Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Back to Wellington for Mum's birthday party!

Mum's Birthday:

Fortunately the good timing of our decision to abort the trip meant I could be here for my mum's birthday party. The birthday cake was quite a surprise as they had organised an old photo of mum from when she was first married to be iced onto the cake. A bit weird eating a picture of ones own mother!!! We had to be careful where we put the candles too.

Most of the family was here so it was a great meeting of family members many whom I had not seen for ages. There was Sarah, David, Ben and Hannah (who celebrated her 5th birthday at the same time), Judy and Mother of course, Hilary and her partner Jennie, Michael, Andrew and Emily, Jarred and Emma, Tim and Glenda and David, Jill and Katie and who ever else I forgot to mention.

At the moment I am living at my brother's house sharing a room with my 17 year old Nephew, David. Tim's family has been very hospitable but much as i love it here i need to get back to the sea so am searching the web pages looking for short handed yachts on passages.

"Oh it is good to go down to the sea again
To the Lonely Sea and the Sky"

"A wet sheet and flowing sail
and a wind that follows fast
That fills that white and billowing sail
and bends the gallant mast

That bends the Gallant mast my boys
and away the good ship flys and leaves
Old England on the Lee!"

My little girl, Antara in Germany aged 1 or 2

Latest news

Well sorry everyone for my slackness in posting news of my trip.

In a nutshell the weather went from bad to worse over here. Four genuine "Twisters" hit Taranaki, Mt. Egmont (you might recall that this is the sea area first up in our voyage northwards) creating untold havoc destroying buildings, upturning vehicles and creating water spouts that would have sunk us for sure.

Unbeknown to us this was happening as we sailed up Tasman Bay to the Tasman Sea. Lckily upon receiving the latest weather report and seeing the weather ahead and condition of the sea we head back in to Torrent Bay in Abel Tasman National Park for shelter . We arrived there in the dark by GPS and me on the bow looking for shallows. Absolutely beautiful bay with golden sand beaches and pure wilderness.

Here i managed some wonderful walks to stretch the legs and photograph a few funghis and experience the rainforest again.

Finally we decided to return to Nelson enjoying a pleasant sail in calm conditions whilst just north of us the seas were spuming and foaming under 55 knot winds.

In Nelson we checked out Netvuw an excellent detailed weather planning website by Wellington University. Based on our findings we decided to abort the trip until the summer months. Firstly because we were getting far too cold with more and more frosts and snow in the nearby hills again.

Even salt water froze on the boat at Torrent bay. The other reason was simply the weather patterns. There now seemed to be just one gale after another with little relief inbetween.

Locals here were saying these are the worst winter gales for a long, long time.

Down in the South of the South island the worst winter storms have placed the whole area into an Antarctic type landscape closing off much of the south. In the north large areas never before flooded are under water and mud slides have destroyed numerous homes and caused evacuations.

In Auckland off the East coast the conditions were so wild the giant cruise ship "Pacific Star" got severely beaten and fled for the open sea only to later abondoned their voyage at Vanuatu after a real beating across the West Pacific where we also were heading. In Central North island more floods and disaster areas and also further south in Napier and Hawks Bay is now a disaster area too. Not the best year to have picked for a sailing trip like this!

If we had continued on up the West Coast of NZ (and we were all stored and geared up for the passage) we would have headed straight into a real STORM force weather as reported and would have hit the Weather Bomb that hit the top of the North island flooding vast areas of land under torrential rain and very wild winds.
One boat hiding away up the top of the North Island, trying to do the same trip we were planning, reported winds up to 75 knots and seas over 12 metres described by them as liquid mountains. Lucky we pulled the plug and did not go.

Instead Max left to return to Oz (his house had been damaged in the rain storms in Sydney) and I picked up work in the nearby marina slipway working on a 33 ft catamaran. Days of wet weather had cost Rob a lot of money with his boat on the hard and unable to do work so he badly needed some help in the form of an extra hand to sand, fill, paint etc.This was fortunate as i badly needed some dollars and the owner also put me up in his beautiful multi-levelled pole house where i had a warm room and bed and all meals provided.

Thank you to Rob and Kathyleen and their two 9 yr old twins, Kellie and Jorden, for making me so welcome and part of their family for a few days. It was nice to sit in front of a warm fire at night and join in the meal preparation . I even got loan of their push bike to get around.

On my lay day Kathyleen took me and the kids and some friends for a walk and picnic to nearby Cable Bay and Pippin Island where we could see the entire stretch of Tasman Bay that I had just sailed.

Pippin Island is huge and the whole island is now privately owned by a farmer who emigrated from Germany recently. The walk started at the coastal estuary ascended through grassy hillsides then wound its way up through native rain forest and finally emerged high up overlooking Nelson in the distance.

This is where you can see me standing in the picture.

I am now in Wellington looking for another boat to sail the islands.