Last year ended with a no show for a potential boat buyer as we begin our journey into the unknown waters that lie ahead of us as we make the blind faith transition back to land life.This transaction, at this point, seems much more uncertain & mysterious than the adventures on the high seas we’ve boldly been on.For charting a course of even 1000’s of miles to a tiny speck of an island was a fairly straight forward endeavor.We pick the time to depart based on the weather, we can estimate how long the journey will take & we have cruising guide books to tell us what we’ll see once there & we even have a good idea where we’ll sail to next & so on.
Our next big adventure in life, the returning to land life seems way more complex & full of uncertainties beyond our control; the only thing we can do is to relax & enjoy the ride on our adventures towards a new life on land.Selling the boat in these economically uncertain times is a critical part of our future, the money from the boat will pay our rent for the next 10 years, or more realistically gives us a nice financial cushion as we settle into Maui & get our music career going.Our boat’s value with all the major cruising equipment is over $220,000 but in today’s market we will have to settle for much less, understanding that the value in our investment lies in the priceless once in a life time experiences of our sailing adventures.So at this point, the nerve wracking uncertainty of how little will we get & how long we will have to wait for the sale to happen is a major issue to become at one with.Also the housing situation on Maui is tight, there does not appear to be any vacancies in the Lahaina apartments; we are on a waiting list for a nice place near Lahaina but still, at this point uncertainty is again the theme for our next place to live.The other big factor in our adventurous endeavors on land is the ability to earn a living in a place we’ve never been before.Although Bobbie & I have always played music I always had a high paying full time job to rely on, this would be the first time that we would both be making a go at being full time musicians.We have proven our talents are well received where ever we go so we feel that it would just be a matter time before we will be able to cover ours costs by playing music.
We have to take a Zen like attitude towards these uncertainties in the road of life we are getting ready to set out on.We can’t always know all the details about this road or the details we will encounter along the way, we have to transcend the worry of these uncertainties & go with the flow.For now we have done the research, planted the seeds & will have to wait for the harvest of these plans to become fruitful; in the meantime we are enjoying the full time adventures of really cruising New Zealand.We are going to new anchorages about every two days & in a few weeks we will be sailing to the south island where we are told amazing scenery awaits us.
On around January 2cd or 3rd we sailed out of Tutukaka 35 miles to a tiny uninhabited island near the GreatBarrierIsland called MokohinauIslands.This group of very tiny islands span a distance of less than 1.5 miles where we anchored in Arch Rock Cove, the only place that gave any sort of shelter from the ocean swells.With a bottom of kelp fields over rocky boulder, the holding would not be reliable in a blow.The guide book states that with four boats the anchorage would be full, so we were relived that there was only three boats there when we arrived & still we kept a leery eye on our boat & the others as we swung at various arcs on our respective anchors, at times coming uncomfortably close to our neighbors :-OThe next day we had up to 9 boats crammed into the place :-OBut the weather by this time was very settled, the winds & seas were near dead calm so we were able to enjoy this dramatic anchorage.
The water in this cove was very clear but very cold as well, as we have been used to three years of warm tropical waters.We were very impressed with the local kiwis swimming without concern for the cold jelly fish invested waters without wetsuits :-OKayaking was out of this world here.In just of little cove there were 100 foot vertical cliffs with jagged peaks, two arch rock formations that could be kayaked thru & several exciting passes to rush thru on the kayak.Kelp fields & plentiful fish in the water along with numerous varieties of jellyfish, string jellies, flat ribbon jellies, Portuguese man of war jellies & just a vast collection of jelly fish parts floating on the surface near the caves & cubbies that had recently blended them to pieces & coagulated them together in foamy clusters of yeelllouuuwhoayuck.But other than the Portuguese man of war jellies, all of the other jellies didn’t seem to sting at all, otherwise the bare skinned kiwis would have been leaping out of the water.Around every bend was ether a sea cave or an exciting pass to kayak thru, each with periodic swells rushing thru which required constant vigilance to navigate safely; great stuff of my old ruff & ready Necky Spike kayak; things like bouncing off cave walls & scraping over barnacle encrusted volcanic rocks are things I wouldn’t want to do in an expensive carbon fiber touring kayak :-O
We all took a dingy ride out to the light house, first with Bobbie & I then the next day I took Robin.They built this light house in the mid 1800’s.A small rail line was built that took supplies up the very step hill to the light house; the rail more resembles a roller coaster track with the steepness of the incline.Of course the views were awesome in every direction.
This was indeed a very spectacular anchorage which is only accessible in very calm weather so we were lucky to have the notorious New Zealand weather cooperate for us ;-)Before we sailed off to the next anchorage, I couldn’t resist a snorkel in these fine & clear waters.It was quite creepy to be swimming amongst the plethora of jelly fish.Even with my full wet suite it took a while to stop flinching each time my exposed hand pushed aside one of the many species of jellyfish :-OI took this opportunity to scrub the hull before sailing off to the GreatBarrierIsland.
Miners Head Cove was our first anchorage there was the site of an abandoned copper mine, not nearly as extensive as the one in Santa Rosilia Mexico I had spent hours & days mountain bike riding throughout it’s vast acreage nearly three years ago; it was quite primitive comparatively with only one entrance tunnel which didn’t go all that far into the hill side.Again the kayaking was phenomenal with a sea cave around almost every outcropping; nowhere have I seen so many sea caves to explore in all the places I’ve kayaked.
At head of this cove was a nice fresh water stream that meandered up into a lush green valley; this was area where the miners set up their living spaces.Bobbie & I took a nice long walk literally up this stream as most of the footpaths were quite over grown. The next day I took Robin up the stream & he found much delight in exploring the many sights along the way.He loved it so much we went again the next day & spent the whole time splashing each other in the deeper water pools along the way.
Two days later ;-),we sailed to Nagle Cove, the sight where New Zealand’s largest wooden ship was built in 1850.They only made one big boat there as they must have used up the entire forest of old growth kauri trees to build it as today there is no signs of the mighty kauri trees there at all.Again the kayaking was great with the many sea caves to explore including the largest one of all; still the world’s largest sea cave is back in home waters at PaintedCave on Santa Cruise Island.
Two dayz later ;-)We ran out of beer so we sailed to Port Fitzroy for supplies.While we were anchoring we heard someone hail Carinthia, we haven’t seen Dietmar & Susan for nearly a year.We enjoyed countless awesome parties on the good ship Carinthia; we hailed them on the VHF radio & were in luck with an invite to another one of their famous Mexican fiesta nights.The next day happened to be Port Fitzroy’s famous ‘Barnacle Bash’ or more actually ‘Mussel Fest’.Carinthia came here for last year’s feast & look forward to more fun times & slimy mussels this year too.It was a very big ‘to do’ & boats were coming from all around; we just ran out of beer & had no idea of the grand festivities.There local arts & crafts along with local musicians playing in part of the area & just up the hill a bit they had a very dynamic Irish band that really got the crowd going… & the mussels… wow, they had bacon wrapped mussels on a stick, fried mussel fritters & the mussel chowder was better than any clam chowder I recall.
