All is well in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Wet and a wee bit cold it may be, but we are happily working on boat projects, exploring more of New Zealand and taking care of the daily needs of our little family.
During May and June, we saw some lovely weather, and some wild, windy and rainy weather as well. Mother Nature was easing us into our current state of daily rain squalls and weekly blows. Our dear friend Michelle Herald who lives in Aukland sent us all hot water bottles, saying that New Zealanders like to pretend it doesn’t get cold in New Zealand, but they all have hot water bottles. It has become a nightly ritual and our toes are toasty in bed!
All this time we’ve been in and around the Bay of Islands, making new friends, exploring new bays, and foraging for food in these abundant waters. There has been lots of drying laundry inside the boat (because there is so much room for that;), boat projects, art, hikes, and school.
In June, when the girls finished their school year, we took several weeks off from school, ZOOM meetings, and FaceTime music lessons. We made a quick trip up to another bay, Whangaroa, in early July with some new friends. We then headed back to the dock for a full week of work; 3,000-hour scheduled engine maintenance, woodwork projects (final install on the heater and a little stool for me so I can see over the dodger at the helm), and canvas and upholstery quotes for work we’d like to do. After that, we headed back out, eventually to the beautiful bay of Whangamumu for Cameron’s birthday weekend.
But let’s get down to the real questions. What is the plan? Any ideas about where we are going and when? I wish I knew anything for certain. Fiji and French Polynesia have opened their doors to yachts with some procedural hoops to jump through, but New Zealand has not yet fully and publicly opened the doors to returning non-NZ flagged yachts. They have indicated in a statement from the Ministry of Health that yachts needing refits and reprovisioning to the tune of at least $50,000.00 are welcome (yikes). The Cook Islands have, for a while, been making a case to NZ for a travel-bridge between their two countries. But recently, New Zealand said, “no thank you.” The Cooks have not seen one single case of COVID-19! It makes it a little uncertain whether or not going up to the islands, then coming back would be totally A-okay or not. We’ve burned a bunch of time here on our already extended VISA and likely wouldn’t be allowed to return for any length of time due to normal VISA time limits. And, if New Zealand is not opening their doors, is Indonesia going to be open? Australia? It makes it a little worrisome to head out.
Even with the uncertainty, and along with a complicated and a bit expensive exit process requiring negative COVID tests before departure, several yachts have taken off for warmer weather.
We are banking on another kind of uncertainty – the hope of a very extended VISA. We’ve applied with about 40 other yachts and the yacht services industry to extend our VISA and our boat’s temporary import license here until early June of next year. It is uncertain how all this will go and there are no guarantees that we won’t be kicked out of the country when our current VISA is up.
Even with all this uncertainty, we are all feeling very relaxed about things. We are so happy to be here. While it certainly wasn’t the plan, we couldn’t imagine being in a more convenient place to get boat work done or live our daily lives. Boat-school starts back up in a week now that we got our shipment of the school books and we plan to keep on keeping on.
I hope you enjoy the last few months of One Moment a Day videos! And, if you think of it, send up a prayer that New Zealand Immigration will happily extend our VISA!