NZ south Island – Akaroa May 10

Click here for Google map link

We had to wait for the peak of high tide and motor sail our way out of the long harbor on a falling tide. This meant that we could not leave Dunedin until mid afternoon and it was an overnight and a full day sail to Akaroa. We entered Akaroa on a setting sun and had to anchor in the dark. This required me to stand on the bow with a flashlight so that we could avoid motoring over existing mooring balls.

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Beautiful Akaroa Harbour

DSC_8272We spent a day exploring the touristy little town with it’s French heritage. It was nearing the end of the tourist and the cruise ship season. Although it was a quaint little town, we had the sense that the locals were preparing for ‘down’ time and were a little tired of catering to tourists like ourselves. We had pastries and coffee at a café and made the decision to continue our way up the coast to nearby Lyttelton where we would wait for a weather window for our next puddle jump. size of hector dolphinWe left the next morning, shortly before sunrise and had a spectacularly warm, sunny motor to Purau Bay. Hector dolphins followed us all the way up the coastline, showing off their elegant blend of colours.  Again we felt fortunate to experience a rare gift of nature as Hector’s dolphin is considered the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin.DSC_8304 DSC_0533

NZ south Island – Dunedin May 02 – 09

Click here for Google Map Link

DSC_8133-1We finally had a weather window to leave Steward Island and cross Foveaux Strait, which  is in the middle of the roaring Forties and rarely calm.  With the diminishing effect of distance, Steward Island slowly disappeared. We felt some regret to leave this beautiful, isolated little patch of paradise.

My anxiety about crossing Foveaux Strait was unwarranted and our sail to Dunedin was uneventful. As we approached Dunedin we were again awed by the beautiful coastline.

 

After contacting Harbor control we were given clearance to traverse the 6+  miles of the natural harbor to our destination, the Otago Yacht Club (OYC). I used our Vodafone cell phone service and called the OYC manager, Barry, so that he could help us navigate Landfall to our berth as we arrived shortly after sunset.  DSC_0453He stood on the shore and used a laser pointer to ensure that we approached the entrance without any incident, although we did have to drag the keel through the mud. It was a little intimidating to motor to our designated spot in the yacht club with ‘0’ feet showing on the depth meter.

DSC_0459 It was somewhat of a treat to stay at a marina with hot showers, laundry facilities, access to fresh water, free Wi-Fi and use of the club house that included a large kitchen with  commercial grade appliances. DSC_0474_1I took full advantage and used the slow cooker to make  ‘pulled pork’ and the oven to roast a couple of whole chickens. We shared our oven cooked meals with friends from Dunedin. OYC is probably one of our favorite NZ marinas because of the people and the facilities. We took advantage of the available fresh water and thoroughly cleaned everything including the ‘miles’ of line we used for anchoring in the fiords and Steward island.

Early morning fog

Early morning fog

While in Dunedin we toured and enjoyed the grocery stores, restaurants,  city architecture, museums,  and public transportation. We visited the large Saturday market and came home with some NZ chicken and beef pies and a Venison smoked sausage stick. The ‘pie’ lady gave us a small complementary venison pie as a welcome gift once she heard how we had arrived in Dunedin.

Dunedin Train Station

We packed a picnic lunch and with the help of the great  public transportation, we made our way to Tunnel beach. Access to the coastline required us to tramp down a steep inclined coastline but it was worth it as the scenery was stunning.

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Denny taking a snooze in preparation for our return uphill hike

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Note the hiking trek to the top of knob where we had our picnic.

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After the isolation of Steward Island, it was a nice change to return to urban living!

 

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!!

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 # 10 – Nukubati

October 10 – 14

16 28.139 S – 179 01.749 E

Link to Google Maps

Posting by Barb:

As we headed to our next destination the wind started to increase and it started to rain. At first we were both excited as we hadn’t seen rain since we started our cruising around Vanua Levu. The decks and everything on deck had layers of salt so a good rain was what we needed. By the time we were near our intended stop it was a torrential rain and we couldn’t see 10 feet in front of the boat. We nearly t-boned a local power boat that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. We had to wait and do circles with a constant eye on the depth until the rain stopped or lessened long enough for us to pull in and anchor. By the time the anchor was finally buried in good mud we were quite drenched but the boat was clean. We arrived near the Nukubati resort on our first anniversary day so we were in a good spot to enjoy a tropical drink at a nice bar. But that would have to wait until tomorrow as Denny felt ‘done in’ after a stressful passage.

dsc_9731The resort was beautiful and we enjoyed a couple of evenings chatting with the owner and some guests. But the staff were all very pre-occupied preparing for the weekend Fijian wedding of the owner’s son. Family were arriving every day and on Sunday the official Fijian wedding would take place with 400 guests invited. On the menu was a pig cooked on the spit and beef. Extra locals had been hired to prepare all the food.

dsc_9726We stayed out of the way and finally managed to put a coat of Teak Oil which was long overdue. Denny had to stand in the dinghy and float along while carefully brushing on the oil. I had to do the portion accessible on the deck, easier but damn hot with the deck radiating heat absorbed by the sun.

