2 January 2012 -8 May 2012
New Zealand including Fiordland and Stewart Island
Written June & July 2012 Fiji
Unlike in aviation, the military, or the tech industries, the sailing world is not thick with abbreviations and acronyms. Sure, there's a great deal of specialized language (port, starboard, fore, aft, athwartships, etc.), but these are all terms handed down from a long history of seafaring; developed before acronyms were commonly used. But there are a few shorthand terms floating around. OPB is an acronym we first heard about 3 years ago. It's used by cruisers for Other People's Boats. As in, "If you sell your boat, there's always OPB."
This update involves two OPB trips for us. And, in the spirit of the abbreviation, I'll keep the update short and sweet, concise and crisp, short and snappy,... oh, wait. Clichι was the theme of Migrations #15.
You'll need to be a fan of 80's music to understand the above
title (hint: Cyndi Lauper could figure it out).
After our New Year's celebration, we spent a few more days having fun with the Mojo-ettes (Ondene, Enya, and Mia) in Christchurch. Ice skating, bike rides, Bananagrams, and even Twister, kept us laughing. Then Alene and I hopped the bus to Dunedin for the 2012 New Zealand Morris Tour hosted by Jack Frost Morris.
Come on! Someone spin a "right foot red"!
Warning: The Following May Include Boring Photos For Non-Morris Dancers
We were excited about joining the NZ Morris Tour again. Not the least because NZ Morris dancers are a fun and welcoming group. Unfortunately, the stress of the past five months caught up with me and I came down with a bad cold. I stayed in bed for nearly all of the Tour's five days. I was able to don my kit and join the Britannic Bedlam Morris Gentlemen (BBMG) for a few dances as well as the Ale dinner. Alene was well cared for and excelled in her usual role of staff photographer and IEA (Incredibly Enthusiastic Audience).
Dancing inside the famous Dunedin Train Station.
No strings, really. Steve Dancer (yes, that's his real name)
and I perform the Cuckoo's Nest Double Jig.
The whole motley crew.
The Ale dinner theme was Steam Punk heartily embraced by all.
Britannic Bedlam's mascot is a squirrel (even though there are no squirrels in NZ), so we brought a mascot from
Alene's hometown of Glendale, Ohio where squirrels are also held in great esteem.
From Dunedin we made our way north to Picton in the Marlborough Sounds where we had sailed aboard Migration last year. (Migrations #17). There we met up with David and Janet of s/v Navire whom we first met in Tonga and Niue in 2010 (Migrations #15). We spent a delightful week aboard Navire: hiking, swimming, sailing, playing games, playing music, and eating our way through Queen Charlotte Sound. We feasted on blue cod, mussels, and scallops all freshly caught.
Janet the huntress.
A peaceful day in between some of the boisterous ones.
Good friends make for happy days.
Showing off at Furneaux Lodge at the end of Endeavour Inlet.
What do you do when you hike to a beautiful waterfall?
If you live on a boat, you wash your hair, of course.
Fiordland National Park. (Yes, the Kiwis spell fiordland with an i). It's on nearly every NZ visitor's itinerary. The problem is, there are only two fjords out of 14 that are accessible to the standard tourist: Milford by car, and Doubtful by tour bus and ferry.
Back in 2011, when our friends Bill and Johanna mentioned that they would be sailing Visions of Johanna down the west coast to Fiordland and Stewart Island, we offered ourselves as crew. Happily, they accepted!
Scheduling to meet a boat sailing the waters of NZ can be difficult as every passage is so dependent on the ever-changing, and often harsh, weather. Thus, we didn't know if we were meeting Visions in Nelson at the top of the South Island or Milford Sound in Fiordland, or someplace else until a few days before we actually came aboard.
So we took advantage of the fine hospitality of our friends Karen and Graham (s/v Red Herring) in Nelson for a few days and then headed to Abel Tasman National Park to rendezvous with Visions.
We took the bus to the holiday beach site of Kaiteriteri.
A few hours later, VoJ came around the corner to pick us up.
A pretty cool way to meet up with friends.
Meet the crew of Visions of Johanna (from left to right):
Gram (Jo's son and Bill's stepson), Jo, and Bill.
And meet the boat. She's a custom
Chuck Payne-designed 62-footer built
in Boston and Maine.
The main saloon and the galley.
