16 May 2014

Road Trip!

Even though we were in a car, we couldn't resist stopping at the Whangamata Wharf in Coromandel to check it out. Perhaps it was boat withdrawal.

After we sold Rainbow's End, we decided to go for a little road trip and revisit some of our favorite places in the North Island of New Zealand before Scott had to head back to Scotland for work. I learned three important things on this road trip:

1.  Cars are expensive

Over the course of 16 weeks we spent NZ$261 on diesel and petrol for our boat and dinghy. In the week we had the rental car we spent NZ$251 on petrol. If you do the math, that comes out to NZ$35 a day for the car vs. NZ$2.30 a day for the boat to fill it up with fossil fuel. Granted, we put a lot of kilometers on the car, but still it was shocking to see how much it cost us to contribute to global warming. And then of course we had to pay to rent the car. And because you can't sleep in a car, you have to pay for lodging. Well, I guess you could sleep in your car, but after sleeping in a 26' sailboat for several months, it really wasn't going to happen. Which brings us to key learning number 2...

2.  Beds are awesome

While our boat had an amazing amount of storage space for a 26' critter, it was way too small for 6' tall Scott and me to both sleep comfortably in the v-berth. That meant that Scott slept on the very narrow settee and I slept in the v-berth. You might be thinking I got the better end of the bargain, but half of the v-berth was taken up with laundry, food and other miscellaneous items. I guess I did have things a bit better as when the boat got all roly-poly, I wasn't in danger of falling off of the v-berth. Scott, on the other hand, had to work to stay in his settee on some nights. So you can imagine what a joy it was to be able to sleep in the same double bed at night. A bed with a proper mattress and sheets. Heaven.

3.  The weather can still be a real pain

After the drought we've been experiencing, we should be glad for all the rain. Except of course, when you're trying to do touristy things. They were forecasting torrential cats and dogs in the southern part of the North Island, so we had to change our plans and rather than go down to Mount Taranaki, we headed up north to Coromandel. Just like on a boat, the weather runs your life. But unlike on a boat, you can move a lot faster in a car to outrun it.

Our road trip was good fun and was a great way to say goodbye to New Zealand - for now that is!

We saw more dolphins from the side of the road off of the coast of Coromandel then we saw from our boat all summer.

One of the fun signs we saw on our way back from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

We got to see places, like Colville, which we didn't get a chance to get to on our boat.
And we got to see things you don't normally see on a boat - like this wild pig head at the Coroglen Tavern. Seems like something The Bloggess would like.
When you live on a boat with limited internet access and no television, you kind of lose track with what is going on. When we were in Cambridge, I was impressed with how into the whole British thing they were. Red, white and blue bunting and Union Jack flags everywhere. Then when I saw all these pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge everywhere, I put two and two together and realized they were getting ready for the royal visit.

We stayed in a place with a double bed, a shower and a fridge while we were at the Hahei Holiday Park. It was almost too much luxury to handle after living on our boat.
And of course, the perfect end to any road trip - sunset on a beach.

Yes, we even use nautical charts on land! Sourced from LINZ. Crown Copyright reserved.
Roadtrip 7-11, April 2014


  1. Lovely to have some road trip time, even if it's a bit more expensive in the fossil fuel department. I so hope we get to see New Zealand some day. Have to say that accommodations below were a big part of why we chose our recent boat. After 5 years sailing our Cal 34, whose accommodations were limited and more like camping than living, I couldn't be satisfied with less than comfort. Here's hoping you'll find that next boat quickly, and that it has a nice queen size berth for you!

    1. Comfort is definitely high on the priority list for our next boat!

  2. Hey there!! It's me Iris the Frenchie who writes her blog both in english and french haha :)
    I'd LOOOVE to know more, are you fluent in French? Which languages do you speak?
    Feel free to send me an emails : thecoloredmarriedlife@gmail.com
    en tout cas merci pour ton commentaire, bonne journée :)

    1. Salut Iris! Fluent - pas du tout! Pour mes etudes, il etait obligatoire de lire francaise parce que beaucoup des articles et livres ont ete ecris en francais. Mais, il y a longtemps. So, your blog is a perfect opportunity for me to practice because you have those handy English translations! Cheers - Ellen

  3. Nice little trip around the north island, and some great photos. Sixteen weeks in a bed too small is really long. Glad you had a good week.

    1. It really was way too uncomfortable for the long term - especially for Scott. Better bed is in the top 10 requirements for the next boat!

  4. I hear ya on all the above, luxuries etc..... but hey! You had "food and other miscellaneous items" in the v-berth. It couldn't have been that bad?!
    When are you guys hitting the states and where? Any particular boat you're looking for?

    1. Yeah - probably not all that fun sleeping next to cans of tomatoes! It will be different on the next boat - fingers crossed! We'll be heading over to the States in a few months - Scott is working in Scotland just now and I'm doing a bit of work in NZ. We have a big wish list for the next boat so looking to fatten up the cruising kitty while we can. We have no idea where we'll buy our next boat - in the Northwest, the Great Lakes or the East Coast - not sure. And no idea what kind of boat to get - it is really overwhelming to think about the choices. We don't have a huge budget though so that will help limit our choices.

  5. You are getting soft... real beds that are not moist with condensation and you can fit into, a vehicle that travels at more than 5mph and you don't have to get out of your seat to make it go faster. I bet that when you went sight seeing you didn't give a second thought to the handbrake dragging and the car being in the same place when you got back. Time to get back to reality like the rest of us sailing out here.

    1. So true, so true! I'm even getting used to sheets that fit my normally sized and rectangular mattress. :-)

  6. Ellen,
    Love the blog and the funny, sarcastic writing style. Good luck with the boat search....hope you guys find one on the East Coast so my wife and I can meet up with you all on the Chesapeake, or the Bahamas, or the Caribbean. Again, great blog!

    Greg & Dahleen
    SV Knot Tide Down

    1. Thank you so much for that really nice feedback! I'm not sure if my writing style or sense of humor appeals to all - but good to know there are a few folks out there who enjoy it. It seems likely that we'll buy our next boat out on the East Coast so we'll have to meet up once we get out there! Cheers - Ellen


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