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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tonga - New Zealand bound, 1,100 miles

Planned passage from Tonga to New Zealand via Minerva Reef.
Image pilfered sv felicity's blog.
Today we head out for our last long passage for this cruising season, from Tonga's Nuku'alofa to New Zealand's closest check-in point at its northern tip, Opua, possibly with a stop at Minerva Reef about 1/3 of the way there.  The passage is 1,100 miles.  Not our longest -- 3,200 miles from Galapagos to French Marquesas was -- but a formidable one nonetheless.

We're ready.

The weather forecasts from multiple sources are good.  The herd is moving.  Some today, most of the rest of us tomorrow.  We've even signed up for voyage planning from weather guru Bob McDavitt.

We're well provisioned (food-wise).  Our fuel's topped off.  Our water tanks are full.  We just did a load of laundry.  The boat's in good (enough) working order -- we plan some maintenance and repairs in New Zealand.

Other than our Iridium satellite for minimal text messages and basic email (a different address then my "usual" email -- sorry don't want to clog it by over-sharing it's address -- it's sensitive) we will be out of wifi range until we arrive in Opua, New Zealand in mid-November.

We've steadily moved away from the warm enough to be bikini weather and snorkel-without-a-wetsuit weather, which is sad.  Much like daily gazing at Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams in the Pacific Northwest, that's something I never tire of.  In that respect, I am a very simple soul.

However, we are very much looking forward to returning to a first world country; something we've not experienced since December 2014.  We know New Zealand is beautiful, and reputedly it Bay of Islands among the best cruising grounds in the world.  The Kiwi's we've met are incredibly nice.  

Weather map and recommended route map for our Tonga to New Zealand
passage this morning from Bob McDermitt.

All good.

Despite all the preparation, are we nervous about the passage?

You betcha.

Wish us luck, please!

We expect to arrive in Opua about two weeks.  

Location Location:
We're anchored a moderate dinghy's ride away from Nuku'alofa, TONGA outside Big Mama's Yacht Club (S21 07.134 W175 09.622).