Our cabin for the next month.
Fiordland begins 325 nautical miles down the west coast of the South Island. That's almost 400 statute miles along a lee shore exposed to the full blast of the winds of the Roaring Forties blowing across the Tasman Sea. You don't want to set off on this journey in bad weather. While waiting for our weather window we explored the Abel Tasman area.
On a hike up Falls River, Alene made good friends with a fresh water eel.
ADR and the eel.
Playing in the Cleopatra Falls natural slide.
Tuna for dinner!
We waited and waited and eventually there was kinda, sorta, a weather window. So off we headed over the top off the South Island, around Farewell Spit and Cape Farewell, then southward.
Finally, a weather window. The crew sets off on an adventure!
Photo by Gram
Our destination: Fiordland National Park.
A GOOD STORY, UNABBREVIATED
Some adventures deserve a full tale. And our entrance to Milford Sound, the most northerly of the fjords, is one such.
We had a fairly uneventful motorsail down the West Coast against headwinds nearly all the way. It was a bit rough dealing with the currents and seas around Cape Farewell but soon things smoothed out (relatively) and we bashed South.
A cold front was due to hit south New Zealand and we needed to be in Milford before it arrived as it was forecast to bring 40-knot southerlies. As the front approached, the winds went to the northwest and we sailed with building wind and seas. Soon the rain came.
Our first view of the coast of Fiordland.
The weather deteriorated as the seas built.
We entered Milford Sound in pouring rain and driving NW winds. However, once inside the sound, the seas and wind calmed and, though the rain still came down hard, we marveled at the hundreds of waterfalls pouring down the 600-meter (2,000 ft) cliffs.
While Bill, Gram, and Alene stood watch in the rain, I used the
autopilot to steer from the inside.
Waterfalls cascaded down on all sides.
NOW COMES THE EXCITING PART.
First of all, you need to understand the geography of Milford Sound, so here is a chart:
As you can see, Milford's wide mouth quickly narrows and takes an almost 90-degree turn to the left. The walls shoot up to 600 meters and higher. Towering peaks surround. Miter Peak at 1682 meters (5,450 ft) is just over 2/3 of a mile from the shore. And at that 90° turn, the fjord is only 1/4 mile wide.
We had dropped the sails and were motoring comfortably through this fascinating geography with waterfalls on every cliff face. As we approached the turn, I called out to Bill to take control of the wheel from outside as I didn't feel comfortable making such a sharp turn with the autopilot. This is where things get exciting. Just a few minutes later, as we were in the narrowest part of the fjord, extremely strong gusts began to buffet the boat from the stern and the sides. They quickly grew stronger until they had the strength to actually push the stern around until the boat was broadside to the wind and the now significant spray and chop. Bill worked diligently to keep the boat under control. But the gusts increased so much that when they hit, we couldn't see a thing. The spray created a complete white out as the boat skidded from side to side.
And then came a particularly ferocious gust racing down the fjord. As the white out hit, the boat broached to starboard and lay over on her side with no sails up at all! I looked out through the pilothouse doors and saw Bill, Gram, and Alene standing on the side of the cockpit with water pouring over the coaming. We didn't stay there for long, maybe 30 seconds, and then the gust passed, the boat came upright, Bill brought her back around, and we headed deeper into the fjord.
This was nervous-making.
Not only were we having trouble controlling the boat in these extreme gusts, but as we neared the end of the fjord we knew that the only place to anchor was in Deep Basin: an area at the head of the fjord that could only be entered via the extremely narrow, shallow, current-swept outflow of two converging rivers. We knew there would be no way to negotiate such a passage if conditions were the same there as we were experiencing.
The steep cliffs of fjords, carved by glaciers, continue down under the water making nearly all the area too deep for anchoring. We were now less than 4 miles from the dead end of the fjord. It was clear that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to make our way back to the sea if we needed to. And in the open ocean there awaited gale force winds blowing onto a rocky lee shore. Yes, it was a tight situation.
However, this is where the concept of OPB really shines. As crew, and not skippers, Alene and I were happy to do what needed to be done to keep the boat and her occupants safe. But the very heavy responsibility of captain did not lie on us. Thus, though conditions were a good bit more than exciting, we were actually able to appreciate the experience in a way that we wouldn't have on our own boat.
