Bobulona left Tonga on November 10, and with 1 short stop in Minerva Reef. Minerva Reef consist of two small atolls (reefs) that are barely above water at low tide. You can anchor inside them and be protected from prevailing seas mostly but not from the wind. It is pretty wild being anchored out in middle of the ocean in calm water with no sight of land. We had a great sail and landed in Opua Marina, on the northeast coast of New Zealand on November 22nd, in time to celebrate Denis' birthday. Perfect timing - the day after our arrival it started blowing 40-50 knots! During our brief stay in Opua we took a road trip down to Whangarei, taking the Coast Road, and got a small taste of the spectacular NZ countryside seen from the car (a novel way for us to travel). Wherever you gazed seemed to be a feast for the eyes!
After 10 days of touring around the Opua - Bay of Islands area, we got back aboard Bobulona and took 4 days to sail down toTauranga, where we are currently berthed. We love our new digs here. Tauranga is a beautiful area with access to the mountains, and a short distance to miles of beautiful beaches, which are playgrounds for surfing, windsurfing and long beach walks. You can even ride your bikes on the beach at low tide!
We were only in New Zealand for the couple weeks before we headed back to the States for the holidays. We went to Florida to spend time with family and then on back to Seattle to visit with friends and tend to business. We had intentions of doing some skiing while in Washington, and even had a weekend trip planned to Whistler. However, this was an unusually warm winter with very little snow, so we were only able to ski 2 days. Overall we had a great time catching up with friends as well as doing some shopping for the boat.
It is now February 18, we are back in New Zealand and Denis has just finished the "modifications" on our new campervan. We have unloaded all of our toys off Bobulona, so we will be off tomorrow on a road trip (surfing safari), around the south part of the North Island. There should be some great stories in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned for the next update. Ciao for now.