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Anthem Adrift
Wonderfully Well in Windy Welly
04/11/2012, Wellington, NZ

4 April 2012

Another beautiful day in paradise. The 50 knot zephyrs that occasionally gust up to heel boat 20 degrees on mooring are a refreshing change from all that serene, warm sun. Considered leaving today through Cook Strait toward New Plymouth on southwest North Island, but Jan was reluctant to enjoy what promised to be a bracing sail. She begins to lose proper enthusiasm as seas approach 5 meters. It's hard to find good crew but, ummmm, mustache needed trimming so we couldn't leave anyway.

Also, not that this would have held us, sorting hot water has been frustrating. All are reluctant to believe, given proper engine cooling, that water pump is dead. Diverter seems in good nick and coolant is topped. Next plan is to block water from going anywhere but to HWH (presumably short for hot water heater even though only cold water would seem to require this service). This, besides potentially warping a subsequently overheated head, may prove instructive.

6 April 2012

After allowing overheated engine to cool, removed block then section by section poured water through every nook and cranny of cooling system. Discovered that nothing is wrong with flow and only possibility is circulation pump which is demonstrably fine. Wow, that's a load off. Will henceforth take care to avoid scalding with 15C (59F) water.

10 April 2012

Beautiful sail across Cook Strait on Saturday the 7th until Karori Rip reached out a mile from its charted position to slap us awake just before we were run down by a humongous Cook Strait car/passenger/cargo ferry moving along at 18 knots. Those babies put out quite a wake.

11 April 2012

Truly enjoyed Wellington including the capitol center, focus here as in all countries of waste, corruption and pettifoggery. With a compact downtown, everything a cruiser could want (Irish pubs, restaurants, English pubs, laundries, sports bars, cafes, wine bars, markets, taverns, etc.) is within walking distance. It's a pretty city replete with parks, museums, great buildings and a boardwalk that runs along the waterfront throughout most of downtown. Now if only they could do something about the 50 knot gales that blow through every few days.

Expect to leave tomorrow afternoon for Auckland as blustery wind moderates to too much from way to much.

Jack

A Pallid Pastiche of Prattle
04/02/2012, Waikawa Bay

Mts. Cook and Tasman from Lake Mathison

22 March 2012

Staying busy on road trip. Cool stuff for us, boring explanation for you. Cliff Notes version: Abel Tasman Park kayaks, swing bridge and zip-line over Buller Gorge, Franz Joseph and Fox glaciers, Aranui Cave (glow worms), Pancake Rocks, spectacular scenery along South Island west coast and other sights beyond human imagination (minor hyperbole). Amazingly beautiful weather.

A few comments: Glow worms look like the Milky Way on a cave ceiling and supply the only possible justification for black flies that help feed them. Black flies (sand flies), which are ubiquitous and bites of which itch forever (minor hyperbole), are the spawn of Satan. Kiwis are enamored of swing and suspension walkways over the many gorges, chasms, rivers and creeks. They only know how to build single lane bridges along major highways (chicken anyone?). Many of them are suspended as well. Public facilities are surprisingly well maintained. Sheep and backpackers litter the countryside and some of each are grey or brown. Even hostels are pricey. We have stayed in B&Bs, but none have had, to this point, the second B. Biking up steep mountain roads with four full panniers afflicts amazing numbers and looks way, way, WAY fun...

26 March 2012

Unable to determine age of "Super Windy", our rental Toyota. 284k on odometer, manual windows and unknown insignia on bonnet (that's English for hood so as not to be confused with Robin) indicate some considerable elding, but she goes, she stops and she merely sips petrol (that's the terribly expensive substance cars use here instead of gasoline.. who knew?).

Will again dispense with boring detail, but trip up Lake Wakatipu in TSS (twin screw steamer) Earnslaw out of Queenstown and various activities on and around Milford Sound fiord were magical and included a cruise, fur seals, bottle-nosed dolphins, waterfalls, kayaking, discovering how Cascade Mountains were named and risking loss of various bits of anatomy to frostbite. It's nippy down here in the roaring 40s.

29 March 2012

Was informed two days ago by Gary from Inspiration Lady that after an episode of high winds our wind generator, refitted with higher temperature cutouts to prevent shutting down too quickly, was frozen (this is a misnomer as melting is somewhat more likely). Now anticipating unexpected maintenance delay in Picton including, Goldilocks-like, searching for a Baby Bear thermal breaker that's just right. The joys of boat work in exotic locations continue anon.

Some, now most, will notice lat/long position unchanged from Waikawa Bay when actual location has varied, as of this writing, through over 2500 km. Will partially rectify that omission by explaining that we drove down the west coast, across the bottom and now up the east side. It's a pretty big island.

Two nights in Dunedin (old Gaelic for Edinburgh) were grossly insufficient to see the place. Otago Peninsula, nearby, has a castle, albatrosses (albatrossi?), yellow-eyed penguins, spectacular scenery and narrow, curvy, cliff-side roads with speed limits that would spook Mario Andretti. Someone should investigate the concept of guard rails, but perhaps that would tamp the titillation.

As this blog is about sailing, seems inappropriate to blather on about dirting. Just consider it a reprieve from all the nautical crap. Currently experiencing some sphincter-clinching tailgating as Jan, who observes that my driving makes her twitchy, propels us toward what's left of Christchurch.

3 April 2012

Returned Waikawa Bay to discover KISS had thrown a magnet from rotor taking the other 5 with it and totally buggering stator and windings. New one on order from Hotwire in Tarpon Springs. Also found engine reluctant to push coolant through water heater. Suspect lazy water pump. Cold shower anyone? It was 10C yesterday morning.

Apologies for boring monologue, but things just aren't as funny from a car. Please feel free to skip this one... oops, too late.

Jack

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

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