s/y Nine of Cups
New Zealand
January - May  2011
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We got off the Ashby's work dock on January 1, 2011 and anchored off the little town of Russell in Matawhi Bay. A good way to start the New
Year! We had originally thought to leave New Year's Eve, but it was a Friday and well, we don't start anything on a Friday. New Year's Day was
spent lazing around. It was a glorious day and we languished in the sunshine, relaxing, reading and generally enjoying each other and the day. Then,
back to work on Sunday with a long list of "to-do's" before we could depart for the South Island.  How could there possibly be more to do, you
ask? We've been working on the boat ever since we returned in September. Well, here's the list...see for yourself. Boat work is never, never done.
We're in countdown mode now, trying to get chores done so
we can leave with the next weather window. We'll update
whenever possible, but check our daily blog to see how
we're doing.   
  • Run new jacklines
  • Replace engine room light (just burned out)
  • Unpickle watermaker and confirm operation
  • Modify lazyjacks
  • Repair corroded leads on handheld GPS
  • Finish new fiddle lanyards
  • Recertify the ditch bag
  • Forward sink thru hull needs checking
  • Fix flag halyards (too long)
  • Caulk 2 portlights
  • Sand/varnish interior portlight trim
  • Review charts/guidebook requirements
  • Clean the prop / rudder / hull
  • Complete hatch cover painting
  • Speed impeller needs cleaning
  • Restow forepeak locker (fenders no longer fit)
Just before we leave:
  • Haul, clean & stow dink/engine
  • Fuel/water
  • Last minute provisions
  • Pay credit cards electronically
New Zealand 2009
New Zealand 2010
And we're off... Owhatanga Bay, Whangaroa - 35S01.36 / 173E45,08
January 9, 2011...chores were mostly done
and we finally got a clear shot at the fuel
dock which had been queued up for days.
A gray, overcast day with 25 kt S/SE
winds forecast...just right for a quick 40nm
trip north to Whangaroa.

Though it seems illogical, it's easier,
because of winds/currents to sail north up
the NZ North Island east coast and then
down the west coast to the South Island.
It's called "going over the top". This was
our route to the
South Island last year
and we intended to do the same this year.
Instead of spending time in Nelson and the
Marlborough Sounds as we did before,
we're hoping to continue down the west
coast to Fiordland for some exploration, go
around Southwest Cape to Stewart Island
and then work our way back up the east
coast. We'll see how it goes.
Ready to clean the prop
We anchored at Owhatanga Bay, #6 on the
chartlet of Whangaroa Harbour above and
stayed two days timing our approach to the
North Cape and winds that will carry us over the
top and down the west coast.
Owhatanga Bay is quite lovely. Despite the
winds on the "outside" and our whirling wind
generator blades, the bay is as calm as a mill
pond with lovely views of rolling hills, evergreen
stands and craggy cliffs.
Remember, though we can't always update the
website, we do update our position/blog post
A Coast Guard water buoy in the anchorage was
convenient to top off the water.
As is many times the case, though we're finally
ready, the weather is not. So what to do while we're
waiting for a weather window? Actually, there are
always plenty of chores to do. One "C" list item has
been to secure the fiddles which hold the books/gear
on the shelves. Sometimes during a rough passage,
they work their way out of place and all the books
(or flour or rice) escape. Click here for
directions for making a lanyard. Also visit our
Boat Projects/Diversions for more how-to
We left Whangaroa through its narrow entrance
pass and headed north...to go south.
Right: David toasts Neptune with a tot of rum.
We pulled into Houhoura Harbour and anchored
for the night by this little islet, Tokaroa Island,
close to the entrance so David could repair the
alternator. We had a spare which he
installed...repair was saved for another time.
One positive of stopping in Houhoura for the
repair is that we rounded NZ's northern capes
in the daylight. Above, North Cape.
Cape Reinga and Cape Maria van Diemen
Cape Reinga looks very different from
this perspective verus our land visit in
November 2010.
Tasman Sea sunset
Cyclone Vania heading towards NZ. In
actuality, two cyclones (or the remnants
thereof) hit at the same time. Vania was
accompanied by her friend, Zelia.
Read our Sail blog posts during these dates
(Jan 13-20, 2011) to see what the days
during passage were like and how we fared.

Take a trip with us to
 New Zealand's
Fiordland on the west coast of the South
Island. Come on...we promise you won't get
Interested in more about New Zealand? Visit
these pages in our website:
New Zealand Birds
New Zealand Flowers
NZ Cruisers' Info