s/y Nine of Cups
Return to New Zealand
September 2010 - December 2010
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We returned to New Zealand in
mid-September to find
Nine of Cups a bit
forlorn, but waiting patiently for us on her
mooring. We were glad to  be home. Folks
told us that she'd survived 100+  km/hr
winds and torrential downpours. She was
dry inside and there was barely a trace
mold or mildew. We were pleased to move
back aboard and brought her into a marina
berth for a well-deserved bath and some

A friend, Lily, took this photo of Cups from
her boat during one of the many winter
storms that Cups endured.
Since we've been back, we've been busy
(what a surprise!). David has redesigned and
installed a new fridge/freezer controller which
is working wonderfully. He's also designed a
digital chain counter for the windlass and
installed it which should help in the anchoring
department. (Those pesky markers and
painted chain always wear out or wear off).

Having left Cups abandoned for several
months, she needed much attention. We
asked NZ Customs for yet another 6 month
extension to get some boat work done and lo
and behold, it was granted...no grovelling
required. And so it begins. We're hoping to
have all complete by Christmas to take
advantage of NZ's wonderful summer season.
Big boat projects for 2010-2011
New Zealand 2009
New Zealand Flowers
New Zealand Birds
Unstepping the mast is a major
project... not unlike replacing the engine
last year!  
We had our decks redone five years ago in Ecuador.
Evidently, not a good job, as the deck was delaminating
again. An evaluation indicated that a good portion of the
foredeck and side decks will need significant repair
work. This might take awhile!
Midst all else, the brightwork will need
sanding and varnishing...perhaps even
stripping...and of course, there's the
inevitable bottom job to think of.  
Life beyond boat work (as if...)
Oh, yes, there is life beyond boat work.
You just have to keep looking for it. The
Opua and the Bay of Islands areas are
criss-crossed with tracks and trails for
walks. Flowers are constantly in bloom
and there are lots of birds to keep us
interested. When possible, we take
morning walks up the hill behind the Opua
harbor or along the coast before starting
our chores...that's
after our morning cuppa
and card game, of course.
Opua in the morning mist
View from the top of hill heading down to Opua
There always seems to be something in bloom.
Above, bartlettina . For more
 New Zealand
flowers, click here.
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The ferns are unfurling...above a huge tree
fern with unfurling fronds welcomes Spring.
Cape Reinga (Te Reinga or Te Rerenga Wairua) - 34.43S / 172.68E
Despite the growing list of boat chores and projects,
Marcie insists on celebrating her birthday and David
never denies her. This year's present was a weekend
trip to Cape Reinga at the very tip of New Zealand's
North Island.

