Kia Ora from New Zealand one last time.
Trading this for jungle and palm tree lined beaches. Which would you prefer?
We're outta here! After nearly six months in New Zealand, we are finally on our way back up to the tropics. All that stands in they way between me and my beloved tropical islands is 1,100 miles of open ocean. No problem.
I do not think I have ever been so excited to do a passage. I usually dread the prospect of spending seven days at sea, but this passage is different. This will be our second season in the tropics and while I am by no means an expert on the South Pacific, it is no longer a total unknown. I know what I am getting myself in to, and am keen as.
This trip to Fiji is also special because I already spent one month there and now have an idea of the places I would like to spend more time. I also have a few friends I am looking forward to meeting up with. To be completely honest it feels pretty cool to be going someplace as exotic as Fiji and already have a good idea of people and things I want to see and do.
In spite of my excitement to get to Fiji, I am also feeling pangs of sadness to leave New Zealand. There are aspects of New Zealand that I absolutely love: the friendliness of Kiwis (the people - not the bird which I never actually saw), the sub-tropical rain forest (nicer to hike in than tropical rain forest), the fact that you can take a hot shower and the cool off by stepping outside (not feasible in the tropics), Surf Lifesaving New Zealand, and of course, the surf (which I could still go on and on about but will spare you).
Of course I couldn't help but winge about the weather this summer (winter? summer.), but in the five months I was here that uncontrollable force was my biggest bane. Other than that, I had a pretty damn good time. I made friends, got involved in a community, and surf-surf-surfed. In other words, I got exactly what I wanted out of New Zealand. I even got a job - crewing on Slow Dance - but that was in Fiji so I guess it doesn't count. But because I worked on Slow Dance for a month and just got a little taste of Fiji, I am hungrier than ever for more.
The weather forecast looks good. The winds will be a bit light heading out of the Bay of Islands, but will fill in to 20-25 knots on the beam for the next five days. I am guessing it will take us about seven days to get to our destination, and in the meantime I will write really boring blogs and how much I dislike being at sea. Or who knows, maybe after 10,000 miles at sea this whole sailing thing has grown on me and I will wax poetic like Bernard Moitessier. But that is doubtful.
In conclusion, living in New Zealand for the past six months (minus one month in Fiji) has been an experience. It was not all fun and games and blue skies and epic waves, but when the sun came out and the swell turned on, there was no place in the world I could think of that I would rather be. Now winter is coming and, much like my friends the humpback whales, I am migrating north to the warm blue waters of the tropics.
And so, thank you New Zealand - stay sweet as. And bula vinaka Fiji!