S/V Tiger Lilly

Rig heavy, reef early, and pray often; for God does not assure us an easy passage, but He does promise a safe anchorage...

23 December 2015 | Brisbane, Australia
13 August 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
07 August 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
23 July 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
12 April 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
11 February 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
25 January 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
24 September 2014 | BORA BORA, French Polynesia
23 September 2014 | Bora Bora
20 August 2014 | Teahupoo, Tahiti Iti
07 July 2014 | Iles Gambier, French Polynesia
19 May 2014 | LAS PERLAS ISLANDS, GOLF OF PANAMA
03 May 2014 | Balboa Yacht Club, Panama
22 November 2013 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
21 November 2013 | Belem, Brazil
21 November 2013 | New Port Richey, Florida - USA
21 November 2013 | AFUA TO THE SEA BUOY
18 October 2013 | BREVES TO AFUA - THE BACK WATERS
09 October 2013 | BELEM - Cruising Notes
08 October 2013 | BELEM - Customs and Immigration

TIGER LILLY - CHRISTMAS 2015

23 December 2015 | Brisbane, Australia
Tom & Lilly Service
MERRY CHRISTMAS
We hope that you are enjoying the Christmas Season, and anticipating the coming New Year. Here in Brisbane, the city's 2015 collective holiday festivities have been given the name "The Wonder of Christmas" and we think that is so very appropriate. As we think back to past Christmases, and anticipate the coming celebration, what is it that makes us anticipate this time of year with such alacrity and affection? What is it that can unite people from diverse walks of personal faith in a common embrace of warm emotion? We think that it is love; an altruistic outpouring of emotion towards our fellow man - and it certainly is powerful stuff. As the years thunder by, and we find ourselves at a station of life where there is less distraction to the real meaning of Christmas, less holiday tidal flow in our check-book, and more time to think of those we cherish, we reflect that it is this love which truly blesses our lives. Love is not just an emotion, it is an action; there can be no love without sacrifice. We love God, and we love each other, because HE FIRST LOVED US; that is the "Wonder of Christmas" aboard TIGER LILLY.

It has been said that cruising under sail is nothing more than working on a boat in exotic places - and that is what we do. Christmas 2014 found us in the quaint and friendly town of Whangarei, New Zealand; TIGER LILLY was moored in the Town Basin with a huge Christmas tree overlooking the harbour - it was a great place to do major work on the boat, and we were blessed by the Kiwi Spirit of Christmas. After the Cyclone Season was over we sailed north to the tropical islands of Vanuatu. Cyclone Pam had brought devastation to these islands of humble villages and a lifestyle exposed to the elements. While we were in New Zealand Lilly combed the town's thrift stores almost daily, buying clothing and basic household necessities that would help the villagers of Vanuatu return some normalcy to their lives. We made a decision that the money we usually spend for Christmas would go towards Vanuatu's cyclone relief this year. Can you IMAGINE being huddled with your family in a hut roofed-over with palm fronds while winds of over 125 MPH raked the jungle around you? The people we met said that "When the house blow down, we run to the forest, and hang on to the trees!" We gave them very little in a monetary sense, but we came to them, and they certainly blessed us! In addition to the many millions of dollars of cyclone relief sent by the governments of New Zealand and Australia, the people of Auckland donated guitars and ukuleles - they knew how important music is to Vanuatuans. The difficulty was getting those bulky fragile instruments up to the islands, and out to the remote villages; the call went out to the international yachts heading north to help. When we sailed from New Zealand our entire vee berth was packed with guitars and ukuleles - padded with bags of serviceable and clean used clothing. TIGER LILLY's mission was "Ukuleles to Vanuatu" - try saying that one 5 times quickly... We had our own challenges in Vanuatu as we blew-out our 11 year-old mainsail, and had to do some patch work and jury rigging for the boisterous beat south to New Caledonia.

We LOVED the wonderful French culture and civilization of New Caledonia, and in juxtaposition to rustic Vanuatu it was quite a shock to our senses. The central mountainous section of New Caledonia has large nickel mines, while tourism predominates the coastal regions; New Caledonia plays an important role in the European Union's strategic materials program, and it is one of France's major overseas tourist destinations. In New Caledonia we continued to work on the boat, but our venue was the Southern Lagoon and the Baie des Citrons - with all the amenities and glitter of an international tourist destination. Fresh hot baguettes were the order of the day, and we love those fancy French pastries too!
LILLY SEZ: WE Tonto? Ladies, when I would get Himself out for a brisk walk and a bit of needed exercise, all HE wanted to do was stop at the boulangerie and eat jelly donuts! For the longest time, I thought that they sold ladies underwear in a boulangerie - at least that is what it sounds like. And what the heck is he doing hanging out in a ladies underwear shop anyway? In Jacksonville, you KNOW what they sell at Dunkin Donuts!

In mid-December Cyclone Season was upon us again, and we sailed some 800 miles west across the Coral Sea for Australia. The country town of Bundaberg on the Queensland Coast was our port of entry, and it was another culture shock after cosmopolitan French New Caledonia. Bundaberg, 10 miles inland on the tropical Burnett River, is surrounded by miles and miles of sugar cane fields, and the local sugar mill and rum distillery are the economic engines of this farming region. Their kitschy Christmas Parade was a step back into the simpler time of the 1950's; the backyard-built tractor-pulled floats were covered with brightly costumed happy and expectant children, calling out to their friends and neighbors - truly the Spirit of Christmas. Bundaberg is well up on the Queensland Coast (just below the Great Barrier Reef), and it does experience occasional tropical cyclones, causing the Burnett River to flood in a rage - no place for TIGER LILLY. Our Cyclone Season destination was Brisbane, and our target time was to arrive by Christmas, so we headed south for safety. We sailed across Hervey Bay, then coastal via the UN World Heritage area of Fraser Island and the Great Sandy Straits; calling at anchorages along the western coast of this huge national park, and working the 3 meter tides to get through the shallow flats.

Like Bundaberg, Brisbane is a river town in Queensland, but that is about the extent of the similarities. Brisbane is Australia's third largest city (after Sydney and Melbourne) and it is an absolutely AMAZING place; this thriving city of two million Australians is clean, bright, safe, fun, and outdoor oriented. As you can visualize from the attached photo, Brisbane is a modern city with tall buildings in the Central Business District; but what is harder to see is all the green areas between the sky scrapers. These folks have done a fantastic job investing in their public infrastructure - and us Cheeky Yanks could certainly learn a thing or two from our Australian Cousins in this area.
LILLY SEZ: We absolutely LOVE Brisbane's Apple Store; it is located in an old high-ceilinged bank which was renovated to make it clean and bright, it has fast free WI-FI, lots of smart young people outfitted in bright red shirts to help solve technical issues, air conditioning, and the staff encourage us to stay just as long as we like - it is a regular yachtie paradise.
The Queen Street Mall is one of the world's great shopping destinations, and it is absolutely packed with busy people on holiday missions - and it has plenty of Old-Guy benches to simply sit and watch the river of people flow by. (Did we mention that the Brisbane CBD sidewalks are populated by thousands of stylishly dressed attractive young women bouncing around with cell phones glued to their ears?)
LILLY SEZ: Eyes in the boat tough guy! Enough sitting, let's start sanding that cap rail... (While I eyeball those buff young Aussie cyclists on the Botanic Gardens River Trail.)

