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Saying goodbye to New Zealand

Written by Cathy Siegismund
May 2003

Our last two months or so have been spent working on boat projects to get Felicity and us in shape to head out cruising again. Although, we have had no significant breakdowns, the maintenance and minor projects can be extremely time consuming. We started our projects with a haul-out, new bottom paint and had the hull waxed. Ken also serviced our MaxProp.

We as usual did make some time for fun between projects. Ken and Drew took a trip to Taupo to use their Christmas presents. Vernita and I had given them each a one day class at a Formula Challenge race car school.

Drew and Ken ready to race!

Drew barely discernable in the helmet




We said goodbye to our friends Nik and Jenn on Green Ghost, who had also spent 18 months in New Zealand. They left the marina the end of April for a couple weeks of local cruising with a planned departure for Fiji in mid-May. We hope to catch up with them in Fiji.


Nik and Jenn's bon voyage party, leaving Auckland

Some of the significant boat projects included a rebuild of the head, fortunately one of Ken's projects. We also had a carpenter add some latches to lockers, put new screens in our forward hatch, and build a teak seat back to hold the "garage" items in the quarterberth from slipping forward and sliding our seat forward during passages.

Ken also did a major galley refit. This included a hot water heater, a new faucet, hinging the refrigerator lids, and the addition of an electric pump to pump the galley sinks dry of water. With the boat sitting lower in the water full of cruising gear, we had a problem of salt water sitting in the bottom of the sink, creating awful smells and corroding out the sink drains.

I also had a number of sewing projects including making slip covers for all of our cushions. For the full list of projects small and large, see our job jar. It is amazing how long the completion of this list of seemingly small projects has taken us.

Felicity is, however, leaving New Zealand with a few more obvious improvements. We've upgraded our outboard motor for our dinghy from a 5hp to a 8hp, which should enable us to plane -- meaning go faster! We also got a new outboard motor fuel tank with a flash, to use a NZ term, custom cover made.

Fancy new outboard gas can cover

We also had some major canvas work done, with a new dodger and attached cockpit bimini. When we left Seattle, our dodger still had a little life in it, and we couldn't get the goddess of dodger makers in Seattle, Trish Schattauer, as she was booked until after our departure. Trish had, however, made Layla's dodger and bimini, so I took over 20 photos and wrote a 24-page spec on how I wanted the dodger done to make it as close to Trish's as possible. We had an Auckland canvas shop, The Boat Cover Company do the work. We are happy with the work they did, although as they mostly do mega yachts we always were being bumped to the bottom of the list and the dodger, bimini, foredeck and boom awnings, gas can cover and upholstery projects took 10 months of nagging to complete. We'll be adding some photos of the awnings when we have them up in the tropics.

New foredeck and boom awnings

New dodger with attached cockpit bimini

We also had new foam and upholstery made for the settee cushions and navigation station seat. We have to thank Mary Cox, a friend in the US, who helped us get the Ultrasuede fabric for the cushions, which look awesome. We also had some custom pillows made to go with the new cushions.

New Ultrasuede upholstery with custom pillows

A couple of smaller items, which have made a huge difference is adding hinges to the locker doors behind the settee cushions. This makes getting things in and out of our small, non-rectangular spaces much easier, and reduces the number of expletives when I'm wrestling items in and out of the lockers.

We also had some stainless plates made to go on our varnished bowsprit, which protects the varnish from being damaged from the anchor banging between anchorages.

Added stainless plates to protect the varnished bowsprit from being dinged and gouged by the anchor

After what seemed like never-ending boat projects, Ken surprised me with a little overnight break to Waiheke Island. A lovely island in the Hauraki Gulf about a 30 minute ferry ride from Auckland. For those of you from Seattle, it reminded us of Bainbridge Island. There are commuters who live there and work in Auckland, but it also has summer houses, wineries, and an active arts community. We stayed in a fantastic bed and breakfast called the Boatshed, which I would highly recommend. We had a relaxing afternoon, and a fantastic dinner of fresh seafood. The next day we had massages in our room, a light lunch, and then took an island/winery tour. It was a great surprise and wonderful break from boat projects.


Our room at the Boatshed


Ken and I enjoying some local wine on our deck before dinner

View from our room of the bay and Little Barrier Island in the distance

We had been aiming to leave Auckland on May 16, and even had a little open boat going away party on May 15.

Lance, Frith, Xen, Shelaine, Taren, Steve and Ken a little cozy down below during our open boat pre-departure party

However, projects dragged, and by the time we were ready to leave the back side of a high pressure system was producing strong northerly winds and pouring rain.

As our friends, Nik and Jenn on Green Ghost are currently getting a "pasting" out on their way to Fiji; we're even more inclined to be patient and wait for the best weather window possible. As of May 21, we're still tied to the dock at Bayswater waiting for the winds to shift west and lighten, which we think will be Friday, May 23. Friday, we hope to finally throw off the dock lines and start taking several day hops north to Opua. According to Bob McDavitt, New Zealand weather guru, we're still 7+ days away from a good weather window to head to Fiji. This means we'll probably hang out in Opua for a few days. While we wait for the weather to cooperate, we'll continue to do small projects and enjoy our soon to be missed luxuries of city life like Starbucks and movie theaters.

View of downtown Auckland

After 18 months in Auckland, we have grown some roots and are feeling a bit like we're leaving Seattle all over again. We are sorry to be heading out without our usual cruising buddies aboard Layla and Rainsong whom we had been with since leaving Seattle in August of 2000. Jason and Tam from Rainsong, are pregnant and have shipped Rainsong back home, and have returned to Seattle. Our other cruising buddies, Drew and Vernita aboard Layla, are staying in New Zealand. They too are pregnant, have received New Zealand residency, and have bought a house in the Auckland suburbs. We look forward to visiting Jason and Tam the next time we fly back to Seattle for a visit, and plan to fly back to see Drew and Vernita in Auckland next year. We are of course also sorry to leave our new Kiwi friends we've made here, and a country we really have enjoyed.

We are however, looking forward to getting back into the cruising lifestyle, having more adventures, and arriving in Australia next October.


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