That night Carinthia invited us over for our own mussel fest.We each bought a bucket full of the famous green lipped mussels but we soon realized that one bucket was more than enough for all of us & we all gorged ourselves, getting quite our fill of mussels for one day.The next day we were going to prepare our bucket of mussels but felt one more day would help re gain our mussel appetite ;-) There are quite a number of well maintained hiking tracks here, well in all of New Zealand but this place is tops.We’re starting out on some shorter 2 to 3 hour hikes & plan on covering a lot of ground so to speak.Bobbie & I went on a nice hike to a water fall, it was so awesome that we took Robin there the next day before we sailed off to Smoke House Bay, a short few miles away.
SmokeHouseBay was incredible.The brain storm of sailboat racer & cruiser that sailed these waters in the 30’s thru the 50’s.He thought it would be nice to set up a place other boaters could smoke their fish & take a hot bath.Many years after his death his nephew took over the dream & in the late 60’s the first hot bath & fish smokers were established from a small stream that supplies a clean water source. Today after many years of refinement there are two bath tubs, with one enclosed in a bath house, four cloths washing tubs with the old fashioned water ringers that squeeze the water out, three large rotating cloths drying line carousels,a couple of BBQ racks, a few tables & benches, several rope swings in the big trees for the kids & a composting toilet; all run by the volunteers & family that owns the land.We sailed up anchored with only a few other boats around, by that night there were over 70 boats anchored around us, by the next night we had the whole place to ourselves.We did a boat load of laundry, we would have spent over $30 dollars at regular laundry place & we were clean after our first hot shower in over a month.
Two dayz later on Friday 14th, we sailed out & in between many small islets, islands & out cropping rock formations with so many spectacular shapes & contours formed by the powerful eruptions of devastating lava flows from pre historic times; an amazing sail thru geological masterpieces.We then anchored at Bowling Alley Bay, I could imagine when a storm blows in from the south the waves must create a nightmare of huge waves, bowling their way into this bay…but for now the wind is coming from the north east & we are on the calm lee.There is an amazing sea cave tunnel that bores thru the peninsula near the entrance of this bay.Kayaking thru this tunnel is another highlight in kayak’s ship’s log & the many caves & cubbies to kayak in & around are filled with awe.
One of the pleasant sights here in New Zealand is the many species of birds, both on land & sea.As for sea birds, they are quite beautiful here, even their common sea gull is quite a bit more pleasant than the obnoxious ones back in S. California with their bright orange feet & beaks & perfect feather markings but my favorite is the gannet.Similar to the booby but not quite as dorky, they are built as good fliers & fish divers.Their wide aerodynamic wings allow them to soar as high as the mountain peaks for fun & to deftly swoop down & dive on their unsuspecting fish pray; often taking up to 30 seconds to bob back out of the water so they must go pretty deep. As opposed to the common sea gulls which are often quite rude & obnoxious scavengers, squawking noisily for hand outs, the gannets are proud hunters, they go about their business with focused clarity; they are a joy to watch.On one particular kayak excursion I came across the largest gannet colony I’ve ever seen.They nested in a rather large area on top of an uninhabited island off of the GreatBarrierIsland.There must have been hundreds if not thousands of these majestic birds.
Again after two days we moved on to the WhangaparaparaHarbour where Bobbie & took a nice long hike to a hot springs area.The water that streamed down two delightful babbling brooks was the perfect hot tub temperature & did wonders to relieve our acing hiking muscles.We spent an hour soaking up the warm waters while a light rain fell upon us; quite a highlight for our hiking adventures.The weather turned harsh on the 2cd day there so we stayed put with winds gusting to over 35 knots, but we were well protected in the lee of the island.On the 3rd day the winds clocked around to blow in from the open sea, although we had protection from a curved arm of our bay within a bay the swells were wrapping around the tiny point & gave our boat a bit of wobble.By that day I was getting a bit of ‘boat fever’ & needing some exercise so I paddle out into the 10 foot swells that were rolling mercilessly in.For an hour I push hard into these swells enjoying (or more acridly enduring) the massive onslaught of these powerful waves.After an hour it was time to turn around for the fast & furious sleigh ride back.In all of my kayak excursions I’ve never been capsized unless I was purposely riding beach waves.In this ride in I was capsized four times, but with no threat of smashing upon the rocks it was just an exhilarating ride in; it only took a half an hour to return to the boat from straight offshore.
On the fourth day there we had a short break in the weather but with some very heavy weather coming our way we decided rather than move on towards our southerly destinations we back tracked bay to the Port Fitzroy area with it’s completely enclosed & protected bays.We resupplied our beer & food at the rather expensive holiday store there & spent some time playing pool at the boat club there.Robin has become quite the pool player & now can beat us adults about half the time.The weather became very nasty with winds blowing in at over 45 knots at times & heaps of rain.Unlike the weather in the tropics during the cruising season which the trade winds blow consistanly & predictabley for long periods of time, the weather in New Zealand is determined by low pressure storm fronts that seem to blow by ever few days to a week or two.Winds down under here in the southern hemisphere rotate clockwise around a low & counter clockwise around a high pressure ridge; this causes the winds to be constantly changing direction from every point on the compass so there are few places to anchor for days on end without getting hammered by the huge storm swells that are formed by these storms.After a low frontal storm has passed a ridge of high pressure typically follows, with it brings clear skies & not much wind.This is when we made our next move to the MercuryIslands 35 miles to the south.
At the Great Mercury Islands we anchored at the best place to be found here but still even in calm conditions the wrap around swells made our first night rolly & uncomfortable so the next morning we moved as far back into a small bay near by.I took a three-hour kayak excursion which took me nearly half way around this island.Although the views were nice they weren’t nearly as dramatic as the GreatBarrierIsland, which again was not as dramatic as the MokohinauIslands 15 miles off of the GreatBarrierIslands.Bobbie & I took a nice easy two hour hike through the sheep pastures to some very picturesque bays on the other side of the island; we couldn’t pry Robin off the boat so he had some ‘me time’ by himself.
Again with foul weather heading our way, today we are heading over to WhitiangaHarbour on the CoromandelPeninsula where we hope to find a spot to anchor within the protection of this small harbour bay.In a few days the weather should clear enough for us to make our way to Tauranga, the last of the easy day sails on our way south.It’ll will be a two day sail to Gisborne, if the weather stays good we hope to sail the nearly 500 miles to top of the bottom New Zealand island & explore the Marlborough sounds for a week or so & then on to Nelson.
