Last hours of the year 2016

Those past two days, yesterday and today, have been exciting and wonderful. I am writing this as we're motoring into this year's last sunset in this area here.
Yesterday we sailed to Parengarenga Bay, where this is a gorgeous white sand spit - white sandy beach for miles and on that sand spit there are dunes and some bush. You have to be very lucky to be able to drive your sailboat into the river behind the sand spit and this area around it because the entrance to our belated white christmas event area is blocked by a sand bar, which on its deepest position has a depth of only 2,1m. Which seems to be no problem in a calm water river or Bay but it puts an end to almost every sailor's wish to go there. As soon as there is a small wave already it is impossible to enter, especially when you have a kiel and draw over 1,5m. You have to wait for almost no wave (which means westerly winds) and an incoming current. If you have outgoing current you have wave against current and that's not good.
So, we were lucky (again) and were able to enter (we draw only 1,2m). We anchored in the river behind the sand spit, dropped the Dinghy and went ashore, walking to one of the sand dunes. Of course we went up the dune for the view and then Charly got into action. We did get some really nice videos from there. the sand is so white and so fin we had the feeling of walking in fresh powder snow - hence belated white christmas. you'll see on the pictures. It seriously looked like winter wonderland with some bushes inbetween and the blue ocean in the background.

Because of the wind situation and a low pressure system coming up from the south of the south island we had to leave for the South Island today. With an early start we headed out to flat calm waters with just some swell turning into little waves at the bar while videoing this with Charly. Let me tell you, it is no problem to start or fly Charly, but landing on a moving boat is difficult! This morning we were able to slow down, that was easier, this afternoon I had to land him while sailing under Spinnaker at about 6 knots, I almost crashed him at the first attempt.

As soon as we were out action started. We saw fins which we thought belong to sharks, hammer -sharks. As it turned out a bit later it were those really rare fish: we call them "moonfish" in German, we believe it's "sunfish" in English? I was able to get some decent shots. What else happened today? Took more awesome pictures of flying fish and birds, caught 3 fish, rounded North Cape and Cape Reinga, had fish tacos for lunch and fish&rice for dinner, set the spinnaker (parasailor)- filmed it with Charly - and took it back down an hour later, set sails and took them in to find us now motoring into a beautiful sunset out at sea - my last one for this year.

I forgot: just as we wanted to enter the bar yesterday the starter went on strike and stopped his service! Marcus jumped downstairs to replace it with a spare (thank god we had one!) while the crew and I set the sails again and headed out to the sea as far as we could to be away from the bar. Half an hour later thank god Marcus had replaced the starter and we managed to stat the engine! One of these moments where you take a deep breath and start solving the problem without a word...

We won't see fireworks tonight, we won't celebrate a big party, we can't drink alcohol but we sure will have a special New Years eve sitting in T-Shirts, watching the sunset and enjoying time amoungst friends and looking forward to a happy and exciting New Year where we will wake up at see with no sight of land.

Happy New Year everyone from the ALITA boss Marcus, and crew Michaela, Sibylle and Peter - and of course from ALITA herself, little Alita (the dinghy), Wickie (the kajak), Bruno (the autopilto) and Charly (the drone)

We expect to be at the heigt of New Plymouth on January 2nd, in the morning and will then decide, according to the weather, if we have to stop (we hope not) or continue to the South Island Golden Bay. I might not write until January 2nd, we'll see.

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Tough life

So, you find a beautiful bay, you take a walk in the sand and enjoy beach life. After a wonderful dinner you go to bed early happy like a little baby because your bed is a little rocking - rocking you to sleep. 

Then you wake up early in the morning, looking into a new day. What are you thinking about? Correct, you have to get the Genua sail down and sew it (before the rain comes) on deck because yesterday you saw a tear in it that the sailmaker, who just had the sail for repair and a check up (!) should have seen and repaired. Oh well. That's why we have a Singer heavy Duty sewing machine on board. This machine is worth gold. Beautiful and strong. She has already done lots of good work for Alita. Let me tell you, I have had more comfortable positions while sewing this morning, but never a more spectacular view at the same time. I am glad for all my dancing and thus flexibility. Enjoy!


