Trip Start Sep 27, 2008
20Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
After a long stay, the dolphins departed. The next two days were easy, basking in the sun, reading, eating, occasionally adjusting a sail here or there, turning on the engine when the wind died down too much. Far away, the silhoutted form of the Waitakere Ranges slid by. We settled into a comfy routine of watches
The gale- 36 hours of beating into wind with waves crashing over us. We tried to heave to, but were dragged towards the rolling grounds off Taranaki. Jim set up the staysail and storm trysail, we still seemed overpowered. The winds were over 40 knots, the waves up to 4 metres. The world became unstable, filled with howling and roaring. Every so often a freak wave would sideswipe us, causing everything on board to crash and shake. It sounded as though the world was ending. Water came in through the anchor locker and we struggled through the pitching boat to bail out. The noises became more terrifying as we lurched on through the night. Morning came, and with it my watch. I struggled to see the glowering towers of oil rigs through the tumultuous ocean. Waves engulfed me.
I wanted to see where were were, how much ocean we had left to cover, and maybe some hint as to how long we would have to be out here. I lurched to the nav station to check the GPS, when a wave threw the boat, and me. The floor was not the floor any more, and I was smashed against the wardrobe. I was fine, just slightly battered and bruised, but everything felt too much and I wanted nothing more than to be on dry land, safe and secure
When I woke up, the world was calm. The wind had died off altogether. We started the engine and I took watch. The Abel Tasman National Park came into view, and two pods of dolphins escorted me on the way in to Nelson. Exhausted, we crawled into port at 10pm. The next day was spent trying to tackle the washing, dry out our poor sodden vessel, and provision ready for our trip to the Abel Tasman. Jill and James signed on as crew and the fierce wind returned. We spent a day safe in the marina, drinking wine in the sun, rescuing hats for gentlemen in wheelchairs, being feted at the yacht club and drinking sufficiently potent Cosmopolitans that at least one crew member lost the memory of the delicious steak I made for dinner.