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R/V Tender Spirit: Now Land Cruising
Join us as we discover new cruising grounds with our "boat" the RV Tender Spirit. Swallowing the Anchor doesn't mean giving up cruising!
Oyster Stew
12/24/2011, Opua, New Zealand

It's Christmas Eve! Merry Christmas Everybody!!

We found an oyster farmer nearby, and we have been enjoying this fine delicacy. Tonight I made oyster stew for Christmas Eve. It's been a family tradition for as long as I can remember. We still marvel at the holiday season in the southern hemisphere. Kiwis celebrate Christmas with summer picnics on the beaches.

This will be our 5th Christmas in the warm weather. I must admit though, it's been unusually cold here this year. We have been chilly, especially in the mornings. Sleeping under the heavy quilt has been a pleasant change from the equatorial heat.

We sincerely wish everyone a happy holiday and hope everyone finds time to enjoy the season!

2011-New Zealand Part II
12/26/2011 | Eldor and Dorothy Eisen
Merry Christmas Chuck and Joan. We have been following you ever since we met in Port Townsend 5 years ago and enjoy your updates. Happy New Year and good luck for the remainder of your adventure
Eldor and Dorothy
12/29/2011 | Jennifer & Mike Ward
Hi Joan & Chuck! Great to read about your continued sailing adventures! We loved New Zealand and would love to get back there someday! Speaking of chilly - it got down to 3 degrees fahrenheit here last week! Staying warm by the wood burning stove! Happy New Year! From the presently land-locked crew of Thin Wolf - Jen & Mike (and Luke somewhere in PT!)
Wheels, Water & Work
12/03/2011, Opua, New Zealand

It has been awhile since I've posted. We have been busy since arriving at Opua. We have found some great deals, renewed old friendships and made new ones as well. We have even been working on the boat and doing some planning for our New Zealand adventure. Pearl is finally back from two weeks of quarantine. We sure missed her, and she is happy to be home again. Now for the first time since leaving New Zealand, she is allowed on land. She sure is loving the walks and is learning to be a good dog with other dogs and people. She is shy, but polite, so that is just fine with us. She is learning that people walking by the boat do not need to be greeted with a noisy hello! Other than that, she is making a great transition.

We have been dreaming about a water maker since we purchased Tender Spirit. Unfortunately, it never made it to the top of the list. Other, more critical items kept bumping it down. It was still not even close to the top of the list. Like any good cruising plan, it changed. A cruiser was selling a new, in the box water maker for an incredible price. It is engine driven and produces 20 gallons per hour. The water makers on the market are in the $5,000 range. So our quarter berth is now filled with water maker parts and pieces. We are still undecided about where and how to mount this contraption, but we will get some help. Soon, we will be truly independent of the dock! In the meanwhile, we are enjoying being tied to the dock and having unlimited access to a water hose. We have tons of boat projects to keep us entertained and having access to a boat yard and marine stores is a real luxury.

Returning to New Zealand was an easy choice because we left with huge regrets. We did not have the opportunity go get out and see the country. We promised ourselves that we would see more of North Island and also venture down to South Island. We kicked some tires at a local used car shop, but the prices had gone up since we were here last. We were also looking at circumnavigating New Zealand. The trip would be tricky with bar crossings and unpredictable weather. We were back at the used car lot again; still shaking our heads. We kept passing a Land Rover that we really liked in the marina parking lot. Naturally it was not for sale. On the morning that Pearl arrived back from quarantine, a "for sale" sign was in the window. The price was very low and we were hot on it. So, our plans have changed again. We are the proud owners of a green Land Rover. We are planning extensive inland traveling down to the South Island by vehicle. This is our first adventure driving on the left side of the road, so we will do some short range exploring first!

Yup, I am working in exotic locations. I am actually starting to make an income with my writing. It's nice to see a few dollars trickling into the poor old bank account. I have a few freelance projects going on so we will be tied even closer to the internet. Hopefully I will be able to balance boat projects, road trips and writing.

