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2011-31-10 Whangarei Town Basin Marina, New Zealand

The sailing to NZ was very nice. Winds were from easterly side 10-20 knots so we had an apparent wind angle of 60-90 degrees, sea was quite slight. The weather resulted a steady sail of appr 160 miles per day. Only in one night there was some rainshowers with gusting winds up to 28 knots. The weather was affected by a steady big high east of NZ, the lows were passing NZ well in south. The trip took 7.5 days.

Two days sailing from Nukualofa are the Minerva reefs, we visited inside the North Minerva reef but did not stop there because we wanted to utilize the existing good sailing weather. The place in interesting in the middle of ocean, the reef really kills the swell. The depth inside is 15-20 meters and the diameter of the reef is about 3 miles.

We cleared into NZ in Marsden Cove Marine, this was done by two persons and was very easy, we had prepared for that by reading the rules and emptied the boat from non allowed items. There was an Italian boat clearing in at the same time, the biosecurity person carried out two big bag of food.

The following day we continued 11 miles up the river to Whangarei Town Base Marina, this must be done +/- two hours of high water as the river is very shallow at low tide,  tidal difference is about 2.5 meters. In the marina the depth sounder shows 1.5 meters at low tide so our keel is well in the mud then.

Whangarei area has very good maintenance and repair facilities for boats. We have about 40 items listed of what we want to do here for the boat.    

2011-10-22 Pangaimotu, Nukualofa, Tonga

The sailing to Nukualofa was fine, moonshine during the night and sunshine during the day, winds were from easterly side about 15 knots. We however faced the changes in local weather as when in anchorage at Haafeva island a small local low over Haapai area created winds up to 38 knots from N/NE, it lasted only 8 hours but it was quite rolly as the reefs were not fully protecting waves from that directions.

When arriving to the Haafeva anchorage there were two mating whales, we saw them from very close distance. During the sailing we saw also many whales - blows, fins and tails.

The Haapai islands are quite low with fine sand beaches and very clear water. Nice area but a lot of reefs.

In Nukualofa we are anchored at Pangaimotu islands where they have a water taxi connection to Nukualofa city where all the officials and shops are.

The Nukualofa is a somewhat bigger city with 20.000+ people, lively, hot, dusty and loud so we prefer staying at Pangaimotu with clear water, nice beach and a restaurant.

Presently there are about 20 boats around here, the common discussion is the weather and when to leave for New Zealand. The conclusion of the weather seem to be same for many boats as today 8-9 boats left Nukualofa. We plan to start sailing towards New Zealand tomorrow morning. The direct distance is about 1050 miles so it will be about 8-9 days sailing. Forecasted winds are from SE/E 10-20 knots, the challenge will be how the weather will be when approaching New Zealand after a weeks time i.e. what kind of weather systems will come from Tasmania/Australia direction. 

2011-10-14 Neiafu, Vavau, Tonga V

We finally got the package in our hands this week Monday and got the the shrouds on place on Wednesday with the help of Ross from the sail loft at Moorings charter base, Ross was the person up in mast.

We are now ready to continue sailing southwards via Haapai islands to Nukualofa, we will leave today as the winds are forecasted to be from east untill mid next week when they turn to southerly direction. We plan to ahve one overnight sailing to Haapai and then few day sailings to reach Nukualofa. The distance to Nukualofa is 165 miles.

Then it is time to look for a suitable weather for sailing to New Zealand for the Pacific hurricane season. 

2011-10-5 Neiafu, Vavau, Tonga IV

Our stay in Neiafu continues as we have not yet received the shroud delivery from Sweden.

The post delivery is not the way to get spare parts here, two weeks ago we got information on the first delivery that it is in Switzerland, since then no information. For post deliveries nobody can give a route or a timetable and the tracking information stops when the package left Sweden.

The second delivery is now on way with DHL, it was scheduled to arrive to Tonga on October 3rd but it did not happen, now the new date is for today. The package is anyway at least in Auckland, NZ.

Even with a courier there was a problem with the weight of the delivery, the package is 50 kg. The first information was that the package should be separated into two and the cost for delivery would be about 1500 eur each. Later the solution was found through DHL Global Forwarding, the industrial delivery side of DHL, they could arrange one package costing about 600 eur.

When the package arrives to Tonga it will first go to Nukualofa, the capital, and a separate issue is to get it to Neiafu. There is anyway two flights a day between Nukualofa and Neiafu and DHL has there own personnel in Nukualofa and they will arrange the continuation delivery. I talk regularly with Silei in DHL Tonga .

Meanwhile the time is passing slowly. We motored for few days in outer islands of Vavau. I sighted only one whale, even that from long distance. The swimming and snorkeling is very nice as the water is clear with good visibility.

The car culture here is interesting, the vehicles are quite well used. The car below is still in active use. The next car is already out from street. There are also cars in better shape.

 

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