Dropping Anchor for the First Time in NZ

On January 20th, we returned to our boat in Marsden Cove, New Zealand.

Our next adventure will be sailing around the South Island. It will be a colder, challenging, with “gales of mosquitos” the locals tell us. We see it as a place of beauty, wildlife, isolation, and  the chance to serve up some freshly caught fish and shellfish.  We spent 3 weeks doing boat maintenance, provisioning, and visiting our friends in Dockland 5. We have to say that the hardest part about continuing with our sailing plans will be saying ‘so long’ to our very good friends. And we would like to add a ‘thank you’ to our friends, (you know who you are who) gave us a ‘Bon Voyage’ gift.  Besides the delicious homemade scones, we were gifted back candies we tried to offload on the D5 ‘For Free’ shelf, an abandoned, ceramic fish plate which we snuck on their deck for some tender loving care. This was all packaged up to look like a fully loaded candy sailboat with Landfall signage on the side complete with a sail and replica of ‘Barb and Denny’ made from wood ice cream sticks. That brought on the laughter. I would include a picture but that would reveal the creative culprits. No worries, we will have our revenge!!

We left the dock on Saturday, February 10th and made is as far as Whangaruru.  Our NZ sailing started with a beautiful Spinnaker sail. At 7pm we dropped anchor in NZ for the first time in a large protected bay and witnessed a stunning sunset and a full moon rising over the bluffs. It was a peaceful, quiet night. Click here for the anchorage  Google Map Link

Next morning we were gone by 8 and dropped the fishing line while we exited the bay. Within 10 minutes we had a fish on the hook. Nice size for lunch but he got away as we tried to hoist it into the boat. Can’t really say what we had actually caught. Our fishing luck continued by catching a small tuna which we threw back as we thought he was too little but then we caught another Tuna, this one even smaller.  We returned that Tuna back to the sea as well but now regretting not keeping the first Tuna. All I kept thinking was the Tuna steaks we could have had on the grill if our standards had not been so high. It won’t happen again. Now all Tuna caught will be keepers, maybe. As we rounded Cape Brett the wind picked up and we sailed through gusts of 25 to 30 knots of wind but it didn’t last long.

Bay of Islands is cruising paradise with lots of little bays with beaches and tramps but also many many many more yachts. We sailed around a little bit exploring the Islands and finally anchored in Otaio Bay off Urapukapuka Island. Click here for the Google Map Link As the weather forecast for the next day was not supposed to be good, we decided to stay 2 nights here. This may have been a good decision as Dennis ended up working our freezer which had stopped working. Considering it was very full, this was not a good thing. Next stop was Opua Marina where we finally had our freezer fixed and where we spent some time with our friends on Nyon. Click here for the Google Map Link

The weather for the South Island is starting to look better with a ‘large’ high moving in in the next 8 – 10 days. We will head to the beautiful bay , Whangaroa, where we will wait for the weather window to sail the 700 miles to the South Island Fiords. We will keep you posted.

Family time and Road Trip

Living on a sailboat and anchoring and cruising in places where there is no reliable Wifi makes staying in touch with family a challenge. So going back to the USA and Canada  during the Christmas holiday was special as we got to spend some time with our parents and all of our children.

During this trip home, we also did a fabulous road trip with Denny’s daughter Jenny and hubby Tyler, Jenny’s close friend Kathleen and her fiancé, Jeff and our friends Bill and Ella. As the saying goes ‘Go West young man, go West!!’. It was a 3-day road trip to Deadwood, nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It used to be a lawless wild west town started by the Black Hills Gold rush and it harbored many gambling saloons and brothels. It’s the very place where Wild Bill Hicock and Calamity Jane met their demise.

Jenny planned the whole trip and she was a fantastic hostess. On the way we made a stop in Sturgis for lunch and we tried to imagine what the town would look like during the famous yearly bike rally. Deadwood is now just a modern day gambling town with a lot of history. We tried to re-live the history by dressing up in Wild West costumes and acting out our part!

Deadwood

As far as gambling went, we tried our hand at Blackjack and Roulette and Denny and I can say that we didn’t win or loose but we all had loads of fun and laughter. An afternoon was spent playing shuffle board, drinking beer and eating lots of free popcorn which only made us want to drink more beer. We decided to have a shuffle board tournament with some serious competition. Some of us took it more seriously than others! The pictures tell the story!

Denny 1

Playing with the camera instead of shuffle board

Tyler 1

I can drink beer and play at the same time

Ella 1

I am gonna win!

Barb 1

What is Ella doing that I am not!!

Bill M Deadwood 2017 (32 of 175)

What to do. Wipe them out, hit and stick, how fast to push, where to aim????