2011-New Zealand Part II
12/21/2011 | Bria
I was just thinking about you two crazies and hoping the Holiday Season is being good to you!!!! Enjoy NZ to its fullest- SUCH a beautiful place. Love you guys and safe travels! MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Landfall at Night
11/04/2011, Off shore: Destination New Zealand

We made landfall at 0300 this morning. We felt comfortable entering Opua at night since we have been here before. We are just now getting caught up on a few chores. We are cleared in through customs and bio-security. Pearl will be going to Auckland for quarantine tomorrow morning. She should be back after ten days if all of the papers and testing is in order.

2011-New Zealand Part II
11/04/2011 | Dave & Mary
Welcome back to NZ, look forward to seeing you back at RDM!!!!
11/04/2011 | raylin martin
Congrats on the landfall and safe passage.
Racing the Weather
11/02/2011, Off shore: Destination New Zealand

We have had another great day of sailing. We are now on a race with some bad weather heading in our direction. We are 60 miles out and hope to make landfall in the middle of the night. We hate night arrivals, but we don't want to get caught in this weather system. A large pod of porpoises have been visiting today. That's been quite entertaining. We are also in visual contact with S/B Sidewinder, a vessel we met two years ago. We are looking forward to sharing the quarantine dock with them!

2011-New Zealand Part II
Beautiful Sailing
11/01/2011, Off shore: Destination New Zealand

Just before sunset, last night, we had a beautiful rainbow that would please any pot of gold seeker. To make this sign of good luck even better was the albatross that soared in circles in the middle. This sure was an amazing sight! The wind was light all night, beautiful calm seas, and then the fog came. I haven't seen fog in a long time. It sure made for an interesting halo for the crescent moon that I could see through the thin fog layer. The wind picked up this morning and we had some stellar sailing. Lovely 15 knot wind was just forward the beam. We are still enjoying SW 18 knot wind with SW 2 meter seas. We have been averaging 6 knots most of the day. We are now 198 miles out of Opua. All is just fine on board.

2011-New Zealand Part II
Nice Day!
10/31/2011, Off shore: Destination New Zealand

The sun is shining once again. The winds are down, N at 10 knots. Seas are N at 2 meters. We are 295 miles from Opua. We are looking at landfall in about 3 days. We saw porpoises today. One was huge, laying on its side looking up at us. That was awesome. We are doing well, and getting a few things dried out and looking forward to the light winds on the horizon. Ok, I hope they aren't too light so we can sail at a decent speed.

2011-New Zealand Part II
Calmer Seas
10/30/2011, Off shore: Destination New Zealand

Well, we were able to start sailing again around midnight last night. The seas today have been in the 15 knot range. The seas have slowly started to diminish. We have left-over swells in the 3.5-3 meter range. Hopefully this front will be behind us by tomorrow and we will have some nice sailing weather for the remainder of our passage. We have about 400 miles to go. All is fine and dandy on board once again!

2011-New Zealand Part II
Flying White Foam!
10/30/2011, Off shore: Destination New Zealand

The foam was sure flying around today. We are hove to waiting for seas to calm down a bit. We had about two hours of sustained 45knot winds. Our highest gust that I saw one the meter was 51.1. The seas were just plain huge with serious streaks and foam flying around. Definitely breathtaking, but not in quite the "I want to stay and take photos" way. I did try to get some photos after it started calming down. I got splashed and water poured down the companion way. I think I broke the camera. It is soaked. I expect the seas were well over the 15 foot range. Now the wind has calmed down to about 26-28 knots with gusts to 34. The wind is supposed to shift to the NE. Naturally, we haven't made much progress. We have about 480 miles to go. We should be on our way again by morning. Other than that, all is well on board. Believe it or not, nothing broke...that we know of. We are both very happy to be on Tender Spirit. She continues to prover herself to be a worthy blue-water vessel.

2011-New Zealand Part II

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Adventures of Tender Spirit
Who: Joan & Chuck
Port: Sitka, Alaska
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