Schooner Seawanhaka

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Posting - New Zealand

Date and Time:

December 2004 - April 2005


New Zealand

View Photos from New Zealand:

December 10 - SEAWANHAKA arrived in Opua, Bay of Islands on the 9th, after a very long, challenging, 18 day passage from Fiji. We logged over 1,800 miles on what should have been a 1,000 mile voyage. The wind was right on our nose every single day of the trip until the final 50 miles. We did have a beautiful spinnaker sail down the east coast of the North Island when the wind finally cooperated on that last day. We were still having some issues with the engine, and were able to spend the last night out tacking our way up the Bay of Islands to within a couple of 100 yards of the Customs Dock without motoring. The crew loved the opportunity to sail into New Zealand as the other cruising boats motored past. Check-in went well, and we had time to celebrate with cheeseburgers and beers before Chris and Miles headed for the airport. SEAWANHAKA is spending a few days on the dock at the very nice Marina in Opua. There is a large community of cruising boats, many of whom we have seen before across the Pacific. It is late spring, and looks to be a pretty fun place to spend the summer. I've already managed to do a run and a bike ride! Despite the difficulties of the trip, SEAWANHAKA managed to take good care of us, with no damage to the ship or injury to the crew!

I would like to thank our very talented and dedicated website designer and manager Elizabeth Clark for all of the help in keeping the website updated so you could all keep tabs on us as we crossed the Pacific. Thanks E!

SEAWANHAKA will be in New Zealand for the cyclone season. I'm planning to head back to Fiji in mid-April. They say it should be an easier trip back, with a mid-voyage stop-over at Minerva Reef. In the meantime SEAWANHAKA has a few berths open for some Kiwi sailing....- Capt'n Bill

Christmas Eve on SEAWANHAKA - Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Anchored in a nice little cove in Te Puna Inlet, Bay of Islands, an area of historic Maori settlements. A nice 10-mile dinghy ride up the Kerikeri Channel and River to the wharf by the "Stone Store", the oldest stone building in New Zealand, dating to 1833.

I did my annual Kaye Turner run. A beautiful 8-kilometer run along the Kerikeri River Track (Kiwi for "trail"), through native kauri trees, pohotukawa, the "Kiwi Christmas Tree" that bursts into vivid red flowers in December, and fields of early summer daisies. The track left the bridge over the Kerikeri River, and went upstream to the 27-meter high Rainbow Falls, passing the original North Island powerhouse, Wharepoke Falls and the Fairy Pools.

Kaye Jean Turner was a marathon runner from Eugene, Oregon, who was murdered on a morning training run in the wonderful, pristine resort community of Camp Sherman, Oregon, on Christmas Eve 1978. I spent 4 years, from 1990 to 1994, prosecuting the case. John Arthur Ackroyd and Roger Dale Beck are now incarcerated in the Oregon State Penitentiary serving sentences of life without parole for the convictions of kidnap, rape and murder.

I do a run every Christmas Eve morning in her memory. Kaye would have loved this run.

The anchorage is shared by the German sailboat FINTE, a large Catamaran by the name of REHAB, and Kiwi friends on the power yacht MILADY. The day ended with a brilliant sunset and a tasty batch of local mussels, a star-filled sky, and moonshadow glistening over the inlet. - Capt'n Bill

SEAWANHAKA's Journeys in 2004.

This is the first of what will be my annual cruising report.

We started the year in Sausalito, California and ended it in Whangaroa, New Zealand. Sailed 8,697 nautical miles, 6 new countries: Kiribati, American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, and NZ, and innumerable islands.

My '04 Hood River Yacht Club card was well used. I called on the following Yacht Clubs and was extended reciprocal privileges:

California: Sausalito, Richmond, Golden Gate, Horseshoe Bay, Santa Barbara, Kona Kai (San Diego) and Coronado.
American Samoa: PagoPago.
Samoa: Samoan(Apia).
Tonga: Vavau (Nieafu).
Fiji: Royal Suva, Musket Cove (MaloloLailai).
New Zealand: Opua, Russell, and Kerikeri.

Raced the HRYC flag in the America's Schooner Cup in San Diego, which we won on both line honors and corrected time! and the Russell Tall Ships and Classic Boat Festival. We had a good finish in the latter, unfortunately had scared the hello out of the handicapper. They had us so poorly rated that we would have had to beat the late Peter Blake's maxi LION OF NEW ZEALAND by 7 minutes to win our division!

