Weather Challenged!

We’ve actually been aboard AVATAR for nearly a month and our visit to New Zealand is at an end. This trip has probably offered the worst overall weather since we started cruising in 2004! Apparently La Nina has had an adverse effect; what is the height of summer here in New Zealand has felt more like mid winter in Tucson (something we were trying to escape). I can count the warm sunny days on one hand; mostly we’ve had variations of overcast skies, enveloping fog, wind, chilly temperatures, drizzle, rain, and drenching downpours – and rainbows! Last weekend we were even treated to a meteorological ‘bomb’ – an extreme low pressure system that generated winds clocked up to 65mph on the open ocean.

Which is not to say we haven’t been enjoying ourselves! AVATAR has spent the past several months in the yard at Circa Marine receiving some welcome additions – most notably a stern extension and a get-home engine, plus an assortment of smaller refinements. When we arrived on February 9 Circa was just buttoning up the last of the tweaks. Nick, who is in charge of babysitting AVATAR in our and Rod’s absence, just barely had time to stow the clutter, shine up the interior, and make the boat presentable again before our plane landed in Auckland.

Nick stayed aboard with us for a week or so as we cruised north from Whangarei to our pre-determined headquarters in Opua, dispensing some last-minute advice on anchoring, docking and boat handling in general; then Mike and I had AVATAR to ourselves for the first time ever. We’ve definitely enjoyed the change in our routine and, truth be told, that was the highlight of the trip.

Our day to day activities were pretty ordinary – a hike when the weather cooperated, some star-gazing on the few clear nights, my photography forays, a bit of kayaking – all the usual. On wet days we inventoried the provisions and spare parts, tackled a difficult puzzle, read books, and tried to surf the internet (which was relatively uncooperative – hence no blogs!). What was new for me was organizing and cooking meals in the galley – something that is usually part of Rod’s job description. Also I was in charge of driving the boat when we docked in the marinas while Mike handled the docklines. Mike was in his element exploring and tweaking the electronics, of which we have lots. He put the new get-home engine through its paces and recorded its performance statistics.

In general it was just a nice relaxing break from routine and that’s really what it’s all about!

Following is a quick photo tour of a few of the highlights. Click HERE to play fullscreen.


6 thoughts on “Weather Challenged!

  1. Great as usual Carol… we have some friends/neighbors from here in Austin who are living & working on the south end of the north island for a year (North Palmerston) and they told us recently how chilly it had been. Love the last shot of the boat in the lifting fog!

  2. Wow…your photos are stunning as always Carol! I recall the night we spent with you in Tonga where you gave me the ‘Understanding Exposure’ book and gave me a list of equipment I should get. Ive just come back from a three week photography workshop in Burma with Scott Stulberg (PPSOP) and have just bought my first full frame camera. It turned out to be an expensive night that night but Im loving it!!!!!
    Take care….hope to see you both again soon. Sue

  3. Great to see your blog! I have certainly missed them!! You wouldn’t care to share with us beginning PPSOP students the filters, F-stops, shutter speeds and ISO and WB you used on those great shots would you? Love, Peggy

  4. I thought you had sailed away into the sunset!
    It is so good to hear of your adventures again.
    The photos are, as always, wonderful.

  5. Gorgeous photos. Sure doesn’t look like bad weather! As always, fun to see the photos, and sorry there weren’t more blogs, but certainly understandable. Thanks for sharing them! Patty

  6. Great pictures, as always. We heard the weather was not good.
    We also missed your blogs. When are you home ?

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