First of all: Happy New Year to all my blog followers, family and friends out there! Hope you had a good start - better than ours.
Let me start by saying we're safe and tied up to a mooring. Just not in Nelson, but in New Plymouth. With a broken toilet (already repaired today), a broken motor (saltwater in the motor!) and some damage on Alita. I won't write too much, because I am still exhausted and have a headache, so just some information:
After midnight New Year's the wind picked up, we put the sails out and stopped the engine. The waves got worse and worse, causing two of us to get seasick (including me of course - I prevented the worst with a pill just in time). As predicted about 16 hrs later the wind died and in my shift I wanted to start the engine - dead. We decided to continue sailing over Cook Street to Nelson because the facilities s are better there - and did that for a while against the wind which got stronger and stronger (more than predicted) and then decided to turn around and get into Port Taranaki (New Plymouth) which however took us another many hours( til midnight) because under land the wind had died. We tried to motor Alita with the Dinghy but that would have taken us too long. After a while some wind came back and with a couple of tacks we managed to sail into the harbor where we wanted to anchor. However the harbor is full of moorings and boats tied up to them. Impossible to anchor. With the Dinghy Marcus pushed Alit from the side while I tried to steer and lookout in the darkness. In the end we had to go back out a bit more and take the next available buoy, but we could not tie up the way we need to because Marcus could not get the mooring chain up. It was ok for the night but we knew we had to change position in the morning.
Marcus and I got up at 9 (we needed a rest) and tried to find someone responsible for the moorings without success. Finally via phone someone told us to find the Pilot boat's mooring T2 which was nowhere to find. in the meantime the wind picked up and we had to move. We prepared another mooring and wanted to push Alita the way we did the night before but it did not work as wanted. We started to drift, there was nothing I could do, not even time to let the anchor down. A french couple on their boat saw that. He prepared the Dinghy, put the motor on it and came over to help, but we still ended up on a fisherbooat and caught its mooring chain with our rudder. Peter, Sibylle and I tried to keep the fisherboat away from us as much as we could, but with the wave rockingg us like crazy it was impossible, to we encountered some damage. Not only on the top (newly painted deck) but also big scratches on the side and harm to the Anti-fouling. In my despair I called the Pilot / harbor master via radio for help and after a while a Pilot boat came. By that time and with the long line of the french guy that we had tied to a mooring and pulled in with our electric winch we had already freed Alita from the mooring of the fisherboat - but still needed to move to that Pilot's mooring PT2. The pilot boat came and took us alongside (in the still rocking waves) and pulled us over to that mooring that we tied up to. This whole time it had been pouring rain.
As I am writing this the wind is gone, the pouring rain stopped and it is getting lighter outside. We're all tired and tight, our nerves need rest while Marcus keeps himself busy with repairing to not think about what happened. He just found out that the motor is full with salt water, we have no clue where it came from. So, we need a long and expensive motor repair (or replacement?) and Alita needs to get out on the hard again to redo the Antifouling and repair all the other damage to the paint that has occurred. If you ask me, that's going to be another couple of weeks. However we can't do it here. We have to sail to Nelson for that - and in order to be able to do so, we need to wait for good weather that will safely carry us down there - with no storm and no times without wind as we can't motor our way down.
To top it all up we found out that the Genua needs repair (I just fixed the big cuts) although it has just been with a sailmaker whom we paid to check her….You can't rely on anything or anyone anymore.
So, my mood could be better. Sibylle and Peter's vacation is ruined for now as well. We'll see how we continue. I feel sorry for them. It is not our fault that the weather did not permit us to drive down to Nelson, but it is sad. Now we have to wait a long time for the weather to change.
The good news is we're all ok, Alita is floating and not taking on water - and we can still sail.
And we had all day yesterday to see mount Egmont (mount Taranaki) in its whole beauty. It is usually in clouds and when we drover there 2 years ago to see it we didn't see a thing.
So long, Michaela
Here are some pictures:
White sand at Parengarenga
The „Mondfisch" (sunfish?)
Little bird hopping on the water
Mount Egmont / Taranki