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Anthem Adrift
Ides and Tides
03/19/2012, Waikawa Bay

15 march 2012

Have decided not to consider becoming emperor today. Fearing retribution from so called friends doubting motives, will avoid all forums and desist from further communication. Besides bespeaking laziness this could save my life.

19 March 2012

To catch up, lived through last several hours traversing Cook Strait with only minor emotional scars. Stiff wind against 3.5 knot current generated heavy wash cycle and negative progress until slower flow was found further off shore. Fortunately darkness prevented full grasp of situation until nearing Tory Channel entrance some hours later. Flood tide then kicked us along at nearly 10 knots. This magnificent progress was accompanied by occasional 30 knot blasts from wind descending surrounding mountains. Arrival Waikawa Bay 1100 was closely followed by unconsciousness until 1600 then partying with various fun folk to celebrate a birthday. Jackie, of Inspiration Lady, is reveling in being, I was led to believe, 39 plus perhaps a few.

Next 3 days included visiting with friends, old and new, haunting wineries near Blenheim and dabbling in boat maintenance.

Left on road trip of South Island Saturday (17th) of which regalement (real word) may possibly ensue in the fullness of time.

"Drama is life with the dull bits cut out." - Alfred Hitchcock

Jack

A Gift of Grift
03/11/2012, Entering Cook Strait

11 March 2012

Great sail from yesterday 0600 to this evening. No rain and long swell. Better than hoped. Now just past Cape Palliser entering Cook Strait between North and South Islands. Should be into Waikawa Bay near Picton late morning. Timing to arrive Tory Channel entrance at slack tide with subsequent 6 knots flood to kick us along will be perfect. Obviously superior navigatorating... or possibly lucked out in the only decent weather window for a few days. Anyway, if we can live through the next 10 hours of no wind, wrong wind & rain and then 4 of the same after that we'll be laughing.

For those of you who are devotees of the Napier Gazette please note that Anthem and crew are renowned. Our 15 minutes of fame describing past adventures and future plans will commence with next issue. Apparently writer Alister was enamored of Jan. Must be because folks in Napier, like the sheep on great Mercury (26 Feb.), don't see many Canadians.

As both the Inspiration Ladys and Jacksters are enjoying life on the hard having their bottoms anti-fouled (no Cal this does not require anything that is squeezably soft) we plan to steal one of their moorings and then con them tomorrow night into buying us sody pops at the local watering hole. This effort will include harrowing tales of terrible storms, crazed tanker pilots and possibly, depending upon how drunk they get, vicious sea monsters from which we barely escaped with our lives. Being from Canada (polite) and the U.K. (unintelligible) they should be easy marks and we expect to get away with it.

Jack

Wine Not?
03/08/2012, Napier, NZ

7 March 2012

Wind fairy took a powder about 0330, but, not wanting to annoy the growly thing in the bilge, flopped along at 3 knots until 0830 when speed dropped below 1. After three cacophonous additional hours boat is now camped in front of the Napier Sailing Club in such a way that members can look right down into the saloon and V-berth. They seem very friendly.

Napier is a pretty city of palm trees lining city streets and beautiful Marine Parade along the shore with parks, gardens and sculptures. It hosts the National Aquarium, is a center for the oldest wine region in New Zealand and has "the most comprehensive collection of inner-city art deco buildings in the world". This was done on purpose after a 7.8 earthquake flattened the place in 1931.

9 March 2012

Yesterday was spent touring the aquarium, which is small but very well done and the Wine Center which proclaims an aroma room. Jan has a pretty good nose, but all I could distinguish was the one that smelled like moldy horse turds. As this is seldom evident even in the swill we normally buy the experience was of limited utility so purchases will continue to be based upon price, pretty labels and cool names. By the way have you tried Fat Bastard, Ultimate Bastard, White Trash, Under the Table, Sin Zin, YN, Up a Gum Tree, Le Fiat Door, Old Tart, The Full Monty, Spatzendreck (sparrow shit), Golden Beaver, Smoking Parrot, Lazy Lizard, Bored Doe, Hair of the Dingo, Goat Rotie, Love My Goat, Goats Do Roam (which is not a Cotes du Rhone) or Rasteau (which is a Cotes du Rhone) with Braille imprinted label for, apparently, blind drunks?

Jack

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.

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