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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
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.