6, 2010 – Auckland, New Zealand
last two days of our passage to Auckland went fairly well. Although not the best sail we’ve ever
had, nothing too bad. However, it was not uneventful as we encountered another tsunami alert.
The large, devastating earthquake in Chili had caused a tsunami warning clear over in NZ. We began
hearing warnings over our VHF radio at about 1:30 AM on the morning of our arrival. If you remember from
our previous blogs, the best place for a boat to be in a tsunami is in deep water on the ocean, so at least we were in the
right place. However, the warning was actually projecting for it to hit Auckland at 10:30 AM which was
close to when we were due to arrive. Although, we began to believe that the warning in Auckland was more
of a formality since they were not evacuating the population to higher ground, only evacuating the large ships out of the
harbor, we decided to stay out of the harbor area and sail around in the gulf for a couple more hours. There
was no significant effects of the tsunami in New Zealand but it was better to be safe than sorry.
While we were sailing around
we heard over the VHF radio, “Imagine, Imagine, Arielle, Arielle.” We were thrilled that our
friend Mike from Arielle was in the gulf as well staying safe from any possible tsunami, and sailed over to us to welcome
us to Auckland. If you’ve been reading the blog long, you already know we spent Christmas of 2008
in St. Martin with Mike & his crew, and we have been cruising with off and on with him since then. Mike
is back home in Auckland, living on Arielle, and working….back to the real world. We had a great
time catching up with Mike, going to a concert at the zoo, having dinner on Imagine, and eating one more Caroline birthday
cake as Mike’s birthday is in March. We were so glad to have this time to spend with Mike before
saying good-bye as we head off to Fiji. We will all miss Mike greatly but know that our paths will cross
We really enjoyed getting back into the city life of Auckland which is, by far, the largest city in NZ. At
one million people, it boasts one quarter of the total population of New Zealand and is a very clean and has all the offerings
of a metropolitan city. We especially liked the Sky Tower, which looks much like the Space Needle in Seattle,
and at 328 meters in taller than the Eiffel Tower. But the coolest thing about the Sky Tower is that people
actually pay to jump off of it. It’s somewhat like a controlled bungee jump. We
watched, of course, but did not participate – sailing the open oceans is thrilling enough for this crew.
Caroline wanted to do it but we all (especially Mom) decided that it could wait until she was a little, actually a
We decided to really get crazy
and take in the IMAX theatre here which was showing Avatar in 3D. We all loved it, especially Grant and
Noah, who have been making Lego Avatars back on Imagine. Since Auckland is known as “The City of
Sails”, there were many marinas and literally thousands of sailboats, including some cruisers. We
were able to catch up with some other cruiser friends while we were here and we are starting to feel like we are getting back
After leaving the bustle of
the city, we sailed over to quiet Waiheke Island to meet up with some other Kiwi friends, Steve and Paula from Long White
Cloud and Tahne and Thomas from Kenna. We had a great time exploring the island and having a potluck dinner
on Imagine. It was fun to catch up with all of them and hear about their plans as they also assimilate
back into the real world. Steve and Paula have actually come home after an 8 year circumnavigation.
Wow! And we have to point out that Marc and I agree that Long White Cloud, their
boat, is the most beautiful boat that we have seen since we’ve been out cruising, other than Imagine, of course
(we can’t upset our baby).
We really enjoyed Auckland and the surrounding islands. In fact, we wished that we had more time
to explore the islands but we are to the point in our stay in NZ where we need to get to Whangarei, haul Imagine out of the
water, paint the bottom, and finish some last minute repairs before heading off to Fiji. So on to Whangarei….
28, 2010 - Town Basin Marina, Whangarei, New Zealand
We have spent the last three weeks in the boating community of Whangarei. Although we have been
told that Whangarei has much natural beauty to offer, the crew of Imagine was on a mission and it wasn’t sightseeing.
We were here to give Imagine a quick makeover (clean and paint the bottom), perform some other final boat repairs and
projects, provision for the passage and our time in the islands, and most importantly catch up with many cruiser friends including
our buddies on Monkey Feet and Cat Mousses.
Well this was definitely the place to catch up with our cruiser friends and especially cruiser kids.
The town basin marina, adjacent to a large city park and sport field, is a hub of cruising life in NZ and there were
kids everywhere who live on boats. At one point, we counted 28 kids living on their boats in the marina.
So the kids were in absolute kid heaven. As soon as school was finished they were out playing at the park, playing soccer or Frisbee, riding bikes, or hanging out playing Wii and legos on friends’ boats. Caroline became a pro at Ultimate Frisbee, Grant had a blast playing soccer,
and Noah just had fun playing with friends at the playground. It was great incentive to finish school quickly
each day and was a fun way to get back into the cruising lifestyle. Marc and Jane also had fun socializing
again and there were many nights of catching up on gossip with friends and cocktails on Imagine.