TIGER LILLY is moored between a piling-set in the Brisbane River with about 50 other boats of all types and sizes; we come and go with Grace, our rowing dinghy. Our port side is only about 25 meters from the river bank and the bucolic Botanic Gardens, with the high green-tinted glass towers of the CBD just over the bow - our view is absolutely stunning. There is a floating dinghy dock (important in a fast-flowing river with 2 meters of tide), a laundry, clean showers, and convenient toilets provided for the yachtie visitors. At most any time of the day or evening the Citizens of Brisbane, and their international visitors, are out enjoying The Gardens. From TIGER LILLY's cockpit we see an almost constant parade of people passing by, representing all stages of the human condition; young couples pushing strollers and pulling the grandparents, joggers bouncing along with their iPod earphones swaying to the pace, Japanese honeymooners holding hands as they stroll, families with teens hurrying to youth soccer or rugby practice, Lycra clad cyclists focused on speed (Lilly's favorite), a few bums toting their cardboard beds, office people enjoying their lunch hour in the beauty and serenity of nature, singles on a bench watching the river and enjoying the day, groups of young adults planning to make the world a better place, and the occasional yachtie reading a book under a tree - hey, you can't work on the boat all the time!

On our second night in Brisbane we took the free Red Hopper Ferry over to the Southbank to see Hillsong Church present a Christmas program at The Piazza Amphitheater. This Christian message was presented in a public forum, and the church was smart enough to include Santa in their program - really well done. For many un-churched folks and families this will be the only Christmas message they will receive, and we are so glad that Australians have the good sense to allow a spiritual message to be presented to the public in a city-owned venue. We saw all different nationalities and colors of people there (even people in Muslim attire), and we are sure that they were not all Christians - but they seemed to enjoy the SPIRIT of Christmas together. The program included a balanced mix of secular Christmas music, along with traditional hymns of faith - it was a great show, and very well received. We think that Australians could teach us Americans a thing or two about tolerance and diversity. (DONALD flipping TRUMP - how the heck did that happen!?!?) After the Christmas show we walked down to the riverfront to see Brisbane's Christmas Fireworks Spectacular; which was accompanied by a holiday music simulcast, and started off by four of Brisbane's fast catamaran ferries rapidly shooting fireworks skyward from their sterns while making high speed runs up and down the river - it was really dramatic - WOW! Good on ya Brisbane! We walked home over the Captain Cook Bridge, along the riverside mangrove walkway, and back to The Gardens dinghy landing. It was a GREAT start to our Christmas.

We have settled-in for the next 4 months of boat work in fabulous Brisbane; we have found the local AA meetings, Lilly has joined the University 50 Meter Swimming Pool, and we are church-shopping - our first experience was St. Andrews Uniting Church. Tom was happy with the expertly played GIANT pipe organ, AND they sung the Battle Hymn of the Republic (under another name of course). Now that's a church song you can really LEAN into.
LILLY SEZ: Concerned mothers with small wide-eyed children were backing away towards the aisles when the visiting Yank in the bright shirt started stomping his foot in the verses (like Mister Ed the talking horse), and belting-out the refrain "Glory Glory Hallelujah" - and all of it way off key...
We both enjoyed, and benefitted from, the Christmas message at St. Andrews; but Lilly was looking for guitars, drums, tambourines, and people jumping up and down - and that just didn't happen in buttoned-down conservative St. Andrews... For Christmas 2015 we continue our practice of finding a nice urban setting for the Holidays. We do like tropical cruising, visiting rain forests and jungles, snorkeling in crystal clear lagoons, with swaying coconut palms fringing the anchorage (certainly all great places to work on a boat), but it is also a really nice change of pace to spend Christmas back in civilization - and it works out quite conveniently with the Southern Hemisphere Cyclone Season.

We miss each of you - especially during this time of year. Know that YOU are in our hearts and minds, even though we are half-a-world away. We pray for God's blessings to touch your lives.

WE WISH YOU ALL A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Tom & Lilly
S/V Tiger Lilly
Brisbane, Australia

TIGER LILLY - YACHT REPAIR IN WHANGAREI, NEW ZEALAND

13 August 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
Tom and Lilly
We have had a wonderful summer here in beautiful New Zealand. We came here to seek shelter during the Southern Hemisphere cyclone season and perform some much needed maintenance work on TIGER LILLY. Actually, we stayed well into the winter since our projects took longer than we anticipated - which is usually the case. We chose the little town of Whangarei, some 17 miles up the Hatea River, as our New Zealand maintenance destination. Whangarei is one of the world's crossroads for bluewater sailors; they have most everything a sailor needs to fix or improve a boat. The harbour is well sheltered from inclement weather, and it is conveniently located in the middle of this little town of some 50,000 hospitable Kiwis.

Each year the Whangarei Marine Promotions Association sends a delegation to Vavau, Tonga to put on a dog and pony show for the yachties getting ready to sail south for the cyclone season. This year they will be in Tonga during the last week of September. Sharon (the manager of the Town Basin Marina) and Phil (manager / owner of the Whangarei Doyle Sails loft) will be there. They will make a presentation, answer questions, and hand out information packages. Phil told us that the folks representing Opua and the Bay of Islands will also be there. The information booklet has a good list of vendors, but includes principally members of the Association. Our vendor and services list below includes many non-members who have services we need.

LILLY sez: The best part is that Whangarei is a crossroads for the world's bluewater sailing community - you never know who you're going to see on a stroll down the boardwalk. The hiking is just superb, with trails that come right down to the harbour. There is a lovely River Walk around the Town Basin, and we enjoyed being members of the very affordable Aquatic Center. New Zealand has one of the highest quality food supplies we have seen anywhere, including the United States. Kiwis enjoy a very high standard of nutrition, and fresh wholesome food is always available in the convenient supermarkets. For you early birds, there is a really nice Farmers Market each Saturday morning up in town. I particularly enjoyed cruising the aisles at the Red Cross and Salvation Army Thrift Stores, always on the lookout for treasures and bargains. Of course, Tom-Tom the Sailor Man is always complaining about additional weight, and he calls my treasures junk - but I am sure that my new-found Tupperware collection weighs a whole lot less than the boxes and boxes of his heavy flippin tools! There is a summer morning cruisers net conducted by the Whangarei Marine Promotion Association, but it is pretty lame - it starts at 08:00. New Zealand is famous for dairy products - this means GREAT ice cream; so save up your unused calories until you can get here. Hokey Pokey is definitely my favorite flavor!

ARRIVAL AT WHANGAREI HARBOUR:
MARSDEN COVE MARINA CUSTOMS DOCK - is located at the mouth of Whangarei Harbour just past the oil refinery docks on the south shore. The approach channel has 3 meters at low water. As soon as you enter the basin make a sharp left, and the Customs Dock (fenced and locked) is at the end of the marina floating dock. Call the marina on VHF Channel 64 as you enter the approach channel. There is a potable water tap and a trash bin available on the Customs Dock.
HATEA RIVER - After clearance, it is about 10 miles further up the Hatea River to the Whangarei Town Basin. Seagoing sailboats will need the tide to proceed further than the commercial docks and slipways and on up to the Town Basin. The charts do not show many soundings beyond Kissing Point because there is only about a meter or so of water in the channel at low tide - but the 3 meter tide will easily get you up the river and to the Town Basin.
HATEA RIVER BRIDGE - This bascule bridge has won awards for its innovative design; it looks like a Maori fish hook. Call "Bridge Control" on VHF Channel 64 for an opening. 1800 is the last lift of the day without an appointment, and it is closed during morning and afternoon weekday "rush hour" (which is really a joke in this little town - there is no rush hour). If you need to wait for the bridge, there are convenient mooring pontoons right at the bridge out on the edge of the channel. Each day at noon they make a test lift to check-out the systems, and they welcome visitors to come up to the control room and watch.
TOWN BASIN MARINA -The staff (Sharon and Brian) are most helpful. You can call the marina on Channel 64 before you depart Marsden Cove to announce your arrival. They have slips at floating docks, pile-sets, and a long specially constructed floating catamaran dock where they keep the multihull people sequestered. It is a Regulation on New Zealand that catamarans are required to rig their rat guards backwards. (LILLY sez: Behave Tom-Tom, most of them are very nice people!) The Town Basin is maintenance dredged annually to keep sufficient depth in the boat berths.
MONEY - The NZD-USD exchange rate was about .7 x NZD = USD for most of the time we were in New Zealand - very favorable for most international visitors. (LILLY sez: It doesn't matter - they got all of our money anyway!) BOAT - Bring On Another Thousand. There is a 15% GST Goods and Services Tax on most items, however marine related purchases are exempt. Make several copies of your Customs Entry form and register at the shops and vendors to be GST exempt. There are several ATM stations around town, and our American VISA bank cards were accepted everywhere we shopped.

VENDORS and SERVICES at WHANGAREI:
AA - There are meetings most every night of the week (except Thursday) at 1930 at the Municipal Building located at 71 Bank Street. The Sunday afternoon Twelve and Twelve meeting is at 1630, and on Thursday at 1930 there is an AA social hour at the McDonalds on upper Bank Street. If you want to drink, that is your business; but if you want to stop, and can't, that is our business.

ALTERNATOR REPAIR - Auto Tech, 2 Herekino Street, phone 0274767064, we had our Balmar 200 amp alternator rebuilt, bought a new Lucas 70 amp alternator, bought digital hour meters, bought refrigeration oil.

AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLY - Repco (across the parking lot from Wynn Fraser Paints). Bindons, located at the corner of Water and Walton Streets.

AQUATIC CENTER - Riverside Drive at the Town Basin bridge, 25 meter pool for lap swimming, kids wave pool, sauna, hot tub (not very hot), gym, very nice facility - and affordable.

BUTCHER - If you intend on sailing to New Caledonia when you depart New Zealand, they have rather strict Customs and Agricultural requirements for bringing food into this French island (as does Australia and Vanuatu). Any fresh or frozen meat aboard must have a certificate of export quality from New Zealand or it will be impounded. The Mad Butcher, located at the corner of Dent Street and Walton Street (in front of the large yellow Pak N' Save supermarket) sells export quality meat, and they provide the necessary certificate with your Bill of Goods. Additionally, they will vacuum pack the meat to order, and freeze it. Prices, availability, and selection are better in New Zealand than the popular cruising destination of New Caledonia, so check out the Mad Butcher - which is really a misnomer, the Friendly Butcher would be more descriptive.

CANVAS - Palmer Canvas, 141 Lower Dent Street, Dan, phone 094388343, not the cheapest, but we think we got good value and good quality on our dodger, sun fly, and mast boot.

CHURCH - We divided our time between Calvary Chapel and the Salvation Army. Calvary Chapel is held in an education center on the edge of town, and the best way to get there is to call Kristen Montgomery (Pastor Mike's wife) at 6421464088. They are affiliated with the Calvary Church back in the US, and we enjoy their omni-denominational services. The Salvation Army is located just up the hill from the Town Basin on Aubry Street (off upper Bank Street just past McDonalds), an easy walk to the 10:00 Sunday worship service. We are always blessed by worshipping with the folks at Salvation Army; and they are all over the world.

COMMUNICATIONS - We bought an El-Cheapo cell phone for 30 NZD. We used a month to month pre-paid plan from Vodafone (Camron Street mall) for the cell phone and 4G access for our iPad. The Whangarei Library on Rust Avenue has WI-FI. The Riverside Drive Boatyard and Marina has WI-FI.

CUSTOMS - Officer Bruce Cooper, cell phone 0292509305 or bruce.cooper@customs.govt.nz. He is a good guy and we actually enjoyed having him aboard TIGER LILLY. The marina office will have some Customs departure forms that need to be completed prior to check-out. Once you have emailed your Intent of Departure form to NZ Customs, call Bruce and make an appointment for him to meet you at the Marsden Cove Customs Dock and process you out.

ELECTRICAL MOTOR REPAIR/REWIND - Snow Brothers Rewinds, Paul, 106 Roberts Street, phone 094381922. This is a really good shop; they do quality work, at reasonable prices. We had our anchor windlass motor rewound, and the refrigeration motor armature repaired.

ELECTRICAL SUPPLY - J. A. Russell, 118 Cameron Street, phone 094381107. Large contractor supply house. Good selection, ask for a discount. We bought a heavy-duty Kiwi 220 VAC electrical cord which we used for power in the yard and at the dock.

ELECTRONIC REPAIR - INFRACOM, Port Road, Rob, phone 094384644. They repaired our 10 year-old Furuno navigation plotter at a very reasonable cost (used a no cost part off a junked-out unit they had). We bought a new Icom SSB from them at about the same cost we could have bought one off the Internet and had it shipped to NZ. These folks are really good electronic repair technicians, and they charge reasonable rates - but you must make it clear that you have alternative sources of supply.

DIESEL ENGINE REPAIR - Whangarei Marine Services, at Riverside Drive Boatyard and Marina, Geoff and Sue, 094383296, all brands of engine repair, we did major engine work with them, very good shop. DML, fuel injection shop, 45 Port Road, phone 094389092.

FIBERGLASS REPAIR and FABRICATION - We had a cockpit hardtop fabricated for TIGER LILLY while we were in Whangarei, and it was the only NZ project with which we had difficulties. The boatbuilder who built the top had a sterling reputation, unfortunately he had a medical situation arise which required him to hire another worker to help build our hardtop. As with many individuals working on the waterfront, our boatbuilder was a great craftsman, not very good at project management, and not an effective people manager. They got about two-thirds of the way through our fixed price project when they started making noises about being "short on hours" - and of course our response was this is a fixed price project, there is no limit on the hours. They went into a hurry-up mode and finished the hardtop: the structural elements were satisfactory, but the finish was unsatisfactory. Additionally, it took them 8 weeks to complete a project which was quoted at 2 weeks, putting us into New Zealand's wet winter. We had the top looked at by no less than 5 maritime professionals, all experienced in yacht building, and the assessment was unanimous - the top had to be repainted. With the agreement of the boatbuilder we held back the final progress payment on the project, which was almost exactly the amount of the quote we received to have the hardtop repainted. The fellow that the boatbuilder hired to help build the top got very irate and threatening, as he did not get his final payment from the boatbuilder. As soon as it became apparent that there was a problem; we immediately notified the Whangarei Marine Promotions Association, and Management at the boat yard we were hauled-out at. (Although the boatbuilder was not a member of the Marine Promotions Association, we reported the situation to them anyway.) The only way this situation was resolved to our satisfaction was: A) We had an email from the boatbuilder stating the cost, specifications, and the estimated time of fabrication for our project; B) We had the boatbuilder sign a copy of that email as a receipt for our initial deposit (in New Zealand, that is considered a contract); C) We had the boatbuilder sign and date that same email when we made progress payments; D) Once it was obvious we had a problem, we got as many outside parties as possible involved in our situation. Our advice to anyone with a major project is to get the terms and specifications in writing up front - and get a signature.

FUEL - There is diesel fuel available at Marsden Cove Marina at the mouth of Whangarei Harbour. We had diesel delivered to us while we were on the hard at Riverside Drive Boatyard and Marina by Mini-Tankers, phone Tony at 0212795862. The cost to have fuel delivered to us in the yard was actually a bit cheaper than the fuel dock price at Marsden Cove. Mini-Tankers main business is fueling the Northland dairy farms and the logging industry in the bush.

GALVANIZING - Avon Industries, phone 6494351033, call Judy for a pick-up, they batch process when they get a sufficient amount of boat chain and anchors, Craig is their driver his cell is 0212319577. They do not have a chain shaker, but they did a good job, and our chain has an even coating of zinc.

HAUL-OUT - Riverside Drive Boatyard and Marina, Karl yard manager and Donna office manager, phone 094382248. We think that this is the best boatyard in Whangarei, and it is within walking distance of town. They have All Marine, Alloy Stainless Steel, and Whangarei Marine Services on the premises. The haul-out prices at the various boatyards are not that much different, but this is a superior boat yard.

INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY - Saeco Wilson, 28 Port Road, phone 6494300105, bought Gates industrial belts. Arnold Franks, 112 Lower Camron Street, good selection of plumbing supplies, they provide the dairy industry with all types of industrial supplies, good place to cruise the aisles and see what they have.

INSURANCE - The Marina Shop, phone 094026093, they had the best price for Third Party Marine Insurance which is required by the Town Basin Marina.
LIBRARY - Rust Street just past the railroad bridge, they have WI-FI available. The new library building is behind the old restored Library. There are interesting presentations and concerts put on in the old library building.

LIFE RAFT CERTIFICATION - All Marine is the Whangarei rep for Wilco Marine Services in Auckland, the company which actually does the life raft re-certification. All Marine will pick-up and deliver life rafts at the Whangarei docks. Our Avon life raft failed inspection (seams were leaking) so we bought a new Zodiac life raft from Wilco Marine through All Marine. The cost was just about the same as we would have paid back in the States - just let them know that you have alternative sources, but would rather buy it locally. All Marine will match prices if possible. Our EPIRB battery needed to be replaced, and it was cheaper to buy a new unit from All Marine than replace the battery in our ACR EPIRB - so check out battery replacement costs and battery life when buying an EPIRB. ACR is clearly not the best choice for an international cruiser.

LPG FILL - OnGas, 22 Powowini Avenue. ELGAS, 31 Porowini Avenue. TANK MUST BE NZ CERTIFIED (see Pressure Vessel Testing below). NZ uses the same fittings as we have on American LPG cylinders.

MOORING - Whangarei Marina, Sharon and Brian, phone 6494382033, whangarei.marina@xtra.co.nz, slips, alongside, pile-sets. Riverside Drive Marina, Donna, phone 094382248. There is nowhere to anchor in the greater Whangarei area. Those boats that anchor at Kissing Point are run off by the Harbour Master. There is no shortage of environmental nut-jobs living around the Town Basin. If you need to grind, spray paint, or make dust, you will have to move your boat down to the Riverside Drive Boatyard and take a working slip while such work is in progress. The pile-set moorings in the Town Basin are more isolated than the floating docks, and if you keep a low profile some work can be done out on the pile-set moorings. We much preferred the privacy of the pile-set moorings, and the cost was half of being alongside or in a slip. (LILLY sez: Hey, speak for yourself Buckwheat. I LIKE it when people can just walk up to the boat and visit - just like a home! Mister Personality, on the other hand, would build a moat and keep crocodiles as pets if it was up to him.)

OFFICE SUPPLY - Office Max, 21 Okara Drive, phone 094385657. T and D Print, 85 Walton Street, phone 094381194, we had a boat stamp made here. Printing.com, Evan, 15 Reyburn Street, phone 094387596, we had boat cards printed here. It was cheaper than buying the business card stock, and printer ink, and printing them ourselves.

PAINT - Wynn Fraser Paints, 8 Okara Drive, phone 094381624. Ask for Bryce Gibson, he is an excellent source of technical information regarding paint systems.

PAINTER - Simon Kristensson, phone 02108420275, scraped old antifoulant off the UW hull, sprayed barrier coat, sprayed antifoulant, painted PU boot top, hard worker, nice young man. Due to NZ environmental regulations regarding dust, overspray, and antifoulant waste, we had Simon do most of the UW hull prep and paint work. NZ has lots of strict environmental regulations, and no shortage of Eco-Natzie private citizen enforcers. The only pollution they tolerate is the hundreds of thousands of large dairy cattle which have polluted nearly all of the rivers down here. God forbid that a 200 pound international yachtie would pee in the river - but it is OK if old 1200 pound Bessie the Holstein does! Cha-ching!

PROPSPEED, Brian Oliver, phone 0274968845, the locals report good results for keeping propellers and running gear free of marine growth, so we are trying it. In the States, you can buy PROPSPEED and apply it yourself, but here in NZ you must use a "certified" marine painter.

PLASTIC SUPPLY - Metro Direct, 22 Porowini Avenue, Plexiglass and Lexan, sealants for windows, good source for expert advice and first-rate products for sealing boat windows. Para Rubber 32 Porowini Avenue, phone 094377710, Neoprene, rubber, plastic, seals, stripping.

PRESSURE VESSEL TESTING - T and L Testers, Unit 2 at 43 Porowini Avenue (around the back, next to the badminton courts). Tank testing is a real racket in NZ. All foreign bottles have to be hydro tested and checked on their master list to see that they are approved. Without being tested, or without the right pedigree, you cannot get an LPG cylinder filled; but the cruiser decanting method works just fine down here - just keep a low profile.

REFRIGERATION - Chill Out Marine Refrigeration, Dwayne, cell 0276883458. Dwayne is a good guy, understands marine refrigeration, is experienced on many different types of systems. Skilled Kiwi craftsman.

RIGGING - C Spar, Matthew, unit 3 at 211 Port Road, 094381556, good rigger, rebuilt 20 year-old PROFURL, replaced head stay and inner forestay. Very experienced big-boat offshore rigger - Whitbread and America's cup veteran.

SAIL BUILD and REPAIR - Doyle Northland, 1 Finlayson Street, Phil, phone 0212223902. Good sailmaker, but stay on top of your project or it will get lost in the pile. The squeaky wheel gets the grease! We had our jib acrylic suncovers replaced, and they allowed Lilly to remove the old ones (in their loft) so we could save some money. (LILLY sez: But it certainly did not save my FINGERS - they were rubbed raw and HURT for weeks after that job!

SCUBA GEAR - Saltwater Connection, 24 Port Road, phone 094388727, rebuilt scuba first stage regulators, hydro and visual inspect tanks, fill tanks, bought diving gear. They also sell fishing gear.

SEWING MACHINE REPAIR - Rob Weenink 0274531048, he did a good job getting our Sailrite walking-foot sewing machine sorted out, and he picks-up and delivers to the Town Basin.

STAINLESS STEEL and ALUMINUM FABRICATION - Alloy Stainless and Marine, Terry, Riverside Drive Boatyard and Marina, phone 094380252. This is a first class marine fabrication and machine shop. Northern Marine Machining, 223 Port Road, 6494382403. This is an industrial shop which principally serves the dairy industry. ONLY deal with Mike at NMM, he is a fair man.

USED BOAT GEAR - Stanley Marine, 6494384479, on the Town Basin behind the kid's playground. When we (that would be Tom), blew up our 110 VAC microwave oven by inadvertently applying 220 VAC to it, Lilly found a nice Magic Chef 110 VAC unit in Stanley's junk shop.

UPHOLSTRY - Palmer Canvas, Glenn, 141 Lower Dent Street, Dan, phone 094388343, not the cheapest but we think we got good value and good quality.

YACHT CHANDLERY - We used All Marine as our principal supplier, phone 094384499, 231 Port Road and also a satellite store at the Riverside Drive Boatyard and Marina. Once Bob (the owner) got the message that we had alternative suppliers available in the US, he usually was able to match prices on comparable gear. Kiwis do not seem to deal very much (not part of their make-up), but Whangarei has seen enough Cheeky Yanks to know that we want a DISCOUNT on everything! Bob is quite well informed and knowledgeable about a wide range of marine products. (Lilly sez: I didn't know that Bob sells satellites, is he an astronaut also? I thought he seemed really smart.)

If you are looking for a good place to work on your boat - and stay safe during the South Pacific cyclone season - consider Whangarei, New Zealand. You will be glad that you did! Nice people, good maritime craftsmanship, and a beautiful country - what's not to like about New Zealand?
Tom and Lilly
S/V Tiger Lilly
Whangarei, New Zealand

TIGER LILLY - CYCLONE SEASON IN NEW ZEALAND

07 August 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
Tom & Lilly
35 43.72S:174 20.06E
Whangarei, New Zealand

A South Pacific cyclone season is both dangerous and unmanageable; from November to April, it is possible to encounter a cyclone anywhere in the tropics. That is why most cruisers leave these dangerous latitudes and head south for the safety of New Zealand. The genuine Kiwi hospitality, cool summer months, and the beautiful greenery of New Zealand are all quite enjoyable. After sailing across the largest ocean in the world, most sailboat cruisers need a place to slow down the pace and spend some time catching up on boat maintenance. With a First World economy, stable government, favorable exchange rate, good logistic support, temperate climate, and Kiwi maritime craftsmanship, New Zealand is just the place.

Unfortunately, too many cruisers are opting to spend cyclone season up in the islands. The reasons for this disturbing trend are varied. Leaving the tropics and heading south for the temperate latitudes requires sailing through an area of the South Pacific which is prone to gales. Although gale force conditions are uncomfortable, it is a manageable situation which any well-found yacht with an experienced crew ought to be able to cope. With the availability of reliable mid-range synoptic weather information, multiple cruiser SSB and HAM nets, and ocean routing services, in all likelihood a weather-window can be utilized to get south safely and comfortably. (Lilly sez: Remember ladies, this man and I have a completely different definition of comfortable. The Love Boat is comfortable, and TIGER LILLY is safe, but I think that ocean passages on cruising sailboats are just to be endured to get to the wonderful destinations - but comfortable they are not!) Last year, most of the yachts sailing to New Zealand did so gale-free. By using Minerva Reef as a stop-over, the passage south can be reduced by about a third, with a corresponding increase in the reliability of the weather-window for the remainder of the passage. What's more, Minerva's magical mid-ocean reef and lagoon is a very special place where only bluewater cruisers visit, and the pristine marine environment is not to be missed. After sailing some 6000 miles across the South Pacific, most Mom and Pop cruisers do not particularly welcome the prospect of another 1100 mile passage to New Zealand; but staying up in the islands is a dangerous gamble which puts our lives and our boat at stake. Last year Cyclone Pam DECIMATED Vanuatu, and in any given year it could happen anywhere in Cyclone Alley. Hanging out in Tonga or Fiji for cyclone season may be easy, but it certainly is not good seamanship. It is a long way from Central America to the Western South Pacific; but finish the job and get your boat and crew south to safety.

"The time for taking all measures for a ship's safety is while still able to do so. Nothing is more dangerous than for a seaman to be grudging in taking precautions lest they turn out to have been unnecessary. Safety at sea for a thousand years has depended on exactly the opposite philosophy." This was what Admiral C.W. NIMITZ, USN had to say after several ships of the United States Pacific Fleet were damaged or sunk - with great loss of life and injury - by a Western Pacific typhoon during World War II.

Last year, while we were still up in Tonga getting ready to head south for the Cyclone Season, we had three main questions about New Zealand: When should we leave? Where in New Zealand should we go? And what will the clearing-in procedure be like?

DEPARTURE FROM THE TROPICS - Officially, the South Pacific Cyclone season runs from 1 November to 30 April each year. It seems as though most of the international boats depart Tonga and Fiji in mid November, so as to be in New Zealand by early December - this strategy is used to maximize the safety factor and avoid an early season cyclone, which historically are rare. However, the Kiwis and Aussies who are returning home and sailing in their own back yard, tend to go later; they claim that the weather settles down a bit in December, making for an enjoyable passage, and still getting them home for Christmas. Having seen both early season and late season hurricanes in the Atlantic in recent years (global warming?) we play our cards pretty close to the vest with respect to active hurricane zones. The timing for this passage involves getting south without catching a spring gale in the temperate latitudes as we approach New Zealand (a wet/cold inconvenience), but not to wait so long that we are exposed to an early season cyclone in the tropical latitudes (a life-threatening situation). As you can imagine there are a lot of theories and ideas on just how to do this - and it seems as though the Internet has created no shortage of weather experts!

We departed Tonga in mid-November and arrived in New Zealand on 28 November, with a brief stop at Minerva Reef to line up with a weather window. We were kept in Tonga longer than we had planned as we waited for our weather window at Big Momma's at Tongatapu. We initially departed Vavau in the northern group of Tonga for North Minerva Reef on 4 November. However, the next morning Gulf Harbour Radio reported that a sub-tropical low was forming to the west of Fiji, and there was a small possibility that it could develop into the season's first cyclone. We were just at the latitude of the southern group of the Tongan Islands when we got this information, and so we elected to play it safe and beat back against the Trades into Tongatapu. (LILLY sez: Thanks for that one Tom-Tom, what a joy it was to beat back and forth right into the boisterous Trades for about 18 hours. After we got anchored it took two days for my stomach and head to get back to a point where they liked each other again!) There were about 30 cruising boats anchored off Big Momma's "Yacht Club" waiting for a window to sail south, and we took the opportunity to have some fun while we waited for the weather; pig roasts, dancing, and general visiting around the Fleet were the order of the day.

It was 16 November before we got our window and headed out the western pass for North Minerva Reef. From Tongatapu it is about 1000 miles to Cape Brett on the North Island of New Zealand. At an average passage speed of 5 knots, that is an 8 day passage - beyond the scope of reliability for a long range weather forecast. However, calling at North Minerva Reef (still in the Tropics / Trades) shortens the distance by 250 miles, and it is a most enjoyable place to stop and wait for a favorable weather window for the 750 mile / 6 day passage to New Zealand. Gulf Harbour Radio (yachties Patricia, a Kiwi, and David, an American meteorologist) provide the cruising fleet with good SSB weather information from their home on the North Island of New Zealand 6 days a week during the cruising season. Tune in to the net at 0715 NZ time (1915 GMT) on 8752 MHZ (8779 MHZ and 8297 MHZ are alternates if there is interference on the primary frequency); Patricia takes the roll call and gets things organized, and then David comes on with a general weather discussion, followed by specific info if requested. Their web site is http://www.yit.co.nz/gulf-harbour-radio for more information, and optional pre-departure registration.

NEW ZEALAND DESTINATIONS - On the east coast of the North Island there are three principal destinations to start your Kiwi sailing experience: the Bay of Islands, Whangarei, and Auckland Harbour. What you want to accomplish while in New Zealand will dictate which arrival port is the best bet for you. The Bay of islands is a beautiful cruising area with the choice of a good marina, and several anchorages. It is a bit remote, but services are available; however, there will not be many choices when selecting vendors or suppliers. Most of the folks that live in this area make monthly shopping trips down to Whangarei. Occasionally, tropical cyclones do threaten the Bay of Islands, but usually they are diminished by the time they get this far south. Whangarei is a town of some 50,000 people well up the Hatea River, and the Town Basin provides all-weather safe shelter for a yacht. (The picture with this blog is the waterfront at Whangarei Town Basin.) Whangarei is one of the best places in the South Pacific to outfit or repair a cruising yacht; making it one of the crossroads of the world for bluewater sailors. The Town Basin Marina is right in the center of town, and most of the vendors, suppliers, and boat yards are within easy walking distance. There are good hiking trails, a public swimming pool with a gym, and easy grocery shopping right next to the Town Basin. The only drawback of Whangarei is that there is no where to anchor within walking distance to town. If you come here it will cost about 490 NZD (350 USD) per month for a pile-set mooring, and almost twice that to be at a floating dock. The Town Basin can only accommodate a limited number of boats, and it quickly fills up in the beginning of the season. If you want to get to work on your boat, it is best to email the marina to let them know you are coming, and to go directly to Whangarei, bypassing the Bay of Islands. By mid-season, as the cruisers start moving around a bit, space will likely become available at the Town Basin. Auckland is a big city, with big marinas, and plenty to do and see - but bring money, because it is expensive. Auckland has an international airport, however Whangarei has inexpensive and convenient daily bus transport to Auckland; they call one of the buses the Naked Bus. LILLY sez: "Tom Tom I am NOT getting on that bus!" No Lilly - it means they only offer the BARE necessities."

The Kiwis enjoy a laid back type of lifestyle, and that aspect of these hospitable people is one of the joys of this pleasant country. December and January is the height of the Southern Hemisphere summer, and most of New Zealand shuts down for about 6 weeks while they go to the beach, camp in the bush, and just generally take it easy and enjoy themselves. (It is hard for hard-charging capitalist Yanks to understand, but that is how it goes down here.) Many businesses are either closed or on reduced hours during the summer holiday period. If you have a time sensitive project, or a major project, it is best to get it started (or at least get your name on their list) before the summer holiday gets going, or it will be well into February before much will happen. Down here, Christmas is not a day, it is a month and a half vacation.

NZ CUSTOMS and IMMIGRATION - Opua Marina in the Bay of Islands, Marsden Cove Marina at the mouth of Whangarei Harbour, and Westhaven Marina in Auckland are all ports of entry for New Zealand. We were concerned about the arrival Customs, Agricultural, and Environmental inspections - but they were easy, fair, and quick. The usual in-water bottom scrub that most cruisers give their boats before they depart the tropics for the passage south meets the marine growth environmental requirements. The list of foods that can not be brought in is well publicized on the NZ government website, and it is easy to simply eat your way out of what is not allowed in. There are no entry fees, and day-night access to free Customs dockage is available at all of these ports of entry. The officials are professional, prompt, and friendly. Immigration gave us an initial entry of 3 months, and a second 3 month extension is easy. If you want to stay beyond 6 months it is doable, but their are some medical requirements necessary (physical exam and chest X-ray). If you come to Whangarei and moor at the Town Basin, when you check in at the Marina ask Sharon for her immigration extension package. It is best to get the process started within the first 2 weeks you are here. New Zealand officialdom is actually a pleasant experience, just don't be French - the Kiwis have not forgotten the 1985 sinking of the Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior here in New Zealand by French commandos. The official line is that the French and Kiwi governments have sorted it all out - but the New Zealand people certainly have not. If you have a French passport, or a French boat registration, you might want to consider the south east coast of Australia as a cyclone season destination.

In our next blog we will report some of the specifics on spending a Southern Hemisphere summer in Whangarei doing boat maintenance. We spent the entire season (and then some) here. LILLY sez: OH MY GOSH, we just LOVE New Zealand, and this little town of Whangarei. Come on down and enjoy your cyclone season in hospitable, beautiful, New Zealand!





TIGER LILLY - A LETTER FROM THE HEART

23 July 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
LILLY
Hello Ladies (and you lurking, inquisitive men as well),
We are often asked about the how-to and where-to of the cruising lifestyle, and those concerns are certainly important, but I would like to take just a few moments and share with you something of what I have learned about the why and who of cruising under sail. Recently, we were asked about finding other cruisers who pursue a spiritual life in faith, which is something we are interested in as a couple.

The process of retiring from my business (I was more than ready), selling my home and all my personal possessions (stuff), putting aside my passion for the sport of cycling (it was tough to watch my bike ride away with a new owner), and then stepping into the unknown with a new husband, was certainly going to be a challenge - but very doable, one bite at a time. (But somehow, I had envisioned that my husband would have more hair and less attitude!) However, for me, the most difficult part of coming to this lifestyle was to leave my then 21 year-old son, Ryan. Of course, my head realized the time had actually come (he was enrolled at university, and studying for a business degree), but my mother's heart was in a much different place. Truth be told, Ryan is doing just fine without me by his side; he completed that degree, is on his own, and is off to life with beautiful and powerful Mia. (Tom-Tom said that he knew she was the one when we heard Ryan say, "Mom, she's just like you!") Moms everywhere - OMG it really can happen! Our children can - and importantly, should - continue to grow up on their own, feed themselves, and figure out what they want for their own life. This process is all part of our spiritual walk in faith. Remember, God doesn't have any grandchildren - only children! After lots of prayer (and a shove from the Bald Guy) I put my son in God's hands - where he belongs - and today, Ryan is flourishing!

Sailing half-way around the world aboard TIGER LILLY during the past 5 years has certainly opened my eyes to this wonderful lifestyle. Here are three aspects of the live-aboard cruising community that I did not know before we left:
First, the price of admission to this lifestyle is high, as is the long range cost to sustain a life afloat - for many of us, it requires all that we have. No matter what your financial level, this lifestyle is a personal choice which takes sacrifice. It is about personal responsibility.
Second, tour any popular anchorage on the far side of the world and it will become quickly evident that although the boats and the crews come from the four corners of the globe, there is a commonality of spirit, and a shared philosophy of "enough" among sailboat cruisers. It is about making do with what we have.
Third, the people who actually cast off the dock lines and sail for the horizon are extraordinary in the fact that they are able to step forth in faith and leave behind what they knew, in exchange for what they hope to find - an interesting, challenging life of simplicity and adventure. It is all about the challenge of change.
Few of these ideas were attributes to my normal life back in Suburbia USA; but they certainly appeal to me now. So, that said, perhaps you can see that what I really love about this cruising lifestyle is the wonderful mix of PEOPLE we meet, and the solid, rewarding, relationships that seem to quickly and naturally develop. We are a varied and interesting community; we don't all think or act alike - nor do we need to.

My hope is that you don't get the wrong idea about the cruising life-style from what is posted on the Facebook sailing pages. I have read lots of posts about heavy drinking, smoking marijuana, and daily partying. From reading Facebook and some blog posts, you would think that this is what living aboard a cruising sailboat is all about; but this could not be farther from the reality of our lifestyle. Most of our sailing friends live a quiet, conservative, sober lifestyle - cruiser's midnight is 2130. If you take a moment to check out the current status of the fake pirates, rum guzzlers, and gun nuts, who frequent the Facebook sailing pages, it will become readily apparent that most of them are Internet wanna-bees, people working ashore and living aboard marina queens which seldom venture into the open sea, or derelicts (both the people and their boats) clogging the backwaters on ratty vessels that could not possibly venture outside the anchorage. We hope that you won't confuse these people with active sailors; and please don't form your opinion of the sailing lifestyle by what they say - for they seldom DO anything akin to the cruising which I have come to know and love.

I certainly do miss our friends back at Christ's Church in Jacksonville - but this is one of those sacrifices that this lifestyle requires. Over the past 3 years we have been pretty much on the go, sailing from the backwaters of the Amazon Delta in South America to New Zealand in the South Pacific; and I have found it challenging to connect with other women of faith. Hey, we can't enjoy the adventure of travel and at the same time enjoy the comforts of home; unless of course, you carry your comfy home on your back - as do turtles and cruisers! I have been able to find wonderful women of faith along the way. Here are just a few of them:
- Lisa Nicholson, the Grand Dame of Antigua - I loved the beautiful traditional English Christmas hymns at Baxter Memorial Methodist Church - skillfully played on steel pan by the children's orchestra; and morning tea at Lisa's quaint home on a hill overlooking the sparkling Caribbean.
- Joanne at the Iles de Saintes in the French West Indies - She is a lovely South African friend aboard S/V Out of Africa; and she is married to John, a gregarious pastor's son.
- Rosie in Dominica - my very dear friend aboard S/V Exit Strategy, we cruised the Lesser Antilles together; and she flew out to Curacao in the ABC Islands to spend part of Hurricane Season aboard TIGER LILLY.
- Debbie Nicol at Chaguaramas, Trinidad - We spent a memorable Christmas with this very sweet and kind West Indian lady of Scottish heritage.
- Sarah, Mark, and their children Elizabeth and Michael aboard the catamaran S/V Field Trip - We had a fun Bible study with this Christian family in Curacao, and we have been together in the South Pacific.
- Kim Parker of New Zealand - She is studying to become an Anglican priest, and we enjoy walking and talking our way around the Town Basin River Walk.
- Kristen Montgomery in Whangarei - Her husband Mike is the pastor at the Calvary Church, and we found a bit of home there under the same umbrella of churches where I first found Christ, in New Mexico.

Here are just a few of the fun ways which we enhance our spiritual life aboard TIGER LILLY:
- We make a Saturday morning adventure out of finding a place to worship on Sunday morning. Arranging transportation to get to church on Sunday can be challenging in Developing Countries; but we just need to find a way there, we are usually offered a ride back to the boat after church.
- A significant part of our walk in faith is Tom's participation in AA, and I am always made to feel welcome by the Fellowship. Up in the islands it is often difficult to find a meeting, but if there are other cruising boats present, then someone else may be looking to make an AA contact as well. We simply get on the VHF radio and ask if their are any friends of Bill W. out there (he was one of the Founders of the Program).
- Psalm 91 is the basis for our being able to overcome the usual fears and concerns associated with the unknown parts of cruising - or any of the uncertainties of life. We do our homework and preps, and then we trust in God; we cruised through the amazing Amazon Delta on Psalm 91. Call on His name, and seek shelter under His wing.
- We are supporters of the Salvation Army, and we very much enjoy fellowshipping with these wonderful people. If you are missing your friends and family at Christmas, head for the Salvation Army, lend a hand, and sit down to a holiday meal with the people from the local community.
- When we are in a remote area where there are no churches, we use the VHF radio and organize an informal Bible study. Combining a Bible study with a pot-luck meal, is a great way to make new friends.

So you see ladies, there are many opportunities out here on the cruising circuit to develop meaningful relationships with other like-minded women of faith; but first, we must reach out. On second thought, maybe it isn't so challenging - if we just step aside and let God direct out lives.

Blessings,
Lilly
S/V Tiger Lilly
Whangarei, New Zealand


COFFEE TIME ABOARD TIGER LILLY!

12 April 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
Tom & Lilly
We LOVE our coffee aboard TIGER LILLY - especially on these cool New Zealand mornings. Traditionally, the coffee pot has been a gathering place for sailors ever since man has gone down to the sea in ships.
We even met on a chance encounter at Starbucks. Check it out at: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/tigerlilly/?xjMsgID=157577
When we were back in the USA we loved the sense of community and friendly ambience prevalent at our local Starbucks, but we much prefer Dunkin' Donuts for the flavor of their coffee - and we have actually taken our Dunkin' Donuts coffee to the Julington Creek Starbucks!
Here in Whangarei, New Zealand, TIGER LILLY has become something of a local AA clubhouse, and it is a rare day when we don't have someone from the AA community aboard - and WE are the ones who are blessed! Lilly, as per her usual gregarious self is always dragging some character she has met in town, or along the docks in the Town Basin, back to the boat for coffee; usually just about the time that Tom-Tom the Sailorman is mixing up a batch of epoxy, or opening a tin of expensive marine paint.
When we started out our current cruise in Florida four years ago, we had an electric drip coffee maker, similar to the ones which sit on millions of kitchen counters across Suburbia USA. However, this particular coffee maker had an insulated pot to keep the coffee warm without burning it - and it saved precious energy when it turned itself off as soon as the coffee was made. While we were in the Ile des Saintes in the French West Indies the electric heater in the unit died - and the land of 110 VAC appliances was thousands of miles in our wake. So we reluctantly chucked it into a dumpster at the hotel overlooking our anchorage at Pan de Sucre. We don't much care for the French Press method of coffee making (low on volume, high on grounds in the coffee), but that is what we were reduced to for our morning brew. That afternoon, while we were walking back to the boat from the village, Lilly had a brilliant idea (brilliant to us anyway), that perhaps we could use our beloved insulated pot with some sort of funnel arrangement to hold the filter. Seeing Lilly upside-down in the hotel dumpster retrieving our coffee pot produced a few condescending stares from the up-scale French lady tourists (their husbands seemed to enjoy the view) - but a cruiser's got to do, what a cruiser's got to do! Months later while we were at Curacao in the Netherlands Antilies, Lilly invited some Romanian Gypsy cruisers, and Bob - their 90 pound shaggy sheep dog - aboard for coffee. (We are not making this up.) When they saw the awkward and ungainly method we had of making coffee - the top-heavy narrow-necked ex diesel fuel funnel we used to hold the paper coffee filters was always upsetting and making a huge mess - they very graciously went back to their boat, and quickly returned to TIGER LILLY with their own coffee filter-funnel as their gift to us. The base of the Gypsy filter-funnel fit the top of our insulated pot PERFECTLY! (Of course Mister Retired Naval Officer - aka Whitey Tidy - INSISTED on sterilizing the Gypsy coffee filter-funnel before we could use it.) We use our Friendly Teapot to heat and pour the water, and this system produces superb drip coffee using our LPG fueled boat stove to heat the water. It works great, and the coffee is just the way we like it. The only problem is that once we left the USA, course grind drip coffee is hard to find in stores - so we usually make-do with the finer press grind. Whenever we have guests coming from the States we ask them to bring us genuine Dunkin' Donuts Coffee - OUR FAVORITE!
So, if you find yourself in an anchorage with TIGER LILLY, stop on by for a cuppa - and bring your dog if you've got one!
Tom & Lilly
S/V Tiger Lilly
Whangarei, New Zealand