Not so Bill. Staying cool when your family and your beautiful boat are in such a dire situation is not easy. But he did so. He and Gram worked the dual wheels while I called the approaching gusts. Down below, Alene made radio contact with the tour boat and lobster fishing facilities at the head of the fjord and asked for a report of conditions there and advice on how we could get to safety.
We slowly continued down the fjord, Bill and Gram learning better how to handle the gusts, all of us bracing ourselves at the approach of each new blast. We were surprised to see a small tour boat pass by. We couldn't believe they were going out in such rough conditions.
Eventually we made contact with a small rugged boat that takes hikers to various trailheads in the area. The skipper offered to be our guide into Deep Basin. He steamed out to meet us and we followed him toward the river channel. It was clear that his local knowledge was our lifesaver. He hugged the south cliffside and we saw that the worst of the blasting winds could be avoided there. As we entered the channel our guide helpfully radioed when to be aware of fast currents or shallows. Soon we were in the more protected waters of Deep Basin where the skipper recommended we pick up a large mooring that was available. But the gusts continued to attack us and constantly conspired to push our bow off just as our fingers reached for the pennant. It was an hour before we were secure. And all of this maneuvering for the mooring was within two boat lengths of the shore.
The relief we felt to be secure the mooring was built for a 100-ft tour boat in calm waters, was as intense as the weather. We breathed again. We laughed. We assessed the damage: man overboard gear swept away, Gram's bunk soaking wet as water poured into a dorade vent (high on deck!) during the knockdown, and one Kindle out of action from the drenching.
The gusts still came rushing and bouncing at us across the cliff face which towered hundreds of meters above us, but within an hour or two things had settled down. The rain eased and then stopped, and soon we were in a different world.
Happy to be safe.
Even after the rain stopped, the waterfalls cascaded for hours.
Photo by Bill
We all slept well that night, exhausted from the adventure, and awoke to a morning that can only be described as glorious.
Need I say more? Photos by Bill
We launched the tender, went to shore, and hiked a mile to the tourist center at Freshwater Basin where the tour boats depart. And then on to Bowen falls.
Bowen Falls. Notice the ship in the left photo. Left photo by Bill
At the tourist center we started a conversation with one of the employees. We wanted to know if what we had experienced was normal for Milford Sound. If it was, and we had been as alarmed as we were, we would feel a tad cowardly. By good fortune, it happened that the man we spoke with was the skipper of the small tour boat that passed as we made our way into the fjord. He said that they experience conditions like that about 20 days a year. He also told us that the windshield wipers blew right off of his boat and he had to seek shelter in one of the coves as all of his passengers were either vomiting or panicking (or both). He saw gusts of 93 knots.
We didn't feel like wimps at all.
It turns out that as a front passes and the wind backs from northwest to southwest, there is a brief spell where the topography of the fjord accelerates the winds to create the conditions that had produced such an exciting welcome for us. In other words, we had arrived at exactly the wrong time. An hour earlier or later... all would have been different. Ahhh, local knowledge is wisdom.
Majestic. Grand. Magnificent. You choose the adjective.
For a sense of scale: the white dot in the center is a
34-meter (110 ft) tour boat that carries four hundred people.
Hurray! We made it!
We visited our friend Kirsty, the daughter of David and Mary of s/v Giselle, who was working at the Milford lodge. We took some nice walks and lots of pictures. Two days later, it was time to head back to sea under very different conditions.
The clouds returned for our departure but it still made for some fine scenery.
Though it was chilly, unlike our entrance to the fjord, our
exit was dry and calm.
We motorsailed south. Soon the sky cleared and in the afternoon we entered George Sound.
Sailing into George Sound.
The forecast called for strong winds so we worked our way far into the fjord to an anchorage near Alice Falls. This is an incredibly remote area. The only way in is by helicopter or boat. The only people here are fishermen, an occasional hiker, and the very rare sailor. Conditions can be so difficult that only about five cruising sailboats arrive in Fiordland each year. You are on your own and you must pay attention to the weather and take care of the boat.
Most of our anchoring required running multiple lines to the shore.
Photo by Bill
Visions all tucked in and ready for a blow. Photo by Bill
This was a stunning anchorage.
We had one day before the gale hit so we took a long hike. The NZ Department of Conservation (DOC) has created thousands of trails throughout the country. With so few visitors in these parts, many often resembled creeks rather than trails. Though there are some cool bridges.
