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Anthem Adrift
Under Way, Way Under
03/06/2012, Abeam Portland Island

6 March 2012

All back together and on the way to Napier after assembling parts for and installing adjustable, solar panel supports. Taking three times as long as is reasonable, decided to measure twice and cut once instead of more typical and even less efficient technique. At current rate of progress expect to have amps flowing within the month, perhaps this one.

Happily surprised to have decent wind, ergo sailing sounds unadulterated by ambiance of heavy machinery, after departing Gisborne at 1600. Hoping to continue this delightful circumstance all the way to destination. Hey, it could happen. Glass half full, so there!

Jack

Exhausted in Manifold Ways
03/05/2012, Gisborne

4 March 2012

16 degrees C, 25 knots from the south, sun shining and rain. Summer in New Zealand.

On the day of rest, instead of doing much else, we rested. Jan finished Stieg Larsen's second "The Girl..." book and I was finally able to download detailed charts of our next year's travels into iPad and leveled new solar panel. Tomorrow may see organized activity if we don't devolve into complete decomposition.

5 March 2012

Brekkie and coffee injected energy into our system to avoid total entropy. The universe and life as we know it persists.

With highish hopes that exhaust manifold will be ready today (has anyone else noticed that even optimistic people only have half a glassful?) we plan to refuel for the expected motor through a no wind high to Picton.

- Later

Hose from truck didn't quite reach the boat and we couldn't move due to exhaust manifold deficiencies (mainly not being installed) so expect to refuel in the morning. Currently contemplating next backup plan due to weather bomb low that just went by stalling and sending a trough back over us. Said plan involves sailing to Napier tomorrow night before southwest winds re-emerge Wednesday morning to wait for next window. This getting to Marlborough Sound thing is turning into a chore.

Did, however, get manifold installed and it appears, after some tinkering and unlike my brain, to be leak free.

Jack

It's the Bomb
02/29/2012, Gisborne

29 February 2012

Happy birthday to Rich's son James on his 8th birthday. He looks so much older. Glad I'm not 16.

Overnight from Slipper Island to Gisborne was surprisingly uneventful given reports of potential conditions around East Cape and forecast 3.5 meter seas from there down. There's nothing like a long period, large amplitude swell rolling into a rocky shore to impress on one the incredible power of the ocean without said individual getting beat up in the process.

Slight possibility to make 90 NM trek to Napier tomorrow, but adverse wind and sea slowing progress before the weather bomb hits makes Gisborne appear highly appealing. Not having experienced 54 knot winds and 9 meter seas, Jan seems reluctant to take the chance. Darn! The sacrifices one makes!

Jack

Hung Out There
02/27/2012, Bay of Plenty

28 February 2012

After a restful (despite garrulous cows), but short night in South Bay on Slipper Island (also private - there seem to be a lot of them) we weighed anchor before 0600 in order to arrive in the protection of Gisborne Harbour by tomorrow evening. Blowing a hoolie ain't in it. We could get to know the town quite well as the usually restrained GRIBS and Wind Guru claim up to 54 knots over the next several days.

Blithely motor-sailing off the wreckage of container ship Rena on Astrolabe Reef, we must listen to that noisy, red, iron thing in the bilge as barometer readings begin to plummet. We will be most pleased to have manure impact the air movement device post-arrival Kaiti Basin.

Speaking of cows, why a herd? Horses could be in herds, but there are gaggles of geese, why not a cluster of cattle? A sheer of sheep? A leap of leopards? A faction of foxes? A rampage of rhinoceroses? A cacophony of cats? A dawdle of ducks (calm)? A dervish of ducks (excited)? A ptomaine of pterodactyls?... Dangles of donkeys? Jack

Hello Baaahbra
02/26/2012, Coralie Bay, Great Mercury Island

26 February 2012

The beautiful 15 inch big screen TV (quit laughing!) that inhabited a saloon bulkhead and the accompanying DVD player were deplorably underused outside of North America due to format and regional restrictions. This lamentable circumstance has now been remedied, at great expense, by replacement with a humongous (it's all relative) 19 inch Teac 12/120/240v LED DTV/DVD. This rascal plays everything from every region in any format. (This is, of course, horribly naive, but some among us wish not to be disabused of the notion for awhile.. It does lots). Last night's entertainment was "Quigley Down Under". "The Wind and the Lion" taken directly from a USB external drive is on que for tonight.