Well, our time spent in Whitianga Harbour was quite eventful in that the ‘foul weather’ that was heading our way turns out to be tropical cyclone Wilma barreling down from Fiji.It seemed odd that after sailing 1400 miles from Fiji to avoid these cyclones one comes along & still finds us as it makes landfall :-O Whitianga is a river harbour with a raging river & tidal currents.On our entrance we experienced the fiercest current so far in all of our travels, way more than the strong tidal currents of La PazMexico.At half throttle we were standing still, at ¾ power we were making just under 2 knots.So we came in blazing away with nearly full power, making fast steerage work just to keep from being swept one way or the other.The chart shows fairly shallow waters through out, so we were determined to keep out of the shallows.The Spot X cruising book we just bought is their first edition so we assumed that it would require a lot of corrections but so far it has been spot on, however it shows to anchor in an area impossibly crowded with moored boats.In fact the whole river harbour is filled moorings & it turned out they don’t allow any boats to anchor, a fact we learned after tropical cyclone Wilma made landfall a couple of days later.
We referred to our electronic charts for areas with enough depth to keep us off the bottom at low tides & selected a decent spot.As soon as we were anchored we enjoyed a happy hour taking in the new views of this picturesque party town & looking with quite astonishment at the fast flowing river current we were sitting in.But we were holding just fine.The next day we took our dingy into shore for some high speed Internet, finally I had the bandwidth to upload the heaps of pictures that go back to Fiji times.We found a nice place to have lunch & play pool, Robin is becoming quite the pool shark ;-) The next day we returned for a bit more of the same, plus Robin discovered the skate park.The forecast reports that tropical cyclone Wilma will be making landfall in our area that evening accompanied by heavy winds & rain.I let our a bit more anchor chain for extra holding power & we all enjoyed spooky movie while it rained cats & dogs.We caught so much rain that for the first time ever our water tanks were over flowing with sweet rain water.Periodically thru the night the town’s air raid siren would go off alerting the town of flood warning from the river’s extra high levels & raging waters.Also, periodically thru the night our hull would get bumped by large logs & giant trees being swept down the flooding river.It was comforting to have such a thick hull, knowing that we were completely safe from being damaged; however some of the smaller boats were getting quite close to being pulled under when a large tree would get caught on their mooring line, with the power of the raging river pushing against the tree it would nearly submerge the bow of their boats.
There were only a few boats that broke free of their moorings lines that night & a few huge channel marker buoys broke free as well; we held quite firmly on our trusty 88lb Rocna anchor with it’s 12lb swivel & nearly 10:1 ration of 3/8” chain.It would take a couple more days before the sea conditions would settle down before we could continue our voyage south towards the south island.We got an email from our other cruiser friends we had just spent some time with in the Great Barrier Islands reporting of 50+ knot winds & quite a bit of wind waves, despite being that completely enclosed harbour back in the Port Fitzroy area.We had only 34 knots where we were, we got lucky with this well protected spot at Whitianga.The day before we were planning to depart with conditions calming, the harbour patrol came along to tell us that anchoring is not permitted in the harbour, regardless that we were set perfectly well we pulled our anchor & took one of their moorings.We were truly set well as it was quite a pull to get our anchor up from the perfect holding sand bottom.Turns out there was one more storm front raising it head & the wind & seas followed so we stayed put two knights on the mooring before heading out to SlipperIsland.The first night the wind blew fiercely thru the night, the next morning we decided to move to a calmer spot around the other side of the island, once there I took a kayak ride all the way around the island.Some kayak rides are for pleasure & when it’s blowing up to 30 knots it’s more of just a workout until I got halfway around to the leeward side & enjoyed the astonishing views of blown out volcano rock formations.Vertical cliffs rising straight up to multi layered rock & sediment formations that were other worldly & flat calm there.Very clear water & amazing…by the time I got all the way around to the boat, the wind had shifted a bit since I left & our boat was being buffeted by big winds & large wind waves, so once again we moved, this time to the blown out volcano spot.
After two nights we sailed down to Tauranga... a very large area with huge supertanker freight carriers & the mega cruise ships.Despite the vast area of water within the river harbour there is only one choice to anchor according to our ‘first edition’ cruising guide.We made our way this place & followed the entrance poles but as we were approaching the 2cd pair of entrance poles we came to an abrupt stop while I was confirming our perfect position according to the chart.I ran up topsides to verify that we were smack dab in between the entrance poles & hard aground.It didn’t take much drama to back off & head towards one of the marinas.I called one & made our reservation for a slip$$It was nice to plug into power & have real showers for a change & while we were there our new friend we had met back at Great Barrier Island was passing thru & we got to party two nights with Christopher & his friend Neil; great times.Another unexpected dilemma there was that even though it seemed like we were smack dab in the throws of the city it was still a very long walk to town but our friend Chris gave us a ride into town for food supplies.
Our next passage was to be the first of the hard core sails heading towards the south island.We would round their notorious East Cape.All capes have a bit of treachery that the big ones have like Cape Horn, this one has a reputation of accelerated winds & building seas as the southern ocean & the pacific converge to create havoc at times; we were well warned many times about the East Cape.In fact we had a few concerned warnings by nearby boaters that they would prefer to sail all the way around the top of New Zealand rather than face the East Cape & the Cooks Straight :-OThat’s over 800 miles the long way instead of 400 miles down their own nearby coast.
Since there are depth issues within the harbour & the tidal currents are amazing, we moved out of the slip a day before our weather window for the East Cape run & anchored at the secret spot only the locals know about.I got in a nice long kayak ride in that day.We hauled anchor early the next morning & by we were sailing out of the harbour entrance towards Napier, 280 miles down the coast.It was calm & light winds for the first two hours so we motored along, then put up the sails as soon as the wind started to pick up.We sailed right along with flat seas & light wind but still we sailed 3 to 6 knots.The wind forecast was for 10 to 15 knots of wind near the East Cape, of course capes being capes the wind was really blowing 25 to 35 knots with building seas.With the winds & seas to our back we were romping along quite nice & fast.The next day the winds petered out to knots from aft so we hoisted our genakar sail, the big balloon like sail.This was the first time we hoisted it without it’s ‘deployment sock’, a light weight cover that allows you to raise the sail into position before pulling the cover sock off & allowing it power up.We attached the tack to the bow & the clew back to the big side wench & I hauled it up with it’s halyard by hand & no wench, as it neared the top I causually wrapped the line around the wench & hoisted it the rest of the way, it then soon caught air & we were flying along on our magic carpet ride.
