Two months after patiently checking the weather forecast every day on various websites, Thomas has finally spotted a fine weather window last week, quickly gathered a crew, found someone to drive them to Whangarei, and organised everything to attempt the voyage for the second time last Saturday 17 August. As a cautious skipper, he minimised the risks carefully selecting seasoned crew only i.e. Gaspar and Rocio – who have half a world circumnavigation under their belt- kindly encouraging me and the kids (who he had to look after last time as we were throwing up one after the other) to stay behind and keep our energy for better cruising conditions to roam around the Hauraki gulf to “ease into it”.
However Zephyr insisted on being part of the adventure, and I pleaded in his favour, to give him the chance to feel special, and proud, and learn the ropes with experts, but also spare me siblings fights for an entire day. And overall I’m told he had a good time and entertained everyone with his endless list of jokes, when he was not resting or complaining “I’m bored”.
Two hours by car, thirteen by boat to cover the 83 nautical miles from Marsden Cove to Bayswater. Sure, sailing teaches you to slow down, nevertheless, all things considered, a 6.4 knots average speed is not too bad. The conditions were near perfect for most of the trip according to the crew, and the few pictures they sent me along the way, and as Gaspar puts it, Obelix pulled up his breeches to show them what he was capable of 😉
Ashore, we had our own sort of cruisy day with Azur: Early start at 8 am to rush to Otahuhu swimming pool to catch up with Claire, Paul and Margot (whose Thomas was the aforementioned taxi driver, who just needed an excuse to drive to Kerikeri to check up on his own boat), followed by a quick visit to the library next door, getting lost on the way back home, eggs and soldiers for lunch, a couple of loads of laundry to hang, regular calls to the crew for trip reports (they were definitely faster than anticipated and the long to-do list I had planned for the day was compromised), unexpectedly long nap in the afternoon (both of us slept for 3 hours), vacuuming, cleaning up the most disgusting parts of the house, under the oven and the washing machine, places that never get done because it requires moving heavy appliances and no one sees it any way, shopping at the fine foods dairy and liquor store to put together a gourmet hamper for Gaspar & Rocio as a token of gratitude, baking an eat-me-raw chocolate cake, all the while Azur was reading me jokes and riddles from his newly borrowed Christmas joke book, last call to the crew to check on their progress, F****, they were already past Devonport and only had half an hour to reach the marina. Roughly the time it would take us to get there too! I chucked everything in a big bag, blankets and PJs for the night, as well as food and gift, and madly drove to the marina with a half-baked cake riding shot gun, a chatter box still wanting me to listen to all his stories, and heavy rain and lightning slowing down the driving. I prayed I’d get there before them, but realised on arrival I didn’t have the marina badge yet and the gate was locked. “We can’t go under it, we can’t go over it, we have to smash through it” said Azur, but I knew better and remembered Rocio’s account on how easy it was to climb on the side of the gate and indeed it was, we ran to the far end of the pier, caracal speed, to welcome Obelix who had just arrived, engine still on, and the triumphant crew tying it up to the dock.
We celebrated proudly that night with a long dinner altogether on-board Obelix, reheating a shepherd pie pre-baked by Thomas on Thursday, washed down with Belgian beer, and rum, and we finished off with a creamy fondant brownie. The night was good despite the screeching of the ropes, the pop-corn sound of the barnacles in the water, and the rain drumming on the rigging.
Now I feel whole again, reunited with my baby, after being estranged for a couple of months, since my accident. This is official, Obelix has relocated to Auckland, our home city, taking its berth 62 on pier D at Bayswater Marina. Expect a party soon to celebrate this milestone!