With its mountains, sailing, diving, and welcoming people, New Zealand was one of our favorite places!
Heretic spent the 2007/8 cyclone season in New Zealand (safe below the tropical hurricane belt) while Seth lived aboard and worked and I completed another two semesters at Yale. I was lucky enough to visit, though, and was able to squeeze in a little cruising, a little car-camping, and some work on Heretic.
On the boat, Seth and I explored the aptly-named Bay of Islands where Heretic was based. We sailed to a new anchorage every morning and hiked or scuba dived in the afternoons. Paradise!
The old car Seth had bought to get to work was perfect for a little land travel with a tent, so we did a some of that, too! We started off in the very far north, camping with friends on the beach at Ahipara.
Then we hit the road to make the inter-island ferry from Wellington to the South Island.
We made the classic circuit of the South Island, hitting up the vineyards (yum!), the Pancake Rocks, the famous glaciers, Queenstown, Fjordland, the Otago Peninsula, Christchurch, and then back to Marlborough Sounds.
When we returned to the North Island, we visited friends of friends who run a sheep station. They welcomed us with beef from their own cows, a tour of their farm, and a chance not only to watch the herding and shearing, but for Seth to shear a sheep himself! Little did we know then that several years later we’d meet friends of these people in the Eskimo village of Barrow, Alaska! What a small world!
Otherwise, Seth was in the Bay of Islands working at his job and also on Heretic. He put in a new galley sink, rebedded all the ports (windows on the side of a boat’s cabin), replaced the circuit board in our wind generator twice, and installed a new-to-us engine, which he’d bought cheap on Trade-Me. He also built a double bunk in the forepeak, so we wouldn’t swelter in the quarterberths anymore.
I came back in late April at the end of the academic year (and also conveniently the end of cyclone season) while Seth was finishing the engine installation, so I re-did the anti-foul paint under the waterline, serviced the seacocks (valves on all the boat’s drains and intakes), redid the varnish, and repainted our hatch boards.
Then Seth and I were excited to explore more South Pacific islands!
(Check out earlier adventures crossing the Pacific 🙂 )
All text and photographs © Ellen Massey Leonard and Seton Leonard, 2015, All Rights Reserved.