We rode that huge gennaker sail for hours that day until the wind began to rise towards the 20 knot range before we pulled it down & flew along on our regular sails.We sailed along all the 2cd night on a nice & easy ride.By the next morning the winds were dieing out so with Bobbie off watch & sleeping I rigged the big balloon sail up just like the day before.With the same conditions as the day before I figured that since it went up so easily the day before, what could possible go wrong?Well it was all going up fairly well but somehow the sail wrapped itself around the back side of the spreaders a bit, not too much so I walked over holding it’s lifting halyard & pulled the sail back into it’s proper place for raising.I started hauling it just fine but all of a sudden it caught just a tiny puff of wind & filled, this huge sail has enormous power like a parachute made for a giant.It immediately lifted me a few feet off the ground, I soon realized that I would not win this tug of war & let the line run thru my hands so I could land back on deck & sprint to the gennakar’s wench & get a few wraps around to take the load off.Well, just the action of sliding down the rope caused a number of patches of skin to be removed from both hands, then the action of getting the wraps around the wench caused more skin to be removed in a bloody mess but I soon got it on the wench but by this time the huge balloon sail was partially in the water so I had to keep winching it up against not only the wind but also the drag of the water.Soon we were flying the big chute & all was well…except for my bloody hands.As I write this it has been 10 days & some of the deep cuts are still on the mend; I’ll never make that mistake again :-O
We sailed all but the last few miles into Napier, another harbour that has absolutely no anchoring places at all; we were lucky to get a space on the visitor dock.We’ve really been enjoying this place; we found a nice restaurant bar with a few pool tables so Robin was stoked.The next day we took a long hike into the art deco town; amazing art deco designed buildings all built back up after a devastating earthquake in 1931.Where there once was useless marshlands the land was trust up over 7 feet & offered what came to be prime real estate for holidays homes & helped make it a tourist Mecca.Often you’ll see people dressed in the art deco fair of the 1930’s & driving the old classic cars.We a nice Turkish lunch & discovered a wonderful sights at the New Zealand National Aquarium.Our favorite part of the place was the aquarium which has a walk thru tunnel; you can watch all the fish, sting rays & sharks swim right over your head.They even had a scuba diver gal swim down there & feed all the fishies, sting rays & sharks.
Even though we’ve swam with bigger sharks with much bigger teeth & hand feed the larger sting rays while in Moorea & of course swam among countless varieties of fish with every color in the rainbow…still it was quite amazing to see them in this perspective while completely dry & taking many pictures.
Another big treat was to see a real live pair of kiwi birds in the special habitat.Very odd looking wingless & tailless birds, about the size of a chicken with a long pointy beak & stringy feathers looking more like thick hair.Come to think of it, every part of the place was amazing.We were mesmerized by the sea horse tanks, they look like dragons.We got to see them at feeding time when they dumped in a scoop of tiny shrimp.The sea horsed don’t have teeth, instead they suck the tiny fish into their mouth like a vacuum cleaner.They had some gigantic freshwater eels just hanging out & not moving much.They had a version of the bearded dragon lizards, which were quite active for lizards; I’ve got a picture of them in a quite compromising position :-O. We spent quite a bit of time there taking in all of the wonders of the sea.
The next day, I biked while Robin rode his skate board & we explored the town some more before hitting the skate park.I took off for a couple hours of bike riding along the very nice bike path.When I returned Robin told me that he can now do front flips after flying down a huge ramp.I couldn’t believe it but then he explained that after the huge ramp & the big forward flip they have a foam filled landing box.It was so much fun Robin went back again the next day & I rode some more.After three days in a row of bike riding & skating we all went to the mineral water hot tubs & pools in town.We spend a few hours soaking up the mineral waters & bubbling around in the hot pools, sweating it out in the steam room & swimming laps in the long lap pools; finally real clean after that day.The next day was another bike day & so was today.Robin met a local kid that lives on a boat here in this marina, they hung out all day, went to the pools again, played with their iTouch games, downloaded heaps of free games & spent the night on our boat; one last bash for the boy before we bash on down the coast towards the Cooks Straight.
We will be heading out for Wellington tomorrow around mid day.We have a weather window that forecasts fairly calm conditions for Friday in the Cooks Straight so leaving Wednesday should have us entering the notorious cooks straight at sunrise Friday morning.
With all the chicken littles along the way saying how rough the ride would be, many saying they’d never do it, including a bunch of local boats; we had begun to get a bit antsy about this upcoming passage south.Most of the cruisers don’t sail south beyond Auckland & even fewer sail to the south island.We paid very close to the weather patterns of the Cook Straight & had to plan our passage of this notorious 30 mile piece of water while it was not blowing the normal gale & very rough seas.The game here is to wait for a southerly gale to pass thru & then often there will be up to 20 hours of calm conditions before the winds pick up & start blowing with force from a northerly direction.The local forecasts for any local region here in New Zealand can only be fairly accurate up to three days, with two days being much more reliable; often each day closer to a target date shows enough variation to become a bit on the challenging side of a passage.Realizing that the most important part of timing our passage was to have good wind & sea conditions for the Cooks Straight passage, even if that meant a possible rough ride along the down on the 200 miles passage from Napier.Three days before our target departure date we were expecting rain, heavy at times for our slog south with 20 + winds on the nose.
We cleared our dock in Napier at with 15 knots of wind from the SE.We had to sail 20 miles to the east to get out of the huge Hawks Bay, with that angle of wind we had to tack a number of times to make the point so we ended up sailing over 40 miles to get the 20 miles out beyond the point at Cape Kidnappers; we had a slow start.Once around that cape we were able to sail a basically rum line course to our destination.The winds kept fairly light in the 10 to 15 knot range & got lighter as the night went on.We kept our main reefed & did not deploy our mizzen sail as a precaution not to be over canvassed at night in these notorious waters…we ended up sailing fairly slowly that night.The next morning we shook out the reef in our main sail & deployed our mizzen sail to gain some boat speed & make up some time from our slow sailing progress in the first part of the journey.The winds picked up as the day went on, not nearly as brisk as our Fiji to New Zealand passage but still we tromping along at fairly fast speeds of 7 to 9 knots.We sailed thru the 2cd night under full sail.At times the winds were piping up quite a bit for all the sail we had up, but the winds that had been on the nose had slowly shifted to our aft which makes being over canvassed sail plan not so out of control.
At we were making our way around the CapePalliser, the south east cape of New Zealand’s north island.This is a very notorious cape that we had been warned extensively for months.We were told by many to give the point at least five miles to avoid the powerful winds & rude waves that are amplified around this cape.With strong ocean currents that are swept along the 1200 miles of north & south coastlines, these raging sea currents all pour thru this gap with astonishing power.When these huge tidal currents oppose the wind’s direction some awesomely messy waves can occur.We’ve heard of others that have been sent over the tops of 30 foot waves, dropping hazardously off these step unnatural waves.Our anticipation was way up as Bobbie was going off watch & I was coming on watch as the lighthouse at CapePalliser was coming abeam to our hull.As it turned out we had a most pleasant passage at this point.A full moon shown brightly on a cloudless night, sparkeling on the water like a million diamonds; with the winds in the light 12 to 15 knot range, it couldn’t have been more pleasant sail.
We must have been going against the current for a while as our boat speed became very low at about 2 to 3 knots even though the winds kept constant; we must have been plowing into a 3 to 3 knot current.By sunrise the winds had piped back up to 20+, with full sails out we were bounding along at 7 to 9 knots.These winds were funneling along the step mountains thru the PalliserBay but as soon as the headland point came a beam to our hull the winds diminished in the wind shadow of the high hills so we turned on the motor.It wasn’t much further that we began our entrance into the huge WellingtonHarbor.It would be about 6 miles just to reach the harbors main entrance & another 6 miles across the bay to the marina we arranged to spend some time at.
