New Zealand

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After pottering around in Nelson for a month we finally departed last Friday (8 May) in a bit of a hurry! The weather was quite bad but, in between fronts, there was a 24hr weather window for us to get across to Wellington. After a lot of deliberation we made a quick decision and it was full steam ahead to make it through French Pass on a slack tide. We sailed/motored through Queen Charlotte Sound during the night and crossed Cook Strait early Saturday morning. It was blowing 30kts but behind us so we had a pretty quick run over to Pencarrow Head then into Chaffers in time for lunch!

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We arrived in Wellington with a few days in hand before Maya’s graduation on the 12th. Congratulations Maya Carmody BA !!! You survived the long hours of study and moments of panic – well done, and great shoes!!! The ceremony was very colourful, it included a Maori dance of welcome and not too many speeches. The stream of graduates across the stage was interspersed with musical interludes and occasional spontaneous Maori singing or chanting to celebrate the success of a family member. It was a memorable evening.

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While we were in Nelson we had a couple of things to fix after our shake-down trip across the Tasman. We also got on with a few boat improvements. Neil installed the AIS tracking system so now you can find us anywhere in the world. Just log on to www.marinetraffic.com and type in Distant Drummer and there we are! I made the sides for our bimini, I must admit I am completely over struggling to push great thicknesses of canvas and PVC through my poor Jenome sewing machine, but the end product worked out OK.

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We also did quite a lot of socialising, Lynn and Jeff’s Halloween party was great fun. We had some nice dinners out as well as friends down to the boat for supper or a coffee. I caught up with my friend Kay and she took me to see the Pan family who I helped settle in Nelson 6 years ago. I was so happy to see them all thriving in the community. Quiz night at the Sprig and Fern became a regular event for us with Steve and Mark and the team, we even won $25! We are going to miss our friends in Nelson – thanks, everyone, for the wonderful hospitality.

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So soon we will be heading out into the big blue bound for French Polynesia. We are waiting for a big fat high to move across the Tasman and settle just east and a bit north of New Zealand. The forecast looks good for next week, fingers crossed and we’ll be on our way.

Cheers for now

Suzy and Neil

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