Zealand - a Cyclone Season Haven
New Zealand is a major Cyclone Haven
for the western South Pacific Ocean region and,
having experienced serious hurricanes in the Caribbean, we chose it
The trip there takes you some 1,100 miles south of Tonga,
and through waters that get colder and colder and that
have a well-earned reputation for dangerous storms.
. . of living in the tropical Caribbean and then cruising the
tropical South Pacific,
the cold temperatures on the sail to New Zealand and the cold temperatures
on arrival there - were a bit of a shock!
Anticipating the colder weather
in this region, we had bought some warm clothing in Tahiti.
But even bundled up to the extreme, Chrissi was always cold
as we sailed further and further to the south.
Here's Chrissi as we make landfall near Opua in New Zealand's beautiful
Bay of Islands.
The Kiwis are
sharp and industrious, and we found quite a lot of New Zealand
literature in sailors' haunts along the way before we got there.
One thing I noticed was the vaguely troubling description of NZ's
northern Bay of Islands as "Semi Sub-Tropical."
What did THAT mean. This landfall
photo doesn't look at all "tropical" to me, and it didn't
feel tropical either!
Bay of Islands is around 35
degrees South Latitude, a mere 300 miles or so north of 40 degrees
South. So in the real world, after you peel away the promotional
veneers, "Semi Sub-Tropical" really means "Semi
But it was summer shortly after
we arrived in early December
and there were a couple of weeks of rather more kindly weather.
The air was often exquisitely fragrant, and this was one
of the lovely responsible flowering plants in the bush nearby that made
New Zealand is an extraordinarily
beautiful country but it's beauty is often quite panoramic
and not easily captured or done justice in photos. Here's a small attempt
to give a small idea of it.
|The area around
Opua was simply bursting with shell fish, but there was a biotoxin
ban on taking it for most of the time we were there. We took these
oysters when the ban was lifted and they were GOOD!
There was a wonderful and diverse
community of good friends
on the waterfront in Opua.
|Chrissi and I love
to kayak around and tramp in the bush, but there are perils and
here's one when Jack caught his foot in a trap meant for a possum!
|Happily the trap trapped Jack's
shoe and did no damage to the man - other than a small nik in his
Frigid fog blasted through the beautiful
Opua anchorage on many mornings as the sun came up.
Being no fool, Chrissi accepted
a friend's offer of a trip to Thailand.
It was a wonderful hot break from chilly New Zealand.
AND it had elephants and monkeys!
Meanwhile, it was getting colder
and colder in Opua
where Jack saw one 7am temperature of 3.2 degrees Celsius - around 37
Cyclone Season was pretty clearly
over, and we were very happy
when we finally sailed away on May 7th '05, with tropical Fiji
as our destination.
New Zealand with some good books: