Our first week of boat life…
After the happy homecoming we had Christmas with family at my parents for a Christmas eve dinner, with a brief jaunt on the boat for Christmas afternoon with Chae’s family. One day I may write more about that…
We then spent a few days traipsing load after load of food, clothes and bits and pieces onto Waterhorse to ready us for a week or 2 away. We also had to wait for the weather as she wasn’t co-operating with our plans.
We managed to get away on Friday the 29th December. Some sailor folk will be shocked at the choice to leave on a Friday. Sailing is incredibly superstitious and departing for a voyage on a Friday is one of the worst superstitions apparently, like walking under a ladder or crossing a black cat on land!!
So far, we have been relatively fine (touch wood) apart from a few minor teething issues which are to be expected when you suddenly turn your land life upside down and go live on a boat!!
A bit of a run down for you….
- First time I have been out in 25, gusting 30kt winds and choppy and swelly seas. ( I did tell Chae that if this is what living on a boat will be like he can go stick it….)
- First time I have rounded a Cape. I was on the helm from Bland Bay right to Opua, so rounding Cape Brett. This was done in the heaviest rain I have possibly been in, all wrapped up in my new foul weather gear (thanks mum and dad!) and with almost no visibility at times, awesome feeling when you don’t have a radar – haha!
I have to say, sitting there rounding the Cape made me realise again what an incredibly beautiful, rugged and diverse country we live in. The lighthouse keepers house was a pretty cool sight!
- First time hooking up a big Kahawai while in the pouring rain and having to maneuver the boat in funny circles to have him not get stuck around the propeller while Chae was trying to bring him in. He made a delicious curry that we all enjoyed that evening!
- First time to the Poor Knights Islands. This was incredible. The fish were right at the stern of the boat with us, and the kids new snorkeling gear was well used, apart from screaming Libby… she will eventually get used to the water surely… (This Poor Knights trip was the instigator for the first rough bit I spoke of above…)
- First time to have an anchor get fouled and have to cut the rode. This was actually a little scary as there was a bit of wind and a few rocks near, so it was the right choice to cut it, but man I felt my heart sink to the bottom of the sea along with our anchor while watching it disappear. I don’t want to have to do that ever again.
- First dolphins that the kids and I have seen on the boat, which came along with the first time we have run over a dinghy painter line and have it get wrapped around one of the propellers! It would have made a hilarious sight me ripping off my wet weather gear and leaping for the drifting dinghy in the pouring rain. Thank goodness it was a windless day. Luckily Chae is very good at holding his breath and dove down to cut it off. We have now learnt you can buy floating painter lines, which we will be getting when we get home!!
- First major storm. This was a biggie. We decided we didn’t want to be on anchor anywhere for this one and so got a berth at in Opua Marina, which was the right choice for this weather for us with the kids on board. Even in the marina we were getting 40kt gusts, and we were tucked right in close out of the worst of what other people got. It was 2 very wet and wild days that I am in no hurry to repeat. It is amazing though, what the sun and calm weather will do to re set your feelings on sailing.
- First time we caught a stingray. He was so incredibly beautiful and we managed to pull him right up to the rear steps and extract the lure out of his mouth. He sat there so calmly while we got the pliers out to free him.
- First time we picked up a mooring ball at our friend Anna’s place. A bit more work that on a monohull as there are 2 lines to connect and hold the mooring in place in the centre of the boat, but we managed it and it was nice to not be anchored for something different.
- First time finding buried treasure in the form of a washed up, rusted old tool box all the way from Belguim with good tools still inside! Did managed to get grease all over the kids and I but it was worth it finding the treasure!
- First time I realised how handy my husband has become! At home he never really had the time, energy or inclination to fix things and that was mostly my department. Well that has certainly changed! I must say I have been well impressed with his Mr Fix-it skills! From now on we will call him MacGyver! I think it also might be the beard that he has grown has given him the mad fixing skills…
- First overnight visitors on board with us this morning as I write this. Our wonderful friends the Hannam’s have come to join us for a night or 2 and it is so special to have such good friends to share this with.
This trip has been full of so many firsts for us, and I am sure this small list wont be the last mistakes or challenges we face in this new life.
Waking up in the mornings in some of the most picturesque places I have stayed, on my own boat just makes it all the more amazing.
Our kids have been loving this new life, the swimming, the fishing, the new places the sights and experiences. It has given me a taste of what is to come and I am 100% on board with this mad, crazy, full on life of adventure that we have chosen.
In a week or so when we head home the real hard part will come, packing up our life at the house and hauling Waterhorse for all her new toys and repairs and maintenance. Lets hope it doesn’t empty our pockets too much….