28 October 2016

Flashback Friday | Ex-Cyclones In New Zealand

Today is the Flashback Friday blog hop hosted by Jemima Pett. The idea is to republish an old post of yours that maybe didn't get enough attention, or that you're really proud of, or you think is still relevant etc. We started this blog almost three years ago and have many more followers now then we did back then (thanks all of you!). There may be some of our earlier blog posts that some of you haven't seen before which might be of interest.

I was reminded of this post after prepping for Hurricane Matthew a couple of weeks ago. When we lived and cruised on our old sailboat in New Zealand, we encountered some nasty weather as a result of ex-cyclones (or post-tropical cyclones). New Zealand is considered a safe place to be during cyclone season in the Pacific Ocean, but it can still experience hurricane or tropical force strength winds from systems passing through. 

I found re-reading this post to be interesting on a number of levels. It reminded me of all of the things I miss about living in New Zealand (like the sailing, good friends and Sal's Pizza). I was also struck by the daily log format I used to use more frequently in the blog where I'd recount what we got up to each day. To be honest, I'm not sure how well that format worked in retrospect. I'd be curious to know what you think.

{This post was originally published in April 2014. You can find it here.}


Red sky in the morning at Westhaven Marina. Cyclone Lusi is on her way.

I have to say that I never really paid much attention to cyclones until this summer. Back in my working days, I knew they happened and I knew they brought bad weather to New Zealand and could really muck up your weekend plans. But until we started cruising full-time this summer, I didn't really appreciate how much cyclones suck. And it isn't just the high winds, the crashing waves and the lack of sleep that they cause. It is the fact that they can mess with your social life and your cruising plans that really gets me.

We had been having a great time up in Northland but knew we needed to get back Auckland in time for the Classic Yacht Regatta that Scott was racing in on the weekend. He was really looking forward to the racing, the rum and catching up with everyone. Poor thing. It got canceled due to Cyclone Lusi. And of course, we got into Auckland before we found out it was canceled. If only we had a magical weather prediction machine - we could have stayed up north. (And we could make a lot of money selling everyone accurate weather forecasts.) Instead, we spent a week in Auckland. And while we really like Auckland, the whole point of this summer was to be out cruising and explore new parts of New Zealand. So disappointing. Damn you wind, damn you.

If you want to learn more about what two people do when a cyclone gets in their way, read on.

This is what Scott wanted to be doing before Cyclone Lusi had her way - seeing the classic yachts racing out in the Hauraki Gulf. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

We left Kawau Island around 9:30 am after resting up from our night passage from Whangaroa. A pleasant sail with an unsuccessful fishing stop in the Motihue Channel. Anchor down in good old Islington Bay around 6:00 pm and the usual spaghetti dinner that we've come to know and love so much this summer. I really need some new recipes.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

We got into Westhaven Marina around lunchtime and booked in for a week. You get a discount if you stay for a week, so we figured it was worth it to get to Auckland a couple of days before the big regatta to enjoy showers, internet connection, the ability to charge our computers and easy access to the grocery store. Later that evening, once we were all settled in, they canceled the regatta due to Cyclone Lusi. Scott was so disappointed. And all we could think of was that if only we had known this would happen, we could have stayed up in Northland, done some more exploring up there and found a new place to hide out from ex-cyclones, rather than our usual Westhaven Marina experience.

We decided to salvage what was left of the day by going to see All Is Lost with some free movie vouchers we had. Scott had been wanting to see this movie for ages. I've never quite figured out how film releases work in New Zealand. Any movie that I don't want to see usually ends up being released only a few weeks after it comes out in the States. But if there is a movie you do want to see, chances are it won't be released here or it will be released months and months after it has come out on DVD and/or has finished screening in the rest of the world.

We managed to see All Is Lost on the last day it was screening here (months and months after it was first released in the States). And, boy what a waste of time that was. For the second time that day, Scott was majorly disappointed. There is nothing worse then waiting to see a movie only to wish you hadn't. Oh well, at least it was free.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014 

We pretty much did nothing other than hang about in Auckland and eat pizza. Scott wanted to go for a sail before Lusi hit, but to be honest, I was just too darn lazy. 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Scott told me that it was time for me to stop being a slug as there would be plenty of slug-like days ahead with Lusi coming. So we went out for a sail in the Waitemata Harbour and did some sail training. I got to practice helming while we gybed and tacked, tried to get the boat to obey while going astern, anchored under sail and sailed off the anchor. When we got back to the marina, Scott went out for the Thursday night rum races where he got to sail with people who actually know how to do the stuff that I was practicing earlier in the day. While he was racing, I reverted back to my slug-like state and read. I should have been reading a book about how to sail, but I read a novel instead.

