Slow progress

Tuesday Feb. 28, 2017 Posting by Dennis: 37 50.655S 171 07.574E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:37%2050.655S%20171%2007.574E Hi to all, We are doing well just not going anywhere fast. We are averaging about a hundred miles per day, so pretty slow but all that is expected for 5 to 10 knot winds. Right now we have the spinnaker up and just drifting along at 2-3 knots. We have 430 miles to go, so it will be about four more days until we arrive at Milford sound. Rounding Cape Reinga was the hardest part so far. We had no wind and a good 2-3 meter swell and then a 2 plus knot currant against us so it was slow going. We had two visitors, small birds with webbed feet, that flew right into the salon in the middle of the night. Probably attracted to the light. This happened during Barb’s watch although she woke me for the first bird encounter. Yesterday we had tuna steaks on the grill that were great. As we still have Tuna in the freezer we have not been fishing. Other than that we have been reading and watching the miles go by. Later Dennis & Barb S/V Landfall

NZ – North of the North Island

SV Nyon in Te Pahi

SV Nyon in Te Pahi

Our freezer has been fixed. Northfreeze may have been expensive but the repair man knew what he was doing. After a couple of attempts to use a vacuum pump to suction out the moisture and any oil out of the freezer system the freezer worked better than ever. The first vacuum pump nearly caught the cockpit on fire but luckily we were on board to see the smoke and unplug the machine. We spent a fine evening by the Te Pahi Islands with Rick and Kyra on Nyon (we met them in the Marquesa). It was a nice anchorage with just our two boats there.  Click here for Google Map Link

We left Bay of Islands and motored to Whangaroa. Out first anchorage was in Rere Bay nestled among rock outcrops and cliffs. It gave us a sense of what the Fordland’s may look like. Click here for Google Maps link. The bays are narrow and it’s hard to imagine what this place would be like during ‘crazy busy’ cruising season. We could see the famous Duke’s Nose and planned to do the hike up the peak but Denny walked on something sharp and got a cut on the bottom of his foot while climbing to knob which overlooked our boat anchorage. We did take pictures and capture the spectacular scenery. DSC_7219-1

DSC_7201-1 DSC_7199-1

DSC_9984We spent an entertaining evening with a beautiful couple and their 4 young boys. Six of them on a 34 ft boat and you would think it would be chaos but not with those boys. They were funny, talkative, interesting, considerate and just all around great kids. We gave them a tour of our boats and talked a lot about how to prepare for offshore sailing which they would like to do in the near future. Maybe someday we will see them somewhere in the high seas!

Collecting wild Oysters

Collecting wild Oysters

We checked out the Whangaroa Harbour town, fueled up and disposed of garbage. There wasn’t much else here so we pulled up anchor and moved to Touwai Bay, a little bay near the Oyster farm. Click here for Google Map link . For the most part we were by ourselves except for the  late night arrival  early morning departure power boats and the many seagulls

waiting for a snack

waiting for a snack

that liked to hang around for the hope of some scraps. Denny of course checked out the Oyster farm and learned a few interesting facts and came back with 2 large oysters for sampling. They are harvested in June so the samples we were given were supposedly undersized. Denny shucked them ‘for his woman’ and it was the freshest, biggest oysters I ever had. Superb!!

 

 

I don't know

I don’t know

enjoying the moment

enjoying the moment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some facts that Denny learned about Oyster farming:

Oysters are grown in sacks attached to 2X4’s. Wild Oysters attach themselves to the posts as well because they tend to congregate and these are hacked off and also placed in bags for future but are worth less because of imperfections. Profit margin is very small and it’s hard work.

DSC_7260While Denny was Oyster farm information gathering, I finally managed to get my Kayak into NZ waters and explored the East side of Whangaroa Harbour.

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Our last stop North of the North island was Mangonui Harbour. Click here for Google Map link . On the way we caught a Kingfish and it took Denny 45 minutes to bring it to the side of the boat and then he got away. But we were sure that he was smaller than the legal 75cm legal catch. About an hour later we did catch a Skipjack Tuna which Denny easily brought it on board, cleaned it and cut it into nice Tuna steaks. Despite our fresh fish on board we still went out to dinner at the ‘world famous’ Mangonui Fish Shop. It was probably the best fish and chips we had in NZ and plenty of it as well. We sat next to a German couple who were touring NZ. Their goal in life is to complete all 6 world class Marathon races. So far they have completed 3 which included New York, Chicago and Berlin. It’s the Toyko marathon they are really looking forward to. Denny makes it a point to meet people and learn about their passions.

Today is Saturday, February 25th and we would like to wish our beautiful Allison a very Happy Birthday. Besides celebrating that very special occasion we are also starting our trek to the South Island. We will be leaving at 5pm so that we can round Cape Reinga in daylight. The weather window is not ideal for a sailboat and quite a bit of motoring is expected but we are anxious to get to the South Island. Hopefully we will be able to post our progress using our SSB. Denny replaced the cable while in Marsden Cove and it yet has to be tested. Other than SSB and a satellite phone we will be off the grid for probably a couple of months.

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!!