We are very relieved to hear that Fulaga and the neighbouring islands escaped lightly from Cyclone Ula – just minor damage to houses and crops as far as we can tell.
We are now anchored off Waiheke Island – see http://www.yit.co.nz/yacht/maunieofardwall for the Google map of our position – just about 100m from Citrus Tart’ (Steve and Michelle) whom we last met in Fulaga. They went even more native than we did, spending 10 weeks there, so we had a great catch up with them over coffee aboard Maunie. The anchorage is well sheltered from winds in the NE to NW quadrant and so there are quite a few boats here; the wind is forecast to be gusty and northerly tomorrow, with heavy rain, so we’ll hunker down till that passes and the SW prevailing wind returns to allow us to head northwards back towards Opua at the weekend.
In the meantime we had an excellent 10km walk yesterday with Trish and Ian, followed by a BBQ lunch at their house in Oneroa. This is peak tourist season on the island, with an estimated 11,000 visitors arriving daily by ferry from Auckland, so the town and its many cafes and tourist shops were packed. As usual, though, the walking trails were pretty empty and we had lovely views from the hilltop above the Mudbrick winery.
|Graham has been playing with some new software! 'Image Composite Editor' - this shot was taken as video.|
On our return to Maunie in the evening we were able to have a great chat with Ithaka, along with Obsession and Kiapa, on the SSB radio. Ithaka is now 1600 miles into her 5,500 mile passage to Chile and all is well aboard. Colin, Ana and Lucas were delighted to chat with us all and radio reception was excellent so we’ll do a catch up each evening and see how far the radio reception will stretch. Like us, they can receive plain text emails at sea but they get these via a modem inked to their SSB radio, rather than the satellite phone system that we use. They are beginning to find it difficult to get good connections via this system so are pleased that they bought a second-hand Iridium sat phone and set it up to run as a back-up method of getting their emails. They are working with a weather router called Bruce Buckley who is based in Perth, Australia, so need to be able to get his daily updates to navigate a smooth passage between the weather systems, and he’s doing a great job for them so far.
The wind is building here as we write this, but it’s coming off the land so the water remains nice and flat. A day of minor boat jobs, with perhaps a walk ashore this afternoon, lies ahead.