Passage to New Zealand – Monday, 15 October to Saturday, 20 October 2001

Passage to New Zealand – Monday, 15 October to Saturday, 20 October 2001

A freighter passes as we approach New Zealand

This was supposed to be the “scary” passage. I have been worried about this passage ever since we crossing the Pacific from Mexico. We are just West of Australia and the Tasmin Sea, which has a reputation much like that of the Washington and Oregon Coast. The difference is that while the NW coast is almost always stormy with the wind in your face, this patch of the South Pacific is unpredictable with big freak storms coming up with little warning. We were lucky; our passage was like a newborn kitten. Mostly the seas slept, and only a exposed its kittenish claws for a few playful moments.

Our 1024 nm passage from Nuku’alofa, the Kingdom of Tonga to Opua, New Zealand took 122 hours. We left Tonga at 1115 on Monday morning and were anchored off the customs dock in Opua by 1330 on Saturday. We had traveled 10,287 nm since leaving Seattle, last November 11. It’s hard to believe we have traveled that far. It was almost the “perfect passage”. We had seas so calm that we could have been cruising in Puget Sound on a balmy summer day, with the N wind at our back. The last night of our passage the wind changed to WNW, gusting up to 40 knots, and the seas were 6-8 ft. We had been expecting the change; it had been predicted by our weather guru, Bob McDavitt, in Auckland. These adverse conditions didn’t last long, and as we approached the North Island everything settled down. We could see the cloud bank in front of us that is Ao Tea Roa, the “Land of the Long White Cloud”.

Don goes for a walk on Starr during the passage to New Zealand

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