Slow Sailing

25 February 2020
29 November 2019 | Vero Beach
09 October 2019 | Washington, NC
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15 May 2019 | St Augustine
30 April 2019 | Black Point, Exuma
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15 December 2018 | Washington, NC
03 November 2018 | Thetford, VT
21 September 2018 | Bradford, VT
13 August 2018 | Thetford, VT

Wallaby Hunting

18 May 2014 | Opua Marina
Heather
We continue to lead dual lives- the good cruising life of exploring and getting out to do stuff and the stressful, expensive, just as real life of trying to fix broken must-have junk on the boat. Although we couldn't wait to bust out of Gulf Harbor, we felt relieved to have turned the radio over to an expert, in collaboration with Icom NZ, hoping that someone could give us a hand with this puzzle. We had another familiar experience at the yacht club there where the company of Richard & Ali was much better than the food. We took the bikes out one afternoon and pedaled in to town to use the library and also to check out Shakespear Park on the point of the peninsula. Very beautiful. NZ is all about "pest-free" which means that invasive creatures like browsing deer, rabbits, stoats, possums, rats etc are removed from a space in order to allow a safe haven for birds like kiwis. All around Shakespear park there is an extensive pest free fence to keep pests out. Even on your bike, you pass through a double sealed gate, cars use another passage. You then spray your bike tires and shoes down with a chemical that kills a bacteria that is damaging the kauri trees. This is all to shed some light on the seriousness of the parks here. It's not all about the view.

From Great Barrier Cruise

The following day, both boats left early for a short motor to Tiritiri Matangi, another pest-free island set aside as a bird sanctuary. Tiritiri is a magical island full of birdsong. Dedicated volunteers in cooperation with the DOC have planted thousands (this is common) of trees and brought important native birds there to set up housekeeping. Because some of the foliage isn't expansive enough in terms of nectar supply to support all of the birds that live there, they've established feeding stations to help the birds out. As you wander the trails and visit the lighthouse, the birds are all around you- I've never seen anything like it actually. They even have nesting boxes set up for the little blue penguins. They're little stone huts with an arched entrance down low and then a lift-up lid that you can peer down into the little house at the penguin sitting below. We all had sort of mixed feelings about looking down at them as they stood there, but I know for sure that the DOC wouldn't have the little opening lid if it was harmful to them. But even so, we didn't take any pictures and we tried to keep it brief. I found it very moving in a way. It's the plight of some of these creatures that just makes you think.

From Great Barrier Cruise


After a lovely walk & picnic with Richard, Ali & their crew friends Robin & Jenny, we all picked up anchor and parted ways. They headed to Opua on an overnight and we floored it for another park island called Kawau, to get there before dark.

From Great Barrier Cruise

Kawau has a great anchorage in Bon Accord Bay along with a chunk of land managed by the DOC that includes an old estate once owned & cultivated by former NZ governor Sir George Grey. The Mansion House, built in 1845, has beautiful planted grounds graced with peacocks, the restored period house which you can tour, the remains of an old copper mine that used to have tunnels bored under the sea and most important for us, a clan of wallabies living in the bush that have remained since Grey's ownership in 1888. Wallabies are like a small kangaroo, so this is a good warm-up for Australia. We got an early start in the morning so that we could come ashore when they would most likely still be out. Walking through the piney woods of the estate, we spotted 3 total, all of whom thumped away as soon as they noticed us. They've got big feet and aren't quiet in the woods! Wanting to get a better look at them, we came back again at dusk heeding the advice of a park ranger who said they'd be more active then. We walked around quietly, flashlight in hand, as it got dark until we spotted some. You shine the flashlight in their eyes to get their curiosity going, then you can approach them closer for a shot! We were delighted to see a mom with her joey in the pouch! It's funny how the camera is able to gather much more light than our own eyes because it wasn't until we got back to the boat to look at the pics that we could really see any detail on the wallaby. It was much darker than the pics show. Anyway, it was fun and we kept remembering how the "thump, thump" sounded as they moved away from us. It was like something out of a cartoon.

From Great Barrier Cruise

The following day we decided we really needed to get moving toward Opua so we did a long day from Kawau. It was a motor in calm seas and I have to say, it was AOK with me. There is something so nice about slipping along in oily seas on yet another bright sunny day watching lovely scenery go by. We carried on until 11:30 that night, rounding Cape Brett under moonlight and enjoying the silhouettes of the headlands. We don't get to do this very often since in any tropical area, you don't proceed near shore in anything other than good light because of poor charts and invisible reefs. But here, charts are good and there are good marks so it is OK. After a good rest, we pulled in to Opua marina.

And then the fun started. The relief we felt at handing the SSB over was unfounded and we rented a car to drive down to Auckland to pick it up again. Since the determination from ICOM was that the radio was unfixable, Jon ordered a new radio from Australia in hopes that with express shipping, we could have it in our hands within a week. After careful communication about urgent courier shipping, we found out the next night that they made a little whoopsie and sent the radio by the slowest, uninsured, untrackable post possible. What the?! If I hear "that's the way it is mate!" one more time...

Meanwhile, the manufacturer of our watermaker finally came back with a verdict which is that they'll replace our membranes once again... where do we want them shipped? Great timing! So, we've been trying to make decisions about all this stuff along with alternative shipping arrangements and also get ready for the passage to Vanuatu. It is just under 1000 miles. Two long days for Jon working on the radio the whole day has it working much better by changing wires, moving ferrites around and heeding the advice of a USA man named Terry Sparks who offers help troubleshooting SSB's. There appears to be two different problems going on. So is the radio broken or not? Can't be certain. It would be so nice if it was like other things where you throw some money at it and it's fixed. Like the Maretron weather station. The new one is up now as of today and for the moment, it works. I realize that this isn't very interesting to read so will stop whining now.

It's pretty chilly at night and it feels good to be at the dock with the heater running. During the day, the sun warms things up nicely. We've been using the rail trail to pound out our frustrations and I'm dreading leaving this amazing country with it's perfect running venues. But we do feel the need to move on while there's a weather window (at least the forecast says so) to do so since this passage is hanging over our heads. We may be leaving Tuesday if everything falls into place. Hopefully, our packages will follow us to Vanuatu without too much more hassle. It'll take us a while to get back into the groove of passagemaking; we're rusty! I think it might also take us a while to let New Zealand go.

We'll sure miss the moreporks!

From Great Barrier Cruise
Comments
Vessel Name: EVERGREEN
Vessel Make/Model: Tashiba 40 Hull #158
Hailing Port: E. Thetford Vermont
Crew: Heather and Jon Turgeon
Extra:
Hello! We are Heather & Jon Turgeon of S/V Evergreen. We started sailing in 1994 on our first boat, a Cape Dory 31, then sought out a Tashiba 40 that could take us around the globe. It has been our home for 19 years. We've thoroughly cruised the East coast and Caribbean and just completed our [...]
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