It was a perfect day...sunny, bright and warm.
Located about 100 km north of the nearest small
town of Kaitaia, State Highway 1 extends all the way
up the Aupouri Peninsula  to the Cape. Until  this year
(2010), the road was unsealed gravel  for the last
19km. Timing's everything.
Cape Reinga Lighthouse
The name of the cape comes from the Māori word
'Reinga', meaning the underworld.  Another Māori
name is 'Te Rerenga Wairua', meaning the leaping-off
place of spirits. Both refer to the Māori belief that the
cape is the point where the spirits of the dead enter the
underworld. According to Maori mythology, the spirits
of the dead travel to Cape Reinga on their journey to
the afterlife to leap off the headland and climb the roots
of an 800-year-old pohutukawa tree and descend to
the underworld to return to their traditional homeland of
Hawaiiki-a-nui, using the Te Ara Wairua, the 'Spirits'
pathway'. At Cape Reinga they depart the mainland.
They turn briefly at the Three Kings Islands for one last
look back towards the land, then continue on their
The birthday girl poses in front of Reinga
Light. "Which birthday?", you ask.
39...again, and again, and again.
Actually, Cape Reinga is neither the most
northern nor the most western point of
New Zealand. The most western point is
Cape Maria van Diemen shown above.The
most northern is  Surville Cliffs about 30
km to the east and inaccessible by car.
Cape Reinga is generally considered the separation
marker between the Tasman Sea to the west and the
Pacific Ocean to the east. From the lighthouse it is
possible to watch the tidal race, as the two seas clash
to create unsettled waters just off the coast.
The lighthouse at Cape Reinga was built in 1941 and first lit during May of that year,
replacing a lighthouse located on nearby Motuopao Island, which had been built 1879. In
1987, the lighthouse was fully automated and the lighthouse keepers were withdrawn. The
previous 1000 watt light has since been replaced with a 50 watt flashing beacon.
The Aupouri Peninsula is rugged and
desolate with huge sand dunes. Along
its west coast is the Ninety Mile
Beach...it's not really 90 miles, but
the metric system just doesn't work in
this situation for marketing purposes.
Anyhow, it's a beautiful stretch of
white sand beach. Unfortunately, they
allow people to drive on it. In fact,
it's a big tourist attraction and even
buses drive it. Since we were
borrowing a car, we figured not a
good idea as several cars each year
A view of the 90 Mile Beach
Delicate pink panahi, a native creeper,
grows wild in the coastal areas. See more
New Zealand flowers by clicking here.
New Zealand Sacred Kingfisher - See
New Zealand birds.
Sand and dune surfing are a big
attraction here.
These guys "sledded" down the dunes instead
of "surfing". We were content to watch.
All too soon, it was time to come back to
reality and Opua and the boat and get
working on those projects. You can only milk
a birthday getaway for so long. A great
weekend though, a fine respite and a visit to a
place we hadn't explored before.
Soon after Marcie's birthday
came Thanksgiving in the US
which we, of course, celebrated
in New Zealand. We took out a small
mortgage to buy a turkey ($55 on sale for
8# turkey!). Marcie took a tape measure
to the grocery store to determine the
prospective turkey's dimensions to make
absolutely sure it would fit in our little oven.
(Curious stares from others shoppers
notwithstanding!).  It did fit and the results
were delicious. We had roast turkey,
stuffing and all the traditional T-Day fixin's
including cranberry sauce and cranberry
pudding for dessert.
No worries...the turkey fit, but man, am
I ever looking old!
John & Shawn of Active Transport joined us for a toast
and Thanksgiving Day dinner aboard Nine of Cups.
Marcie finally figured out the self-timer on her camera.
Happy Thanksgiving 2010
Roberton Island (Motuarohia)- 35.14S / 174.10E
As members of SSCA (Seven Seas
Cruising Association), we participated
in several activities with the nearly 40
other members here in Opua. The All
Points Rally finale and Opua Seafarer's
Week was two weeks of events, seminars
and get togethers culminating in the Cater
Trade Show Day where we helped to
man a table for SSCA. The Rally brought
cruisers to New Zealand from all parts of
the South Pacific to escape cyclone
season. Some have travelled home for the
holidays and other will cruise NZ for the
austral summer.
SSCA members in NZ
Photo by Marcie Connelly-Lynn
Marcie with Geoff (Grace) man the SSCA
booth as Kate (Tenaya) and Ted (Sequester)
look on.
One Sunday afternoon, we hitched a ride with
John & Lyn Martin aboard "Windflower" and
joined up with about 15 other boats at
Roberton Island .A joint SSCA/ICA potluck
picnic was held on the beach.
The day was absolutely gorgeous...warm with
light breezes and a bright blue, sunny sky
overhead. After eating our fill, we all climbed
the hill on a well-marked track to the overlook.
We were rewarded with an outstanding
view of the Bay of Islands and the South
Pacific Ocean.
Christmas Season...Kiwi style - December 2010
It's been difficult to get into the Christmas
spirit (Read our
blog of 18 December
) so we're trying to do some holiday
things that will help revive the enthusiasm
of holidays past. We don't exchange gifts
for the most part and gifts for family at
home are mostly in the form of cash. So
there's no shopping or wrapping in our
holiday preparation nor is there placing a
star at the top of the tree. Plus, of course,
it's summer here in this upside down
country. People go to the beach, have
BBQs and take their summer/school
vacations.  One fun thing we did was to
attend "Carols on the Lawn" across the
bay in Russell. It had been raining for days,
so the "lawn" venue became the Christ
We took the car ferry across the bay and
caught someone decorating the tree on top
of the ferry's pilot house.
Russell's Christ Church is the oldest church in New
Zealand (1847) and a perfect venue for Christmas
carols singing and capturing some Christmas spirit.
This was not your usual Christmas carol
event. Our accompaniment was a ukelele
group (how South Pacific)  strumming along
to slightly different versions of traditional
carols we had learned as children.
Belle a Capella entertained with some
non-traditional, but well-performed, holiday songs.
Local folks recited poems, told stories and got the
audience involved in some games.
As well as the traditional songs like "Hark the
Herald Angels" and "Deck the Halls", we were
introduced to some Kiwi songs all celebrating
the differences in summertime Christmas
versus the cold, snowy winters in the Northern
Hemisphere. "Not a Snowy Night" or "Te
Harinui" (translation: great joy) has become
New Zealand’s best-loved iconic Christmas
carol, and was first performed in New Zealand
by an Australian choir in 1959. The carol
commemorates the first New Zealand
Christmas in the Bay of Islands in 1814, and
the coming together of Maori and Pakeha
(that's us non-Maoris) at the holiday.
for NZ Christmas carols and folksongs.
Though we don't exchange Christmas gifts,
Marcie wanted to add to David's "fishing
hook" collection with carved pieces of bone,
paua and greenstone (nephrite jade)...all
symbolic of New Zealand.
Having replaced sheets and halyards,
David uses the old line to make ocean
plait rugs for Christmas gifts to other
cruisers. Marcie made aprons and
baked goodies to give as gifts as well.
No department store shopping for us.
Purchasing a turkey in NZ is an expensive
affair, but more importantly, we had to check in
advance if it would even fit into our little oven.
We visited the Kerikeri Farmer's Market for all
of our fresh produce. Above, Evi
(Wonderland) and David check out the locally
grown macadamia nuts.
Our Christmas feast was a festive affair. Ted &
Karen (Sequester) joined us along with Evi &
Robin (Wonderland).
Cleaning the stove...inside, outside and all
Caulking the cap rail
After Christmas found us in a flurry of activity,
frantically trying to get as many chores done as
possible to get away from the work dock by
year end. We opted to stay on the dock New
Year's Eve...it was a Friday and sailors'
superstition dictates that one never departs (or
starts anything major) on a Friday. We managed
to stay awake till midnight and celebrated a quiet
New Year's Eve on board...just the two of us
and a bottle of champagne. Happy New
Year!                         So what's next in 2011?
We will complete a circumnavigation of New
Zealand this year. Come along for the
ride...it's going to be quite an adventure.
Back over the top
Stewart Island
Dunedin & the Otago Peninsula
Chatham Islands
Back to Opua