Since Whangarei is primarily known for its boating facilities
and it is the last large port we will be in for a few months, it was definitely the time to finalize any boat projects and
purchases that we will need. While Jane and the kids did school everyday, Marc was off to the boat shops.
He accomplished much during our short stay…..the Volvo was serviced, the bimini was repaired, the haulout was
set up, the paint supplies were purchased, many, many parts were purchased, but maybe most exciting for the family was that
the dinghy was FINALLY repaired. Now our dinghy, or “the deflatable” as we affectionately have
nicknamed it, had been giving us fits since we bought Imagine. In fact, we first had it repaired in Seattle
before we even brought Imagine to Chicago. Ask any of our cruising friends and they know that Marc has spent many hours, patching,
gluing, and cleaning it. It actually looked so bad that we often joked that it was suppose to look like
this as a deterrent against dinghy left, which was common in the Caribbean. With a missing rubrail, glue
exposed everywhere, and at least one deflated hull, we were starting to worry that we may need to buy a new one which is not
cheap (4-5K). As soon as we arrived in Whangarei we heard about a man, who guaranteed that he could fix
any dinghy. Now he hadn’t seen ours yet but we were going to give it a try. Although,
even he had a difficult time (which made Marc feel better), at the end of our three weeks here we have our dink back and it
looks better than the day we got her. Now we’ll see if it lasts – keep your fingers crossed!
Next step was to
give Imagine her makeover. The last time that we painted the bottom of Imagine was in Chicago.
Although, we had routinely scrubbed her bottom in the Pacific, she was pretty desperate for a good scrape and a new
coat of anti-foul. We had decided to wait until we were ready to leave NZ, so she would be fast and fresh
for the trip up to Fiji and last until Thailand for her next haulout. Since we could not find the paint
that we used previously on her, Marc spent much time researching a replacement and decided on International Ultra. The kids
and Jane got the all important job of picking the color and we decided that Imagine would look nice this year with a blue
bottom instead of black.
Whangarei is such a large boating area there were four haulout yards to choose from and for a variety of reasons we chose
Dockland 5. We were glad that we did, very good equipment and facilities, and nice people – standard
for NZ. Now we are somewhat known in our cruising network for doing things quickly, in fact, earlier in
our cruise we were nicknamed the “fast Americans”. So when we told everyone, including our
friends, marina and yard, that we planned to be done and back in the water in four days….they all said, “Yeah,
right we’ll see you in a week or so.” They obviously didn’t know my husband well.
He already had everything planned out and purchased, in fact, the rollers and paint supplies were laid out by our bed
for the week before we were hauled out. They also didn’t know that we had a crew of five working
on the boat, because the Adams’ kids are not observers, they are workers and they helped a lot. So
on Tuesday, they pulled Imagine out of the water. We paid extra to have her water blasted to remove the
nice “shag carpet” of barnacles that had grown on her bottom. By Tuesday night, we had all
worked hard to have her sanded clean, wiped down, and taped for painting. Wednesday we started early (of
course) and got the primer coat on and were able to get 2 coats of paint on throughout the day. We also
changed the zincs and the thru hull fitting for the engine. We wrapped up the day at sundown and after
50 cent showers had no trouble getting to sleep that night!
Thursday we were able to apply our final coats of paint, and gave our prop a spa treatment with a good cleaning and
application of a coating called “Prop Speed”. We hadn’t heard of it before NZ, but it’s
all the rage here, so we splurged. Now Imagine is go fast and ready and we re-launched first thing on Friday
morning! (yes, on schedule and looking good!) We surprised many back on the docks when
we showed up before noon!
spent the last few days in Whangarei, provisioning for the trip and time in the islands since this will be our last big, convenient
grocery store for awhile, hanging out with friends, and making sure Imagine was ready to go. We even got
to do a little sightseeing in the area thanks to our friends, Robin and Rande, who are Americans living in NZ.
We met Robin’s son, Jeremy when we did the Carib 1500, and she and Rande have been so helpful to us during our
stay in NZ. So we are finally ready to leave Whangarei, at least we think that we are. From
here, we will go up to the Bay of Islands which is the beautiful group of islands on the north shore where we checked in.
We plan to cruise around the islands for a couple of weeks, wait for good weather, and then off to Fiji -Back to the
warmth of the tropics.
we are excited to get back to the tropics, as we leave Whangarei we had to say good bye to our great buddies, Giselle, Kasey,
Blake, Radik, and Talon on Monkey Feet. We first met, the Feets, about a year ago in the Galapagos when
the three boys saw the kids’ lifejackets hanging on the deck and dinghied over to say “Hi”.
It was a match made in boat heaven as the kids spent hours playing together and the adults enjoyed great conversation
and cocktails. They made the decision to stay an extra year in New Zealand and we will miss them greatly as we sail on to
Fiji and beyond…..beach BBQ’s and potlucks will never be the same.