But the highlight was our visit to Mount Rushmore. It was a beautiful, cool, sunny day. Even the drive there was spectacular with a stop here and there to play in the snow. Bill M Deadwood 2017 (80 of 175)

Bill M Deadwood 2017 (101 of 175)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill M Deadwood 2017 (115 of 175)We were able to wander around the park and museum at leisure without having to jostle through thousands of tourists that normally go there during the summer vacation. We were told that during peak season an average of 10,000 people a day visit the park. Pictures do not capture the enormity and grandeur of the sculpted faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. I tried to the a selfie of the moment with Denny!! Bill M Deadwood 2017 (138 of 175)Bill M Deadwood 2017 (140 of 175)

Bill, please take the pic!!

Bill, please take the pic!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided that maybe we could make this an annual Christmas Holiday event and next time we would hope that the rest of our children could be there as well!!

Merry Christmas

I guess we should have posted that we arrived in New Zealand!! Some people are still wondering whether we are still out there. We do have a slow boat and we do love sailing but we have made Landfall!!

Denny is now with his family in Minneapolis and I am with my parents in Ontario. I did get a visit from my son before Christmas and I will see Ally in the New year. We will be back together in New Zealand sometime mid January.

We would like to wish all our family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

Less than 300 miles to NZ

We had estimated a 10 day sail to New Zealand. WE are now on the 14th day of our passage to New Zealand and we still have another 288 miles to go. We did spend a couple of days drifting at 25 degrees south, avoiding any south until the 2 lows that had been forecasted passed New Zealand. Once we re-started our passage it has been a struggle with wind direction. It has persistently been blowing straight from our planned waypoint destination accompanied with waves and large swells from the last low. It can be a little discouraging when either sail tack takes you away from the waypoint (ie negative velocity made good) and motoring is not an option because of the large seas on the nose. But we learned to accept and just started to enjoy the journey. So we continue to read, watch movies, experiment with sail tweaking, cooked and ate most of the foods customs will take and took turns being the ‘pest’, having fun. We have experienced all kinds of wind challenges from no wind to lots of to deluge of wind which was a 10 minute squall of 45 plus knots which slammed the boat. The squall made me appreciate our decision to avoid he NZ lows!! WE have had a few minor problems like bilge pump not working (filter clogged with crap from healing too much during the squall), breaking of the topping lift and a little scare when our engine would not start but a new gas filter fixed that. All problems that Denny fixed pretty quickly. We are nearing the end of our passage and expect to arrive in NZ on Thursday November 24th, just in time for American Thanksgiving. Maybe I will fill Marsden Cove with the smell of a cooked turkey dinner (good memories with Becky) but Denny said not a price for the NZ turkey,$35.00 for a 5 pound turkey. We may have to settle for chicken!! Next post will be from NZ. PS. No fish this time. We didn’t try. There is still too much fish in the freezer!!

New Zealand?

Sunday 11/13/2016 Position 25 21.262s 176 11.198e Hello Well we are on a holding pattern. We will not make it to New Zealand before a big low pressure system hits so we are going to just stay were we are. We will get a grib file, (a weather map that shows the wind speed, direction, wave height, and air pressure) tonight to help us determine how far south we can go and still stay out of the heavy winds. Then the mad dash will be on again. It is 450 miles to New Caledonia, with the winds coming out of the north and the northwest, so that is not a good option and heading back to Fiji does not make sense with those winds. So that does not leave much other then just hang out here in the middle of nowhere. It looks like the only thing that will be not so great is the 14 foot seas we will be in. So it looks like hanging out here for the next five days. I think I will watch a movie or two. Will keep you posted on our progress or lack there of. Love to you all Dennis & Barb S/V Landfall ————————————————- Do not push the “reply” button to respond to this message if that includes the text of this original message in your response. Messages are sent over a very low-speed radio link. The most concise way to reply is to send a NEW message If you DO use your reply button, be sure to delete the original message text and these instructions from your reply. Replies should not contain attachments and should be less than 5 kBytes (2 text pages) in length. This email was delivered by an HF private coast station in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht owners. For more information on this service or on the SailMail Association, please see the web site at: http://www.sailmail.com

Pluging along

Friday 11/11/2016 Position 23 31.126s 175 38.712e coarse of 185 True, Speed of around 3 knots Hello to everyone. Just letting you know we are moving along slowly in light air. The first couple of days were kind of rough but the winds have gone really light. That is good because we what to wait for a low to pass to the south of us and then we will pick up the pace again. We are only doing 80 to 90 miles per day while we wait. It makes for a very nice and easy passage with the boat sailing almost flat. Well that is all that we have to report for now, will send out another in a couple of days Love to all Dennis & Barb S/V Landfall

Fiji 2016 – Vuda Marina

17 40.873 S – 177 23.213 E

Link to Google Maps

Posting by Barb :

dennys-birthday-2016We have been in Vuda Marina since November 1, Denny’s birthday. We celebrated his birthday at the Sunset bar with our good friends Barbara and Michael from Astarte. The bar must have known it was Denny’s birthday because they had half price pizza. Denny didn’t have a birthday cake as we were en-route to the marina and I didn’t seem to have the ingredients to make a cake (not that I am such a great baker anyway). But Denny did get to savor a pack of Oreo cookies!