Seems that cattle are more prevalent in Northland because sheep's hooves rot in the warm moist climate up here (this despite our having seen maybe 5 days of summer this summer). Still, there are lots of bovines and ovines all over and also on this private island. Cows smell worse, but are somewhat insular. It's a little unnerving to have an entire hillside of motionless sheep glaring unblinking at you for minutes at a time. You'd think they'd never seen a Canadian. Posted rules limit where one may go (shore and pasture areas only) and certain activities such as building fires. No mention is made of annoying, eating or dating the sheep, but some things are probably assumed.

Jack

Convertible Contentment
02/25/2012, Coralie Bay, Great Mercury Island

Mercury Islands

25 February 2012

The 45 NM sail around Coromandel from Waiheke to Great Mercury would have proved more exciting in the 30 plus winds had there been more fetch. Southwesterlies abaft the beam nevertheless gave us a boisterous sleigh ride with some impressive speeds aided by following current. Despite theirs being The City of Sails Aucklanders showed some reluctance to savor the moment with us.

Nestled now deep in Coralie Bay with 20 knots through the rigging, we enjoy a beautiful bucolic scene of rolling hills, steep cliffs and wandering sheep and cattle as the sun sets behind a pristine crescent beach. Mellow equanimity is enhanced by the letters G & T, soon to be followed by converted grape juice.

Jack

Resumptiousness
02/24/2012, Man O' War Bay, Waiheke

22 February 2012

A month since last you were afflicted with news from In Zed. So, you might ask, "que pasa", "ce qui se passe" or possibly "what up, dog"? We remain in Auckland. "Ah!" you say knowingly, "Didn't get four month's work done in two and a half over the holidays"? In a word, no.

However, now pleased to announce that cap rail rot has been replaced with iroko wood that looks remarkably like Costa Rican teak, new water heater is heating water and new Victron inverter/charger, contrary to expectation, is also performing appropriate functions. Much of the brightwork is, ummm, bright, although sporting less varnish than preferred. Deck is clearish and last bits will be stowed or jettisoned.

24 February 2012

After waiting a day for the weather fairy to slap us around, mucking about a bit and, in process, saying bye to many great friends, we left slip A9 for a wonderful sail to the east side of Waiheke Island where we share a bay with, among others, the beautiful 146 foot barquentine (English spelling), Spirit of New Zealand.

Auckland is a terrific city and we'll miss it and some wonderful people, especially Phil and Maggie, but life was getting too easy. Thinking they would never see us again everyone was terribly nice. We hated to disabuse them of this comforting thought by revealing that we may be back for a short time in April.

Current plan, to the degree "plan" means anything, is to hop through the Bay of Plenty (assiduously avoiding semi-submerged containers from wreckage of the Rena near Tauranga), around East Cape and down to Picton on the South Island, there to reconnect with more friends. It's hard to avoid the silly rascals.

Cruising life resumes.

Jack

PS Not a real word.

Rotten Luck
01/26/2012, Pier 21, Auckland

22 January 2012

Slacking has become a way of life. By being, at the time, constantly on my alleged mind this blog was actually easier done every day. Given an endemic three-year-old attention span, extended gaps have been insinuating themselves into the effluvium production. Mental calcification is both cause and result while cheering discriminating literati.

An impossible number of critical projects have been whittled down to an impossible number of re-designated non-critical projects plus a newly discovered critically urgent repair. Removing portside cap rail track to install running rig hardware revealed leakage causing a linear meter of decomposition beneath. This was probably the source of intractable interior dampness and consequent mold. It's like losing your new Aston Martin when an obstreperous mother-in-law drives off a cliff - bad news, but good. Now looking for a chippie to rout out the corruption and scarf in some matching kauri wood (or, it has been alleged, available Costa Rican teak) at which point, some time in the not too distant future, hopefully, life will again be perfectish. Have now, unsurprisingly, run through four boat builders who, due to Bay of Islands Race Week, Auckland Day, subsequent Waitangi Day or prior commitments are unobtainable this decade.

