It seems only fit & proper that the final blog of STW24 comes from Forward Port Watch, after all it’s where our Watch Leader Alli started her adventure with the J.S.T.; having never sailed before she joined Nellie in Singapore, on the 7th June, for her maiden voyage, which was to last 44 days – 8 voyages later, (6 months), & only 2 more nights on board Lord Nelson, Alli’s ‘life changing’ experience comes to an end, as she flies back to the UK.
So let us update you on the last few days as things have been a little busy on board…..
Early evening Day 6 – We rounded Cape Reinga & we learnt that the meeting a sea, (the Tasman Sea) & an ocean, (the South Pacific), creates a rather large swell, thus resulting in an uncomfortable night for all. Despite the conditions 2 sharks were spotted off the port side and our trusty nature advisor, Colin, identified them as basking sharks! David Attenborough eat your heart out!
Day 7 – Calmer waters prevailed as Forward Port’s youngest member, Louise, helmed us into the stunning port of Opua, in the Bay of Islands. After lunch shore leave was granted & we enjoyed a swim in the jellyfish infested waters, followed by exercises on the beach, with many a hokey pokey ice cream consumed afterwards and drinks in the yacht club.
Day 8 – Alli had us, (Louise, Dani, Sophie & Sarah), up at 05:45 for an early morning hike around the bay. We explored caves housing gnomes, trespassed on private property, climbed to the top of a water tower & enjoyed a magnificent sunrise, illuminating Nellie to show her full beauty. After another hearty breakfast Stew, Hannah, Felicity, Jezza, Colin and Daniel completed their assisted climbs & got to see Opua & the ship from a different perspective. It certainly brought a lump to our throats & joy to our hearts to see their smiling faces as they reached the first platform. As late morning approached Forward Port Watch, plus honorary social members Sophie & Sarah, set off for their family day out to Paihia. Kayaking, paddle-boarding, cat sailing & cycling was enjoyed by all in the warm sunshine, followed by yet more food, drink & hokey pokey ice-creams! Unfortunately we had to leave Opua in the late afternoon. Hannah helmed us out of the harbour, as Den had his first trip in the D.O.T.I, boat. We were all really sad to leave Opua; it truly is a little piece of heaven of earth & we look forward to our Forward Port Watch reunion there as soon as Alli completes the purchase of some land & builds her palace, (all donations for this project will be gratefully received!). The evening was highlighted by another shark sighting and the appearance of Derek’s famous banoffee pie.
Midnight to 4am watch brought some adventure to the dull wet night as during ‘rounds’ Alli discovered a small bird, (of the feathered variety) distressed in the bar. After rescuing the bird Dani and Alli discovered another two birds fluttering around below decks. More rescues were undertaken as the rest of the watch tip toed around half a dozen birds that had taken shelter on Nellie, (their poo & vomit was there for all to see as the sun rose on the deck).
We are currently under motor with the city of Auckland in sight. We have stowed the sails and are being escorted in by multiple pods of dolphins.
This has been an amazing trip we will all remember forever. From sightings of wildlife (some real, some questionable – ie. Flying glow in the dark albino penguins at 2am), fantastic people and crew and some perfect New Zealand weather we are sad to be at the end.
Forward Port Watch – Alli (AKA Mum), Stretch, Colin, Den, Robin, Hannah, Dani and Louise.