Two months without a post may suggest we are not using Loopy Kiwi that much. In fact the opposite is true. In the 144 days since the beginning of October, I have been on the boat for 85 of them. Since New years day, we have travelled 590NM in her and put a further 84 hours on the engines, which is more than we did on the delivery voyage from Florida to Savannah. The lack of postings is probably more due to a feeling I have that maybe not too many folk are interested in the blog since the demise of our Loop adventure, but I stand to be corrected on that. Feel free to leave a comment.
We originally intended to cruise the Hauraki Gulf before Christmas and hang around until after the New Year, before heading North to the Bay of Islands. Many of our boating friends had left before then to cruise the Gulf, and it was our intention to join them, but a series of circumstances, and some pretty ordinary weather, prevented that from happening. Instead, we waited until after New Year and went out for a few days on Auckland's Minuscule Loop, returned to our Marina to provision, then headed North. Over the ensuing 5 weeks, we spent a lot of time in the Bay of Islands with our friends Charlie and Pauline and a few days with Auntie Lyn, went as far North as Whangaroa and "harbour-hopped" our way South to arrive back in Auckland last weekend. Rather than make this posting a "what we done on our holidays" saga, I will put details of individual points of interest in further postings over the next wee while, so it doesn't get too long winded or boring - because we did do some neat stuff and had some interesting experiences. And this is despite the fact that the weather was pretty appalling at times, being one of the windiest summers that I can recall in all my years of boating. However, it all went to prove that the Silverton 453 is a pretty seaworthy boat, and we learned a lot about Loopy Kiwi's performance and economy during the trip. We now know that our anchor will hold in winds gusting over 65 knots. and that the new method of "snubbing" the anchor chain (devised as a result of the old system failing) will remain secure in almost any conditions. We know now how long we have to run the genset each day if we want to stay at sea indefinitely, and most importantly, what our fuel consumption is at normal cruising speed. We also know that Woody is becoming a real sea dog and was rarely scared even in the worst sea conditions (although there is a tale coming up of "Woody and the Dolphins" that struck him with terror). Since many of the islands around New Zealand are now wildlife sanctuaries, we are pleased that we trained him to do his business aboard, and in fact he has settled on a part of the foredeck we have come to call the "poop deck", and he rarely goes ashore other than for recreational purposes.
I made up a map of our route, but for some reason Blogger doesn't want to load pix today, so I will leave that till the next post.