Although not wishing to sully moderate optimism expressed in the previous paragraph (Huh? you query) a newly purchased water heater to replace operative, but 26 year old current unit, to which a dual 120/12 volt heating element (for wind vane diversion load) is being re-engineered to fit has become a can of worms (clearly less fun than a barrel of monkeys). Am certain, however, that the actual installation will be simple, straight-forward and quick. Endeavor to congratulate me for optimism and stop snickering this instant.

Jan finishes work next Friday, her brother arrives two days later and we plan to sail with the tide (cool sounding, but, with an auxiliary engine, usually meaningless expression) shortly thereafter. As completion of all projects should take until this time next year, some compromises will ensue.

Jack

Projecting Bits
01/07/2012, Pier 21, Auckland

8 January 2012

Remember when it was suggested that New Zealand reopened 3 January? Turns out, for starters, that the day after New Years Day is a statutory holiday just like Boxing Day for Xmas and so Tuesday was off this year as well. But wait! How many out there think work restarted Wednesday? Show of hands. OK, you three haven't been paying attention. We're hoping for the 9th.

In preparation for the Rugby World Cup and while we were in Fiji, Pier 21's shower, head and laundry were renovated. Two little showers were made into one larger (no waiting in line so far) and new tile was laid. It was horrifying to find in the loo, however, that the toilet roll was dispensing paper from the bottom rather than the top. Disaster was narrowly averted when, serendipitously, it was discovered that reversing the roll made it all better. By the way, the toilet key at a recently patronized restaurant was attached to a spoon. One wonders.

Since no big projects are proceeding, all the little crap is getting done. Well, 'all' is excessively hyperbolic, but some (defined as more than one) are. Most fun was emptying and cleaning the lazerettes - port, starboard and aft - of greasy soot from the previously broken exhaust manifold and sorting three additional incongruities subsequently revealed. The single shower barely proved sufficient.

Still waiting for summer as unseasonable wind, rain and chilly temperatures meander up from Antarctica through the Tasman Sea. Although just as much a pest here as in North America, possums (Kiwis generally leave off the preceding 'O') are at least cute and, because their fur is hollow, provide particularly good insulation when blended with merino wool. Thus has been saved many a protruding and dangly bit from freezing off.

Jack

Early Over the Line
01/01/2012, Pier 21, Auckland

1 January 2012

Having sucked dry numerous vineyards in Waiheke and ravaged their bread bits and olive oil (acquiring 3 bottles of over-priced, but mighty tasty wine in the process), Jan & I reached in blustery 12 to 25 knot winds the 20 some odd miles back to Pier 21 yesterday morning in record time. Tidying up and resting before heading out to party would have provided the bulk of entertainment had our battery charger not expressed its general dissatisfaction by shutting down, issuing peremptory error messages and refusing to reset. This was handled with typical aplomb by utterance of amusing expletives, turning the (expletive deleted) thing off and departing.

A chance meeting with friends studying the Urban Turban's happy hour (misnamed as it extended from 4 until 7) menu resulted in the six of us stuffing ourselves with wine and tapas for a relative pittance. Dinner of traditional (somewhere?) lamb and fush 'n' chups at O'Hagan's then kept us out and awake until 2000. Setting the alarm clock for 2330 then allowed observation of the death of a year and one born anew eighteen hours before Cal (good natured, non-sailing regular foil for this blog). Happy New Year buddy and to all our friends wherever they may be. Hope this year is just as interesting without the turmoil of 2011.

Fireworks exploding from the Auckland Skytower were fantastic, probably. Low scud mostly hid the show, but rain held off until we returned to the boat. Sleeping in was no chore, but think tonight will end a touch earlier than last. This happy event is unlikely to diminish in any significant way a reprise of this morning.

By the way, due to chowderheads who inflict daylight saving time on us plus our unwillingness to wait an hour and thus miss the celebration, we rang in 2012 an hour too soon. Harrumph!

Jack

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S/V Anthem
Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
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