We have safely arrived in New Zealand after a good passage from New Caledonia. The passage was a bit longer as we had to head in various directions because of the wind or in order to find some wind. We also motored more than we like causing us to do lots of math underway - calculating fuel consumption and how much we had left. The wind came up when we needed it and we made it in with a few gallons to spare. We had some great sailing on this trip as well and Astarte performed exceptionally well. Now its time to take care of the boat and enjoy a few months in one place.
We managed to save an extra night offshore by getting into the clearance port at Whangarei just as the sun was setting. Luckily the days are quite long here so we had extra hours. We snuck our way to the Q (quarantine) dock in Marsden Cove as the sunset and tied up. Customs and biosecurity would arrive in the morning – so it gave us a nice evening to clean up the boat a bit and try to eat as much food as we could before they took it away! We did have a nice meal with the last of the potatoes, last of the carrots and some cabbage. We used up the last eggs and some ham for breakfast. We got a really good nights sleep without having to wake up every three hours for a watch change.
Bruce from customs arrived around eight – and though we were the firs tboat at the dock, we were the second one to be cleared into the country. At this point there were five boats at the dock (a new record for this particular clearance point). We completed lots of new forms (the ones we had completed in advance were unfortunately old forms). We got stamped in for three months for us and the boat gets two years. We got our TIE (temporary import exemption) paper which gives us the ability to buy many boat parts tax-free.
Helen then arrived from Biosecurity and did a very thorough inspection. This was followed by Becky and Ahmed who arrived as additional biosecurity inspectors as there was a recent fruit fly that came in on a boat – so they have upped the inspection process. These two looked in lots more lockers. All was good and Astarte was given the stamp of approval.
We were completed around 1100 and took off to get up the river to the Whangarei Marina which is the heart of the town basin. It was slow trip as we were fighting an outgoing tide. There is now a bridge in Whangarei so we had to get that opened which was a simple process and we didn't even have to stop. That's a good bridge tender!
We arrived and our mooring wasn't quite ready – so we came against the dock. This was nice for the first night and we could get into town before the banks closed to get some NZ dollars. We managed to get quickly moving and did some banking and got info on phones and internet. Then we passed by a Katmandu store and they were having a big sale. We needed some warmer clothes (everyone in town was in shorts and sleeveless shorts – we were freezing). Luckily all the winter goods were on sale so we picked a few things.
Hot showers at the marina were next in line – and they felt mighty good. You do have to put a dollar NZ coin to get that hot water – but worth every penny! We enjoyed a cook's night out (as the biosecurity took all our meat and fresh stuff).
Today we'll move the boat to its pile mooring, get the dinghy unrolled, inflated and launched and settle into life in Whagarei for a few months. Our plan is to get lots of boat projects done and await the arrival of our February guests – Kathryn and Mark.
Log entries will be fewer. You don't need to know what we ate for breakfast each day. But we will try to post every so often if something interesting happens.
Back in the land of kiwis, kiwi fruits and the All Black rugby team.
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