We were supposed to leave for New Zealand yesterday. Perhaps "supposed" is not the right word - we were planning to leave for New Zealand yesterday. The night before the forecast still looked OK, but by the morning the winds had increased to 15-30 knots coming from the direction we are headed (south west) and the seas were 4-5 meters. 15 foot seas are no fun, especially when bashing with high winds. So we decided to wait out the bad weather with the hopes that the next day or two will present us with a better window.
We are buddy boating to NZ with our friends on Sarah Jean, and it was a big decision for all of us to make to stay here. You just never really know how it is going to be out there. However, our decision was confirmed by a Kiwi boat that is just completing their circumnavigation with the final passage to NZ. They stopped by to chat and said that yes, they too are waiting for this weather to pass. In regards to the 30 knot head winds, the woman said, "Better up the ass than on the nose!" In terms of sailing, I couldn't agree more. She also said that this passage from Tonga to New Zealand is one of the most difficult in the world, the other being the passage from Madagascar to South Africa. Having sailed around the world, I believe her, although I am sure there are more I don't want to experience.
You meet all sorts of interesting people out here. A few days ago I met a Hungarian guy who, from 2006-2009, sailed around the world in a 19 foot boat. He was 26 years old when he started. He had all sorts of great stories and showed me pictures of the crazy places he has been, along with a book he wrote afterwards, but it is in Hungarian. He is young (30 is now young), good looking and single, but he turned out to be a little bit creepy. It's all good though... I still have a bit of a heartache for my Slow Dance amigo.
What is not all good is our refrigeration. Last time I wrote that our fridge crapped out but was maybe not broken. It is. This means that we have no refrigerator or freezer (freezer broke back in Vava'u). This means that we can't really prepare meals for the passage, which means that we will have to cook out there. Ugggg. I think we will be eating lots of ramen noodles. And crackers. Nothing cold to eat or drink until NZ. As for beer, we do not drink on passages so that won't be too much of a problem, but it's almost noon and I could go for a cold one now. (Just kidding.)
Speaking of cold ones, apparently it is f-ing freezing in New Zealand right now. Like, 50 degrees. Right now it is 80 degrees in the cabin and it is absolutely perfect. I have decided that 80 is the new 72. Although yesterday it was 90 degrees in the cabin all day, which was borderline sweltering. Fortunately I did not have to do too much... swim, watch a movie, read a book, make sushi... it was bearable. But this cold business? I don't know. We have been in the tropics since January. I have not slept with a blanket on my bed since we left Mexico. Shoes? Don't make me laugh. The only time I wear pants is to keep mosquitos away.
This is all going to change. Even though it is coming on summer in the southern hemisphere I have a feeling NZ is still going to be cold. If you look on a map, you will see that New Zealand is way the hell down there off Australia, damn close to Antarctica. Apparently there can be iceberg warnings in Auckland in the winter. Makes me cold just thinking about it.
And so, I have started digging out the old blankets, hoodies and slippers - all of which smell a bit musty after sitting in the dry bilge for nearly a year. I think I will need to do some serious shopping when we get to NZ. In the meantime, I think I will go for one last swim in this 80 degree, bright blue water that I am going to miss so much.
At 10/20/2011 9:41 PM (utc) Rutea's position was 21°08.23'S 175°09.80'W
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com