DAYS 3 &4
After a fascinating briefing from Captain Barbara involving a wooden ship model (with mizzen and bowsprit missing) complete with koalas, we WEIGHED ANCHOR UNDER SAIL: braced the fore spars to stb’d and main yards to port, backed the fore tops’l and outer jib then braced the fore yards to port and set the main tops’l after the turn was complete. Wind over our stb’d quarter around F5 and we took off. All very proud of this accomplishment, especially when told the engine was not used at all
Saw the lovely R Tucker Thompson heading our way as we were on the watch and on the bridge. Opua seemed to head our way remarkably fast and a handbrake turn was applied to stop us from accidentally visiting the multitude of cruising yachts in the harbour. Dom, Laurie, Simone and Amy were aloft at the time and had a bird’s eye view of our circuit and untied a clewline just as the order to tie it came aloft. Meanwhile Fiona joined the shore team in the Doti boat to catch lines and haul the heavy warps onto their cleats as Dom helmed us alongside. Lunch ensued then the gangway was hoisted and assembled and shore leave granted. We suspect the population of Opua doubled instantly.
We elected to eat at the Opua Cruising Club to give Derek a night off, and as we were leaving the ship rumour had it that the Captain had been sighted cooking. Abandon ship!! (Just joking Barbara)
Scrumptious food at the club, the advertised jam session had not really taken off so as the evening progressed and the vino was imbibed, Gus tickled the ivories then Marco took voice and Malcolm led a rousing rendition of Waltzing Matilda and the Lord Nelson had firmly taken charge of entertainment for the night.
1st December 2013: “the best day of my life” said Jess, who completed a climb over the futtock shrouds as if she was born to it. She hadn’t thought she was capable of climbing so high but as soon as her hands were placed on the first step she knew nothing was going to stop her! Lawry also made the climb and fessed up that the medical purser had advised him against it which made him all the more determined. Pearly grey day with very little wind initially, however Jacqui and Peter boarded the R Tucker Thompson (before the exciting climb) and headed off for a glorious day sailing. Several shore parties walked to Paihia, while Jess, Amy, BMs and Bosun Rob caught a taxi to Waitangi and got locked in the treaty house grounds – they had to break out by climbing the fence: THE GREAT WAITANGI ESCAPE. Meanwhile Fiona and Jamie caught the ferry to Russell to join the R Tucker Thompson: more climbing aloft and scrambling out on the bowsprit – aaaahh! Poor Laurie was stuck on board doing mess duty, but he was allowed to use the cook’s favourite knife (favouritism or what??)
Somehow we all made it back before the gangway was lifted at 2230. Jess and Fiona on behalf of the Forward Port watch: led by the lovely Amy W/L, Jacqui, Simone, Peter, Dom, Malcolm, Laurie.