A Boat Too Far

In 2005 we bought a 46' catamaran in Thailand as a wreck. We removed the cabin, bridgedeck, main crossbeam and all the bulkheads then completely redisigned and rebuilt her in Phuket over the course of 5 years. It seemed like a good idea at the time..

07 November 2023
28 October 2023 | Opua, New Zealand
25 October 2023
23 October 2023
21 October 2023
10 October 2023
30 September 2023 | Drawaqua Island
19 September 2023
17 September 2023
15 September 2023
12 September 2023
10 September 2023
04 September 2023 | Raiatea, French Polynesea
22 May 2023
13 May 2023
05 May 2023
02 May 2023
29 April 2023
23 April 2023

Making friends with the locals

17 November 2023
Annette/Mike
Since our arrival in New Zealand we've been exploring the numerous islands and coves along the Northland coast. We sailed as far north as Ranganau Bay, about 30 miles south of the Northern tip of the country, before returning to the Bay of Islands. We usually stay at each spot long enough to explore our surroundings, go ashore for a hike, kayak along the shore or just rest for a day, then off to the next spot.

So it was when we pulled into Wotuarohia (aka Robertson) Island. We hadn't been anchored long when we were startled by a "blow" right off the side of the boat. A large bottlenose dolphin! What a surprise since we had not seen many dolphins since leaving Chile. It's approach seemed with intention as it neared and circled next to the boat while we waved from the deck. It lingered around, checking us out then would take off into the distance returning a few minutes later to linger some more. We stood on the deck welcoming its return until finally it didn't come back. We enjoyed our nice little visit.

The next morning, while getting ready to move on to our next anchorage, our dolphin buddy came back for another visit, just like the previous day. When we thought it was done with us, we pulled anchor, set the jib and slowly sailed on toward Urupukapuka Island, 4 miles away. We soon realized that the dolphin had followed us out of the anchorage and was slowly drifting between the bows like an escort as we sailed. We were moving too slow for bow riding but It entertained itself by scratching it's back on the bottom of the bows, rolling over and scratching it's belly when the boat would slow between gusts. It would then move off in front of us with a tail slap before returning for more. Out of sight it springs out of the water and bellyflops on our starboard side, then disappears, and reappears on the portside and we realize that we were being treated to an exclusive and outstanding solo dolphin performance.

Our dolphin escorted and entertained us all the way into our anchorage. As we set the anchor he circled alongside and blew bubbles in what we could only assume was an invitation. Mike and I couldn't get into our wetsuits fast enough and as soon as we were in the water It swam directly over to us eager to play. Swimming from one to the other of us, our buddy would come spiraling around us, bobbing it's head and circling, just out of reach, while talking to us in excited whistles. Then it would dart off and return again from a different direction, playing "hide and seek" in the murky water. It was exhilarating, all three of us laughing and having a blast playing in the water. I don't know how long we were playing but dolphins have fish to catch and places to be and suddenly it was gone. We didn't get a chance to say "goodby" but nevertheless felt that we had been treated to something special on a day that we will never forget.