We arrived in Wellington at the Sea View marina after exactly 48 hours.We felt lucky to have had such a nice & easy passage, sail all but the last few miles in.We showed our boat to a perspective buyer with no luck there, all the advantages of a world cruising boat makes no impression on someone looking for a part time holiday home.We are surprised that after about 5 months on the market, we have not gotten one person interested in a ready to go world cruising boat; I suppose that most kiwis are content to sail their local waters, which are truly world class fun but the features of a ready to go world cruising boat is perhaps overkill to a local coastal cruising boat… :-O
Wellington was an amazing city, it’s sort of like a miniature San Francisco with its huge enclosed natural bay & a very modern city, yet keeping a small town vibe through out the rest of the bay areas.The main city is quite modern & art’sy.Through out the city very talented musicians & street performers display their talents for tips to the mingling crowds.All were very good & seem to make their lion’s share of musical income from these ‘busking’ performances.We really enjoyed the national museum that was open for free to the public. We spent hours enlightening ourselves to the many wonders of the museum.
We departed at on Sunday morning from Wellington in rout to the QueenCharlotteSound, again across the Cook’s Straight, the most treacherous stretch of water in New Zealand.Again our timing was spot on with the weather, the Cooks Straight was flat calm & we had an easy motor sail across from (not so) windy Wellington. The tide was amazing, it was raging along at over 6 knots, so when we were motoring at our normal 6 knots thru the water we were actually traveling 13.8 knots over the ground (as determined by the GPS) :-O We sailed into ResolutionBay, near where Captain Cook anchored once.We had very calm tranquill conditions dispite the wind warnings of gathering winds of over 25 knots; a very relaxing place with grand views of the majestic Marlborough Sounds.
We took a nice hike up to the hilly peaks for some great views & experienced the 20 + knot winds which were not reaching us on the boat.At the bottom of this hill is Ship’s Cove where Captain Cook pronounced this “newly discovered“ land the new ownership of his Queen Charlotte, although the Maori had discovered the place over 600 before & called it not Ship’s Cove but Meretoto; they now have a monument to his achievements.Despite the odd “discoveries”, we have now been to countless places in the wake of Captain Cook, navigating with pin point the abstract landscapes as we go with absolute certainty using digital computer charts.I couldn’t even begin to imagine how, for example, the entire country, both main islands of New Zealand where very accurately portrayed in his very first original maps which we had to chance to see once at beach house in the Bay of Islands.
In the quite early morning hours the next day while playing my guitar with my morning coffee I saw a sea plan fly by, shortly after it returned for a sea land in the bay where we were anchored.Quite a sight to see.
After two nights at ResolutionBay, we motored over to the next bay called EndeavourBay, named of course for Captain Cook’s flag ship.We again enjoyed a long hike on an unusually non hilly track thru stunning New Zealand foliage of giant ferns & pine trees.So far all the tracks we’ve been on between here & the Bay of Islands have been remarkably similar looking, almost monotonous except for the fact that I never tire of walking amongst those giant ferns ;-)Again, two days later we moved to the Bay of Many Coves, no hiking here but I did take a kayak run.So far our first week in the Marlborough Sounds have been quite peaceful & tranquil, even when there are wind warnings in the Cooks Straight, the winds here must be getting blocked; sort of lulls us into a false sense of serenity for this area :-O
After two nights we then moved to Wahiawa to get fuel, but their fuel station was not working so we motored around the corner to Picton for fuel & secured a berth for two nights; enough time to see a bit of the lovely town.Picton was an adorable little town, very modernly done with quaint buildings, a skate park for Robin & nice single track mountain bike trails for me ;-)The day before we were to depart Picton, the winds piped up for the first time since we left Wellington & blew all afternoon & into the night, but like clockwork the forecast for light winds the next morning were spot on; of course they also predicted 30+ winds in the afternoon which did indeed manifest as we sailed hard on the nose to our next destination 40 miles away in Pelorus Sound in the ‘Waitata Range’.We choose a well protected cove in the WaitataBay called Homestead Cove, with the predicted gale warnings in this area over the next few days it was important to choose a place with good protection from all wind directions.
Yesterday, March 1st, was Robin’s 12th birthday.He was delighted with the special home made cheese cake Bobbie Jo made for him along with the festive purple balloons & decorations that greeted him when he awoke.This was a day forecast for 40 knot winds which didn’t arrive all morning thru afternoon.I set out on a two hour kayak run in the afternoon which turned into a three hour push against the building wind & seas.By bedtime it was blowing in the high 20’s, by midnight it was blowing in the low 40s & by 3:30am it was hitting 50 knots with thickening rain. This storm has ironically been the worst storm we’ve had to weather in all of our cruising so far to date :-OIt blew off a heavy duty storage box lid & shredded our main sail cover, despite the fact that I had lashed down with extra lines just in case :-OHuge wind waves pummeled us all night which did not make for much rest as we often got up to check on things top side & keep an eye on the breaking waves as they roared by us & smashed mercilessly on shore not far enough behind us :-OIt blew like stink until about the next day when the gust were beginning to settle down to less than 30 knots.The whole night was a bit nerve wracking in that with all the scope (the length of anchor chain) we had out to properly set our anchor, the wind had us uncomfortably near the shore, so we had to keep a very watchful eye on how well our anchor was set, if we were to have dragged at all we’d be on a lee shore in no time.But now as I write this the winds have calmed down & the rain is beginning to ease up, if the weather forecasts are true, we should have decent run thru the notorious ‘French Pass’ & then on to Nelson.French pass is at the bottom of a fairly big little island called D’Urvillie Island, all the massive tidal waters of the Cook Straight & the Tasman Bay flood & ebb thru this very narrow water way with tidal currents flowing at over 8 knots at times; we’ll have to time our passage thru at high slack water, which is tricky since the slack currents don’t actually coincide with high slack tides :-O
Our ride thru FrenchPass was exciting.We had made better time getting there so we ahead of slack tide by over an hour; we had decided along the way that since there was no wind, we’d just hammer down & get to Nelson.The current in the pass was running strong, about as strong as getting into Whitianga.At full throttle, instead of 9+ knots we barely made two knots, but what made this a more ‘exciting’ run was the large whirlpools we encountered.Our guide book warned about these whirlpools, if one is not careful by aggressively correcting the steering, these whirlpools can easily whip the boat around & quickly be out of control in the narrow pass.
The rest of the passage to Nelson was uneventful, calm seas & no wind; the motor pushing towards the end of our sailing adventures.In front of us lie heaps of packing & ship shaping to present the boat for sale, behind us one heck of a dream that was fulfilled in the many years & miles we enjoyed cruising.
