After a variety of small issues (the biggest of which was the freezer), we have finally checked off the last item on the bottom of the list. Last evening, we motored down to Marsden Cove where we will clear out. We have been watching the weather for the last week to pick up on the trends to plan the exact date of our departure for Tonga.
Today, the weather is snotty. An approaching low pressure is bringing strong winds and rain to New Zealand. Unlike the northern hemisphere, the winds in advance of a low are from the north instead of the south as the lows down here rotate clockwise.
Behind the front, the winds will come up from the south at 25 to 35 knots. Perfect for us to depart to the north with the winds and seas behind us. As time goes on, the winds will slowly diminish over the course of the next 5 days until we reach the trades near Tonga. In short the perfect time to go.
We have laid in our routing on the navigation system. The passage is almost exactly 1200 nautical miles. Approximately the same distance as Pittsburgh to Tampa Florida and will take roughly 5 days at our normal cruising speed.
There is little between us and Tonga – Minerva Reef (a small submerged atoll) and the Kermadec Islands (which have no anchorages and are essentially uninhabited) – so this will essentially be a nonstop trip.
We have filled out the paperwork to clear out tomorrow and preparations are essentially complete.
The charts have been laid out.
The deck has been cleared and the dinghy lashed down.
All of the boat’s systems and electronics have been checked.
The abandon ship bags have been loaded and staged, emergency procedures reviewed, the life harnesses and tethers and jack lines are in position, and the watch schedule established.
Clearance is set up for 12:30 PM tomorrow. If all goes as planned, our next post will be at sea.