We had a visit from the school boat driver and his family. They were amazed at how good our de-salinated water tasted. They would cautiously take a drink expecting salt water. They were amazed at how our salon chairs could be pulled out and turned to a bed and the topper was Coke made by our Soda stream. dsc_6722They liked the taste but we knew it wasn’t something they had before when they proceeded to dip their cookies in their drinks! I made paper airplanes and boats with the kids and they left with extra sheets of paper so that they could show their friends. They left with lots of invitations to come visit their village.

dsc_9732We did a little bit of snorkeling but the coral was dead. I did however see my first close-up look of a turtle. It was feeding below me and it took a little while before he realized I was hovering over him then he disappeared pretty quick. We did a little exploring of the outskirts of the resort. We found some pretty large Mangos which Denny decided to devour. He was sorry he did once he realized he had no way to clean his sticky hands until we reached the salt water edge.

It was a busy anchorage with lots of locals going to and from the resort, probably as a result of all the wedding preparations, with the constant wave or ‘Bulah’ yell. We decided it was time for a quiet reef anchorage but we would return to do a visit of the nearby village Nasea as we promised we would. On a final note we would like to say that despite the busy, special family wedding celebrations, the Bourke family, owners of the resort, made us feel very welcome.

 

Road trip with Dylan, Hobbiton

March 11 – 15

35 44.393S 174 20.339E

https://maps.google.com/maps/place/@35.44393,-174.20339,12z

Posting by Barb:

Dylan and I wanted to do a road trip  to see some of New Zealand and spend some quality time together. Dennis decided to stay behind on Landfall as he had lots of boat projects to work on and he wanted Dylan and I to just have some time to ourselves. We planned our 4 day trip and we each picked places we  we both wanted to see and places we individually wanted to see.

DSC_7832DSC_7919First stop would be Hobbiton!! Yes, it’s a tourist trap but both Dylan and I were huge Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie fans. Actually our love for the story started long before the movie was made when we read the J.R.R. Tolkien’s book the Hobbit. We probably both immersed ourselves in the fantasy at about the same age, many years ago when I was 16 and not so many years ago when Dylan was 14 or so. It would be a Mcisaac family tradition to see the Lord of the Ring movies when it premiered every Christmas. This last Christmas I watched the last 3D Hobbit movie with our good friends Tina and Sonke. Never would have dreamed that I would actually be here in NZ for a premier showing!

DSC_7824DSC_7881When we got there we were greeted by Gandalf himself. We, that is Dylan, I and 20 or so other people, followed the tour guide, along the Shire. When Peter Jackson began to look for suitable locations for film series he first saw the Alexander Farm during an aerial search. Peter Jackson nailed it because the Shire was everything I imagined when reading the book.

 

 

 

DSC_7957DSC_7920Our tour ended at the Green Dragon where we enjoyed a good craft beer and a traditional New Zealand pie. Everyone visiting in NZ must have pie!!

After visiting Hobbiton,  it made us want to go back and have a marathon day of Lord of The Rings and Hobbit movies. Get the popcorn ready Denny, I know you can’t wait for that day to come!

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Dylan in NZ

35 44.393S 174 20.339E

https://maps.google.com/maps/place/@35.44393,-174.20339,12z

Posting by Barb:

015de8981abc96c06267fc80ad599efe07fdd91bc0There is no doubt that one of the negatives aspects of living on a sailboat and moving from one anchorage to the next is keeping in touch with family and friends. And to that end we are held hostage to the availability and quality of  internet services. But in the last year we have been fortunate to have had many visitors. So having Becky, Allison and Mike on board was fantastic and now my boy Dylan was with us in New Zealand! Dennis will attest to the fact that as February 12th drew near I was more and more anxious and excited. I looked around the boat and tried to imagine whether 6″3′ Dylan would be able to stretch out and sleep in the salon or whether he would be able to walk tall and straight inside our little home. But despite all my distressing the day was finally here. It was so good to see him walk out of the Auckland International Airport terminal gate. All was ok, he was finally here! (He slept fine in the salon and his beautiful curly hair grazed the ceiling and gave it a badly needed Dockland 5 dusting).

