We did it. We got our medical checks, our blood draws, and chest x-rays which will hopefully satisfy the New Zealand government that we are not a burden on their medical system. The doctor joked that he hated families like us as we were too healthy for him to make any money on. In our communication with Immigration New Zealand, they said that we would not get approved for the COVID-19 visa as that was for people who were actually attempting to leave the country (ahh :), but that the VISA for boaters will likely work for us. They haven’t yet decided how long this VISA will give us. Given the state of the world, we are hoping for LOTS of time.
On our trip south we stayed one extra day so that we could be a part of Cameron’s sister Kim’s ZOOM wedding!!! This was so cool and gave this utilitarian journey a rather sweet twist. The ceremony was so lovely, Kim and Colin were giddy with delight in their union, and everyone so happy to see them tie the knot. We were thrilled that we could be there to support them.
Banyan did just fine while we were away. There are plenty of moorings the size of elephants in Deep Water Basin and there was no charge! We boarded Banyan with a few more fresh veggies and a plan to explore Milford until the next bit of weather comes along to help us south. Yesterday we walked the last part of the famous Milford Track which was beautiful and quite easy with an excellent trail. Today we took the short walk up to the lookout and around the shore just at the head of the sound.
The weather has been beautiful with no rain and the sandflies have been rather manageable. With just a bit of bug spray, they don’t bite. If we are moving along the trail we don’t even notice them, but if we stop for a snack, they hang around our heads annoyingly. We have also started back up with school after a 6-week break. That will give us plenty to do while we wait for the next Northerly blow to get us down to George Sound.
Cameron of course has found boat jobs to do… it amazes me that in a space of 43′ x 12′ that there can still be things to do. He is installing a GPS antenna for the AIS system which will hopefully improve our location finding ability. Due to the steep nature of the Fiords, our GPS on our iPad is very erratic and our new Vesper AIS could barely find sufficient satellites to gain a fix. The antennae allows the Vesper to find a sufficient fix within less than a minute and we can broadcast that via wifi to our other devices (Navionics on iPad and Open CPN on the computer). He is also fixing the handle of a few cabinets that were broken.
That’s about it. We heard that New Zealand went into level 2 COVID warning last night. It doesn’t have much of an impact on us way out here, but praying that we don’t get fully locked down here… that would be crazy…
ciao for now The Banyan Crew