The forest (bush in NZ speak) is lush and beautiful and worth the various detours
we found ourselves on whenever we lost the trail. Photos on right by Bill
The rain came hard. Nice to be tucked in a safe anchorage
and stay warm and dry. And one of the benefits of rainy days
is that the sand flies stay away.
The picture on the left is before the rains, on the left, after. Notice the waterfall. Left photo by Bill
Says ADR: George Sound
When the weather cleared, we sailed out into the open ocean and down to Thompson Sound.
Another beautiful anchorage.
And another interesting hike: this time past an area
devastated by a huge rock slide.
And another cartwheel!
Thompson Sound connects to Doubtful Sound providing a shortcut into this famous fjord; besides Milford, the only one easily accessible to tourists. (As an aside here, all of these fjords are erroneously labeled sounds. Sounds are submerged river valleys while fjords were carved by glaciers.)
Waterfalls everywhere. Photos by Bill
One of the interesting commercial fisherman hangouts.
Fiordland fishermen have a good sense of humor. Photo by Bill
From Crooked Arm, we took a hike through the bush to view Dagg Sound. Our DOC information said it should
take 30 minutes. I guess Kiwis are faster hikers than us. It was over an hour through hard scrabble.
One reason it was so difficult: the ferocious grab-a-legs! Photo by Gram
Here is our anchorage in Deep Cove at the head of Doubtful Sound, right next
to beautiful Helena Falls. The size of the boat gives you a sense of scale. Photo by Bill
Doubtful Sound is gorgeous. Out of Deep Cove, there is a brisk tour business as visitors are bussed and ferried in each day. A few stay for an expensive overnight cruise, but most are in and out in a day. We felt very fortunate to stay for four days.
Some of the tour and charter boats. Photo by Bill
Is this photo upside down? Photo by Bill
VoJ at anchor. A fantail shows off. Another waterfall discovered.
Gram, Alene, and I went on a dinghy expedition up beautiful Hall Arm.
The manager of the hostel (servicing hikers and week-long visits by school kids) is the one permanent resident of Doubtful Sound. Billy was a trip: full of stories of fishing, possum hunting, deer hunting, and bulldogging (jumping out of a helicopter and tackling bucks for live capture). He invites the crew of every visiting sailboat (all four to five per year) for "tea" (that's dinner in Kiwi) and his hospitality was wonderful. He served us the most exquisite mutton we had ever tasted; that's because he pulled the wrong hunk of meat out of the freezer and it actually was a beautiful piece of wild boar he had hunted down.
Hmmmm, that's pretty nice looking mutton...
Sorry, Billy, she's spoken for.
Billy took us kiwi-watching late at night and we saw one! More about that in the Says ADR below.
A real live kiwi bird! Photos by Gram
Says ADR: Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound Kiwi Bird. Video by Gram
We made our way out of Doubtful Sound, down the coast, and took the shortcut through Breaksea Sound into Dusky Sound. As we continued south the fiords became less steep and canyon-like.
The vistas opened and the layers of hills and mountains
overlapped with subtle shades of light and dark. Photo by Bill
An occasional cruise ship appeared speeding between the fjords.
Photo by Bill
There is a healthy fishing and lobstering industry in Fiordland. The fishermen have many protected anchorages with lines already run to trees and rocks on shore. We used some of them when they were strong enough to hold VoJ.
There's no way a NZ fisherman is going to miss an important
rugby match. This cliff has lines set so that fishing boats can
pull right alongside the rock face and connect to the satellite TV antenna
permanently mounted (just to the right of the bare rock).
Anchored in Luncheon Cove, for the first time (excluding Milford and Doubtful) we were among a couple of other boats: the only other sailboat we met in Fiordland, and a crayfish (lobster) boat. It was nice to have happy hour with them.
Hearty Kiwi sailors Kath and Toby from s/v Solstice are old hands at living off the sea. Photos by Bill
Skipper and crew of the crayfish boat "Loyal": Whitey, Rhys, & Kahn. Photos by Bill
Every anchorage, and every day, brought spectacular views. Photo by Bill
Seafood! You don't need many stores in Fiordland. Heaps of lobster, paua (abalone), mussels, and blue cod are
there for the taking. Notice the size of the lobster I'm holding... that's just the head as the tail wouldn't fit in the pot.
