“Time to get up” he calls from the salon.
“But it’s not even light out” I moan.
“Too bad. Get up!” he bellows.
I know arguing with him won’t work so I slowly slither from the warmth of our cozy bunk and immediately start getting dressed. Once I’m up and moving I start to feel the excitement of the day. This is a day we’ve waited for, for several months. Yes, today is the day we finally depart New Zealand and head for warmer waters and tropical islands!
We’ve got an appointment with the Custom’s Officer at 0900 at the Marsden Cove Marina. It’s just an hour trip from the beautiful anchorage we stayed in last night. After I’ve had my Coca Cola and Dan’s had a pot of coffee we begin to stow our last minute items and prepare to depart. Before I know it we are underway. The sun is coming over the mountains in the distance and it’s actually beginning to warm up. Sure, warm up now that we’re leaving.
We make our way to the marina and slide into the fuel dock where we will fuel up and meet with the Custom’s Officer. I go below to gather our last bit of trash and make sure everything is ship shape and ready to head out. Soon I hear the Dan talking to someone. I poke my head through the compaionway and see the officer walking down the dock. He’s a stout young man of Māori descent. His large round face is surrounded by jet-black hair and a bushy beard. His eyes are kind, his smile is sweet and he speaks with a soft voice.
We welcome him aboard Dazzler and sit in the cockpit while he goes through our paperwork. Within minutes he’s cleared us out of the country and provided us with our Certificate of Clearance for our next port.
A nice lady from the marina office is on the dock waiting to assist us with fuel. You see if you wait until you get your clearance papers you can get your fuel GST free. That means no tax and at 15% that’s a pretty good savings when you’re looking at close to 400 litres of fuel. It takes about a half hour to get the tank filled as well as our two 55 gallon jury cans that we keep on deck. Dan goes up to the office to pay and I don my headset and prepare for our departure.
When Dan returns I’m ready to get underway. We fire up the engine and I take my place at the helm while Dan gets on the dock and handles the lines. Over my shoulder I see the Custom’s Officer standing on the balcony at the office. He can’t leave until he watches us depart. Within a few minutes we have cast the lines off and we’re motoring through the marina.
I continue command of the ship while Dan goes on deck to stow lines and fenders and secure our jack lines. These are the lines we clip into when we are at sea to prevent us from falling overboard. They are quite possibly to most important lines on the boat.
Ten minutes later and we are exiting the narrow channel from the marina and heading into the mouth of the bay. We pass by the huge commercial dock where large ships come to drop off fuel and pick up lumber. There’s only one ship at the dock today and she looks to be almost full of the giant logs and ready to depart as well.
As we pass Whangarei Heads and begin making our way into Breams Bay I can’t help but shed a few tears. I’m pretty emotional like that. And yes, Dan makes fun of me for it too! I guess I’m just feeling a bit overwhelmed. After all, this is the port where we landed after 7561 NM across the Pacific Ocean. It was a huge accomplishment for both of us and we’ve had an amazing time here in New Zealand. The people have been so wonderful and we even gained some fabulous new family members. We’ve seen so many beautiful things we will never forget. And even though our plan is to return for the next cyclone season, I’m still a bit sad to be leaving. After six months it sort of feels like leaving home.
Of course Dan senses my mood and begins making jokes an asking me if I’ve double checked everything below. He knows exactly how to snap me out of my emotional moments so I go below and check again. I also triple check that all the port lights and the hatch are sealed tightly. I’m not going through another eight days like we did on the way here.
My sweep of the cabin is good and I head back on deck. It’s time for us to hoist the sails and get to the business of sailing. Dan does his thing while I steer the boat into the wind. Soon the mainsail is up, the engine is off and all we can hear is that awesome sound of the wind and water. Ahhhh!!! That’s better!
Dan takes back the helm and sets our course. Next port, Nuku’alofa, Tonga. We plan to spend a bit more time there this year as we were rushed by weather last year. With 176 islands there is still plenty for us to see.
Until next time,
Captain Dan & Jilly
“Time to get up” he calls from the salon.