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For Dylan’s first day I took him to several of the culinary spots in Whangarei. That included the Fat Camel and the Butter Factory for a cool tall one. So what else  does a visitor from Newfoundland want besides a good beer?  01115b541237e28c444954c275efa766b8a423d57bThat would be a hot day on a white, sandy beach so that was on the agenda for the second day. And it was a hot day and it was a beautiful beach, Ocean Beach!

01f11f02fc397e54aa05f70cbf4eb4d015e25088a8On the way back from sunning and swimming we passed by an area where there were quite a few cars parked by the side of the road. Of course we had to check it out and it turned out to be a Kiwi Release occasion. We got to see a real, live Kiwi up close.
There were a lot of things ticked of Dylan’s ‘To Do’ list in a couple of days.

 

We are a Threesome again

35 44.393S 174 20.339E

http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:35%2044.393S%20174%2021.339E

Posting by Barb:

January 6 – January 20

Denny flew back from Minneapolis with our friend Pat. I love having Pat around as we usually team up and give Dennis a hard time and some well-deserved teasing. IMG_0398Pat stayed in a small B&B place within walking distance as Landfall was going to be torn apart by Dennis who was going to be working on our new engine to replace the transmission (the reason for this will be explained by Denny in his boat projects post). Pat walked to the boat every morning carrying his expensive NZ Flat White coffee. I heard that Starbucks now serve Flat Whites as well so Pat can continue to get his expensive fix!!

The B&B was quaint but I avoided the place after my first visit as the little dog there fell in love with me and insisted on wrapping his little paws around my leg, arms or anything it could hug and then proceeded to show more than just a simple affectionate hug! The dog left a little present for pat in his room thanks to an upset stomach.

The three of us hung out at the boat a lot as Dennis worked on replacing the transmission. Every morning after his walk and coffee Pat would log on the internet and call work.DSC_7573 We told him he could just stay in NZ and work from the boat! The first couple of days of Pat’s visit was a bust as far as working on the engine as Denny came back with some strong Stomach bug or food poisoning. It was bad enough to make Pat and I very  worried. You all know the moldy things that Denny can eat and his stomach accepts it all usually with no ill effects. While Denny was puking his guts out Pat and I were outside having BBQs with our friends Ernst and Inge. We felt bad but Denny didn’t want us near him.

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 We did do a couple of road trips with Pat. The weather while Pat was here was spectacular so we of course visited a couple of the beautiful beaches including Ocean Beach and the white sand beach in Pahia. We took Pat to Opua to say hello to friends but took the scenic, twisty, snaking road to Russell and then the Ferry to Opua. All our visiting friends naturally get a tour of Auckland and get their iconic picture taken on Mount Eden. We stayed a night at John’s house in Auckland. Dennis had met John in Chile. John cooked a great meal on the BBQ while we sat there and enjoyed their beautiful backyard while sipping on some good wine. 

 

 

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We decided to do a little road trip before Pat had to go back to Minneapolis. After 4 hours driving our first stop was Rotorua to take Pat to the Waimangu Thermal walk which we also did with Bill and Ella. DSC_7661 DSC_5416-1This time around some of the thermal pools were dried up so it wasn’t as spectacular but we did do the boat trip at the end which was just a relaxing experience. Well maybe a little boring for Dennis.  The dining escapades in Rotorua were unimpressive. At one point we were sitting in a restaurant for quite some time waiting to get served when a waitress came by and told us that the chef had closed the kitchen for any new orders for the next hour or so. We thought that was an odd thing to do?

From there it was on to Taupo with a stop at McDonalds for ice cream sundaes. Taupo is a touristy little town on the shores of the largest lake in NZ. A few interesting facts about Lake Taupo; largest fresh water lake in the Southern hemisphere, roughly size of Singapore, crater of one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the last 5000 years, 159 meters deep and a surface area of 616 square km. And we did not get one single picture there. I guess it didn’t seem like much after being on Lake Superior.

Our last stop was Auckland Airport where we said good-bye to Pat. I think we may have convinced him to be a regular, yearly visitor but next time it will have to be a little longer than 2 weeks!

 

One on Board Landfall

35 44.393S 174 20.339E

http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:35%2044.393S%20174%2020.339E

Posting by Barb:

With Landfall safely on the ‘hard’ Dennis and Becky headed home for Christmas. As I am going home in April I decided to stay in New Zealand for Christmas. So after having 3 people in our little home it was a little quiet with just me on board.

But I was never alone. Ernst and Inge, our neighbors on Atlantis looked after me and had me over for countless coffees accompanied by the most amazing Apple cakes I have ever had. Inge can bake! And then there were cooked dinners too!

DSC_7480-1DSC_7418-1DSC_7487I did several hikes around Whangarei, including the beautiful Whangarei Falls and the Tahatea Loop which was a 4 mile loop from the boat to the town basin and back. It was  strange to be going out in shorts and flip flops (or ‘jandals’ as they would say here) and be surrounded by color instead of white snow or grey landscapes.   Many of the trees, Pohutakawas, were self decorated in red flowers.

