Monday 16 March 2020

Home and dry

We are both back home, in the nick of time it feels. Spring is on it's way and today's blue skies and sunshine feel just what the country needs after an unprecedented few days, with more unknowns to come.

We and the family are well, and we are thankful for a wonderful time in NZ.

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Wednesday evening racing, Auckland Harbour

Goodbye to great friends

Gorm, Paul, Debra, Jo, George, Birgitta, Patric, Bobbie, Rob, and Troy holding the camera

End of journey

We have just arrived at Auckland's Bayswater Marina. 
Tintin will remain here until early April when she is moved across the harbour to the port and loaded onto the deck of the ship that will bring her home.
17,000 nautical miles are on the log since leaving Salcombe in August 2018.
Tintin has done really well. And the crew are in good shape too. It's with mixed feelings that we start to tidy up and prepare her for shipping. We're really looking forward to going home, but sad to end this adventure.

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Coromandel cruising

Down the west coast of the Coromandel peninsula we have been visited by bottlenose dolphins, blue penguins, and thousands of shearwaters. I have never seen such big dolphins and honestly am not sure I would want to swim with these ones! There are more seabirds here than we have seen since the Gulf of Panama, and evidently there is a plentiful supply of fish for them. 

We are heading west now towards Auckland, anchored off Waiheke island tonight, and a last get together with Mango and Cabana before we head our different ways.


Sunday 8 March 2020

Evening, Rapid Bay

Our neighbours (Krasna, NZRYS) yesterday evening

Farewell Heaths

We waved a sad goodbye to James and Katherine who left us yesterday to start their journey home. It has been great to have them on board with us as we've explored some of Northland's beautiful coast.

The first leg of their journey was a prop plane ride from Great Barrier Island to Auckland. The strong easterly winds were abating as they flew. Katherine got a seat next to the pilot and sent an aerial photo back to us- Tintin is the smudge in the V shaped bay below the nose of the plane.

Friday 6 March 2020

Great Barrier Island bushwalk

Our new friend

Here in Kaiaraara Bay we've made friends with a fearless duck who came visiting.  Yesterday evening we were joined on board by friends from Mango and Cabana, 2 other World ARC boats who are also sheltering here on Gt Barrier Island.
And soon after they arrived, so did the duck. He peered through the windows from the deck, looking really sad to be missing out on all the fun.

Thursday 5 March 2020

A day at anchor

Great Barrier Island is providing us with good shelter from brisk easterly winds. Last night was windy, and at 4:30am today we were all up trying to get the attention of a neighbouring yacht moving backwards at quite a pace due to a dragging anchor. Foghorn and flashing searchlight did the trick.

It's grey and rainy so we have got on with the list of re-shipping boat jobs, best one being a good old bilge clean out!

Over the next few days we'll make our way to Auckland via the Coromandel Peninsula and Waiheke Island.

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Towards the final destination

Today, sunshine and light breezes. A stop at the remote Cavalli islands en route south. The sun has set and our final Pacific nightwatch of this great adventure has begun.

A chance to reflect as we head towards Auckland, our final sailing destination, where Tintin will be loaded onto the deck of a ship to come home.

It has been the best time. Full of wonderful places and people and nature, with its challenges along the way. But never did I believe the whole trip could be this good.

Great idea, Rob.

Marine Mystery

Imagine being the skipper of Tintin, lying in your bunk at night. You're already paranoid about electrolytic ion exchange robbing you of your aluminium hull so you've foregone copper anti fouling and regularly check your sacrificial anodes. 

Now you hear a new crackling sound from beneath the hull. Whether in the marina or in a remote island anchorage, there it is again, every night, rather like the crackle of rice crispies or continuous unwrapping presents at Christmas.

Unhelpfully your crew members remark how loud it is and suggest it might be the sound of the hull dissolving.

It turns out, much to Rob's relief, that the noise comes not from the dissolving hull but from colonies of pistol shrimp. The pistol shrimp is remarkable for stunning its prey by firing a jet of water from its pistol claw at 110 kph, so fast that the pressure behind the jet drops low enough to vaporize the water behind it creating a gas bubble. As that bubble implodes it releases energy in the form of a light flash and a crack of some 200 decibels. They also use imploding bubbles of gaseous water to talk to each other, hence the continuous crackling.

Mystery solved - Rob and crew happy. Here's a fun podcast which better explains what's going on and how the US Navy used the shrimps for camouflage:


Monday 2 March 2020

Up to 35 degrees South

Today we enjoyed a great 35 mile sail up to Whangaroa Harbour, a fjord-like remote anchorage which feels pretty Norwegian with the pale grey light, cloud and rain we have had today. Great news for this part of the country to have rain at last. Yesterday in Russell we saw tankers of drinking water making deliveries around the township, and as we left Opua this morning a helicopter was scooping buckets of water from the sea to quench bushfires on the cliff.

The Duke's nose is a well recognised rocky outcrop on the cliff above this anchorage (see photo); we will see if we can scramble up there tomorrow.

Later tomorrow we plan to weigh anchor, set for Great Barrier Island 110 miles to the southeast, near Auckland. The spirit of Steve Withers must be with us, because we had following winds all the way up this coast and the forecast is for them to turn from the north tomorrow as we plan to sail south. We will do it in one hop overnight so we can be snug in harbour there before brisk easterly winds arrive on Thursday.

Update on Rob's leg/back

For those of you who have kindly been asking after Rob, his left leg and his back are both back to full working order. 

The Adventures of "Jimmy the fish"

Sunday 1 March 2020

Bay of Islands

We have spent the weekend exploring the beautiful Bay of Islands. Yesterday we were joined on board by friends of James (fellow cyclist of Le Loupe, Tom Zink, and his wife Jolene) who live close by. They appeared to enjoy the day trip on board Tintin and we loved their company. Together we explored Moturua island, where we saw a kiwi having a drink (they are nocturnal birds but the drought here has brought them out in the day to dishes of water put out for them by the Dept of Conservation volunteers). We sailed round a few islands in the afternoon's sea breeze and as we turned a corner we saw a catamaran ahead of us, none other than Cabana, a boat we had sailed with last year and had last seen in Fiji. The evening we spent with Bobbie, George and Troy catching up, eating rock oysters gathered by George in aptly named Paradise Bay.

Over the weekend we have come across 6 other boats that we have previously met along our journey from Salcombe to NZ. Cyclone season in the Pacific islands is November to April so many boats sail down the NZ. Happy reunions!

Today the girls ( Jo and Katherine) explored the lovely old town of Russell while the boys took Tintin up to Opua Marina and did the laundry and shopping. 👍👍