Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Greetings from Opua in the beautiful Bay of Islands, New Zealand

    Christmas Greetings from Opua, in the beautiful 
                Bay of Islands, New Zealand
15 December 2014

Yes, New Zealand is a very beautiful country and we are yet to visit the South Island. This we’ll do in February. The weather is far from beautiful though…….we’ve just survived the most severe winter in living memory. Nearly every week throughout winter we’ve had a severe weather warning.

 One storm had boats dragging their 4 tons mooring blocks all over the place, leaving at least 2 sunk on the Quarantine Dock. As I write now, we are expecting 30-40 knots winds and lashing rain for the next few days. But when, occasionally, the sun comes out and the wind dies down, it’s gorgeous out here on the water.

I’ve just read our last Christmas letter which covered the biggest year of sailing and travel that we’ll ever do! By comparison, this year has been very static. We planned it that way, as Sheer Tenacity and ourselves needed some long overdue TLC.

An early highlight to the year was a pod of Orcas coming to visit us in the anchorage on Boxing Day! There were about 13 of these magnificent creatures including one baby… was a first for us and something we’ll never forget.

In January, we travelled down to Auckland and I had a new lens fitted to my right eye. What a difference! I still need reading glasses but my far vision is 100%! Amazing that I managed my night watches without any oopses!

Kate came to visit in March……..she arrived with the tail end of Cyclone Lusi and a dose of flu which she generously passed on. So we spent the first few days of her visit hunkered down in Roberton Bay recovering from the worst flu I’ve ever experienced……maybe it was Swine Flu!!

We left Sheer Tenacity safely tied up on a mooring and set off in Mrs P on a round trip of North Island. It was a great trip and we had loads of fun.

We sadly dropped Kate off at the airport in Auckland and made our way back to Opua and the yacht.

In May we flew over to Sydney where we met up with old friends Lin and Et. Together we travelled via the Hunter valley, and up the Sunshine coast past Brisbane as far as Noosa, before returning via the inland route. Rod and I then rented a little car, and headed down south to the Blue Mountains, Canberra, and returned along the coast from Batemans Bay, back to Sydney.

We have spent the better part of 2014, restoring, replacing, improving Sheer Tenacity so that she’ll be fit and ready for the next cruising season……Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and a haulout somewhere for the next cyclone season. 

For those gluttons for punishment, who wish to read about all the details, and see more pics, you can view it all on our blog site

We plan to do a long overdue home visit which could mean being in Cape Town for Christmas 2015! That would be so good. We have a couple of new family members we have never met! My sister, Shirley, has 2 granddaughters and another on the way.

Kate is still with the Bank of Portugal and doing more global travelling than is healthy. Steve and Kim are now property owners in Cape Town and working hard to transform their home. We have a few more years cruising left in us before we finally swallow the anchor.

Best wishes and love to you all. May 2015 be happy, healthy and fun

Rod and Mary

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