 

 

 

xmas 01xmas 05I spent a fun Christmas day with my friends Rick and Kyra. They even served me breakfast in bed the next morning. I spent New Year’s eve with Ernst and Inge and their fantastic hamburger, sausage, pork chop and steak BBQ and topped it off with a New Years day brunch with champagne to toast the New Year.DSC_7497

DSC_7507New Year’s weekend I did the Mount Mania hike with my Canadian now Kiwi friend Melissa and that was a work out after all fine wining and dining. The hike is a  steady climb 1 hour climb  and as the gradient got steeper the views got more spectacular with the Bluff lookout offering great views of Bream Head and the Hen and Chicken Islands.  After the hike Melissa, Pete and Melissa’s mom Cathy treated me to a gourmet pizza.

Thanks to great friends it wasn’t such a lonely Christmas ! But it was sure nice to have Denny back on board.

Cruising with Becky, Paradise

19 09.248S 178 32.430E

http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:19%2009.248S%20178%2032.430E

Posting by Barb:

DSC_5052Although it may appear that we spent most of our time with our host family we actually spent a lot of time on our own exploring the beautiful island of Fulaga. The anchoring was ideal with sandy bottom and no coral. We could quickly anchor, go  and  re-anchor. There were lots of beautiful white unspoiled, untouched, pristine, virgin white beaches. There aren’t many places left where we could walk barefoot, sand between our toes and know that we would be alone, well with the exception of the crabs that seemed to be everywhere. DSC_4971Becky did lay out on the beach but was always on the look out for the little critters.

Looks like an elephant head?

Looks like an elephant head?

There were many limestone rock outcrops that made it fun to explore with the dinghy.

Becky and I fished over the side of the boat with bait given to us by the locals. We caught enough fish to throw on the BBQ, Fijian style, the whole fish after Denny gutted it. Ate and enjoyed every morsel. We ( not Denny as he was having problems with his ear) swam the pass and saw some pretty amazing large fish and I even saw a pair of grey sharks. I did scramble into the dinghy pretty fast when I saw those two! Fish, fish, fish!! To think when we set out Becky said fish wasn’t her favourite food, didn’t want to touch fish and wasn’t sure she could snorkel as she was afraid of big fish!!
We anchored off a little island on the lagoon and soon realized it was inhabited by a single man with his 3 dogs. DSC_5164We took the dinghy and went on shore with gifts. He was very appreciative and invited us to his home and wanted to chat for a while. His home was more the traditional Fijian Bure and everything was neat and very tidy. He had 2 large Trevally fish hanging on a tree and he was planning on throwing them in the Lovo to cook it. He had caught the fish from the shoreline using hook and bait. He has lived there for 30 years all by himself, never married and no children. Occasionally his brother would drop by and pick him up and bring him to the village to re-supply. I think he appreciated our company for a little while.

DSC_6995There were times when it got quite hot and Becky really wanted to just sit in a float in the water. So with Denny’s help they tied all the fenders together and she had her float. It was great until a large turtle popped his head up close to where she was and that gave her quite the start!

While Becky enjoyed sunning on the deck, beach or on her float Denny and I swam in our private little swimming hole . The little pool was well protected from any wind by the limestone cliffs. A little opening to the outside of the lagoon allowed the fish to swim in and out so there was always a variety of fish swimming with us. Stunning!Swimming hole

DSC_6888We shared a couple of dinners with Elisabeta and Carlos from S/V Barca Pulita. They were professional photographers and short film producers. They were there to do a short film about the slow evaporation of the traditional Fijian way of life. For Denny’s birthday they gave him a copy of their ‘Sailing Around the World’ book, with some stunning pictures which describes their 80 wonders of the world encountered during their 20 years of sailing. They had scribbled ‘Buon 55 Compleanno Dennis’ which we laughed at and told them that it was actually Denny’s 56th birthday (they had made an appearance at the birthday party and saw the banner). They wanted to make the correction on the book but Denny wanted it left as is!! He really did want to be 55 years old for another year!

On the back cover of Elisabeta and Carlos book they wrote “A sailing boat is a wonderful form of transport that allows the crew to reach far places shile sensing the slow and natural rhythm of sea and wind. One leaves, sails for days that become weeks until a new and unknown land finally breaks the horizon – offering the reward of meetings, discoveries, images and emotions never experienced before”. I think that pretty well describes our experience and we feel so lucky to be able to share that with the people that we love. But to us Landfall is not just a form of transport, it is our home. Fulaga was definitely a paradise of images, discoveries, meetings and emotions.DSC_6975