Total mileage sailed for 2003-2004 is 12,725 miles. Those geographers of you might note that is greater than half the distance around the world at the equator. Yet SEAWANHAKA has only made it 4 time zones from the West Coast. Still 20 to go. I did spend a lot of north-south mileage on the Alaska trip. What is becoming clear is that my original estimate of 3-4 years is looking way short. What I now say when people ask me "how long" is "5 years plus or minus a decade".

It was a wonderful year of sailing, islands, cultures, and cruising friends. I had the pleasure of many great crew, and SEAWANHAKA proved that even though she is turning 80 in 2005, she still loves to sail, and is a very capable vessel. Capt'n Bill

February 22, 2005 - Russell, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

My mother and sister Sharlan left last Friday after a 2 week visit to New Zealand, the Bay of Islands, and SEAWANHAKA.

After a couple of rainy days on the wharf in Opua, we sailed out to do a 10-day loop around the Bay of Islands. One of the highlights of being on the wharf for my sister was a trip with local schoonerman Leon to pick a bucketful of mussels. A trimaran on a mooring had been neglected for several months and had a thick growth of very large, tasty green-shell mussels that we had 4 of the next 5 meals! I guess that's one advantage of a multi-hull, more surface area for marine growth! Easy pickings…

We had spectacular weather for sailing the islands; warm, sunny, great sunsets and stargazing, remote anchorages, good swimming, and a very nice snorkel at Deep Water Cove near Cape Brett. Lots of big fish and numerous eagle rays very close.

The winds in the Bay of Islands continued to be VERY consistent. SEAWANHAKA has sailed 25 days in New Zealand since arriving in December, and has had good wind every single time she's been out.

Particularly delightful was a 3-day stay at Urupukapuka Island. Good anchorage, great hiking, and historic. Site of several Maori pa (villages) and kumara (sweet potato) fields. French explorer Marion du Fresne set up a hospital post on the island in 1772 to treat his crew suffering from scurvy. He was there for 6 weeks before he and 26 of his men were murdered by the local Maori across the channel at what is now called Assassination Cove. Urupukapuka was also the location of a Big Game Fishing resort owned and frequented by writer Zane Grey. They now serve cold beer and great fish and chips!

March 26, 2005 - Russell Bay of Islands, New Zealand

It has been another great month in the Bay of Islands. Sailing, swimming, green-lipped mussels and oysters for dinner, and once again I am reporting GREAT sailing winds. I have now had 40 days of sailing since arriving in New Zealand, and fair winds every single day! I've been out so frequently, with so many different crews that the local charter boats are convinced I'm poaching their customers. I've had some really fun crew, with nationalities from all over the world.

SEAWANHAKA just spent a week on a trip north up the coast. We spent 2 nights in the Cavalli Islands. Wonderful hikes, swimming, and as you will see on the photo page, endless glorious sunsets. The Cavallis are the site of the Rainbow Warrior. The Rainbow Warrior was the Greepeace boat that was bombed by the French not-so-secret service in Auckland Harbor, as they were about to depart on a protest to the French nuclear testing site in the South Pacific. One crewman was killed. There is now a memorial on the slope above the wreck, which was moved to the Cavallis and is now one of the most popular dive sites in New Zealand. From the Cavallis we sailed up to Whangaroa Harbor, and a few days later had a wonderful spinnaker run down the coast and back into the Bay of Islands.

SEAWANHAKA is now back in Russell, working on projects to prepare for the passage back to Fiji, anticipated departure date being April 20, as well as a sail south down the coast of the North Island to Great Barrier Island in early April.

View Previous Postings:

November - December, 2004 - Voyage from Fiji to New Zealand
September 15 - November 14, 2004 - Fiji Islands
July 26 - September 14, 2004 - Kingdom of Tonga
July 5 - 24, 2004 - Apia, Samoa
May 31 - July 3, 2004 - Pago Pago, American Samoa
May 22 - 30, 2004 - Pacific Ocean Crossing
May 17 - 21, 2004 - Fanning Island, Kiribati
April 24 - May 16, 2004 - Pacific Ocean Crossing
April 19, 2004 - San Diego Bay, California
April 4, 2004 - San Diego Bay, California

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