After an early wake up call we got on the bus to Christchurch Airport and took our flight to Auckland. From there we took the bus downtown to the Central Bus station and changed there to the bus, which would bring us to Opua in a 4 hours drive. It was a long journey with a lot of luggage – we still carried all the stuff from our Switzerland holiday with us – but Jaël and Amina did extremely well.
Mirabella was still in the shed but we wanted to be back on time to see how she looked like and to be able to react if there were any problems. Therefore we had booked an AirBnB in Opua just a little bit uphill from the school. Our hosts Terry and Jocelyn gave us a warm welcome with cool drinks on their beautiful terrace. The kids felt at home immediately… there was a trampoline and a huge box of lego on the terrace and Terry had put fresh corn on the cob and chocolates in our fridge… what else could they wish for!
Next day it was time to go and have a look at Mirabella… wow… what a beauty she was again! The guys from Bluefix had done a fantastic job! Now just the antifouling had to be done and then she would look like new. André decided that this was the right place to do it properly and scratch and sand first all the 20 layers of old antifouling off. A gruesome job. To reduce the costs he worked on it as well.
So it took a little longer than we thought and thanks to Terry and Jocelyn, who are the most generous and friendly people you could imagine, we could extend our stay. Terry helped us out whenever we needed a ride to Paihia or Kerikeri. He took us to beautiful Matauri bay on a Sunday, baked a cake with the girls and invited us often to join one of his deliciuosly cooked dinners on the beautiful terrace.
Finally, after about two weeks, Mirabella got out of the shed, got her mast back on and we could move on the boat again. We were all happy to be back in our floating home and unpack our bags. Since beginning of December we had been living out of them. Jaël and Amina had to be very patient until they could unpack the lego they had got for Christmas. You can imagine what they did first…
The following days we spent getting Mirabella back into ship shape. André sent the anchor chain to Whangarei to regalvanize it, as some parts were a bit rusty and we got a custom made welded reinforcement for our pushpitt, as it had always been a bit wobbly since we had upgraded from a 6 PS to a 20 PS motor.
Camilla, who wanted to join us for the passage to Sydney, arrived and helped us with the boatjobs. Marco, who originally wanted to visit us in Sydney, flew to New Zealand instead, to join us for the passage as well…. quite an adventurous thing for someone without sailing experience. In between last provisioning and boatjobs we also enjoyed more beautiful hikes and celebrated Waitangi day on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. We invited Terry and Jocelyn for dinner on our boat and Jaël and Amina were very proud to finally show them our boat.
Towards the end of February there was finally a good weather window for the passage to Sydney but – our anchor chain was still in Whangarei… The weather window would not last much longer. If we waited until the chain got delivered to Opua we would not be able to leave on time and would have to wait for another window. So we asked Terry , if he could drive André to Whangarei. Although he had a lot of work he drove André to Whangarei to pick up the anchor chain. Thank you Terry! The 28th of February we checked out of New Zealand. Jocelyn, her mom Hine and Terry came down to the marina to say goodbye . They brought us cakes, grapes and a Kiwi bag full of chips etc.
Bye bye New Zealand – this was one of the hardest goodbyes. We have been to many beautiful places on our journey, but this was different. Thank you to all the friendly people we have met, especially in the marina, in Opua school and in Paihia Waitangi Kindergarten. Thank you for making New Zealand such a special place! We will be back one day!