Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 14 - Air planes and Dried Fruit

We are now about 70 miles out of the Bay of Islands, beating into a freshening SSE breeze with a bouncy heeled over motion that makes typing somewhat difficult. Yesterday we had a very pleasant day of easterly winds on our beam. The sun came out after more than 24 hours of cloudy drizzly conditions and our batteries are once more topped up. I can now see that solar energy is not a panacea if you live in this part of the world, although it has worked superbly during our cruises in Mexico and the tropics.

Yesterday we nearly jumped out of our skins when a New Zealand air force Orion zoomed by to get a close look at us. They were down to around one thousand feet - close enough to read our boat name! This is a 4 engined propeller plane, used for coastal surveillance and I would guess they were on fisheries patrol as well as on the look out for approaching yachts. They called us and another nearby yacht on VHF Channel 16 to check our ETA into Opua. You have to email a pre-check-in document to NZ customs 48 hours in advance and then check in via radio 24 hours out with your revised ETA. These guys take border protection seriously!

Apart from the excitement of our aerial visitor, we have been busy eating our fresh produce, dried fruit, and other items that will be confiscated in New Zealand. We are doing quite well, but Rani is still worried they will take away our lentils, beans, and rice - staples in her diet. If you know Rani, you will know how much she hates to waste anything! Because we will arrive early on Sunday morning and will probably not be inspected until Monday, we still have two days to eat 7 potatoes, 4 onions, 3 kilos of rice, a kilo of raisins, and 4 or 5 kilos of assorted legumes. Rani has been threatening to make a giant rice pudding, but our tiny fridge cannot hold much more.

It has been so calm on this passage that we have been able to watch a movie each day. The Coen brothers are becoming favorites on Ladybug - we have watched two of their films in the last few days - "Bad Santa" and "A Serious Man". I love their dark, intelligent humour, even if the profanity and violence can be a bit much.

Our position at 07:45 on Saturday Nov 24 was 34 14 S 175 07 E. We made 110 miles in the last 24 hours.

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