Time Bandit

02 December 2016
28 November 2016 | The Kitchen
22 November 2016 | The Heroes
16 November 2016 | Whangarei Town Basin
09 November 2016 | Town Basin Whangarei
06 November 2016 | The Northland Coast
01 November 2016
01 November 2016
01 November 2016
30 October 2016
30 October 2016
29 October 2016
28 October 2016
27 October 2016
26 October 2016
25 October 2016
25 October 2016
23 October 2016
18 October 2016 | Jonas and his 27 footer astern

Christmas New Zealand Style

02 December 2016
According to the Whangarei Brass Band, apparently it seems a lot like Christmas.

While young girls prancing around in bikinis in front of a Christmas tree makes for a pleasant distraction after a hard day's varnishing, when it's 20c on an early evening it really doesn't seem a lot like Christmas.

However, if any of the family are reading this don't forget, Stuart likes his Christmas pressies as much as anyone else.

In fact, if anyone wants to send a present feel free to do so.

C/o nicely varnished Time Bandit
Christmas Town
New Zealand.

Old Farts Tour Of New Zealand

28 November 2016 | The Kitchen
OK. I said the Blog would shut down but there's just too much great material here that would otherwise go to waste. That, and I'm addicted to woffle.

Having parked Time Bandit on the hard, we're off to see New Zealand from the land in our old 2008, 65,000 km Beemer.

Day 1
Arrived at Kaitai Mainstreet Backpackers lodge.

Unable to speak any of the many foreign tongues heard in the communal kitchen (do we know how to enjoy ourselves or what!!!!) we resorted to that reliable and tested method of communication for "Brits Abroad", speak L-O-U-D-L-Y.

Having found where the plates were and how the cookers worked I elbowed aside the health freaks preparing their noodles and couscous and proceeded to lower the tone of the kitchen somewhat, contaminating the childrens' salads and noodle dishes with my spectacularly unhealthy fry-up.

Once the blue smoke clears I'll maybe give them a thrashing at Pool.

Looking around, I'm glad I'm not the VP of Sales for Levi's or Gillette as I seem to be the only one who's shaved in the last two weeks and Levi's appear to have been replaced by cut off Bermuda shorts and baggy pants your average Moroccan street vendor would be proud of.

Don't these folks have jobs to go to? Who's going to pay the taxes to fund our old age if they're out here just chillin' instead of working?

Tomorrow we're off to Cape Reinga, the northernmost point of New Zealand taking in 90 mile beach. On a bus as I don't fancy driving up 90 miles of variable firmness sand. I'll need to be careful not to fall asleep, drooling with my mouth half open, in case one of the "dudes" puts in something healthy.

A Turkey Is Not Just For Christmas

24 November 2016
A turkey isn't just for Christmas

Not in America and apparently not here either. So, 60 of us got together at the Opua Cruising Club and noshed on several of the poor birdies for a New Zealand version of Thanksgiving.

This morning we were woken by yet another strange noise. I'm beginning to think I've already been ashore too long but, still unaccustomed to terrestrial sounds, I find waking to something other than a halyard, wind or waves somewhat disconcerting. First Neddy Seagoon. Now a low moan.

I first checked I wasn't being reprimanded for some late evening misdemeanours but no, Anne wasn't the source. Nothing wrong with the plumbing either, whether mine or the house. Turns out it was a fog horn. The day dawned like early summer in Maine. Thick fog and only a milky, cloudy outlook in all directions.

Good news is, while it's -5 at home, here, within an hour the sun had burnt off the fog and we were back to blazing sun and 25c.

Which made it all the more weird to walk into the supermarket and hear Noddy Holder screaming "Its Chrisssstmasss". When its 25 and blazing sun it's just not right!

Neddy Seagoon

22 November 2016 | The Heroes
Woke with a start this morning. Something was wrong. Way wrong. First, the funny noise. Second. It felt like I was in the Tardis, space all around.

Then I realised it was the first morning of our road trip around the north island. The funny noise was a bird pattering across the tin roof of the Opua Motel like a feathered Neddy Seegoon and the Tardis was in fact just a large bedroom. One that didn't move.

Next, a long hot shower followed by breakfast on the sun drenched deck. We like cruising but man, this is heaven!

We feel we really ought to invite Jonas and Sparrow to come and use the empty bed and facilities after their gruelling (the eyes tell the story) single handed 1000 mile single handed adventures in their Allegro 27 and Contessa 26 respectively. Days of 35 knots in 8 metre seas. Not much fun. So boys if you read this, come on up.

We are back in Opua for the Island Cruising Club's All Points Rally. This is where all the cruisers who've been "up island" make their way from, well, all points, to New Zealand. Last night was the welcome buffet and main event. So guess what we did!

Went on a bloody boat trip.

About 70 cruisers came off their boats and, just for a change, got on another one.

It was really good though. The skipper powered us into all the flat calm, idyllic nooks and crannies of the Bay of Islands spinning his giant steel three deck catamaran around the anchored boats, leaving them choking in a cloud of black diesel fumes as we roared off to the next bay.

At lunchtime we're off on the vineyard trip complete with free wine tasting. Looks like a sleepy afternoon on the deck coming up.