Opua to Whangaroa Bay

07 November 2023
Annette
Luck was with us once again as we sailed into the last slip available in Opua Marina just as ExtraTropical Cyclone Lola hit the North Coast of New Zealand. But while the wind was howling and the rain was pouring we had a blast! We got to meet and hang out with several other cruising couples who had also just arrived from the various parts of the South Pacific. All of us were grateful to be in the marina, happy the passage was over and looking forward to exploring New Zealand. After 5 days of non-stop socializing and having fun, the storm passed and we all gave up our comfy slips and went our separate ways.
Our first night was spent anchored off the the Whangerei Treaty Grounds, where the treaty between Maori chiefs and the British was first signed, setting in motion the creation of the country of New Zealand. We are now in Whangaroa Bay after stops in the Cavalli Islands and the town of Russel in the Bay of Islands.
Before arriving in NZ we made tentative arrangements with a boatyard to haul out on November 15, but once we arrived and called to confirm we were informed the only day left to haul out was December 19, take it or leave it. We'll take it, now we have all kinds of time to Explore the Northland Coast of New Zealand.
Spring is in the air down here, birds are twittering, trees and flowers are blooming, the sun is warm, the rains are not freezing and the summer tourist season has not yet begun, lucky for us. The Northland region is where New Zealanders come to vacation in the summer, so we've been told. This area is a cruiser's paradise. One can sail along remote white sandy beaches, or gentle green pastures, cruise under rugged cliff outcroppings hidden deep up a channel flanked by rainforest ending in a quiet little anchorage, or sail from one quaint little township to another, all of which can be done in a few hours and at most in a daysail (no overnighters). We still have yet to see a piece of trash alonside the road or on a beach. When we need a break from sailing they've got hiking trails to the next town, up to the nearest peak, along the stream up to the waterfall and over to the beer pub, just to mention a few we've done. The hiking trail network here is amazing. We've also heard of some fantastic mountain bike parks in the Northland area as well as in the Auckland area that we will definitely check out, as I write this Mike is researching what mountain bikes we will buy while we are here to replace the ancient and slowly disintegrating bikes that we have been using for the past 15 years.
Our plan is to head up towards the North Cape, as weather permits, then back down, stopping at the places we missed, as weather permits, and for now, the hardest part of our day is deciding what to do and where to go next.

Arrival in New Zealand

28 October 2023 | Opua, New Zealand
Mike
We got our first glimpse of New Zealand just before sunset on the 26th. Soon after, we heard another boat calling the powers that be to inform them that they were approaching Opua but that they had a fuel blockage and might need some assistance getting to the quarantine dock. We could see on AIS that we would be arriving just behind them so we called and offered to follow them in in case they needed fuel or a tow. As we entered the Bay of Islands the wind and seas calmed and we ghosted in under a nearly full moon with the smell of cut grass coming in on the breeze. As we neared the marina our companion boat, "Chantey", who were just returning to their home port after completing a 9 year circumnavigation, called and said that they could use some fuel after all. The breeze had just picked up a bit and, as they drifted slowly towards some moored boats, we gingerly came aside and Annette passed them a jerry jug of diesel. They were quickly underway and we both tied up at the Q dock around 1:00 am.
Check in was easy next morning. As Customs was searching the boat they noticed the brewery in the port hull and became more interested in talking about beer than finishing their inspection. We knew immediately that we would like this place.
We got a slip in the marina as the cyclone in Vanuatu was due to hit here in a couple of days. As soon as we stepped ashore we felt like Dorothy in the land of Oz. Even in this small town there is every kind of marine store imaginable with prices similar to back home. Chandleries, cafes, bakery, hot showers, laundry all at the end of the dock. What's not to like. One thing that struck us immediately is that, for the first time in years, we are able to understand much of what the locals say to us.
Biosecurity made off with pretty much all of our fresh provisions so we made a trip to the supermarket in nearby Paihia yesterday. Paihia is about a 2 mile drive, or a 4 mile walk along the beach so, having no car but a couple of feet apiece, we walked the beautiful trail with our other new friends from Freya. After stocking up at the store we had dinner at a brewpub recommended by Customs that did not disappoint, then took a cab back to the marina.
Today, the remains of the hurricane, now an extra-tropical cyclone, have arrived and we are hunkered down in the rain with the heater going. The wind outside the bay is predicted to be 50 knots, gusting to 65, so we reckon we will stay another day or so

A little break

25 October 2023
Mike
We got a bit of a rest today as a high moved in over us and the seas flattened out as the wind veered to the north and died down. This is the first day we have not felt like we were sailing in a paint shaker and it feels good to not have our brains rattled around in our skulls. We have been motoring with both motors today, trying to beat the next low to New Zealand and it looks like we might make it, arriving in Opua early Friday morning just before the front hits. It turns out this was a good weather window in more than one way as tropical cyclone Lola, a catagory 5 hurricane with 120 knot winds has just formed over Vanuatu. It is headed to New Caledonia and then towards New Zealand, but we should be in Opua before it gets there. Just a reminder that it is high time we were out of the tropics for the season. The water is down to 64 degrees and we are wearing socks and sweaters at night. Feels good to be able to move without sweating.

