Day 391, Year 1: Passage to New Zealand, Day 4—Beautiful Day
Date: Monday, November 13, 2006
Weather: Sunny and Warm with Blue, Blue Skies; Winds S7 Knots On The Nose
Air Temperature: 60 degrees F and falling
Water Temperature at Surface: 62 degrees F and falling
Latitude: 31 degrees 32 minutes S
Longitude: 176 degrees 12 minutes E
Miles to Go: 250

What a beautiful day. We have absolutely flat seas, blue skies with not a hint of a cloud, and the sun is shining brightly. Even though it is 60 degrees F outside, it is 78 degrees here in the cockpit and I just had to take off my long sleeve shirt because I was so hot. But you know what they say about the calm before the storm. The forecasts say this is not going to last. The beautiful red sails in the sunrise this morning were warning of that. We are still pushing our way through this high pressure system, but late tonight or early tomorrow we will come out of the high and into rainy, cool weather. A low pressure system and a couple of troughs are headed our way, so we are enjoying the day while preparing for tomorrow. I said yesterday that unless we have a problem of some sort, we should be in Opua early on Wednesday. Well, we have a problem. We have a 1+ knot current against us that is only allowing us to move forward at about 5 knots even though we have the motor running almost full tilt. We needed to keep our average at 5.5 knots in order to be in early on Wednesday. Once we have wind again, I think we can make up for some lost time, but it looks like it will be late in the day on Wednesday when we arrive. We are going to have a period of 25 to 30 knots winds between now and then, but they will be on the back quarter, so we should be fine. The winds are predicted to build and then lesson on Wednesday as we approach Opua. Then the winds build to 35 knots and that is what we want to avoid. John Leavitt at Commanders’ Weather in New Hampshire keeps us updated on any changes. So far, all of his projections have been right on target. Thank you, John.

Mark has been asleep all day. His cold has gotten worse and he has a hard time talking due to a raspy throat. I had to fill in for him as net controller on the Southbound Coconut Net this morning and I am doing all of the day watches so he can rest up for tonight. I’m really hoping that the extra rest will put him back on track, but this cold really hit him hard. I thought I was getting the same thing, but all the symptoms except for a tickly throat have gone away. So at least I am fine for now. I told Mark that I think just the thought of cooler weather made him sick!

All day I have been running up to the cockpit to be on watch and down to the cabin below to get things ready for entering New Zealand. There are many forms to fill out and so many items of food that they will take from us upon arrival and others that they will inspect and then decide whether they have to take it. They allow no poultry or poultry products or dairy products to enter the country. All meat in the freezer and all fresh fruits and vegetables must go. Since we thought we would be staying in Minerva Reef for a few days, we have some fresh things that are going to have to be thrown out. They inspect all spices, noodles, rice, dried fruits and vegetables, as well as wooden items and a host of other things to make sure they are acceptable. I hope this all sounds worse than it really is, but when you read the literature it sounds like we will have nothing left when they are finished. Bette Lee on Quantum Leap emailed and said the check-in was painless and very professional. Not sure what that means in terms of what we will get to keep and what has to go, but we shall soon find out.

I finally did a little New Zealand research last night on while on watch. While reading through the New Zealand Border Agencies Information packet, I was intrigued by the fact that there was a greeting in English as well as in Maori. New Zealand is also referred to as Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand, or the Land of the Long White Cloud. In addition, the Maori greeting “haere mai” was used. I felt for a moment that we are not leaving Polynesia at all. I was temporarily transported back to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. I knew from my reading in the Marquesas and in French Polynesia, that the Maori of New Zealand came from there, but I wasn’t sure of all of the details. The New Zealand information I have says that sometime prior to AD 800, the great Polynesian explorer named Kupe made his way south and found the islands he named Aotearoa. He arrived in a canoe from Hawaiki (the original name of Raiatea in French Polynesia). He returned home and four centuries later seven or more ocean-going canoes carried Polynesian colonists to Aoearoa. Radiocarbon dating shows that there were multiple Polynesian Maori colonies on both the north and south islands of New Zealand by AD 1100. Oral history tells us that Kupe found no people in the new land while he was there, but Chief Toi and his grandson, Watonga, from Hawaiki, repeated Kupe’s voyage about two centuries after Kupe and when they returned home they did report that they found people living in Aotearoa. The present day Maoris living in New Zealand have tribal names that can be traced to the seven canoes that arrived around AD 1100. It was not until 1642 when Dutch explorer Abel Tasman arrived that the islands were named Nieuw Zeeland after a province in Holland. Then in 1769 Captain James Cook arrived and claimed the islands for Great Britain. The Maoris and the Europeans struggled over land ownership. In 1840 Queen Vistoria’s envoys signed the Treaty of Waitangi where the Maori gave up heir sovereignty to Britain in exchange for a guarantee of their rights over lands, forests, and fisheries. This treaty was never formally ratified and the struggles continued until 1975. In that year a Maori politician established the Waitangi Tirbunal and although this does not carry the weight of the law, by the 1990’s a significant amount of New Zealand resources were transferred to the Maori.

That is probably enough of a history lesson for today. I’ll keep reading tonight and see what I can report tomorrow.

061113 Day 390–Minerva Reef to NZ Passage
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Day 392, Year 1: Passage to New Zealand, Day 5—Weather Change
Day 390, Year 1: Passage to New Zealand, Day 3—The BIG High Pressure