May 16th, 2011

Dear F&F,

\”Anniversary\”….\”The Little River Band\”.

Auckland, New Zealand: Wind SSW 18-35 knots. Swell in the Tasman Sea 6-8 meters SSW (18- 25 feet). Temperature 61 deg F, 16.6 C. Squally….

Today is May 16th, 2011. Today would have been our 18th anniversary. We always called it our \”Humaversary\” after the Humuhumunukunuku a\’ pua fish. You know it as the trigger fish. It was our favorite due to it\’s behavior and color. We first found this fish together on our dives in Hawaii in the mid 1990\’s.

The translation of this in Hawaiian is \”Nose like a pig, put together like a puzzle\”. I always thought it was apropos of Cindy. Little did I know…. I loved her cute nose, the puzzle is well…..a puzzle.

Tomorrow we will check out with New Zealand Customs, finish housekeeping, return the car and say goodbye. We\’ll have a last NZ dinner with Chris and Sandra Biggs at their home and depart Wednesday morning (your Tuesday in the Western Hemisphere).

The weather is predicted to calm for a bit then, but will build steadily as we head north. The swell will be long period and large, but the \”seas\” not predicted to be breaking off the tops too bad. This is \”Beach House\’s\” bread and butter condition. The good news is, it will be behind us. It could be a fast and blustery passage to Fiji. Currently, we\’re thinking \”pass\” on Minerva Reefs due to probable \”re-enforced\” trade winds when we would arrive. That means 25 knots or more! If so, c\’est la vie. If it works, we\’ll stop at North Minerva. This window is narrow and lots of boats will be leaving with us. The next one is not predicted to occur until sometime in June. So…here we go.

Savusavu, Fiji is 1205 miles in a straight line (which of course we won\’t sail) and should take around 7-9 days to get to depending on if we stop in the Minerva\’s.

Six boats are going to leave on our \”window\” from just Gulf Harbour. Perhaps 30 or so from all of New Zealand. We are lucky that due to bad weather, the Auckland customs dock was damaged so they have agreed to come up to Gulf Harbour tomorrow and check us out. This saves us a 35 mile round trip in the wrong direction. Additionally, they have agreed we can depart the next day which is virtually unheard of here. Usually you have to leave immediately upon check out. I told them I didn\’t want to do that as to have a full day of daylight before night watches began to get our \”sea legs\”. They understood.

So I write you with a mixed heart. Glad to move on, glad to leave this part of my life behind. New Zealand and all the people I\’ve met here have been wonderful, it\’s just sad that the circumstances did not allow me to enjoy it more….Perhaps I\’ll return again another day with a lighter heart.

Hugs to you all, Look for our live blog to start on the 18th here in NZ, your 17th of May in the US and UK. KIT, Scott with Kate

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