Monday, May 13, 2019

New Zealand : It’s great to be here !

November 15th - 4th December 2018

It’s amazing how after months of being in small island nations, some with very limited facilities, we slip so easily back into first world suburbia and all that goes with it.

The three weeks that we spent in the Opua marina vaporized amidst a flurry of  social engagements and must-do jobs. Crossing the Pacific is hard on every boat, some fairing worse than others. We were quite lucky in that respect. Even so we still had our share of quotes to obtain.

 First up was a rigging check, not that there was anything wrong, it just made sense to do after sailing all those miles. We used NSR based in the marina grounds to do the check and were very happy with their service. Parts of our leather lounge was in a pretty bad state and we were looking at either replacing the worst parts or biting the bullet and re upholstering the lot. We also needed some adjustments to our cockpit canvas and the saloon floor was in urgent need of a sand back and re varnish.  Pretty much every cruising boat that arrives here has similar lists, and one just has to get used to playing the patience game.

The Bay of Islands Marina in Opua is a great setup. 

The staff are all super friendly and the marina has all the mod cons like great laundry facilities, and that’s usually top of the list for the girls after an ocean passage, 

There's a first rate cruisers lounge with free wi-fi and bathroom facilities like you’d find in the Hiltons or Marriotts of this world. 

Fantastic laundry setup

A well stocked general store welcomes new arrivals with a free loaf of fresh baked bread and the list goes on.
There are cafes, yacht club, canvas companies, sail lofts, two chandleries, rental cars, a courtesy shuttle to the town for shopping trips and a host of other yacht services are all on site.

 Large floating cat slips can take 20m in length

A big bonus  for people like us is that this marina has been designed with a goodly number of large and small catamaran specific slips. 

At last someone has caught on to just how many cruising cats are around these days.

While in Opua it was fabulous to catch up and spend time with some very familiar faces that we’d not seen for  years. No Rehearsal with Annie and Daryl on board  pulled into the slip next to us and  just down the dock Phil and Monica from Good Golly Miss Molly, although they were on a different boat this time. All these guys we last saw while back in the USA. Of course there were heaps more people that we’d met along the way too that arrived around the same time as us.

Liam with Daryl
With Mat & Karen off Where 11

It was a fun time doing day trips up to Keri Keri  for shopping and for a summer afternoon street party and a day out for lunch and a look around over at the pretty town of Russell  just across the bay.

Lunch at Russell with Phil & Monica

December rocked around and we headed  45 miles south down the coast to an area known as Whangarei, (pronounced fong-gur-ray). The Town Basin Marina where we'd made a booking months earlier was about to become our residential address for the remaining months of our stay in New Zealand. And to be honest we couldn’t have picked a better place to call home.

As luck would have it the day we arrived, the marina was putting on their annual welcome dinner for cruisers. It was a big event with music, a local school group performing, reps from many of the businesses around town and the Mayor gave a speech that thanked us all and recognized the importance of  foreign flagged boats for coming to Whangarei and boosting the local economy .It was a lovely way to be welcomed to the marina and the town we were about to call home.

Within a 15 minute walking distance  from our dock were supermarkets, hardware stores,  chandleries, restaurants, pubs and cafes. We were in heaven.

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