Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Arrived midnight in Hamilton, NZ slept on bus stop the night then caught the Naked Bus to Rotorua and met by my sister, Judy, Stayed a few days visiting Sarah and David and their kids, Ben and Hannah who took to me straight away, especially Hannah who is the same age as my little girl, Antara. Then I bused down via Naked Bus Company to Wellington where I was met by my brother, Tim. Here I stayed with my mum which of course was so lovely especially as she seemed more fit and well than I had imagined for an 89 year old mum. Even managed to talk her into a Sunday afternoon drive and picnic with just Tim and I.

This is Judy's house and garden in Rotorua:

and this is my mum and brother, Tim:

As I will miss my mum's 90th Birthday we had a little celebration at Tim and Glenda's house and I gave mum her birthday present - a nice warm winter down quilt for her bed.

I am now in Picton, South Island, New Zealand still awaiting suitable weather to set sail on the voyage. Sailed today 5th June, from Shakespeare bay in 30 knots. EOS sailed like a dream doing an easy 10 knots with just the staysail up and the main and mizzen too. I helmed most of the way. Quite tricky picking up a mooring at the end in very gusty wind in confined quarters. Lots of fun. I have been living aboard now for over a week plus some time in a batch (holiday house) loaned by a friend so we could have a few showers.

I even went for a cycle ride with the skipper 75 year old, Max over the hills to a lovely Tavern for a quiet ale on Sunday. We borrowed one bike and Max has bought a folding bike which he used. My bike had bulging ancient tyres and wobbly wheels but I made it. I also cycled to a nearby Outward Bound centre to check for possible work in the future as i like this area very much.

Living aboard is just beautiful. The boat is warm, I have my own space and a comfy bunk with lots of cubboards. There is a lot of space on deck. I even rode Max's fold up bicycle a short way around the deck just to prove it could be done. I have been up the mast many times, fixing the tri-colour light up there and changing rigging.

We leave on Friday to sail to Nelson then Tasman Bay and finally farewell Spit for our big voyage. This will be the true start of the voyage. We have done lots of maintenance replacing a lot of the rigging re tightenening the rest, completing a new steering station, redoing a lot of the wiring etc. The sails are almost new which is good to see and the boat is built strongly. The rig is setup in such a way that we really should never need to go near the sides when on the open sea. All can be done from the safe platform in between the hulls.

After lots of research and debate we have both decided to sail up the West Coast keeping a fair offing from the coast itself. The weather at long last has changed to southerlies so we can now set sail northwards with confidence.