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November 14, 2016 we arrive in Opua, Bay of Islands.
It's cold. It's GRAY. It rains. It's storming. There are all RULES. The beautiful blue water is gone! But we are proud! Proud that we managed to arrive unharmed on the other side of the world in our sailing boat. New Zealand, the country where we have never been but have always wanted to go. But it was too far, too expensive, we didn't have enough time. Now we ARE there -on the other side of the world- and that almost at a jogging pace with our own boat across large oceans !!
The weather was bad during the arrival, we arrived with a terrible front with corresponding bad weather. A few days later the sun starts to shine and the country looks a lot more pleasant. Then suddenly that water is actually quite blue. The air too and those rules, yes, it takes some getting used to again after all that freedom, but actually it is not too bad and the people are remarkably relaxed, cheerful and pleasant. New Zealand consists mainly of Polynesians and descendants of the English. Because the country is so huge and so few people live there, the atmosphere is very pleasant.
We have arrived in Opua, which is located in the Bay of Islands in the northeast of the North Island of New Zealand. After the first pleasant week (see report "Over crossing New Zealand"), we actually worked very hard to make Omweg in perfect order to put her up for sale with a lot of doubt and pain in our hearts. A bigger boat fits better in our new plans. During the day we work hard, in the evening we look on the internet (as we have done in recent months if we had internet), for nice catamarans. In the Caribbean we now accidentally found a very suitable new boat for us (see New boat ). We thoroughly investigate whether the type is really well known, contact many experts and decide 'if the boat in question turns out to be good, we really want it'. Actually, we are far from done with New Zealand but yes, that boat seems quite ideal and soon it will be sold to someone else .... So we decided to leave New Zealand early anyway, in the hope of someday coming back because the country left a nice impression on us after the cold arrival!
Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is a very beautiful cruising area and you can also take countless beautiful walks everywhere. There are many beautiful bays where you can anchor very nicely on good soil, well sheltered and in beautiful water. The sea is cold if you are used to the tropics so we do not swim, but while doing odd jobs we sail a bit to beautiful new places so that we can enjoy as much of this beautiful area as possible. On December 25, we will celebrate Christmas with a large number of fellow cruisers, on the beach. Everyone makes something tasty for on or next to the BBQ and that together becomes a large buffet, which remains a nice concept! Christmas comes from the northern hemisphere (where it is winter then) and that is why they also walk in New Zealand, where it is summer during Christmas, with Santa hats on :-)
One of the things we really want to do while we're here is dive into Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior that the French government slyly and meanly secretly sank when Greenpeace demonstrated against the disgusting nuclear tests on beautiful coral atoll Mururoa. The history of that ship is so special, we have to see that!
When we are completely done with odd jobs and we have brought Omweg back to tip-top condition, we still have a few days before our plane leaves. We booked a plane from Auckland to Martinique to see the new boat. We decide to rent a car for a few days so that we can still see a little bit of the interior and it is beautiful !! We leave fairly on spec, with the only real goal Hobbiton, which we, of course, as Lord of the Rings enthusiasts, cannot pass up. We book nice overnight places through Airbnb, during a beautiful walk through the mountains near the Abbey Caves we get into conversation with very sweet enthusiastic older females who were born and raised here and thus get to know more about New Zealand.