We pulled into Nelson’s Harbor & settled into our slip; thus began two weeks of ship shaping, boat cleaning & sorting out what we want to ship to Maui, give away or throw away.We managed to put together a dozen boxes & bring them to the movers which really gave the boat more space.After two & a half weeks of this we were really to get off the boat.Our faithful friend & crew Stu had left us his classic old Bedford van up in Picton as he made his way down from the Bay of Islands after helping us sail from Fiji.We made the hour & a half drive to Picton to pick up the ‘Beddy’; it was a lovely scenic drive.Within a few days we were packed & ready for a long road trip with camping along the way.
Turns out the whole ride down to Milford Sound where our bud Stu lives & works is a very scenic, twisty turny road, full of hair pin curves.The whole way was lush green pastures, forests, majestic mountain tops & glaciers & once we got to Milford there was a few days of rain which left quite an impressive dusting of snow on the mountain tops that we enjoyed those views most of the way back up to Nelson on our return.
We camped out the first two nights at a lake only an hour & a half out of Nelson.We knew Stu had a tent on board the van but we forgot that it was a brand new 6 person tent; we were going to put Robin out in his own little tent but decided we’d have much more room with Bobbie & I in the ‘big top’.We had heaps of room, even more room than our stateroom on our boat. Robin just loved having the whole van as his domain, which he ruled with many particularities.He had all the cushions arrange for max comfy.He had all of his electronic gadgets arrange neatly within the side cubby holes near his drink holder.With his parents banished out to the tent he was set up & stoked.He also dictated that any garbage should go directly into a bag he prepared.He also monitored the length of time required to enter the van, if you lingered too long he would give a quick crack of the whip commenting of how many sand flies are entering his domain & ‘oh my god! Take off your shoes :-O
It got colder than frozen snot at night but warmed up to shorts & Tee shirts during the day.I managed to get in a nice mountain bike ride way up into these mountains.I had picked out a nice leisurely ‘family’ trail & soon found extensions for a much longer loop.The trail leading up the mountain soon became so step that I had to push the bike up what was for the most part a near vertical waterfall; there would be no way to even ride back down if I decided to return the way I came.After a grueling push up the hill I was rewarded with some fantastic world class mountain bike trails weaving in & out of thickly forested old growth trees.According the my very basic map I felt the trail should be coming soon to the trail down to loop back, but after I rode around the top of the mountain, the tree exterminators had annihilated the entire other side of the mountain, decimating everything living thing, including all traces of the bike path.That’s what they do though; they own the land & are gracious to let us ride so we can’t complain.By this time I was running low on water & after nearly three hours to get here I didn’t want to return back the way I came & carry my bike down the waterfall trail I came up, so I spent a half an hour searching for where the trail might be found.After taking false leads that dead ended in various directions in the forest or the decimated mountain & choose to just blaze a trail down the decimated mountain, with a bit of luck & rediscovered the bike trail nearly a mile down the mountain.
After two nights of camping by the lake we moved on down the road & stopped at New Zealand longest swing bridge which spanned a raging river gorge.We walked over the swing bridge, explored the walking trails that led thru gold mining sites then enjoyed a fast & furious zip line run back over the gorge. The area’s history is all about gold mining & making tourist attractions on past earthquakes.We past by whole towns that have made ‘cottage industries’ on the intrigue of past disasters.We had visited museums in Napier & Wellington that showcased the many devastating earthquakes that have shaped or reshaped major landscapes.Sort of an odd but eerie precursor to the majorly tragic Christchurch earthquake; the devastation is so vast they say they could never rebuild to it’s former glory. Oddly enough when Napier had their big earth quake which seriously devastated their city, the rebuild made the town famous with the nicely done art deco theme of the day, not to mention that the earth quake uplifted a huge area of previously low tide marsh waste lands into a very usable building areas which to this day make home to hundreds of residential homes & commercial businesses.
That night we stayed in the Lyle area just down the road from the swing bridge; a basic camp site where the only claim to fame was a short lived gold mining town that bloomed & faded to nothing in a breath of time.This campsite had one of the thickest swarms of the infamous New Zealand sand fly we ever had the joy to camp out with ;-O
We did have a nice fire blazing that kept ‘em back a few inches but soon that night the rain came along to wash away the sand flies.Turns out we all ran for cover in the ‘Beddy’ van…including our sand fly buds we met at our camp fire :-OAfter a scrumpsious meal we left Robin to his domain & made for the tent.
The rain fell all night & yet the tent did not leak, but in the morning somehow water had found it’s way under our sleeping pads & soaked parts of or blankies :-OIn the morning we tossed the soggy bunch into the Beddy & headed down the road; that night we pulled into a car park motel at the Franz Joesif Glacier.It was nice tosleep in real beds; we have ‘real’ beds on the boat but they’re still boat beds in small cabins so even a night in a small motel is huge ;-)They had a private Jacuzzi to rent for $7 bucks & a nice pool table; we were stoked!It didn’t matter that it continued to rain, we were dry & all of our soggy stuff was getting dry so we stayed two nights.We hiked to the glacier after checking out, it was of course awesome… a big bunch of old snow deteriating into a dirty old snow ball.It was cool to see the last remaining glacier that still reaches to the closes to the sea.It has made dramatic retreats over the years & in a couple of generations will be history.It was a bit anti climatic for me I have to admit.After hiking out for nearly an hour ‘they’ only let you go so far, although you can see the glacier it’s still over 100 meters from the end of the path & gets farther each year.If you actually want to step on this old dirty snow ball you will need to hire a professional dirty old snow ball guide at over $100 each person :-OThat’s cool & all, if I could paid that I’d be out there holding hands with the tourist to play on the old snow ball for sure but… I’ve been there & done that.Not so many years ago my buds & I hiked way up the hills in Yosimite Ca. & explored a glacier there at our high altitude camp.We discovered an ice tunnel that traveled quite some distance & had found
Numerous ice caverns sculpted out of solid ice with brilliant blue hues where the sun gleamed in… oh how the exploits of youth spoil the temptations of tour guides :-)
We cruised down the road & stopped in the afternoon at another sand fly infested camp site.Stunning views of distant glaciers right beside an amazing glacier run off river.We found a solution to the sand fly issue.We piled high a blazing camp fire (isn’t that the reason we camp:-), the smoke keeps ‘em at bay.The most intriguing way to deal with the sand flies is to liberally apply lots of alcohol…by copious ‘sundowners’ & then just splash on some high grade booze on your exposed skin, add some sand & then just wait.The sand flies will soon arrive & drink up the booze on your skin get drunk & soon will get pissed & throw the sand likes rocks at each other until they’re decapacitated.Well at least if you drink enough you could swear that’s what happens, any drink enough & you just don’t notice them flies any more.
