back of this photo you can just make out a crane poised over a large flat grey area. That grey area was the beginnings of the Hundertwasser Arts Centre.


Tada! 

I visited the gallery the day before we left the Whangarei area for the Bay of Islands. I thought it was amazing and there are extremely knowledgeable staff eager to take you deeper into the works and life of Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Very shortly after this visit we headed down river and passed under the lifting bridge, Te Matau a Pohe,  inspired by the design of Māori fish hooks crafted of bone.


The bridge opens everyday at noon regardless of marine traffic, which can be pretty random, for those who wish to see it in action.

We had a final over night stay in Urquhart’s Bay at the mouth of the harbour and sailed up to the Bay of Islands the next day.

Our sail to the Bay of Islands was memorable as we were able to sail all the way up to Cape Brett, gybe around the big rock and then sail to within a mile of the entrance into the Bay of Islands. We have never managed that before. A moderate south easterly wind, allowing us to sail a NW heading to the Cape and then a SW heading toward the entrance, coupled with the high cost of diesel these days made us less inclined to switch on the engine until absolutely necessary. Sometimes it’s just convenient or the conditions uncomfortable.

We spent a lovely time with our first NZ friends, Jan and Rob. We met them in Basin Marina November 2019.


They welcomed us to their farm to feed the odd calf, pick olives, to eat, drink and be merry and we will miss them.

We’ve been at anchor for several days and are heading back to the Russell / Paihia area to do some more prep for the passage.  We still think we will be leaving next week sometime but the exact date depends on the weather forecasts.  The closer we get to the departure date the more reliable the forecasts become, so we wait and watch.

That’s all for now and but we’ll let you know when we are finally Fiji bound.

Nancy and Tim

Ps. And today’s weather is rainbowy.






 
























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