Dangling On A String

16 November 2016 | Whangarei Town Basin
Well, it seems as if today is the end of our 2016 sailing season ending with a champagne reception last night on Aros Mear with David, Gitte and Hans Christian and lifting out the water here in Port Whangarei this morning.

In our few days here it is apparent the New Zealanders have fully embraced Health & Safety with rules for this and that, signs to warn you of stuff and demands for certificates of conformity. Me? Conform? Seems like most things with the exception of lifting yachts.

For the first time we stayed aboard, couldn't get off in fact, as the boat was lifted what seemed like 20 metres in the air with us quaking and dangling in the breeze in some fairly dirty old slings. It wasn't as much fun as I'd envisaged.

Anyway, here we are, all propped up in our long term summer berth ready to leave for Christmas run home then 3 or 4 months of touring on land when we get back.

It's been a long year. Jamaica, Colombia, Panama, Galapagos, Marquesas, Tuamotos, Tahiti and Society Islands, northern Cools, Samoa, Tonga and New Zealand.

"We've moved and we've kept on moving,
Proved the points that needed proving
Lost the friends that needed losing.
Found others on the way......"

Lots of them great cruising buddies. The Californian surfer boys on Windekind, Florian and Julian the musicians.......and Dave! The latter entertaining us for countless nights like the pro he is, Sven and Lisa, the Cape Horners, Trev and Jan booming across the airwaves blowing wax from everyone's ears at morning call, Team Van Keddesi. Jane and Russell, New Zealand's own Dame Edna. David and Gitte (Gitte, who finally succumbed to my charms and good looks and suggested we go below and look at her etchings) and many more. Too many to mention.

Hi and thanks to all.

Here it is by numbers:

- 23 days as longest passage (2,980 miles)
- 31 different islands
- 32 nights on a mooring
- 46 days on the hard (Jamaica)
- 62 nights at sea
- 65 nights in marinas
- 159 nights at anchor
- 265 hours under engine
- 8,559 miles sailed (equivalent of sailing Largs to Tarbert every day for ten months?!!!

The Time Bandit Blog will keep going but probably less frequently. Please drop in now and again, but do come back in April next year when we prep to set off......somewhere.

Happy Christmas.

Road Trip

09 November 2016 | Town Basin Whangarei
Yesterday was bus trip to see Auckland. And traffic jams. Fun in the sun! While in the city while chatting to some random guy he asked me if I was retired.

I told him I hated that word but, I supposed, yes I was.

This morning I came across the street from the boat to do some computer updates and encountered a whole bunch of business people all dressed up in their team T-shirts walking out the hotel conference room with its large U shaped table, water jugs and glasses leaving behind their notepads, white boards and PowerPoint presentation.

"Know what?" I thought. Being retired ain't so bad!!

We Caught a Fish!

06 November 2016 | The Northland Coast
We Caught a Fish!

So, there we were, cruising off New Zealand's Bay of Islands and we landed a whopper. It came as so ethanol a surprise as we didn't even have the line out.

At first we thought a bird had landed on top of the Bimini and when I went to chase I was eye to eye with the biggest flying fish I've ever seen. Now, I've read how ocean cruisers regularly survive on these guys and a glass of rainwater but when I've looked at the toddlers in our decks I'm amazed they don't starve.

Seems as if it's these whoppers they must have been talking about.

Expanding on earlier post, our landfall in New Zealand was a bit wild. About 30 knots, enough to straighten the large snap shackle holding the spin pole complemented by driving rain and big seas. Picking off the Reds and greens through the murk we picked our way into the harbour and parked up on the dedicated Customs and Immigration dock at about 3am, one of our fellow cruisers having pitched out his kip to come and guide us in and take our lines, all in the tipping rain. Thanks Kyle.

An hour behind us was Villomee with Trevor and Jan who, hearing we had our heating on, for the first time in a year, dived on board and we had a wee welcome party and a few drams until the customs arrived at 8.

"Did we have any whisky on board?" "

We did an hour ago but you're too late!"

Ashore for breakfast, Richard and Philippa, cruising buddies from Almerimar who we did the Morocco trip with arrived for breakfast with us. They crossed the Pacific last year and now live 4 miles from the marina. They've a lovely house and critically, a bath.

Today, we are en route, 40 miles further south heading for our summer berth in Whangarei. Fresh breeze, fresh air and great scenery.

Small World

01 November 2016
And....pone of the funniest things is that, having arrived in New Zealand no kore than 5 hours ago, you step outside and guess what, the boat moored 200 metres away is from Largs!!! Endorphin B whomwe used to meet up with at the Scottish Series.

Small World....this topic to be continiued.

Vessel Name: Time Bandit
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 45
Hailing Port: Largs, Scotland
Crew: Anne and Stuart Letton
About: ex dinghy and keelboat racers now tooled up with an ocean going boat and cruising around aimlessly, destination Nirvana...
Extra: 2016 Transited Panama Canal early February '16 bound for Galapagos (March), Marquesas, Pacific Islands and New Zealand for November '16
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/timebandit/profile
Time Bandit's Photos - Main
An interesting perspective on evolution in the Galapagos.
23 Photos
Created 7 March 2016
18 Photos
Created 30 September 2014
Mediterranean Spain to the Arctic Circle
67 Photos
Created 12 August 2013
Scraping and sanding hull back to gel coat for epoxy and Coppercoat treatments.
6 Photos
Created 3 February 2013