Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Zealand Pics

snapper for breakfast!

Brian, John and Annette in the Bay of Islands

Nomad at the Quarantine Dock waiting for officials to clear us in to the country. Note the proud New Zealand flag flying!

Friday, November 27, 2009


It's been 4 nights of sleeping in a bed in a house with a real flushing toilet and as much hot water for showers as we want. Aaaah. John and Annette Carr joined us in the Bay of Islands and took the two day sail from there down to Kawau Island where we were met by other friends, Bill and Noelene Brown in their power boat tooting their horn and escorting us in to the moorings at their yacht club. We ate burgers and chips in the club and were joined by a "special guest". A well lubricated local decided we were his new best friends and plopped his drink onto our table and his body into John's chair and made himself at home during our whole meal.

After the night in Kawau, we motored the hour and a half past a few islands and around a headland up into the Mahurangi Harbour (note the British spelling) and onto E38 mooring buoy, Nomad's home for the next few months, while we're home.

John and Annette have arranged innumerable details for our stay on the buoy and our visit here. She organized Thanksgiving dinner (I made apple pie and cornbread stuffing), has made countless phone calls about supplies we need for Nomad, and driven me to buy bottom paint for our haulout this coming Thursday (she scheduled that for us, also). John has taken Brian with him to work for the past three days and is paying him! We are truly grateful for these kind friends who are fun to be with and incredibly generous.

There's more work before we leave. We have to pack the sails and external gear into the inside of the boat, empty the fridge, get the anchor chain galvanized, take a surf trip to Raglan on the west coast, off load a few items to John and Annette's garage for storage, pack everything we need to take home, fill the fuel tanks, clean out the water tanks and plumbing, etc.

Arriving in New Zealand feels a bit like graduating from college. I remember it had been a goal for so long and then as it approached, I wanted to backpeddle. Life after graduation seemed like a no-man's land. So much energy and focus had been spent on finishing school that I hadn't thought much for what would happen afterwards. Arriving in New Zealand has been our goal for about four years and now here we are. It's a satisfying, relieving feeling but is leaving me wondering, "What's our next 5-year goal?" I've decided not to worry about it but to focus on the things we know we have to do right now and trust that God has plans ahead that he'll reveal as needed.

Friday, November 20, 2009

First Impressions

We pulled in to New Zealand's Bay of Islands on Thursday, November 19 after sailing through a gale the night before. Needless to say, the waves were steep and I was seasick. But, as it eased, we turned on the engine and started motoring West, past the beacon on Cape Brett, into the wind but willing to put up with the wind chop because the end was near.

The sun rose and misty arms of hills surrounding various inlets, coves and islands shifted from charcoal grey to green. Cozy New England style coastal towns filled pockets between hills and boats of all types sailed and motored past us. Our friends, on the boat Red Herring, sailed toward us with arms waving wildly. We hadn't seen them since Apia, Samoa.

We found the Quarantine dock, pulled in and cut the engine. Soon a launch of 3 officials came over, filled out paperwork, went through our food stores and confiscated a few things (we were expecting more than they actually took). Then we were here.

It's been two nights of full sleep and no seasickness and I'm more and more excited to be here. We know many cruisers anchored in the bay and have gotten in plenty of socializing along with walking around, washing laundry, and buying fresh groceries. I've already consumed 6 kiwifruits in 2 days. YUM

Some images of our first few days...
large orangey brown jellyfish pulsing by in the tide. they have small brown circles polkadotting their tops
hugs from Marion on Balu, and Karen on Red Herring
quiet boat, no slapping or rocking
piney forested hills with green hills rolling between
tui birds piping in the tree foliage
not worrying about being robbed
wobbly legs from 8 days of disuse
sunsets at 8pm
coooolllld! shivering at night, wool caps in the day, it's not quite summer here.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

making progress

Well, we finally were able to tourn the engine off lst night at 5:30. The wind has rejoined us and we made 130 miles in the past 24 hours. This is encouraging progress. We've been making only 100 miles per day for the last 3 days. Looks like we may be pulling in to the Bay of Islands on Thursday. Only two more nights!

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Saturday, November 14, 2009


Well, I should have known better than to report on scientific facts while still seasick. LATITUDE lines are the same distance apart no matter where you are on the globe. LONGITUDE lines get closer and closer the further away from the equator you get because they meet at the Poles.

