[Source: Camper] What ever happened to sunny Bay Of Plenty? Howling winds, cold & no shortage of rain. Just as well the people are so nice & warm here.
A massive first turn out of people to look over the boat yesterday, down below on CAMPER resembled Auckland rush hour on the motorway for most of the morning. A fine lunch at the Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club made me somewhat uneasy. I’m beginning to think the crews food expectations are becoming a little higher than what I will eventually be able to deliver on board!
Early start to set off to Gizzy this and I listen into the weather forecast from Will Oxley – no wind from the north too much wind from the south… Oh well I just hope to hold on to my lunch from yesterday.
We set off east across the Bay of Plenty making good speed, looking forward to a good trip around East Cape. I procrastinate going below to start my inaugural freeze dried meal preparation. Things went well for 15 minutes of banging around down there, all of a sudden boiling three jugs of water and stirring some sweet & sour chicken seemed like climbing Mt Everest.
I begin to sweat and race for the hatch…. 10 sets of eyes watching me crawl towards the stern, looking a lighter shade of green. Luckily I manage to hold the contents of my stomach, but that’s the end of my first attempt of cooking for the crew. A complete failure.
Will Oxley jumps to my aid and takes over cooking, Chuny comes and pats me on the back points at the horizon and gives me some advice which I won’t forget, nor should repeat. He is a funny Spanish man.
Trae (Tony Rae) emerges with a smile and a small white pill, I ask him what it is? He replies,”not sure – I think it’s for when you’re pregnant”. I take the pill.
White Island was a highlight, until the wind stopped, guess Will was right, no wind from the North. Engines on, towards the East Cape.
A bit calmer so I get into another attempt at ‘cooking’. Beef risotto this time. I get through the process of making it – elated with myself for achieving such an accomplishment. Not a lot of dinner eaten tonight for some strange reason, which I later find out was my ‘cooking technique’, translated to; I messed up the water quanities. Hate to think what Nico is thinking about the ‘cook’ he hired!
By the end of the night I am pretty sure the guys are thanking me they didn’t have much dinner- here is the 35-40 knots from the south Will also mentioned – he is right again! He is a good navigator- seldom wrong!
It’s dark, howling, Camper is slamming off and into wave after wave. I’m lying in my bunk wondering if the tortured sounds the boat makes are normal, and if it is meant to hit waves so hard, “Good engineers, good sailors- no problems.”
The first problem arises – how am I supposed to sleep? I decide it’s like trying to sleep on a camp stretcher, balanced on a bucking bronco, in a loud bar, with a running tap dripping water all over you. Oh well may as well give it a go…
It doesn’t go so well, so I start thinking again, “What other sport in the world do they just switch the lights out and expect you to keep playing your sport the same as when its daylight?”
They don’t kill the lights at half time in a rugby match at Eden Park and say, “carry on as you were.”
These mad men sailors just don’t slow down for darkness, its just a slight inconvenience. I stay in the bunk until daylight, emerge and see the seething conditions, which resulted in my sleeping difficulties. Wave hits – my left boot is wet again.
As we approach Gisborne, I can see the intensity on the guys faces grow – and see we have our hands full just to get into the port in Gisborne. Trusty Will Oxley is again pin-point accurate with his direction for Nico, amazing to think he knows every tiny detail of the bay and approach to the port and he has never been here in his life.
The shore guys are set in the chase boat to help in any way if we get in strife. Nico powers into the port with sails up and the engine at full tilt, huge swells to contend with and barely 100 metres to spin the boat on a dial, drop the sails and get back on course into the dock
He turns to me when we are safe and says, “That was a bit hairy!”. I thought it looked like he and the crew could have done it with their eyes shut. Guess that’s how true professionals react under pressure.
Hamish Hooper, Media Crew Member CAMPER