October 23, 2014 Top of NZ and Closing In

Oct. 23, 2014
34 02′ S
170 55′ E
SOG: 5.0 kts

Another day of motoring into light southerlies.  Winds picked up a bit in the afternoon and we sailed for a few hours, but the best we could do was tack across the rhumb line.  Tomorrow the southerlies are forecast to strengthen to 20 knots as the leading edge of a new high pushes through.  Another day of beating to windward!  The following day, however, it looks like our “Nelson winds” will arrive, and we will hopefully coast the last 400 miles with 25 NW winds on our tail.

We’re just 60 NM away from the Three Kings islands off the top of NZ.  It’s a major shipping lane for freighters bound from Australia to Auckland, NZ.  One crossed our bow within .8 mile of us today, and we’ve got another one creeping up on on us in the dark now.  Thank god for AIS on nights like this, eliminating the anxiety and guesswork.  We always hail the navigator on the radio, out of curiosity.  It’s interesting to see if they’re paying attention and if they can see us on their ship’s radar.  It was quite dramatic this morning, after seeing nothing but blue water and sky for the past 10 days, to watch a bright red freighter lumber across the swells right in front of our nose!

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