Lobster photo by Gram
We poked our bow out of Dusky to see what the conditions were like for heading south. It was a bit bouncy so we retreated to Pickersgill Harbour. However, while we were just a mile outside the entrance, we hit the fishing jackpot: two enormous yellow fin tuna.
Tuna port and starboard.
The albatross were very interested in our catch.
We had a few nice sashimi and sushi dinners. Photos by Bill
Dusky Sound is replete with memories of Capt. Cook. He spent a great deal of time here and built a temporary observatory to watch the transit of Venus in 1773. For you horological buffs, one of the purposes of observing the transit was to check the accuracy of Harrison's chronometer which was aboard Cook's Resolution.
Capt. James Cook moored the Resolution in Pickersgill Harbour in 1773. Photo by Bill
Visions of Johanna looking pretty as she muses about
Resolution's visit long ago. Photo by Bill
You wouldn't want to err in your navigation in these waters.
Dusky Sound Dolphins
Fur seals hanging around. And another on top of a rock. No, that's not snow.
Nearly every anchorage was tight and required lines to shore. Raising anchor took a lot of concentration at the helm.
And a lot of washing off of mud at the bow.
More hikes, more waterfalls, more beauty. Photos by Bill
There were many days of grey but surprisingly few days of rain. It was a La Niρa year (as opposed to El Niρo) and that created excellent conditions way down south as opposed to the horrible stormy summer that the north of New Zealand experienced. We continued south to Chalky Inlet.
Fine sailing under clear skies. Photos by Bill
Shirtless sailing in Fiordland. That was a surprise.
Exploring and admiring.
Always turning the bow to the south; this time to the last and most southerly fjord: Preservation Inlet.
Choppy waters off the entrance to Preservation.
Either Alene fell from the rigging and lost her leg,
or she's taking a nap.
We visited the now-retired Preservation Lodge and its keeper. Quite the chandelier!
KEEP GOOD EYE ON WATER WELL = OTHERWISE ITS A PAIN IN THE ARSE.
Lots to remember when caretaking a lodge.
Preservation was once the site of extensive logging and mining;
relics of those days can be found all throughout the bush.
Surprise! At the head of Preservation, another waterfall.
On Valentine's Day, Alene and I tramped through the trail-less bush (very difficult) to the top of the falls.
Our last night in Fiordland.
Bill & Johanna had friends to meet in Stewart Island so we took the first good weather window to get around Pt. Puysegur the notoriously stormy southwest corner of New Zealand. Luckily, the weather was as benign as it could be and we motored the entire 70 miles to Easy Harbour on Stewart Island.
On the way to Stewart Island we passed the lonely and rugged Solanders; a sight few sailors see.
The Solanders are one of the few breeding grounds for the Buller's Albatross. Bottom left photo by Bill
Landfall at Easy Harbour, Stewart Island!
We spent a single night in Easy Harbour on Stewart's west coast. The next morning we proceeded around the southern tip on our way to Port Pegasus.
The weather had taken a turn during the night and the sunshine
that had greeted us was gone. However, we did have fine sailing winds.
South Cape of Stewart Island is the second most southerly
cape in the world after Cape Horn. No wonder it has a reputation
for nasty weather.
47 degrees 18.167 minutes. The furthest south any of us had ever sailed!
Alene and I mark our arrival at our most southerly point.
We turned the corner into Port Pegasus. Now we were heading west against the winds. We found a protected nook and, as usual, ran multiple lines to shore. Then we dinghied ashore for a hike.
After we were tucked in, a seal arrived as the welcoming committee.
The westerly winds accelerated over the narrow arm of the island separating Port Pegasus
from the west coast. The low tundra-like scrub was proof that it was unusually breezy here. Further
proof? You had to work hard to stay on your feet.
Looking back on Port Pegasus. The white caps show how windy it was.
That's VoJ's mast on the left side. Photo by Bill
The harsh, rocky, scrub-covered land, pocked with marshes, made for very different vistas than
the thick forests of Fiordland.
Check out that great cloud. Photo by Bill
We continued up the east coast to Port Adventure where we had a couple of nice days of hiking and fishing. Here, as in many places, people we met were happy to share their catch with us. A fishing and deer hunting party stopped by in their boat to give us several fresh paua (abalone) they'd just dived for.
