November 24

We have been here at Opua for a week. It was a good decision to stop here.  Opua is in the Bay of Islands on the North Island . It is a very lovely, rural area with not much but sheep and lots of little Bed and Breakfast places. We rented a car the first day as Opua itself has nothing but the marina and we had to go to Pahia, 5km up the road for shopping. Pahia was one of those universal seaside holiday towns with postcard shops, little cafes and motels. It is late spring here in New Zealand and the town is just revving up for the big summer season. I think I forgot to mention they drive on the left here and the rental car was a right hand drive – yikes. It was a wee bit scary the first day but we are getting used to it. We will be buying a car in Tauranga so by next month we will be old hands.  

There is a Cruisers Club at the Marina and they had a several social events for people to eat and drink. They hosted a lovely Thanksgiving dinner for all us “Americans”. Lots of people from all nationalities showed up and it was a lovely time.  

Our good friends from the Danish boat “Scafogg” showed up the day before Thanksgiving. I was walking down the sidewalk with Jordan wondering why the guy coming toward me was smiling at me. It was Anders! Jonah was thrilled to see Victor and Emma again and they gave him big hugs. They treat him like a little brother. Needless to say it was wonderful to see Annetta again. A girlfriend is hard to find when you are cruising and you have many couple friends but not often a girlfriend. She is a little crazy and very manic so needless to say we get on famously. We meet all the Cruising Scandinavians thru them. I had not realized the closeness of the language and she chats in Danish with Swedes and Norwegians and they respond in their language – each person understanding enough of the other’s conversation.  

Jordan fixed our autopilot, refrigerator and a pulley on the engine. Three items that needed to be fixed before we could proceed south. Everything is incredibly cheap here – it is $.41 US to $1 NZ dollar. The economy here is weak and they have an incredible emigration of professionals who leave for Australia and other places to work. The people are fabulously friendly and thrilled to have the cruisers descend on their country. I believe almost 800 boats are coming to NZ to spend the season here. Indeed since Opua is the first check in town – at least half stop here before proceeding on to other places around New Zealand . We have met many boats that we know from other places which is sometimes nice and sometimes distressing. Many of the boats are coming back from their second or more season in the Pacific.  

Jonah has been having a great time playing with his friends. Other kids have showed up and there has been a small gang of shouting kids running around. Anetta and I took them to the playground in Pahia to let them run. They are all a bit hyper from the long passage to NZ.  

Today we are leaving for Tauranga but it is raining. We will go to anchorage at the tip of the Bay of Islands so we are poised to run south. It is 200 miles to Tauranga and will be two days and one night. The wind is not cooperating as it is from the Southeast. When we get there we have to anchor out until slack water as the tides are so vicious it makes docking difficult.