We have been sitting here at the marina preparing for our passage to NZ. We finally have the weather window we need (at least we hope so) so we will be leaving as soon as we check out with customs and immigration. Check out scheduled for November 8th. We will do our usual en-route postings. We hope to get to NZ by November 21 and then back to Canada/USA for December.

We will be seeing some of you soon!!dsc_7152

 

Fiji 2016 – Anchorage # 15 – Balulailai

October 28 – 31

16 44.918 S – 178 29.199 E

Link to Google Maps

Posting by Barb :

It was a smooth slow sail to Balulailai. This would be our jumping point to Vita Levu and onward to Vuda Marina. When we arrived at the reef pass for Balulailai it looked a little risky. It was low tide and the passage looked very narrow with large rocks jutting out. But we had no trouble getting through and no trouble anchoring although there wasn’t much room. We could see 2 people on shore but they quickly left and we didn’t see anybody for the remainder of our stay.

We did the usual snorkel, dinghy rides and kayak trips. Our dinghy propeller is not working 100% again. Denny hit another rock in Naviqiri transporting locals back to shore.  Balulailai was a peaceful quiet anchorage. It is freehold land and from what little we could find out about this place it is a 9,999 acre estate owned by foreign owners. So this meant no villages and no power boats. But we were surrounded by goats, cattle and horses. They  disappeared during the heat of the day and didn’t re-appear until the next day.

The plan was to leave by 6 in the morning, pending weather and head to Vita Levu, a 10 hour sail. Every night at midnight the wind would pick up and it would rain heavily. Twice we postponed our departure. The third time we just decided that we would leave although the rain was heavy at times.

This was our last anchorage on Vanua Levu and the end of our cruising in Fiji. We did everything that we set out to do when we decided to do the north of Vanua Levu. We hiked, snorkeled reefs, kayaked, fished and caught fish, visited villages, explored remote places, explored busy cities and tried to learn more about the Fiji Culture. It was amazing that once we left Rabi Island we did not see any other sailboats. It’s this isolation that maybe made the people on this part of Fiji so welcoming and genuinely friendly. We loved every minute of our time here in Fiji.

Fiji 2016 – Anchorage # 14 – Naviqiri

 

October 22 – 28

16 39.266 S – 178 35.329 E

Link to Google Maps

Posting by Barb & Dennis:

We pulled anchor and headed to Naviqiri on a fairly windy day so we had a great sail to our next anchorage.dsc_6884 As we had arrived late Saturday evening we spent the Sunday hanging out in the boat and occasionally we could hear the 4 part harmony from the numerous church services through out the day. On Monday we headed into the village and completed our Sevu Sevu ritual. This was a more animated process with it ending in a chorus of chanting and claps. The kava was quickly pounded and shared with anyone that sat around the bowl. Denny had a quick tour of one of their sources of income; selling of their pine trees to outside saw mill. They were paid $10 per tree and basically did nothing as the trees were cut and hauled out by the sawmill operation.

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Our hosts Freddie and Sera and their grandson!

I had tea and hung out with some ladies for a little while. We were invited to share lunch with some of the locals and it was as a Thank You to me and other ladies  for helping to roll the Voi Voi leaves in preparation for the drying process. The lunch was a bok choy, fish, tomato, noodle and spicy chilis soup. It was so good!! dsc_6882There was lots of activity as they were preparing the site for their once a year Naviqiri Day. We returned to the boat with a usual supply of papaya and lots of mangos as it was growing in abundance. We were invited to the special day which would take place on Thursday. They wanted lots of photos taken.

 

 

dsc_6894-1The next day we were hanging around the boat and Barb yelled that we had company coming.   We watched as we saw three people paddling in our direction.  as soon as it was obvious that they coming to our boat, I jumped in the dingy and drove out to them and asked if they wished to come and visit.  It was three girls paddling using a board and stick to paddle out.  So I towed them back and they came on board and had some Coke and cooks.  They look at everything and are really intrigued by it all.  I think they are more interested in us then we are in them.  It is so fun to share.

