A Long Way From Home... And Further Still To Go.
New Zealand dawning over the horizon was a welcome sight and a big boost in morale for the crew aboard the Nanook. “We did it, we lost half of our green energy systems in the process but we made it to New Zealand.” After a gruelling 5 days crossing the Tasman we limped into Nelson, with outstanding problems now identified, Al was quick on the blower to organise some much needed help from some of the locals. He managed to get onto a company called Nelson Marine Services, we didn’t know it then but we just hit the jackpot. Much to our surprise, as we pulled into dock at C32, they were standing there waiting for us, caught our lines and helped tie up.
Hailing originally from the fishing boats off the intense seas in Northern Ireland and a born natural in the ways of everything marine, was Nev, the company owner. Accompanying him was Matt, a true New Zealander, there was no job too big or small that he couldn’t do. Next was a young up and coming skipper in training, Floriana, a real go-getter, she was never afraid to get her hands dirty in the pursuit of getting the job done.
We had 4 days. In that time The Nanook required several major changes and modifications, we all pitched in. Scurrying around like ants, crawling in and out of every hole in an effort to get their queen prepped and ready for the challenges that lay ahead. This is an incredibly tight window to get the amount of work we needed done, but the team at Nelson Marine Services were no strangers to tight timeframes, if anything they thrived in it. I believe it was a true testament to the people of Nelson, even walking around town the people were kind, welcomed us with open arms and assisted in any way they could.
As our deadline fast approached, so to did the nervous anticipation about setting out across the Pacific, but now with all repairs complete and The Nanook looking great again, we were filled with confidence in our steel-hulled home.
We have now departed New Zealand and are under way towards Patagonia. Standing proud and vast between us and South America is the Southern Pacific Ocean. From New Zealand to Chile it's 4575 nautical miles across, the largest single body of water on our planet. The challenges that lay ahead will push us to our perceived limits, and maybe further still. We have no control out here, we are surrendering ourselves to the big blue, we are totally governed by weather windows and the systems around us, pushing us deeper and deeper into the depth of the mighty Southern Ocean.
However, what we can control is how prepared we are for the unknown, for the storms, the big swells and the calm days where we are left drifting in an effort to conserve our diesel for the final push into Puerto Montt. The work we did in Nelson is living proof of that.
In hindsight, I'm so grateful that the Tasman was as harsh and brutal as she was. What the Tasman did was highlight all the systems onboard that needed attention. If it was all smooth sailing we would never have known and would have been completely caught off guard - the Tasman was the proving ground.
So for the next 30 days our life consists of blue, a deep electric blue, a water-filled desert shaped by the wind and shifted by the storms, Teeming with life yet at the same time isolated aside from a few wandering albatross gliding effortlessly around the boat. Looking out, you can’t help but wonder what secrets this ocean holds, the stories of those who have gone before us, Cpt. James Cook of the HMS Endeavour, Ferdinand Magellan of the Trinidad, the Polynesian mariners that explored these waters over 3000 years ago and even my country's own Jessica Watson. You can’t help but wonder if they too looked out across this great expanse all those years ago and thought what I’m thinking now…
A long way from home…and further still to go into the unknown…