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Anthem Adrift
Veering Back Toward Auckland
12/01/2011, Rarohara Bay, Great Barrier Island

1 December 2011

An unkempt houseboat anchored nearby has painted on its side "Flip Off" (or perhaps there was a more expressive alternate spelling). Assumed an invitation by owner to be left alone, but learned it was a vandal request to remove the eyesore. F. Off Bay has now joined Corpse Cove in our nascent effort to rationalize chart designations in New Zealand.

Had planned move to Smokehouse Bay, but got waylaid by folks from catamaran Te Harinui for a hike up and around Glenfern Sanctuary - gorgeous views and a swing bridge into the canopy of a Kauri tree. Cool stuff. After return to boat, just before dinnertime, were then ambushed by gluttony and sloth, two of three favored deadly sins, so here we remain in Rarohara Bay. Tomorrow will find us on a perfect, perfect I say, off-wind sail to Kawau Island and thence to Tiritiri Matangi Island bird sanctuary before another graceful, elegant and again exemplary sail into Auckland on Sunday.

Note to weather aficionados: Previous explanation that south of zero latitude "veer" and "back" were opposite to northern hemisphere because of reverse swing as fronts pass is complete bullfeathers promulgated by a weatherman on the US east coast. Resident NZ authority Bob McDavitt revealed the terms as universal so go back to that friend you misled and admit the truth.


Bump and Scrape
11/30/2011, Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island

30 November 2011

Notwithstanding recent discourteous comments regarding GRIBs, we have just had its reliability shoved where the sun never shines. Thirty knot winds off the bow and sharp, steep two meter waves made the night long and continuation to Great Barrier iffy. A thwarted attempted to visit last April increased resolve as well as stupidity for the eventual arrival into Port Fitzroy at 1100 this morning where we anchored at high tide then swung onto the hard bottom at low. No waves, but gusty wind caused keel to make rude grinding noises. Re-anchored deeper next door with fewer mooring balls, less gusty wind and grumpier inhabitants.

Beautiful, nearly landlocked bay. Afternoon nap, early night, explore tomorrow.


Fickle Forecasting Foibles
11/29/2011, Overnight to Great Barrier

29 November 2011

As the sun descends over green, sheep strewn hills and the Bay of Islands recedes behind our transom, we bid a fond farewell to Port Opua, our many friends there and the meanest sand flies in the solar system. An overnight sail (this expression may be a tad optimistic as wind is currently on the bow and forecast to shift with us as we turn from NE to SE passing Cape Brett) may allow arrival Port Fitzroy mid-morning (that optimism thing again) for a couple of days before continuing Auckland to work - Jan at Brightside hospital to keep me in the manner and me on the boat to approach the same objective from a different angle (it's all about me).

- Later

Strangely enough, weather weasels got this one right as wind direction takes its cues from our pointy end. Suppose it would be too much to ask for rest of forecast, sending wind on around to SW during the night thus allowing sailing toward destination, to transpire... right.

- Later still

Latest GRIB (Glib Reprehensibly Indefensible Balderdash) now shows wind remaining south and east and increasing above 20!!! What's that all about? Where did approaching high go? Why weren't we consulted? Had been benignly beating upwind in no particular hurry, but decided (given off chance silly report is within hailing distance of reality) on squandering some petroleum to minimize potential abuse. Tonight, no nappy for Cappy.


Huff and Puff
11/25/2011, Opua Marina, Bay of Islands

26 November 2011

Wind continued yesterday to fluctuate between 0 and 25, but moved south, from just where we wished to proceed. Went anyway in hopes of finding cold Guinness and fush 'n' chups (roughly translated to real English from the indigenous New Zealandish as 'fish and chips'). In an outpouring of benevolence, gusts moved back to west shoving us in fits to our destination. Russell, original capitol of New Zealand and pretty cool, fun place, is near Opua where we were required to be by this evening so that early Monday Maggie can attend work (a drudgery forced upon many so that a few prodigals such as myself may squander the resultant confiscated assets). As target anchorage was chock-a-block with moored boats and, due to wind, somewhat lumpy, decided to venture across to Paihia's minimum fetch and take ferry back.

Short motor to Opua Marina early afternoon was uneventful in forecast 0 to 30 knots although observation revealed only 28. Despite creeping lethargy, all hands turned to various chores and maintenance until newly purchased Beefeaters, conspiring with tonic and lime, demanded attention. Dinner at the OCC (Opua Cruising Club) will absolve galley wench and guest from preparing sustenance and Captain from returning said galley to immaculinity (not a real word).


The Far Side of Nowhere
11/24/2011, Corpse Cove, Bay of Islands

25 November 2011

So I lied. We ate barbecued chicken thighs Wednesday. The Scotch filets were Tuesday and lamb shoulder chops Monday as well as last night except with mushroom pasta instead of rice and broccoli. It's not pretty, but someone has to live this way and being humanitarians all, we wouldn't want to force the exertion upon anyone less fortitudinous (real word?).

Stiff sail in 20 to 25 knots to Kerikeri Cruising Club where there were no moorings, no anchoring locations, no slips and they don't monitor a radio. Deucedly unfriendly. Harumph! Motored to opposite side of peninsula where there was, in addition, no internet and, after assiduous effort with best lures, no fish, ergo the lamb (actually these were leg chops).

