October 21 – The feeling of excitement was palpable as the cry went up from the watch-standers: “LAND HO!” Everyone immediately dropped what they were doing and headed topside to see land.
New Zealand – our first sighting of land since leaving Minerva Reef nearly 5 days ago. Our intrepid crew is excited to finally reach New Zealand in what can only be described as excellent passage conditions. We had to fire up the iron sail (the engine) last night after dinner as the winds continued to drop. But with almost no wind comes calm seas and sunny, warm weather as we enter firmly into the high-pressure system over northern New Zealand. We all enjoyed shedding a few layers and soaking up the sun on deck today.
In addition to celebrating a successful passage, we also raised our cups of rum & Coke to Nick in recognition of his 40th birthday! Despite Nick solemnly keeping the fact of his birthday somewhat of a secret, Captain Dave was already wise… having previously inspected a copy of his passport! The crew surprised him with a pair of giant chocolate-chip cookies, baked in the shape of a big “4-0”, a toast, and a resounding rendition of “Happy Birthday”. Good times!
As if to welcome us, we observed spouting whales followed by a pod of dolphins paying us a visit and finally playing in the bow wake.
Tonight, we arrive in Opua shortly after midnight and tie up to the quarantine dock to await formal check-in procedures from the officials in the morning. Satin, Camille, and Kyra have made their way up from Auckland and will be on hand to welcome the crew back to land.
Dave, Kevin, “Old Man Nick”, John & Mike