Matt & Jean at the centre of New Zealand

 Superted V

Blog & Photos - September 2014

8 May to 2 September: Our 6 monthly visas for New Zealand were due to run out on 9 May so we had planned a trip to the UK - Matt for one month and me for two. It had been over 3 years since we had been back and I had forgotten how lovely England is - especially in spring sunshine! It was wonderful to visit family and friends. Matthew and Jo had just finished the extension on their house in the New Forest - it was great to be able to actually see the real thing rather than just photies and being in the forest we had some great walks and bike rides during our stay with them. Back in Plymouth, Helen was starting to get some badly needed work done on her Victorian house so I offered my services as decorator and extended my trip to the end of August. We did manage to get a whole week free of DIY and had a great trip to Barcelona where we walked our socks off visiting all the great landmmarks and a day hiking in the mountains at Monserrat. The weather in the UK was fabulous - almost tropical temperatures so we did escape the house for the odd day for a walk on the moors and I attended a few yoga classes to stretch out those aching muscles!

Meanwhile Matt was back in NZ by the begriming of June and started working on the boat. The teak decks badly needed attention so he set to work on them, then he re-designed and fitted out the crew cabin as a workshop. We had Frank from Advanced Canvas make a new spray hood and bimini complete with closed in sides to keep out the worst of the weather whilst at anchor (so we now have a 'conservatory'). Matt (with crew from Mystic Traveller) took the boat round to Waikawa to get all new standing rigging during August and got back to Nelson just in time for my arrival back from the UK on 2 Sept. So Superted is looking great!

3 - 30 September: Nelson is a lovely place to be with lots going on and great surroundings. I continued with yoga - trying different classes - even went to a laughter yoga session (I did laugh but don't think I'll be going again!) The weather during the winter had been really good with some overnight frost but mostly warm sunny days and has generally continued that way (without the frost) since I've been back. Matt bought a couple of bikes whilst I was away so it's been great zapping around on them. We've also been very fortunate with friends lending us their cars and have found a lovely local golf course surrounded by mountains where we've been getting frustrated but keep going back! It was fun to drive to French Pass and watch the roaring currents from the land instead of sailing through them! The last couple of weeks we've had some strong winds and a bit of rain (first in months) and occasional low overnight temperatures has dumped snow on the mountains which mostly disappears the following day in the warm sun. We had originally planned to go from NZ to Australia - maybe via New Caledonia but as always seems to happen, we had a change of heart and thought we might like to stay in NZ through until May 2015. So that became the plan. However Matt's visa runs out at the beginning of December and the immigration department will not consider an application until a month before it runs out - this meant that we wouldn't have a decision until some time in November. If they do not grant an extension, we would have to quickly leave for Australia - no matter the weather. So after a lot of soul searching, we decided it wasn't worth the risk and have settled back to plan Oz. Unfortunately that means we won't be able to catch up with good friends Michael and Barbara on Astarte and Sandy and Rankin on Gypsea Heart who will be coming back to NZ in November. It's not currently a good time to go across the Tasman Sea from the south island so we're waiting for a weather window to get up to Opua in the north island to leave from there in a month or so. If we get the chance we will haul out in Whangerai on the way up and do a quick antifoul job. Meanwhile we're just about ready to go. Despite the fact I was pretty certain the boat is very clean, I've been through every locker and bilge and given it all a 'spring clean' just to ensure that no little beasties have sneaked aboard whilst we weren't looking. We've heard stories of the Aussies imposing big fines for having 'hitchhikers' aboard so we definitely want it to be just the 2 of us when we arrive there! Matt has changed the filters and oil on the generator and engine and we applied for our Oz visas last Monday - we had them through electronically by Thursday - for 24 months multiple entry - no hassle! In glorious sunshine on 30 Sept, we left good friends Elspeth and David on the dock and headed out for French Pass where we spent out first night out of a marina for 5 months! We left the conservatory up to see how we got on - it was fine although the winds were not that strong so not sure how it will be when we're in a bit of a blow! It certainly makes a difference - eating in there is a bit like eating at a European street cafe! So it's on to Queen Charlotte Sound hoping for good winds to take us further north over the next week or so.

Position on 30 September: S40.55.584 E173.50.86