Skinny Sailing

23 October 2023
Annette
Day 6, half way there, 600 miles to go.

So far I would agree with the woman who said this passage from Fiji to NZ was not her favorite. As I write this we are on our 4th night and so far it has been a lumpy, bumpy  slow ride with confused seas and tempramental winds, but nothing horrible. Except for the one night on my watch, of course. On the second day we had steady winds enough to fill our spinnaker from sunrise to sunset. Shortly after Mike went down to sleep the clouds blew over, darkening the sky and messing up the wind. First a drizzle, then a steady rain and then the sky opened up and the rain came down in sheets. Becasue the wind was coming straight from behind, slight wind changes were causing the main to jibe. The first two times this occured I went out and trimmed  the sails to maintain a steady speed. I became soaked to the bone as the water poured out of the mainsail stack pack like Niagra Falls dumpimg on my head, my foul weather gear worthless. After two sail changes the main and jib were still fl
ogging.
Frustrated and tired, I decided to furl up the jib, sheet in and center the main and turn on the motor. But I just got dried off and put on fresh warm cloths and that would required me to go back out in the torrential rain. Screw it, I took off all my clothes, put on my safety harness and did all the sail handling in the buff. Skinny Sailing. We motored into a headwind for the next 2 days. Day 6 we are sailing again with wind on the beam.

As we climb in latitude from 17 degrees to 26 we welcome the need to put on long sleeves and pants.

Off to New Zealand

21 October 2023
Annette
October 19,2023
In my memory Fiji will always be the Dream Family Vacation. We sailed, snorkeled, surfed, played Mexican Train every night, ate ok food and drank weak cocktails at shore-side resorts and had fantastic meals and strong margaritas on Rum Doxy. Linnea got to dip her toes in the South Pacific and we all got to take turns making fools of ourselves to see her smile.

The two weeks we shared together aboard Rum Doxy were absolutely perfect. To have so much quality time with the people you love, in a warm beautiful place with magical blue water and lots of toys, it just doesn't get any better for two grandparents! But all good things must come to an end. We said goodbye to Sabine, Alan and our perfect granddaughter on the evening of the 18th, then waited anxiously for the text that came the next morning that they had landed at LAX safely. Now it is time to sail on down to New Zealand.

