UA-31290512-1

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Not Quite-Fiji-Bound NZ Anniversary


Estuary creek, just outside Marsden Cove,
New Zealand.  Note the striped towers of
Marsden Point port and refinery in
the distance.  Our walk turnaround point.
"Happy 11th Anniversary, Wayne!"; this morning's Marsden Cove Marina toast, aboard the good ship Journey.

Last year this time we hiked up to a hilltop resort restaurant Hiva Oa in the French Marquesas for a special sunset anniversary dinner; our 10th since we became “an item.”  The lookout was beautiful.  The swimming pool, lovely.  The screaming children were not.  We opted instead for a toast, a hitched ride back down in the ensuing darkness and eating a splendid albeit far more casual meal from the Hiva Oa food truck.  They do at least serve on regular, not paper plates.









Pampas grass along Marsden Point’s estuary, as ethereal
approaching sunset as beargrass in the Pacific Northwest.


This year, we find ourselves betwixt and between weather windows from New Zealand to Fiji for the next and final cruising season on Journey.  We’re in a sweet little marina, Marsden Cove, even if decidedly in the middle of nowhere.  Unless, maybe you’re into ½ million dollar patches of grass for sale, some with waterside or Whangarei Heads on the horizon views.

Three days ago we arrived here, about 12 miles from Whangarei and 1/100th of our passage to fill up on fuel and water, pump out (don’t ask if you don’t know – trust me) and check out.  But once we checked the weather, we decided going sooner wasn’t worth several days of getting beat up in 25-knot winds and 12-foot waves to get to Fiji.  For $18 NZ (about $12 USD)/night for a slip, we decided after all our getting-ready-to-go frenzy, including selling our car the afternoon before we left, it was worth it to relax for a bit.

Actual flames, from the Marsden Point
refinery torched the sky.  I will miss
New Zealand’s dramatically spiked
cabbage palms, visible in the foreground.
There are walking paths in the area….  We took them past the mangrove-lined estuary, toward the flaming torch of the local Marsden Point refinery to its industrial port at sunset. The air exuded a tinge of bovine presence, along with the more pleasing scent of freshly mown grass and almost minty odor decaying leaves.

As the sun approached the horizon off Marsden Point, New Zealand,
we knew needed to hustle to get back before dark.

















This morning we celebrated our anniversary with mimosas and Italian-style potato stir fry, loaded with sopresso salami, bell pepper, onion, garlic, capers, feta cheese and herbes du Provence.  Tonight we’ll take a peek at the elegant port restaurant and probably instead serve up the lamb chops originally intended for passage stew.  It still beats the heck out of getting pounded out at sea on what looks like a nasty passage right now.

Native New Zealand flax and power lines silhouetted against
the sunset near Marsden Cove.  Even the most industrial settings
evoke a beauty of their own, if you’re looking for it.
Indeed, unless the weather forecast changes, we’ll be chillin’ (it is autumn in New Zealand, and a relatively warm one for here if not for our tropics-thinned blood) until perhaps May 10th before the next decent weather window opens to sail the nearly 1170+ miles to Savusavu, Fiji.  We expect that trip, our second longest passage, in our slow boat will take us nearly two weeks.

Certainly, while there are more traditionally romantic ways to celebrate an anniversary, spending time relaxing with my love awaiting our departure to Fiji via our very own sailboat ain’t half bad.


Cheers!  May you find the best possible way to make the most of your celebrations, wherever you are!

Journey, our Pearson 365 sailboat at Marsden Cove, all
loaded up and ready to go for her 4th and final year
of cruising with us.
Location Location
We're still in Marsden Cove (S35.50.235 E174.28.156), New Zealand, waiting for a better weather window to our first major stop - Fiji.  Tomorrow, we're headed to Tutukaka, New Zealand. Once we clear New Zealand customs (probably May 10th, from Opua, Bay of Islands - where we first arrived in New Zealand in November) and set sail, it will take us nearly two weeks to get to Fiji,  at 1170 nm, our 2nd longest ever passage.   

Sailing by the Numbers
Last year, between December 2014 and November 2015 we sailed from Florida USA to New Zealand, over 10,000 miles.  This year, from Fiji, we’ll go to Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Australia.  After we arrive in Australia in around November, completing another 4,500 or so miles this cruising season, we plan to sell our boat.  Then, it's back to work, somewhere.