Friday & Saturday, 14-15 March 2014

Boring, boring, boring. Hanging around the boat, listening to the wind howl, not being able to sleep and knowing that you're stuck someplace you don't want to be is boring. That is about all I can say about these couple of days. Well, we did have french toast at the Sitting Duck Cafe in Westhaven one morning. That broke the monotony. Talking about the grilled bananas, the creme fraiche and the rhubarb compote they use killed a couple of hours. It was delicious.

Scott has reminded me that we did have some drama during this period. I had managed to completely block it out of my mind, probably because I might have been responsible. As you can imagine, it was raining cats and dogs. I stupidly went to the computer room with the computer in my backpack. When I got there it did weird things. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it got totally soaked on the way to the computer room? We have this nifty dry bag backpack that you can put stuff in to keep it dry. Why didn't I use it? Who knows. I must have been just too excited to be able to have internet access.

It was a bit a of a fiasco but eventually it started working again after drying out and some sort of magical restore process Scott did. I was impressed, especially as his usual approach to dealing with computer issues is to press on the keys super hard so that the machine really feels your anger and frustration and decides to comply with your wishes. Because that always works. The good news is that, in this case, the computer actually started working again. I've decided to block this back out of my memory. There were some dark hours I would like to forget. Let's not talk about this again.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

This was a great day - I got to spend a few hours at a friend's house pretending I lived on land! She picked me up in her car (not her dinghy), drove me to the supermarket where I didn't have to worry about how I would carry everything back to the boat in my backpack, let me use her washing machine without asking for coins and we ate real food that didn't resemble anything like the pasta dishes I keep making on the boat. Fantastic! I have no idea what Scott did but I'm pretty sure my day was better.

Monday, 17 March 2014

We had to see a guy about a thing so we stuck around Auckland and did some errands. And then we went on a short sail in the afternoon, followed by pizza at our favorite place, Sal's. They import the cheese from Wisconsin. If you haven't been before, there is a reason to go - Wisconsin cheese. And then we re-provisioned at the grocery store to get ready for our great escape the next day. More on the thing with the guy later. 


Total nautical miles = 50
Number of free loads of laundry = 1
Number of times we ate Sal's pizza = 2
Number of sleepless night thanks to Lusi = 2

Where's the best pizza you've ever eaten? Do you think Wisconsin has the best cheese? Did you see "All Is Lost" - what did you think about it?

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  1. Visiting from FlashBack Friday! Wow! What an adventure! Thanks for sharing. Mary Lou

  2. You let your computer get soaked? I think you'll only do that this one time. You're lucky your hubby got it working right again.

    I like your land trip. I can relate from the difficulties of living on a boat and then being on land and doing the same things. You made me smile as I read about that.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ☺

    1. I thought we weren't going to talk about the computer incident anymore :-)

  3. Thanks for stopping by my place :) I enjoyed this account of the hurricane--made me smile, because of course I expected high drama, and got pizza and laundry. Better for living through, for sure.

    To answer the questions: my favorite pizza is the ones I make at home with my younger son. I think Tillamok, Oregon, has the best cheese. And I didn't see the movie. I usually don't :)

    1. I have to agree about Tillamook cheese. We used to live in Oregon and loved their cheese. Visiting the factory is fun too.

  4. I remember this blog and all the wonderful memories it evoked -- there's so much I miss about our lives in New Zealand (warmer weather for starters).

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    1. It's so funny how relative temperature is. For you NZ would be warmer, for me living in Florida now, it would probably be freezing.

  5. even then, you kept track with numbers! I hope to sail in New Zealand some day.

    1. I think you'd really like NZ - great country and people, not to mention wonderful sailing.

  6. Your frustration certainly comes through! Beautiful sunrise though.

    1. Beautiful sunrises have a way of making your forget frustrations.

  7. Despite the boring parts in between, your life sounds so adventurous! I can imagine how awful it must have been to lose the use of your computer. Glad it came back to life. ☺

    1. I'm so glad it came back to life too. That was a close call.

  8. I totally understand why you miss Sal's! Such good pizza. We didn't think All is Lost was good at all. So many inconsistencies and "mistakes". Non-sailors like the movie better, I think. Living your life by the weather gets old after a while. It is one of the reasons why we are so happy on shore right now. I was like you, I rather read books that had nothing to do with sailing! The log entry format is interesting to people new to the lifestyle. I like reading yours, because I am curious about your thought process and decisions, but in the publishing world (like magazines and such) log entry-type stories are discouraged, because they show too many details that might not be interesting enough to the readership.

    1. I've talked to so many non-sailors who loved All is Lost. Crazy what a difference of opinion sailors have about it.

  9. It took dude such a long time to say the "F" word. I would have been saying it within the first frame. The best pizza so far goes to a place on Ocracoke Island, N.C.
    Sailing - it's basically sitting around staring waiting for weather or parts!


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