One thing I can be accurate about is the temperature. It's colder. (See how accurate that is? I do myself proud) To be more specific, I had to wear a fleecy beanie and 3 layers of long sleeves last night to stay warm. Brian has pulled out his foul weather gear and worn it a few times at night. It's been almost two years since these types of measures were needed, way back in Baja Mexico. We're heading into the Spring season of New Zealand where in some places there is still snow falling. I'll have to find some pants to wear.

Brian really enjoyed his fried flying fish from yesterday and hopes another one volunteers itself soon. There was a 3-inch squid this morning, dried onto the deck. We didn't eat that.

Our estimate of eight days under way is being lengthened. We've had little to no wind for two days and are motoring at just around 100 miles per day. We go much faster under sail. At least it's calm, and I guess we'll have more days to eat up the food the NZ biosecurity people would confiscate when we get there (eggs, fresh produce, cheese, not sure what else). In light of food confiscation, we've been going through cupboards, reorganizing, throwing out old mothy bags of cornmeal, bags of melted fruit jellies, and similar delicacies. We have much more room and are enjoying the clean shelves.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

life under way

Brian is frying up the 10 inch flying fish Nomad caught last night. The only way to catch these creatures is to buy a boat and drive around in the ocean. Never heard of one biting a lure before. Up till now, we've only seen 3 - 4 inch long ones so this one is almost a meal size.

We're just about half way to New Zealand now. The first two days were rambunctious and fast and I was flat on my back sea sick eating crackers and mashed potatoes. The last two days have been a bit better with me being able to get up and do small tasks. Brian has been a good caretaker.

We're at 25 degrees South. Fiji lies at around 18 degrees south and Opua New Zealand is around 35 South. Even though we're "'closer" to Fiji in latitude numbers, we're half way because the latitude lines get gradually closer and closer together the further south you go.

We're looking forward to seeing the green hills of the Bay of Islands and meeting up with our Kiwi friends John and Annette. They'll get on board and travel from Opua to Warkworth with us, showing us the nice places to stop along the way. It's scallop season in New Zealand and they know where to get em. Yum.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Under Way!

It's 5:30 am. Brian started pulling up the anchor about an hour ago. We're under way down the coast of Viti Levu, still in protected waters. Fifteen miles to Malolo Passage out into the great Pacific. Then, 1100 miles (more or less) to Opua, New Zealand. The last few days have been filled with cleaning the boat, inside and the bottom; cooking meals ahead for the beginning of the passage when we don't feel like doing anything; wrapping up the table top refinishing project at Marine Reach (they look great); and saying goodbye to friends.

We've encountered just in the last few days some new things. One is cumquat limes (they are small and when overripe they look just like orange cumquats) that are sweet and limey mmmm. Another Fiji novelty is "bele" which is the Hindi word for a green maple shaped leaf that is cooked like spinach. Not too bad. We have handfuls of it which Rakesh picked for us from his garden, along with long beans, corn on the cob, and eggplant. We went to church with the leaders of the Marine REach base on Sunday. The building is a flat roof with posts holding it up from a cement slab. One side of the square is walled up to about 3 feet with cement blocks. Otherwise, it's open to the cool breeze. There were about 25 of us there of all different races. At one point the pastor said, "ok, let's all pray for Brian and Megan for 60 seconds, out loud, very forcefully." This, was a very new thing for us. But it felt amazing. I felt like we were wrapped in a cocoon of loving prayers from many different languages. I couldn't stop smiling. It sure helps my pre-voyage nerves to know we have prayers like that carrying us.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009


Well Brian and I are now waiting for a weather window to head to New Zealand. While waiting, Brian has taken on some small fix-it jobs at the Marine Reach office. He's helped to hang some shade sails, started refinishing two table tops, and installed a new door handle. I've been doing some last minute shopping, organizing paper work for entry to NZ, and reading. (Not very challenging) This past weekend we spent 4 nights at Vuda Pt Marina taking on fuel, water, propane, and cleaning Nomad. IT's been nice not to have major overhauls to do. I guess all the time spent working in Panama and Mexico have paid off.

So, we're praying for a passage with good weather, and are excited to finally get to New Zealand.

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