Saying goodbye to New Zealand
Written by Cathy Siegismund
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
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
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
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.