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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New Zealand: Yays & Nays of Cruising

Picturesque Russell, New Zealand as seen from
the overlook near the sundial.
"Isn't it about time you wrote a post on New Zealand?" Wayne asked.
"But I still have such great material from Tonga, Minerva and even French Polynesia!  Besides, I haven't decided what to write about yet," I countered as we huddled in sweats, our hands clasped around steaming cups of coffee.

Other than the cold New Zealand is great. 






Spring flower arrangement at Pompellier, Russell, New Zealand.


Our boat's set for the tropics -- no heater -- not a Pacific Northwest-like spring.  Most mornings the boat's in the low 60s, sometimes colder -- our second morning here was a chilly 53 degrees.  Cold weather is what inspired us to leave Everett.  When it's warm, I'm bounding up at pre-dawn, itching to watch the sun rise.  Here, mister-not-a-morning-person-Wayne-but-cold-heartier-than-me is far more likely to leave the warm embrace of our toasty blanket pile first.

Like the Pacific Northwest New Zealand's beautiful, currently arrayed in its Southern hemisphere springtime glory.  
Honeysuckle seems to be everywhere in Northland New Zealand,
gracing the air with its heady fragrance.

Honeysuckle sweetened air.  A riot of color from bright spring blossoms -- pink penstemon, indigo morning glories, flaming red and orange canna lilies, orange yellow-eyed nasturtiums, blue-violet monkshood, magnificent purple-blossomed jacaranda trees (to name a few).  More shades of green than you could shake a stick at.  

Better still.... (More New Zealand Yays!)

  1. Everything's so clean.  
  2. English is the PRIMARY language. (Although our Patty and Steve of Armagh were puzzled when they were asked if they had "pits" aboard.  "You mean like peach pits?  No..."  "No, 'pits', cats, dogs..." "Oh, you mean PETS! No.")
  3. We complain when we can't do wifi downloads sometimes -- heck -- we have wifi!  Most of the time!
  4. For $2 I can take a glorious hot shower at the marina with so much water pressure 2 minutes is more than enough to wash my hair.  (We have hot showers on the boat, but fuss about filling our bilge and draining our water tanks despite kinda wimpy water pressure for my thick mop of hair).
  5. Opua, like much of New Zealand caters to yachts.  Service is prompt, friendly and professional.
  6. Laundromats where we can wash our own clothes. Besides our brief stint in American Samoa, that's a luxury we've gone a year without, just hand washing or paid laundry service.
  7. Excellent quality gluten-free bread, crackers and even pizza crusts - better than in the US is readily available in most grocery stores.

Excellent gluten-free pizza base -- not too hard to find
in New Zealand grocery stores.
Yet all is not totally perfect in the land of milk (dairy is a major New Zealand export and honey is a big deal here as well)

  1. Mass transit is pretty much non-existent here (though viable in big cities we've yet to explore like Auckland) and drivers on main road are fast, and not cyclist-friendly or walker aware.
  2. You don't find out until you get a mobile phone voicemail message that it's an extra $20 NZ add-on service.
  3. Ummm and did I mention after the tropics, it's kinda cold?

Close of of flowers on majestic jacaranda trees.
They bloom profusely.
Notice my list of Nay gripes are short and well, kinda petty for the most part.  Did I mention it's cold?  Not quite fair -- as a California native who spent the last couple years bouncing between Florida and the tropics, I'm kind of a cold-weather wimp. Admittedly, anything less than 78 degrees (no wind chill) is borderline cool to me.








Native Australian kangaroo paw  flowers their intense red-orange blossoms
contrasting sharply with their lime-green centers..
Thanks Heather Devilliers for the flower identification).


Location Location
We are currently in New Zealand's North Island area, anchored off Paihia (S35.16.814 E174.05.934).  However I do still have some really cool stuff recent retrospective blog post photos and stories to share from Tonga, Minerva Reef and Fakarava... as well as New Zealand.  Hope you don't mind....

Cruising By the Numbers
Since we left Jacksonville Florida in December, 2014 -- less than a year ago -- we've sailed over 10,000 miles!