By this time we figured the time it takes to set up & pack up the camping gear we could be half a day down the road.Robin found the big thick ‘motel’ book & plotted our course to the next car park motel, this time he was zeroing in on one with a huge jumpy play thing in Cromwell.Cromwell’s claim to fame was not the popular earthquake theme but a premeditated area wide drowning.The town itself didn’t have that much going for it, the gold mines we’re a bit farther out; they had a river crossing operation so a few hotels sprung up along with food suppliers for the miners further a field but nothing major.When the decision to dam a major river a bit down stream the town was all but a ghost town but by damming the river they were rewarded with a nice lake to attract tourist & retirees.So we pull in to enjoy a man made paradise by the lake.Robin spent most of his time at the really cool skate park while Bobbie & I took turns riding on the nice & flat bike path along the lake & river.Kind of made me think it would be a nice place to spend our golden years riding bikes on the nice flat paths & paddling on the placid lake, ageing gracefully along the man made shores of Cromwell;-)
On the road again after Cromwell, latitude 45, we were within striking distance of our holy grail destination of Milford where our bud Stu lives & works presently.As an onimus sign, we noted a car at the gas station, it’s grill coated with a very thick layer of sand flies.We shuttered, thinking we had already seen the the worst of these sand flies….but alas…we have not seen anything yet.Shortly down the road we come to an outpost with a 20 foot recreation of the hideous sand fly; the sand fly now has become a marketable tourist attraction :-OA gentle rain fell all thru out the drive & after we drove thru a very long tunnel we came upon the most majestic mountain scenery we could have imagined.Very high rugged mountain cliffs periced the sky where the clouds opened up to reveal their mystical peaks.Lush forest trees were thick where the imposing rock mountains allowed growth.Countless water falls cascaded over the cliffs that only a Hobbit movie could invent but film here.You could almost see the highly motivate hobbit Bilbo Baggins struggling over the precipices as he journeyed fourth in search of the ‘Lord of the Rings’.Yup, we were deep in hobbit country at this point.
We cruised thru the most lush thick forests jungle we’ve seen in all of New Zealand & arrived the docks where Stu’s tour boats were berthed.With total luck, I inquired at a tour booking agency if she knew Stu, at that same moment I heard the VHF radio call with our bud Stu’s voice asking if the likes of us had been around ;-)His boat was coming in soon & it was like magic.Stu became an instant friend a year & a half ago when we sailed into the Bay of Islands the first time & after two major ocean passages together & countless pints on shore we are bounded brothers.Stu arrives & we all head to his work hut.Wow, turns out he has some nice digs.His employers set him up with a log cabin like dwelling with solid wood walls, a fire place with a full time supply of coal & wood.We got really lit the moment we got to his place & soon we were meandering over to the bar they make famously profitable, despite the rigged for free pool tables.After countless more rounds we meet the jolly & very cordial captain of the two main Milford Sound tour boats.He was impressed with our sailing adventures & made a grand invite for us all to take his tours, all a shout on him ( a ‘shout’ is a Kiwi term for ‘FREE’ :-)Later after the jolly fellow staggers out for home we were informed by several employees that he’s never that jolly, friendly or impressed; we had made an impression on the old salt that the even the old time Milford veterans have never seen.Well heck…we are ‘Hip’ & quite ‘Nautical’ ;-)
The next morning at the crack of ‘hangover’, we somehow made it to the old salt’s tour boat.Thankfully they had heaps of coffee & once the hangover took a break we filled our gullets with heaps of great breakfast food.It was a beautifully sunny day & calm seas; we felt quite lucky to have such tranquil conditions.I took ‘heaps’ of pictures of countless fiords, vertical cliffs & a few awesome waterfalls.A big feature the captain does is to nose his boat into the bottom of a water fall.I took some great shots of that.It really was awesome to witness the captain lay the bow within inches of a vertical cliff that rose up thousands of feet above while floating in over 1000’ of water as a ragging waterfall crashed across the fore decks.
When other cruisers spoke of the amazing beauty of the south island, mere words could not begin to describe the grandeur of actually being there.
Robin the 12 year old pool shark has been honing his pool skills all along our sailing adventures; he has impressed some other young Milford tour employees & has been taken under their wing for a night of hanging out in the bar & playing pool.For better or for worse, Rob’s getting a very worldly experience…& making good on the pool tables ;-)
A couple of days later we get the green light for a major over night trip on the bigger tour boat, complete with fabulous private cabins; Stu got one, Bobbie & I got one & of course some how Robin managed to get the very finest state room on the boat, I think we’d of have to have paid over $1900 for just our two rooms :-OBut being ‘Hip’ & ‘Nautical’ has its advantages, but having our friend Stu made this dream come true.This departure was a bit marred by rain, in fact it had been raining for the last two days, but what I didn’t expect that instead of no visibility, true you couldn’t the majestic distant mountain peaks, but now there were 100’s of new water falls falling into the ocean water & by the next morning there 1000’s of water falls cascading down the near vertical cliff after the night’s heavy rain; truly amazing & delightful surprise.
Stu’s good friend & boat Captain in Milford invited Robin to join him on his big tour boat runs for a day, he even let Robin steer the boat for a while & he just loved that.He also took on the challenge to stand on the bow while the boat moves under a big waterfall.It’s very cold at this southern latitude but the dude stood the whole time under the icy water fall.Later he got to hang out & play some pool with some fine young tour boat employees; he’s getting to be quite the pool shark.
It was hard to leave the warm & gracious hospitality at Stu’s place.We had a buyer interested in our boat so we had to start getting back without having to rush back.The scenery was fabulous the whole way but the last hour drive towards & departing Milford was beyond stunning.We found a car park motel near Lake Wanaka, Robin found it in the motel ‘bible’; say it has a three slide swimming pool…which turned out not to be heated so needless to say we didn’t go in.I did find a very nice mountain bike trail along the lake & way down along a river for over 4 hours of nice flat riding.
Our next stop on the way back to Nelson was at Fox Glacier where we enjoyed a nice two-hour hike around a lake famous for it’s mirror images of stunning glacier mountains.I got to ride my bike, it was very cool.We took the hike out towards the Fox Glacier on our way down the road, the scenery is still stunning but the trail doesn’t quite reach the ‘ol dirty snow ball, still we enjoyed the incredible views.
We stayed only one night at Greymouth, a coastal town, long enough for Robin to visit the skate park for a few hours while I took a bike ride & Bobbie took a long stroll on the beach.We made it back to our floating boat in Nelson & tried to get into a fun groove of biking, kayaking & working on our music.I had just about given up on selling the boat but the buyer that had presented a low offer came back with a reasonable offer.Soon we were taking the boat out for a test sail & a haul out for a full boat inspection.We had a very pleasant test sail with the buyers but a very awkward thing happened on the way to the haul out. The gear shift & throttle device took that precise moment to fail :-O Right there when we were doing tight maneuvers near multi million $ boats :-O With luck & holding these cable in place by hand we made it safely to the haul out.