Horseshoe Bay

I couldn't resist but had to post this picture of this beautiful paradise island and the prove the we went swimming

More New Zealand

New Alita

I finally downloaded the photos of our new Alita top and bottom. Her you can see the body work of the two weeks work on the hard in December before we left sailing: 

Beautiful New Zealand

As we're sailing up the north east coast of New Zealand once again I am impressed by the beauty of nature. Nowhere in the south sea do you find prettier beaches, or more gorgeous islands. Just the temperature here is a bit too cold for nice swimming or snorkeling. But, we went swimming anyways in this gorgeous horseshoe bay….
We're enjoying my  new toy, Charly, the drone. with it we can take spectacular pictures or movies from above…See for yourself. 

Cape Brett - known as the Hole in the Rock

Deep water cove where we spent christmas and Horesshoe Bay where we went swimming
Horseshoe Bay and Whangaroa, where Sibylle, Peter and I once again climbed up to the top


Love NZ

Merry christmas

After 2 beautiful sailing days (with an overnight stop at Whangaruru Bay) we anchored in Deep Water Cove where we started (and ended) a 5 hour hike to/from Cape Brett. A gorgeous day, a gorgeous christmas with Sibylle and Peter. We put up lots of lights yesterday and put a lamb roast in the oven yesterday for a super good late dinner after sunset (it gets dark at 9pm). This mornin we had christmas morning cinnamon rolls from our Alaskan sailing friends on Fran and Richard on red. What a treat! Sorry that I hadn't written before, we rarely have internet connection. Wishing you all wonderful holidays!!!


Gorgeous day out!

We're sailing!!!


Seriously, what would you do if finally your boat is ready, all clean, all working, sails are up and you keave the harbour to let the quiet season start? Right, you start (finally) making christmas cookies because it's almost christmas. Ok, and we did fishing the Kiwi way. How? We had to raft up to a Catamaran in front of Whangarei bridge, which is closed in after work traffic hours until 5.30 pm. We started talking to the guy and his family, the typical lovely Kiwi, as you do. Talked about South New Zealand and how lovely the people are and how fishermen always give something to boats cause there are so few of them coming there. Next thing I hear is that he is ind of those Crayfish-fishermen..,We chat a bit more, then I went doenstairs to make my cooking dough. Next thing I know is that he gives us a bag with fresh fileted King Fish, a super specialty, for our dinner. That was so lovely of them. Boy, this fish was GOOD! I had really missed fish in the meantime. Fresh fish. And the trade tradition...
Now I'm back into cruising life - despite baking cookies...


Ready 2 go

We're in the water without a leak, big grocery shopping tour is done and stored, Alita cleaned and living room usable, the last caulking / glueing work outside done, the genoa and foresail are up (I had to go up the mast though) and so much more. We're ready to go. Tomorrow we're heading out. Out hurting backs, knees, numb fingers will remind us of all the work for a while. But when we finally sail and see our firt sunset out in a bay I am sure this will all be forgotten. We're looking forward to getting out of here.

Storing 1/2 of the shopping


New Alita

It's been a tough two weeks with long working days, but now we're mostly done. Alita is more beautiful than ever. The super painting job ob the deck that Marcus did with Daemon here at Norsand, our new fake trak deck (Permatek), the new interior that's makes us think the sun is always shining. And of course the Antifouling that Marcus put on which hopefully lasts for the next two years. All of this stuff handmade in long hours and hand-put-on!

Big thanks to RoSch Yachts in Hamburg Germany for the super production of the Permatek deck according to my master plan and for going through the hassle of sending it here with the glue. It worked out well even though you had never seen Alita in person - only photos with the master on and measurements. We already love our new deck!

Last but not least we put the new name sticker on Alita- the old one had to come off due to the paint job.

Now my friends an christmas can come! Happy 4th of advent!