This unnamed bay, henceforth Corpse Cove, is not shown as a viable anchorage, perhaps because of the dead guy. Well, initially we saw him walking around as we anchored then he was splayed out on his back, unmoving. Every suggestion to our two resident angels of mercy to minister to the poor soul was met with derision and callous nurse humor. Florence Nightingale's example has obviously been frittered away. Thank goodness the gentleman recovered sufficiently to stumble away, hopefully to find more compassionate help.


Endeavor to Persevere
11/23/2011, Sunset Bay, Bay of Islands

24 November 2011

Snorkeling was quite pleasant in a nipple popping sort of way as new, 3 mil, full length wetsuit ameliorated more dire hypothermic complications for about 45 minutes, although another 15 was necessary to locate appendage for a certain kidney related physiological function. Associated highlights were navigating, through a swell induced surge, underwater canyons leading toward several caves and a non-shy octopus crawling around among the waving kelp.

Sailed then motored to Sunset Bay for a very comfortable night as boats in the more popular bay cross channel rocked around the clock. A beautiful, large house above us on private Motukiekie Island was inhabited (we saw the lights and occasional movement), but residents seemed unfriendly as they kept curtains closed and did not invite us ashore for drinks and dinner. We were forced to subsist on salad, buttered kumara, incredibly succulent Scotch filets and a wonderful Taylor (Clare Valley, Australia not New York) Cabernet while watching the required (ergo the name) gorgeous sunset. We soldier on in the face of grueling hardship.


Bumps on a Goose
11/22/2011, Urupukapuka Bay, Bay of Islands

23 November 2011

Lovely Urupukapuka Bay has trees, grass covered hills and newly sheared sheep (accompanied by resultant excreta - hills are really, really green). Also in evidence are incredible views of Bay of Islands from loftier bits.

Early afternoon air moving from zephyrous to howling at 23 degrees (73 for the Celsius challenged). Tentative plan to snorkel in 19 degree water will depend upon first bonehead taking a dare and others shamed into same. Waited until 'heat' of day, now hoping no one else remembers injudicious suggestion. Oh crap! Got to go.


Waxing Enthusiastic
11/21/2011, Hahangaroa Bay, Bay of Islands

21 November 2011

After various and sundry chores, escaped Opua early afternoon for gusty sail under yankee and staysail to Hahangaroa Bay. Gorgeous location with 6 other sailboats until BUTT (big ugly tourist transporter, i.e. small cruise ship) dropped anchor just behind. Anticipate night of raucous party noise, probably ABBA and the BGs at high decibel.

22 November 2011

All quiet on the cruise ship front. Perhaps it was movie night for a geriatric clientele.

After gusty wind under overcast sky, morning became clear and calm allowing break of fast with Malaysian born, Australian friend in cockpit of Costa Rican built, US registered yacht on French toast, Canada maple syrup, New Zealand butter and Thai orange juice. In a paroxysm of international eclecticism, partner threatens a Brazilian wax. Seems rather extreme for likely negligible effect on world peace.


Idylling Along
11/20/2011, Port Opua, New Zealand

21 November 2011

Although protracted and on the wind, passage from Fiji was not terribly uncomfortable and allowed a timely arrival Opua for last two days of All Points Rally festivities. Old friends and new forced us, forced I say, into flagrant abuse of mind altering, grape based substances. Beautiful evenings (have been assured of this by unbiased observers who actually remember) metamorphosed into less idyllic mornings. One should occasionally over-indulge as a reminder to never do it again.

Buddy Maggie drove from Auckland yesterday to help us cruise the Bay of Islands for several days. For the barbie she brought lamb, beef and various other meatage (not a real word) from her spendy, but excellent, butcher. Expect departure from Opua this afternoon after a few chores (including possibly leaving club foot with Northland Spars and Rigging to be repaired) for anchorage off Russell, former capital and all round fun place.

Weather has been delightfully dry so far with chilly nights and almost warm days - blue jeans and jackets. Regrettably, a change looms tonight with winds to 35 knots and some rain. No worrys. We have food, popcorn, movies, libation and a cribbage board. Some judicious mixing and matching of these should easily hold rampant ennui at bay.


Going Down the Espresso Lane
11/17/2011, Day 11 to Opua

18 November 2011

One tends to sleep on same side as tack, i.e. right side for starboard and left for port. This due to wanting back on solid object and feet toward bow so that any sudden stop resulting from running upon a reef, semi-submerged container or whale does not break one's neck. This allows additional time to reflect upon one's life and, possibly, convert to Buddhism (thus facilitating return for another try) before drowning as now holed boat disappears into the depths.

Five NM to Cape Wiwiki, entrance to Bay of Islands, eleven more into Port Opua. Beautiful sail under clear skies in calm seas since 0400 with apparent wind varying between 10 and 20 knots and boat moving at from 4.5 knots to hull speed of 7+. Rather have good weather at beginning. Now just want to keep sailing... Oh wait, a cappuccino (heavily sprinkled with cocoa, of course) calls. Never mind, we're going in.


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S/V Anthem
Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
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See profile for information on why this mess is being foisted upon an innocent world and, despite what is probably your better judgement, how to make contact.
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