I felt there was nothing to worry about with the inspection; I know my boat inside & out & there are no issues to be found.True, the inspector didn’t really find anything of real trouble but he put the fear of god into the buyer with all the things that could be wrong or go wrong in the future, stating how that if it goes bad it’ll cost ten grand for this, ten grand for that… To the point the buyer almost backed out but instead came back with another lowball offer.Although it was extremely infuriating to have our deal drop substantially but after thinking the offer over night I decided that this is the best offer I’m going to get & the timing will allow us all to fly to Maui together & start our new life sooner than later.
The next day was the big load out with the moving company, man we really had a lot more stuff that we thought, even after selling stuff & giving away heaps of stuff it still was a big load which is costing a king’s ransom to deliver to Maui, but heck, it’s a life time of stuff.
It was a flurry of activity with moving our stuff, importing the boat, paying the import tax, getting our passports back from immigration & on & on.To add to our anxieties the wind blew over 50 knots one night & over 40 on a few other nights.It really shook the boat & we felt it might fall over just days before closing the sale, which made for a nervous time in the winds :-OThe next morning we asked for more boat support stands for the upcoming consecutive gale force wind predictions.We were told 4 would be plenty & we already had 8 & now we have 10.It’s very secure feeling & makes for a better night’s sleep ;-)
Soon all of the many forms & documents, various official offices, seemingly impossible procedures with alarming dead lines… & many other details of selling the boat & moving off to start a new life…were over.We had about a week to go before our flights would take us off to our new life’s adventure, so we could begin to start letting go of the past & start looking into our bright new adventure in sunny Maui.I took many kayak rides all around the area & enjoyed the freedom of thought it provokes in the solitude of the sea; working out a few thoughts of things to do in Maui… Until one night after a paddle, I had left the kayak like I do for a very short time while showered & changed; came back out & watched Robin do some skate tricks right by the kayak.After some skating tricks we went back inside to ask Bobbie for a hand bringing it back in, (it’s so much easier to haul around with two haulers ;-)So after about 15 to 20 minuets I return to no kayak!Never thought much about theft generally in Nz but it did have to rear it’s ugly head in a brief moment of caving into temptation….oh well…it’s time to move on. So that’s the kayak score: 1 for King Neptune (a rude wave snatched our other kayak while in passage between Fiji & Nz)& 1 for the shady opportunist; one fair one fowl :-O
We filled our days with long walks among the many well-groomed walking & hiking trails throughout Nelson, giving us pleasant views of meandering rives with many swimming holes & the great sites from ‘the center of New Zealand’ monument.At this sight is a glorified marking pin kinda thingy which represents the marking position of how the town was originally drawn up in reference to this mark; the would triangulate between this & other points to determine the grid layout of the town.Turns out it’s about equal distant form prominent Nz landmarks to the north, south, east & west; not to the bitter ends of the island but heck, it’s a nice trail to get the heart moving & enjoy the views.Interestingly the park where we parked our Stuiiieee mobile is where New Zealand’s very first rugby game was played,…amaaaazzzing ;-)
Just as we’re about to go crazy with the last few days of living on the boat in the boat yard as we waited for the days to tick by, our coolest kiwi & all time great friend Stu drops by to energize out our deer in the head lights vibe as we were ‘circling the bowl of cruising life’, soon to be flushed headlong to the new opportunities to be discovered.Stu’s energy is aug MAY Zing ;-)We soon acknowledged the bittersweet finality to our sailing adventures together & all the fun we’ve had & the ‘fast as’ & deep friendship we discovered.With that acknowledged we had moved on to our new dreams & plans with Stu’s budding sailing career; we look forward to hearing of his sailing adventures, these should help stoke our sailing memories.Most the few days with Stuie were rainy, but just as well, we filled our for the most part in great company.Finally on May 5th we flew from one dream 30 years in the making & done well, to another dream of a lifetime…well actually two.Living on a tropical island & playing music full time.Stuie dropped us off & we all heading toward our new paths, ours to Maui & Stu’s plans include Fiji, Australia & way beyond.Crossing the date line allowed us to ‘time travel’ to Maui as we arrived the same morning as we’ve departed with around 24 hours of travel & layovers ;-)
We’ve now been here in Maui for about a week & we’ve got so much taken care of making a good start so far ;-)So for the first time in nearly 4 years we have a car, cell phones, a nice place to live ‘indoors’ & not floating.We made a huge music gear order with the Local Bounty Music, those guys are the coolest; ya don’t that kind of ‘Aloha’ vibe back in the pain land.I’ve order a new guitar to replace my current one I’ve been banging on for over 30 years :-OI’ll need another one for the next 30 ;-) I picked up a Mac Book Pro laptop to run my recording software; the laptop I bought in Samoa just couldn’t ‘peddle’ fast enough to keep up.I’ve ordered a mixing board to use for our live gigs as well as recording our music.I’ve jumped in with both feet with the new Mac & the latest recording software.I’ve accumulated a number of new guitar melodies, riffs & passages & it’s good to get them on the hard drive; leaving all that to memory might cause an internal memory overload ;-)I will record them all properly when my new guitar comes in but that won’t before near 4 months as they make for order.
We are looking forward to getting on with playing gigs here but with Bobbie’s harp another 6 weeks away we’re going to have to just have to get some of the leg work worked out to make contacts for future gigs.
Our shipment of personal belongings from the boat in Nelson, including Bobbie’s harp, will take another 6 weeks to arrive by boat…how ironic, as we had originally planned to sail ourselves here as well.We’ve had to buy many things we’ve just walked away from like towels & many household items.The airlines confiscated Robin’s latest pride of the pack of skateboard he now owns.He was able to carry it on the first flight but was told to check it for the international flight; this being our 2cd over limit item would have cost $150 which is more than the boards value (but not by much).We promised to buy him a replacement & he went all out with his new found skate board mastery$$ :-OAlso on the ‘promised list’, we bought Robin a like new used surfboard & I took him out on the water. He was naturally catching the small waves there at ‘the Cove’ just a few miles from where we’re staying. I thought it’d be fun enough to sort of meander around in the water but after seeing a number of tourist on within their first few days out getting up & making it look quite inviting; so the next day I got a used board for myself.I have plans to pickup a nice ocean-touring kayak but will focus on getting settled in for a bit.
It will be nice to have our bikes; it will open a lot of doors for getting exercise & enjoying the scenery here, but in the meantime there’s a nice sandy beach just one mile from our house with great swimming, for surfing it’s way better a few miles south of here.It’s Maui with world famous surfing beaches for all wave types from the nice & easy south shore to the massive ‘Jaws’ on the northeast shore.
We’re all set to make the best of this new path in life we’ve chosen, with a little luck & a lot of focus we plan to make the most of it ;-)
For all those that have followed this ‘ Ship’s Log’ over the last decade, I’m glad to have sheared our sailing adventures.I will try to make time to post the last of the cruising pictures & there’s literally thousands of images I’ve taken & 100’s I’ve selected to post once I’ve prep’d them for the web site.
You could expect the web site to be modified to promote our new land based music duet, solo performances, teaching & recording projects.So come on back after we’ve had a chance to absorb the spirit of the island.Aloha !