Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Delivery part 4

 (just realized I never hit publish on this one. Whoops!)

Sunday 7am

The wind died just as we got to the cape near Wellington
Remember how I was worried about being stuck drifting towards rocks with no engine and no wind? That's pretty much what we spent all last night and this morning doing. Except most of the time we've had an offshore wind, blowing us away from the rocks instead of into them. Unfortunately this is the only time I've ever been able to stand outside in Wellington and say there is honestly no wind. There's about 3 knots and we're almost moving backwards from the current. Our engine died again after we left Gisborne, but we've had lots of wind so it hasn't been a problem. Now it's a problem. We had about 6 - 10 knots for some of last night and were moving at about 3 knots until we got to the harbour entrance where we've been sitting ever since.

Floating around after the engine died just before sunset

I was dying to get on land again but it's actually been really pleasant. No rain, no big waves, no seasickness, just sleeping and chilling out with Garth when it was our watch. While we were drifting near the harbour entrance around 4am two dolphins joined us, which was really amazing. We didn't see them at first in the dark, but Garth noticed some irregular splashing so I went to investigate. There was phosphuresence in the water and it was amazing to watch them. They were circling us, darting from one side of the boat to the other. I think they were disappointed at the lack of bow wave to play in.

Every time they went under the water you could see a patch of glowing water darting around with a trail of sparklies following it. I never noticed how fast they move! In the daylight I always watch them playing, but I focus on the dolphin itself. It was brilliant staring into a sea of blackness watching this glowing section of water darting around. Phosphereserence looks different depending on where you are in the water - deeper down it looks like a glowing auora, whereas closer to the surface the water is all sparkly and pretty. Whenever the dolphins surfaced, they were covered in tiny glowing dots and there was a beautiful trail around their tail as it came towards the surface. We started moving a bit faster and they played under the bow for about 10 minutes, swapping sides and twirling around. They were really spectacular and I'm definitely glad we were out here an extra night to see them.

The two nights before that were horrible - I got really seasick after we left Gisborne when I came downstairs to sleep. I've decided downstairs is bad. I stayed in the cockpit the rest of the time curled under a blanket, feeling rotten. I can't believe how long I was knocked around for this time - I was really sick for at least 24 hours. I think stopping at Gisborne for a day might have reset my sea legs.

It rained all night and the sea was rough and there were no stars to steer to so it was harder to stay on course. I was on watch with Garth in the pouring rain for 5 hours before I got sick and it was not pleasant. The waves were 2 - 3 metres and I was soaked to the bone as we passed through a nasty cold front. The next day and night were pretty miserable as well, even after the rain let up. From downstairs it sounded like my poor boat was getting a beating - waves were smashing over the bow onto the cabin, it was violently tipping left and right as we sailed downwind and it kept trying to crash gybe.

I was asleep on the low side of the settee at one stage when we crash gybed - I woke up as I was launched into the air and went crashing down on the table. I didn't just roll out of bed, I was literally hurled into the air. That wasn't ideal.

I honestly thought we were in a crazy storm because the new sails flapping sound like claps of thunder. Then I felt stupid when I stuck my head out, because it was just normal NZ weather and David was having a blast in the waves. Downstairs makes me sick AND it's scary. Partly enclosing the cockpit has moved higher up on my priorities - then we can stay up in bad weather and not be miserable.

Yesterday the wind died and we flew with the kite for a while, which was fun. The sun was out, I was feeling better and it was a lovely way to end our trip. I'm shocked that this leg has been the easiest - cook strait is generally the worst part of Nz, but it was dead calm.

So now we just float here for a while, waiting for the wind...

Sunday 5pm

Sailing into the harbour with Wellington in the background
So we made it home. Just. One good thing about all this is that we got a lot of VHF practice and Garth and I got to do a lot on our own. When we were on watch we were going to sail into the harbour. We called up on the VHF and chatted to Wellington harbour radio, which is a lot less scary at 4am. They couldn't see our lights with their binoculars and the ferry radioed to say they couldn't see us either, so our lights are obviously still wrong. Garth climbed up the mast to find that the green light looks blue and the white light still comes on at the same time as our tricolour, so you can't see anything. We made the decision early on to do circles near the harbour entrance away from the shipping lane until the sun was up and the morning fog cleared. I'm very sure this was the right decision.

So after communicating back and forth with harbour radio I'm much more comfortable talking on the VHF now, though I did screw up a few times. He didn't seem to care.

When we could see and there were no ferries around we put up our giant kite (we had the small one up yesterday) and came into the harbour in style. Slowly, but in style. I didn't get a good picture because I was driving and flying the kite while Garth was lying over the side holding it out, but we looked awesome.

Kite is up!

Our plan was to get the dinghy going and tow Heartbeat into the marina. So we blew up the dinghy, launched it, dug out the engine and dug out the fuel. This took a long time. Then we spent ages hunting for the connecting cable for the fuel only to find it was missing a bit. So onto plan b. We called seaview marina asking for a tow and they were there in 15 minutes, tied up and bringing us in. I was so impressed by how lovely they were, the marina manager seems to be a really friendly guy. So we got tied up and they made us feel at home straight away. I had been dying to get ashore and then I didn't want to leave the boat! But I'm exhausted and looking forward to sleeping in a dry bed tonight, so it's for the best. Also I probably need a shower...

Love Monique

Heartbeat safely tied up at her new home

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