It's 5am in the morning, my last night shift. When I took over the wind got weaker, I un-reefed the Genua sail and half an hour later I almost started the engine. Then all of a sudden the wind came back. Now I am sailing with 7.5-8 knots towards the Bay of Island while the "boys" are sleeping (or trying to?). Walking on the boat in these heeling conditions is very difficult. Changing sides on the boat means walking steep up-or downhill. You have to hold onto something the whole time, otherwise you fall or slip. Since the wind shifted a good day back we're now heeling to port side. So opening the fridge means being prepared for everything to fall on your lap - but it usually does not as we have put almost everything in baskets and those are on anti-slip mats in the fridge, that really works.
We're about 43nm away from the Bay of Islands, 33nm from the nearest point ashore. I just had a freighter passing by on port side. And I can already smell land. It's very interesing to smell the air and smell differences. Weather like it looks like a lot of fog, maybe some rain coming. I'll know more in about an hour when the sun rises and it gets brighter outside. With our current speed we should reach the Bay of Islands in about 6hrs, but I don't think we can keep this speed, the wind is supposed to diminish. We'll see. Chances are good we reach the Q-dock (quarantaine dock) in time to get cleared in today - meaning we will be re-united with our friends this evening. But I should not get too excited, at sea things can always change fast...
It's now 6 am, 35nm from Bay of Islands. I can kind of guess the land behind the fog. Fog towards land is relly dense. I can hardly see the freighter which is passing in front of us at that moment in 1,5nm distance. Not to talk about the one to our port side passing at 10nm distance. This has been the most intersting shift of this trip due to the wind changing strength (between 5kn and 16kn true) and direction, changes in visibility (very good to poor), 3 ships...Always something to do.
Thank god I had used our motoring day, when there were basically no waves, to pre-cook food and use up all the remaining fresh stuff which we're not allowed to bring into New Zealand. With the wave and heeling situation on our last sailing day I would not have been in condition to cook big meals. So on the nice day I made Banana-bread, a big meatloaf ("Hackbraten")and Krautwickerl. The boys loved it. It's all gone by now...Last night I made a nice soup, today for lunch we'll have the last sausages and salad. It's actually the first time that I was worried we would not be able to eat up all. I had planned for a 2 day longer trip...
It has been a very quick ride over. I am happy to see that Alita has indeed gotten so much faster than she already was. While our friends, who left Vuda 1 day earlier than us, motor-sailed a lot we motored only one day and our travelling time will have been about half a day shorter than theirs. It looks like we will reach the Bay of Islands extactly 7 days after leaving Fiji, including a little detour due to wind directions. So far, to this minute, we have travelled 1053nm! At the end, it will have been about 1100, 60 nm more than the shortest distance. That's not bad.
Talk to you soon, when we're in Opua.
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