Another day, another hike.
The east side of Stewart Island is covered with mossy,
dense forest like in Fiordland. This is the famous,
and rare, "Far South Hedgehog Fern".
Shhhh. Be vewy vewy quiet. We're hunting kiwis...
Alene and I went out one night in an attempt to spot some
of the many kiwi birds that live on Stewart Island. We didn't
see any but had a good nighttime adventure.
Remember the photo of Gram sailing without his shirt on?
The temperature down here wasn't quite the same.
We then headed to the final destination of this segment of Vision of Johanna's voyage: Oban, the only town on Stewart. Permanent population: 400.
We made it!
One last hike with interesting flora and fauna.
Our Stewart Island Ports
33 days aboard Visions of Johanna and they didn't throw
us overboard! We say goodbye with the yacht in the background.
We packed our things and moved ashore our last night in order to catch the ferry to the mainland in the morning. It was the end of a great adventure one that we were very grateful to participate in. Thanks Bill, Johanna, and Gram!
"No, Alene, you can't jump all the way to the South Island..."
but it doesn't stop her from trying.
ETAs & ETDs
We began our 1,000 mile journey back to Whangarei in the far north. But this time by non-sailing transport: bus, plane, and ferry. Our first leg was aboard the ferry from Stewart Island across Foveaux Strait to the mainland (South Island). Then a bus to Queenstown.
Our bus stopped long enough in Invercargill for us to visit the museum where we saw both Burt Munro's Fastest Indian
and a tuatara. Though it looks like a lizard it is the only surviving species of an order of reptiles which flourished 200
million years ago. Basically a dinosaur's cousin.
Queenstown was filled with fond memories of Mom, with whom we visited the area in 2010 (Migrations #14).
There were many people playing Frisbee golf
in the Botanic gardens. Alene created obstacles
and distractions for them.
Just some nice shots of Queenstown birds, including the famous diving ducks.
The finest feature of the Queenstown gardens is this eloquent memorial to the Scott Expedition. It was dedicated
in 1913, less than 2 years after the expedition perished in the Antarctic. The left tablet contains the dedication:
ERECTED WITH FUNDS COLLECTED BY THE
42nd COMPANY SENIOR CADETS
THE PATIENT, STUBBORN, INVINCIBLE COURAGE,
THE LOYAL COMRADESHIP,
AND BRILLIANT ACHIEVEMENT
CAPTAIN ROBERT FALCON SCOTT, C.V.O., R N
DR EDWARD ADRIAN WILSON, F. Z. S
CAPTAIN LAWRENCE E. G. OATES,
LIEUT. HENRY R. BOWERS, R.I.M.
PETTY OFFICER EDGAR EVANS, R. N
WHO REACHED THE
ON 17th JANUARY 1912 AND PERISHED
ON THE RETURN JOURNEY.
THEY REST IN THE GREAT WHITE SILENCE OF
ANTARCTICA AMID THE SCENES OF
THEIR TRIUMPHS, WRAPPED IN
THE WINDING SHEETS OF
THE ETERNAL SNOWS.
The right tablet contains two moving entries from Scott's journal, including his last words:
THE GALE IS HOWLING ABOUT US. WE ARE WEAK,
WRITING IS DIFFICULT, BUT,
FOR MY OWN SAKE, I DO NOT REGRET THIS JOURNEY, WHICH HAS SHOWN
THAT ENGLISHMEN CAN ENDURE HARDSHIPS, HELP ONE ANOTHER, AND
MEET DEATH WITH AS GREAT A FORTITUDE AS EVER IN THE PAST.
WE TOOK RISKS; WE KNEW WE TOOK THEM. THINGS HAVE COME
OUT AGAINST US, AND THEREFORE WE HAVE NO CAUSE FOR COMPLAINT,
BUT BOW TO THE WILL OF PROVIDENCE, DETERMINED STILL TO DO
OUR BEST TO THE LAST.
HAD WE LIVED I SHOULD HAVE HAD A TALE TO TELL OF THE
HARDIHOOD, ENDURANCE, AND COURAGE OF MY COMPANIONS
WHICH WOULD HAVE STIRRED THE HEART EVERY ENGLISHMAN.
THESE ROUGH NOTES
AND OUR DEAD BODIES MUST TELL THE TALE.
