The New Zealand summer passed quickly and changeable weather limited boating activities, as our bones, used to warmer tropical climes, found the colder winds and waters more restrictive. Boating sorties to a number of bays in the Hauraki Gulf Islands provided pleasant day or overnight escapades with family and friends who had not had the opportunity previously to enjoy time on "Star of the West". Rendezvous were held with cruising pals who had shared other global cruising experiences and many a tale was recalled. With the onset of winter more time will be available to fill the gaps in the tales on this "Star of the West" website. Maps with tracks of our completed Pacific leg have been incorporated with text and photos next.
Cold southerly wet winter weather, bleak, miserable describe a large part of this time of year. We headed north on 18th May to the Bay of Islands to get closer to the Equator and bid farewell to our dear friends Heinz and Catherine Lorenzen on "Rolling Home". They were readying themselves for a dash to the tropics and a completion of their circumnavigation after arriving in NZ in 2004. They have been close friends since we met in 1991 in Jakarta. They sailed off from there in 1996 to circle the world. Cousins Maureen and Gary made us welcome in their Opua Motel and we caught up with Barry and Judy Hunter who were remodeling the cockpit of "Theta" and friend Warren Batt "Mustang Sally" who drove up to add to the camaraderie. The global cruising flotilla was disappearing in numbers as they headed north to the tropics to escape the southern winter or west to new destinations in their traverse of the Globe. We were envious. We shared some anchorages with "Rolling Home" as they waited for a weather opportunity to head north and daughter Carrie came up from Blenheim in the South Island and shared pleasant times onboard and enjoyed the quiet anchorages within the Bay of Islands. Large dolphins frolicked around us in the cool windless conditions and we bid "Rolling Home" farewell on 30th May as they headed north to Vanuatu and we returned to Opua marina. On 10th June we departed Opua for Auckland, goodbyes to Maureen and Gary on "Amanda Lee" fishing in the Opua channel and enjoyed a very pleasant overnight sail to Gulf Harbour on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, which unbeknown to us at the time would become our new home. We purchased a home there in July conveniently close to a marina berth for "Star of the West".
The preceding months of July and August continued in a wet windy bleak winter mood and only on 4th September could we escape briefly from our marina berth for a day sail for the first time since arriving in mid-June. The remainder of September and October were unfriendly and we were unable to sail again until late December after we had returned from a holiday in Indonesia and Phuket in November and early December. Not a lot of sailing this year compared to our previous years bobbing around the globe.