October 16th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
First view of Tauranga

The day of arrival in New Zealand.  Doug woke me at 4 am to go on watch, so that he could grab some sleep.  We’d lay to + begun drifting out to sea again, so he’d started up the motor + sent us on in.  Then he’d picked up some lights to guide us, so now we were well + truly on our way in.  It was just as well we’d started moving again – the wind picked up something fierce from the SW again, so we really had to battle over the waves.  And although it wasn’t raining (yet) the wind was bitterly cold.  We came into the channel around Mount Manganui + found the marina without any trouble.  It’s a brand new one, reclaimed from the sea, + Doug had never seen it before.  Our radio contact David was out on the end to call out where we had to go as we steamed in smoothly from the entrance into our gangway + headed for our berth.  It was just about here that trouble reared.  Doug had sent Val forward to heave the bow line, but when I’d asked whether he wanted me to get the stern-line tied on ready to heave, he said no, just to have it loose.  And then, all of a sudden we were at our berth, + Doug was shouting at me to heave the line.  I was completely unprepared, + barely had time to tuck one end round the winch + hurl the rest aqt David.  The line wasn’t coiled, so fell short.  A huge barrage of bad language as we started to drift.  I pulled it back in + quickly threw it again.  It fell short again.  By now we were completely sideways + scraping paintwork, + Doug’s language was stream-of-consciousness obscenity.  At the thir5d attempt, I was ab le to hand the line across, + we were pulled round.  Not an auspicious re-entry.  Doug was mad, I was upset (I felt it wasn’t entirely my fault) = the spectators were embarrassed.  About the only consolation was that there weren’t loads of people present to witness the spectacle – we’d arrived ahead of schedule, + only David + his family + the customs people were there.

The immigration + customs people posed us no problems, apart from taking our tent away to steam-clean it, + gave us 6 months in the country.  While we’d been wading through bureaucracy, Doug’s guests had been accumulating, + they started to pour aboard as soon as we were free.  As was to be expecte3d, we were rather thrust aside, tho’ we did chat with Penny, Doug’s daughter, who seemed very nice.

After about half an hour, David offered to take us away to have a shower – an invitation we seized happily.  So we bade a brief farewell to Doug, + piled into the car with David, his wife Jinty, + 2 girls, Kirsty + Cathy, plus a load of washing.  The first thing we were directed to was the bathroom – we were both able to soak in a wonderful bath, then emerge fresh + clean + warm (it had been bitterly cold at the Marina) for coffee + biscuits.

That was just the beginning – we spent the rest of the day with them, + they were wonderful.  We were shown around the house + garden  – they had about 8 different fruit trees growing – gave us lunch; drove us into town to show us around; dug out tourist leaflets for us; took us to the Yacht Club to collect our mail, + when that proved to be deserted, found out the phone no. of the secretary, called her yp, + drove us round to collect it; gave us dinner; + showed us their pianola… magic.  They had to drive us back to the marina by 8, because that was when it was locked,  but that was just as well, since we were shattered.

We read our mail again – a small but excellent little pile – letters from both mums, Sheila Tilley, + Bob + Ros.  The latter was history making, being the first letter I’d ever received from Bob.  He writes a very good letter actually, so I’ve been the loser.  Sheila Tilley’s letter was almost incomprehensible to me, being absolutely jam-packed with news from the Tregadillett area.  My mum (typically) had written two – she seems to be settling down again + is building up her social life; + Val’s mum wrote a good long newsy one, telling us all about the other Jonases.  Pete’s off to university, Mar’s o0ff to college, so she’s alone now too… except for Muffy, of course.  We then crawled into bed, + slept + slept.

So at last we are back to dry land! Not my greatest day, However; if Doug didn’t think I was useless before, he certainly did now. Like I say, there were mitigating circumstances, but even so…

And it was good to enjoy some different company, especially when they were so welcoming and understanding of what we needed.

Plus, of course, we got to read some mail again. Sheila Tilley was a friend of the Jonas family, Tregadillett the Jonas home. And while I am at it, Muffy was the Jonas family cat, and Pete and Mar Val’s brother and sister.

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