TIGER LILLY - SEVEN SEAS CRUISING ASSOCIATION

11 February 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
Tom & Lilly
We are members of the Seven Seas Cruising Association - the world's largest and oldest association dedicated to the furtherance of cruising under sail. The SSCA is a non-profit organization, and most of the work of the Association is done on a volunteer basis by sailors, for sailors. The mainstay of our Association is the monthly "Commodores' Bulletin" which contains letters from our members around the globe describing their cruising experience, and passing along important practical information. The SSCA brings experienced cruisers together with folks interested in sailing so that they too may enjoy the wonderful lifestyle of living aboard a cruising sailboat and exploring the world's oceans - or whatever part of the world they are interested in. Entrance into the cruising lifestyle has a very steep, and expensive, learning curve; for over half a century the SSCA has been helping folks ease the transition from life ashore to life afloat. Our assets include: the monthly Bulletin (paper or electronic, indexed over the year by cruising area and by boat); the Equipment Guide List (one smart purchase will pay for your membership dues); multiple GAMs (annual get-together's attended by hundreds of cruisers to swap experiences and information); live web training sessions conducted by cruising experts; discounts for SSCA members by maritime related merchants; and much more. The difference between the SSCA and most Internet sailing sites is that at SSCA the information is originated by experienced sailors currently out cruising, and it is vetted by a knowledgeable editor. Don't be put off by the Commodore title we bestow upon our members - it is actually a tongue-in-cheek poke at the blazered yacht club set. In the early 1950's when the SSCA was established in Coronado, California, the dozen or so founding members looked across the bay at the San Diego Yacht Club, and all of its finery and entitled officers, and said, "In OUR disorganization, EVERYONE will be a Commodore!" When it comes to sailing, there is absolutely no substitute for experience, and the SSCA contains more actual cruising experience than any other organization that we are aware of. If you are thinking of committing your hard earned savings to buying a cruising sailboat, and even more importantly, spending your valuable time cruising, then we think that you will benefit by checking out ssca.org.
Tom & Lilly
S/V Tiger Lilly
Whangarei, New Zealand

Vessel Name: Tiger Lilly
Vessel Make/Model: 1977 CSY44 walkover hull #55
Hailing Port: Green Cove Springs
Crew: Lilly and Tom Service
About:
Lilly is a retired business woman, and was previously a professional athlete. As one of America's first professional female triathletes, she was a pioneer in woman's sports. [...]
Extra:
Our kids: From 1987 to 1991 Tom circumnavigated the world with his family. Daughters Dawn and Jennifer were ages 11 & 13 when they departed on a 4 year, 40 country / island group, Trade Wind voyage around the world, and 15 & 17 when they returned to St. Petersburg, FL. During his high school [...]
Social:
Tiger Lilly's Photos - Pedernales Pilot
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The Rio Orinoco is the 8th largest river in the world, and its Delta Region in remote Eastern Venezuela is a great place to explore.
The Rio Orinoco Delta is easily accessed across the Gulf of Paria from Chaguaramus area of Trinidad.
Trinidad is a major exporter of LNG, and the Gulf of Paria has a lot of shipping traffic.
The Gulf of Paria is full of capped, and unmarked, well heads.  Navigation at night would require very close attention, with sharp lookouts, and a good radar watch.  The good news is that one can sail across from Chaguaramus in a single day.
This abandoned Platform (vicinity 10-08.44N 062-04.21W) is close to the track we used, and 5 miles NE of the Boca Pedernales approach waypoint.
This is the Preferred Channel buoy located in the vicinity of 10-03.83N 062-09.17W. Since the topmost band is red, it should be honored as any lateral red buoy in IALA B region - when returning from seaward keep the buoy on your starboard hand.
Platform "ENE" (just off Punta Tolete) is clearly visible from the Preferred Channel buoy. We headed straight for this structure, and the channel was 15 feet – corrected for low tide, or deeper, all the way to Punta Tolete.
This production facility is located on Isla Cotorra, or north side of the river. Check out the orientation of that gas flare – there can be a lot of wind blowing up the Boca Pedernales from the Gulf of Paria, and if it is opposing an ebb, the Boca will be rough.
Tony aboard his Rival 32 S/V Tarnimara on the Rio Manamo
When returning back to the Guardia Costa Station from town, this is the back side of the compound. There is a button next to the gate that activates a buzzer to notify the watch that you want to come through.
The fellow on the left with Tony is a Lieutenant in the Guardia Costa, and he is the Commander of the Guardia Costa Station Pedernales. He was quite pleasant and helpful, and he spoke good English. All they wanted from us was to see our passports and boat papers.
This is the fuel dock at the village of Pedernales.
Everything in the Delta Region moves by boat.  These folks will resell this fuel further into the interior of the Delta.  They are fueling up at the Pedernales fuel pier.
The water hyacinth in the river and canos was almost everywhere, and it moved around in huge patches as the tide ebbed and flooded.  Sometime it was quite high out of the water, almost half way up the side of the boat.
Setting out to explore the rain forest with Schatze the dog.
Working back into the jungle.  As we progressed, the canos became quite narrow, until they transitioned to swamp in the rain forest.
These canos (creeks) are where the wildlife lives, and they get smaller and smaller as they penetrate the rain forest and jungle.
This is Lilly
This is why I came to the Rio Orinoco Delta, to meet this beautiful fellow.
The Waro Indians have not changed much since Christopher Columbus first explored this region almost 600 years ago.
The cano banks were full of beautiful flora.
A typical Waro Indian family stilt home.
This Waro Indian family welcomed us into their camp.
The anchorages were quite picturesque and peaceful.
 
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