dsc_6955We were a little late for the special day thanks to a surprise visit by some young boys from another nearby village. The boys wanted to hear all about USA as it was their dream to someday go there. When we arrived in Naviqiri we were greeted by Sera and Freddie our hosts and given very fragrant Leis to wear for the day. Everybody was dressed in their finest and their temporary sun shelter was decorated with Voi Voi leaves and flowers. We were rewarded with a tapestry of vibrant colors as the Fijians believe in bright, sunny colors. Lunch was the traditional fish with cassava but it also included a very nice spicy tomato salsa and spinach cooked in coconut milk. Everybody, except one particular lady wanted their pictures taken. dsc_9907Denny was often surrounded by kids asking for more pictures. We promised we would send them the pictures of the day. We took about 400 pictures and it took Denny hours to sort and flag the pictures to print and mail. We donated some money to their fund raiser which was flush toilets for the few homes that didn’t already have it. We ate, drank cava and danced for most of the afternoon. And that was the end of our Fiji village experience for 2016. And now just a mere sample of the hundreds of photos we took:

 

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The only lady who didn't like getting her picture taken

The only lady who didn’t like getting her picture taken

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The effect of Kava

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Fundraising Committee

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Preparing the meal

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Hot chocolate break with Sera and family at her home

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Barb Learning local dancing

Barb Learning local dancing

 

 

Fiji 2016 – Anchorage # 13 – Dreketi River, Nabekavu, Navidamu

October 18 – 22

16 31.569 S – 178 52.474 E

Link to Google Maps

Posting by Barb:

We had a beautiful wing on wing sail and anchored in 10 ft of water in heavy mud bottom. The anchorage was not well protected but at least it would be great holding. Even at 10ft of water we were still quite far from the villages and from the Dreketi river. We were nearby 2 villages and each village had about 10 power boats. So for such a small area this meant a sea highway of continued boat traffic and some with large coolers in the middle of their boat. We had the usual ‘bulah’ and drop in’s with invitations to come visit their village.

dsc_9809-1Our first excursion was a dinghy ride up the Dreketi river. It was very different from our last river trips. Very jungle like and we felt more like we were in the dsc_9792-1Amazon. Dreketi is the deepest river in Fiji ( no worries about hitting a rock with our newly fixed dinghy prop). We meet a few ladies up river washing clothes in some pretty murky water but other than that there was very little traffic. On the way back it started to rain quite heavily. It rained heavy enough to set afloat new growth seeds.  We were soon quite drenched. We made a stop into Dreketi to refuel and bought a few fresh tomatoes, bread and a few potatoes.

Our next stop was a visit to Nabekavu village. We brought our Kava and met the head of the village. He accepted our kava but then asked us to show our cruising permit. That has never happened before. We agreed that we would return with the permit. There really wasn’t any Sevu Sevu performed at this village, our Kava just disappeared. On our way back to the boat we were stopped by the Methodist pastor and he asked us to ‘hang out’ with him. dsc_6750And from there local men started appearing all dressed in their finest and we were told that there was a fundraiser to pay their portion of the Methodist district church van. The fundraiser was a Fijian lunch packet which included a whole fried fish and a couple pieces of cassava. While the lunch was being prepared in a gargantuan pot we sat around and drank Cava. dsc_6738Three hours later we left with our lunch packets, papaya and pineapples and we promised to return in the evening for the Youth Church service. It started to rain later in the afternoon and our trek back up the hill to the village turned out to be a muddy challenge as our footwear collected layer upon layer of clay as we made our way to the church. The service started late and it was practically empty. We thought we were in the wrong church until the Methodist pastor made the closing statements (he must have been delayed by the ongoing kava drinking as he showed up late and backup pastor did the sermon). We think that the kava drinking may have affected church attendance. Despite that the 4 part harmony was still beautiful despite the limited attendance and we were made very welcome. Denny even had to get up and say a few words!!

Our fundraiser lunch packet along with some fruit gifts

Our fundraiser lunch packet along with some fruit gifts

Our last stop at this anchorage was Navidamu village. From the beach we were taken to where a house under construction. Considering the minimal tools they had at their disposal I thought they were doing a great job.  The Lay Pastor gave us a very organized tour of the village. Pictures of some our stops:dsc_6758

what would OSHA say!!

what would OSHA say!!

 

First stop - Methodist church. In need of a few repairs but brand new, great sound system

First stop – Methodist church. In need of a few repairs but brand new, great sound system

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Stop 2: Visit to a house to show us how the Voi Voi leaves are prepared for weaving

Stop 3 :Breadfruit lunch preparation

Stop 3 :Breadfruit lunch preparation

Stop 4: The makings of straw brooms.

Stop 4: The makings of straw brooms.

Stop 5; Preparing the Voi Voi for the drying process

Stop 5; Preparing the Voi Voi for the drying process

Stop 6: Weaving at it's finest

Stop 6: Weaving at it’s finest

Stop 7: Hello to a lady who was 114 years old.

Stop 7: Hello to a lady who was 114 years old.

Final stop: Lunch of cooked mango with our tour guide and family

Final stop: Lunch of cooked mango with our tour guide and family