While waiting at Fijian Customs to check out we were talking with fellow sailors who have made the trip down to NZ several times before. They commented that this was not a passage that they particularly enjoyed or looked forward to, sounding similar to the Baja Bash, sailing up the coast from Cabo San Lucas to California with wind on the nose, big seas and storms. But the forecast was looking good to get down there without getting too much of a beating so at 10:30 am we untied the mooring lines and were on our way. November is the beginning of hurricane season in Fiji so we were not the only cruising boat looking for a weather window south.. We were accompanied by 3 other sailboats heading out the pass. It was a beautiful day, bright sunshine, no wind and calm seas. We were all motoring. By 3 in the afternoon the wind began filling in and by 6:00 pm we had 18-20 knots on the beam. By 9;00 pm with a single reef main and a small jib we were hitting 9-11 knots ourselves. Imagine blasting down a rugged dirt road with a blindfold on. I was contemplating furling up the jib when Mike came up, woken by the noise so we put a second reef in the main. Around 10pm the fun really began. All of a sudden there were 8 targets on our electronic chart, 4 sailboats, 1 passenger ship and 3 cargo ships. One cargo ship 14 miles away doing 12 knots was headed our way, passing behind us within less than 1 mile. Now, during the day I might have felt different but in the dark, a cargo ship pointed straight at your boat doing 12 knots is a bit nerve wracking, even if the chart is saying it will miss you by a mile. I kept a vigilant eye on the Sango Leopard as it approached, hoping it would alter course to give us a little more wiggle room and signal to me that it had us in its sight, but it never did. So when it was with in 3 miles showing its closest point of approach just under a mile I hailed the Sango Leopard on the radio. My intention was to alert them to our position and get them to alter course. The night officer was not in a chatty mood nor wanting any company. He sounded annoyed but I got his attention, he acknowledged our position and reluctantly altered his course. I felt better.
Vessel Name: Rum Doxy
Vessel Make/Model: 46' Custom Catamaran
Hailing Port: Santa Barbara, California
Crew: Mike Reed, Annette Reed
Extra: A "rum doxy" is 18th century pirate-speak for a woman of remarkable character and ambiguous virtue
Rum Doxy 's Photos - Chile 2019
Photos 1 to 79 of 79 | Main
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Sunset at Alowplast Marina
The bus we had a hard time getting on.
Puerto Ingles
Our friends on Sea Rover II, Gary and Karina
Glacier Margarita Ice
LLao LLao Resort
My perfect birthday!
We took a chair lift to the top of the Cerro Catedral Ski resort and hiked to the summit for an amazing view.
Bariloche town center, strong Bavarian influence
We finally made it to Bariloche, having missed one bus and almost missing the second attempt. We were welcomed with clear blue skies and a beautiful view.
In 1645 the Spanish began building fortresses with gun batteries to protect the entrance of Bahia Corral.
Pissed off Killdeer
Vogel Beeren
Getting tanked at Kunstmann Brewery, one of Valdivia
LLao LLao peninsula
After missing the bus again we made the best of it by going out to LLao LLao .
Andean Fox: When we reached the summit and could go no further, out came an Andean fox to welcome us to it
View from our balcony: .
South Pacific sunset
Albatross were our constant companions for the last week of our passage from Easter Island to Chile. We continue to the the Black Browed Albatross daily in the canals.
A break in the action
Land ho!: On the 16th day out of Easter Island we sighted the mainland and were escorted in by a large pod of Peale
Heading south in the canals we anchored within sight of the Chaiten Volcano, which erupted a few years ago, forcing the evacuation of the town at it
Our first penguins. These are Magellanic Penguins.
Tic Toc Bay from the air
Souhern Sea Lions and Imperial Shags
Caleta Punta Porvenir
Humpback in the Moraleda Channel. We saw several Fins and humpbacks here, our first since Mexico. We saw a small pod of Orcas just south of Puerto Aguirre.
Ringed Kingfisher.
Sunrise in the canals
surfin
The beer getting special attention. It should ferment at about 68* but it rarely gets above 60 in the hulls, so the beer gets to sit up top with us and gets it
Steamer duck. : These guys are flightless and scoot across the water, using their wings as propellers.
Lichen
The view from Puerto Santo Domingo
First glimpse of the icefields
White sand beach at Caleta Porvenir
Bird
Estero Odger during a break in the rain.
These things are everywhere, often the flowers are floating in the anchorages.
Rio Los Patos, just outside the Laguna, where we got our anchor stuck on a log and were hit by a bergy bit the size of an SUV in the middle of the night. You can  just see a small chunk oof ice in the middle of the river.
Sunrise at Estero Empedrado
Male and female Kelp Geese. No idea which is which.
Puerto Aguirre. Rum Doxy is on the left side of town.
Fog bank while leaving Puerto Aguirre. Visibility was about 100
Caleta Manuel, that we nicknamed "Caleta Rorshach"
No shortage of waterfalls along the way
Going for a swim, again. This time to clear the dinghy painter off the prop.
Bahia Pescador. The anchor is in 23 meters, the stern is in 2 meters.
Puerto Juan Yates in Bahia Tic Toc. The bottom is foul with rocks, so we just tied between the 2 islands.
Paddling in Bahia Pescador
Alpenglow on Monte Yanteles
Kaleidoscope rocks in Caleta Rorshach
One of the ever-present Magellenic Penguins
Fishing fleet at Isla Mechuque
Ibis
 
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