R. SCOTT, 25th MARCH, 1912.
We then flew to Wellington where we visited our good friends the Hewetsons in Plimmerton, and David and Janet of Navire now home from their sailing adventure in the Marlborough Sounds.
Crazy Kiwis: Mike celebrates his birthday by mowing the lawn.
Just a normal walk on the beach with Ingrid.
What's that in David and Janet's mailbox?
A cool NZ insect: a Weka.
Just a normal evening with David and Janet.
A plane to Auckland, a final bus, and we were back aboard Migration. We'd missed her.
It turns out that while we were enjoying the unusually excellent weather in the far south, the north of New Zealand had an absolutely atrocious summer. We arrived in time for one of the biggest storms in years. It filled the river with branches, logs, and other debris which made for a lot of bumps in the night.
Migration on the pilings in the Hatea River in Whangarei.
The wet weather revealed a bit of a problem: a leak in the aft cabin rooftop.
Hmmm... this doesn't look good...
This looks even worse.
A common sight for anyone who has owned a glass-over-ply
boat. "A little something" grows bigger quickly.
Our friend Kurt helped us with the routing (and picking up the plywood in his truck). The wet weather meant it
took weeks of tarp-covered deck before we were able to get it all sealed up.
Dan did the glassing, Alene the painting, and voila!
We spent the next five and a half weeks getting Migration ready for our passage to Fiji. We enjoyed a few trips to visit friends in Auckland, as well as taking time to explore the town of Whangarei.
A favorite building in Whangarei: KIWI BACON CO, Ltd. now housing
Active Hygiene Specialists.
A quick trip to the Coromandel to visit lovely Sally whom we'd met in Fiji in 2011. She has a great place up in the bush. That's the view from her porch on the right.
Alene cartwheels while Sally and I pretend we are in a Kurosawa film.
Then a brief stop in Auckland with Mike and Devala on s/v Sea Rover. We joined them for a sail to view the start
of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Busy on the water and in the air.
ADR's Easter eggs and those from Rosi on s/v Green Coral.
Back in Whangarei we punctuated our boat projects with visits from friends and local hikes.
Climbing Mt. Manaia with Bill & Johanna (now back from the far south), and Mike and Gloria of s/v Paikea Mist.
May Day rolled around and for the first time in eight years I got to dance the sun up with other Morris Dancers. We drove down to Auckland and joined City of Auckland Morris Dancers (CAMD) and the crazy Bedlam Gentlemen (who drive up overnight every year from Wellington) at the top of Mt. Eden.
Before heading back to Whangarei we treated ourselves to a tourist experience: lunch in the rotating restaurant
atop Auckland's Sky Tower.
Cleaning the winches on the pilothouse floor. Why?
Because it's raining again.
We bicycled (in the Whangarei rain) to see the regional Kapa Haka; a Maori dance competition. It was great; one of our few interactions with Maori culture in NZ.
We found out after we took these photos that we weren't supposed to take photos. Sorry, Kapa Haka.
The local group, Hatea, won the competition.
Having been in Whangarei for many months over three different years, it began to feel a bit like home. We made friends and developed routines. The town has the best grower's market in New Zealand. Every Saturday we would buy our week's worth of food from the locals who grew it.
Water lilies and roses from the Saturday market.
Weekly yoga at Sharron's house.
The kids of Division II traded us a boat wash for
a couple games of Laser Tag.
Finally the list was complete (or as complete as it needed to be). We cast off our lines and headed down river.
Leaving Whangarei under grey skies. That's the new bridge
under construction. Next time we return, we'll have to signal
for the bridge to be opened.
On 9 May we left New Zealand aboard Migration for the third time. It will probably be many years before we return as we recently changed cruising plans in a big way. But this is an abbreviated update (yeah, right) so you'll have to wait for the next one to find out where we're headed.
Be good. Be safe. Have fun.
Some photos in this update by Bill Strassberg or Gram
Schweikert of s/v Visions of Johanna.
See the Visions of Johanna Blog here.
Where we've been since
By car or bus or ferry
Aboard s/v Navire
Aboard s/v Visions of Johanna
Many thousands of nautical
miles traveled this period but not aboard Migration.
So still 28,301 nautical miles aboard Migration since leaving Long Beach in June 2005.
This site was last updated 11/22/17