At anchor, Islington Bay, Rangitoto Island, - Log #15,
Dec 18, 1997 0530
Latitude: 36.47S, Longitude: 174.58E Log: 10,981 Water: 68F Air: 60F
just 10 miles from Auckland, NZ
Ghosting past Cape Brett, sailing south from Bay of islands, NZ.
I can't believe that in just six hours our final expedition of 1997
will be over! The past ten days have been a whirlwind of sailing, teaching,
hiking, swimming and exploring. This crew will go down in the books as
the "learn and experience everything" crew. Last night at 10:30
PM we finished working out and plotting the sun celestial navigation shots
that we took three days ago, but hadn't had time to work out until now.
Before that they changed the engine oil and filter, flushed and biocided
the watermaker and cleaned both raw water intake strainers AND hiked ashore
on Rangitoto. We've had exceptionally fine weather - only rained once -
with temperatures often in the low 80's, excellent sailing wind except
on our overnight passage out to offshore Great Barrier island and adventures
galore! On Tuesday night we took a taxi down to Mike and Karen Radley's
farm, half an hour south of Gulf Harbor, a large marina complex which many
visiting cruisers use as a base. Mike is an MD who joined us on our final
leg last season with MTII, from Hawaii to Victoria and is joining us with
his lovely wife Karen on Leg 2-99 in Tahiti. We enjoyed a barbecue of meat
from their farm, a truly kiwi concoction; Pavlova, and watched Mike's video
of the passage to Victoria, Leg 7-96.
Mike and Karen Radley, 7-96' and 2-99' greeting Mahina Tiare in Bay
of Islands, NZ.
8-97 Sunrise landfall - Great Barrier Island.
Before that, Great Barrier Island was our exploring ground. Located
40 miles east of North Island it has only 1300 people and many endemic
species. Since possums, stoats and other mainland pests haven't made it
across to "The Barrier" several birds and animals that are extinct
on the larger islands of New Zealand flourish here. I have passed Great
Barrier several times going and coming from New Zealand, but since it isn't
a Customs Port of Entry, haven't stopped. Amanda's great-grandfather was
a kauri logger and built several large kauri dams, two of which we passed
on a brutal six hour climb to the summit of Mt Hobson,the highest peak
on the island.
8-97, Hiking through subtropical forests, Great Barrier Island.
Steve and Dominique climbing Mt. Hobson, Great Barrier Island.
While anchored in Port Fitzroy we got a van and local driver to drive
us out to the magnificent windswept east coast beaches. He showed us several
potential anchorages for Leg 8-98, each with history of shipwrecks, gold
mining and maori traditions.
Backing up a bit, we had a couple glorious days in the Bay of Islands,
sailing, navigating, teaching, anchoring, swimming and hiking every day.
Few boats were around, the weather was spectacular, and life was great!
We found that it is a challenge to cover all of our learning objectives
on a 10 day expedition - it takes a dedicated crew really committed to
spending 4-5 hours a day to learn all the cruising skills possible in such
a short time.
Celestial navigation practice.
Here is a brief summary of what we covered (excluding all of the hiking
and shore exploring): Points of sail including heaving to, one entire afternoon
spent on overboard recovery with the Lifesling, storm tactics including
lots of reefing, towing warps and Galerider drogue, going aloft safely
(everyone went up the mast on a rig check), celestial navigation including
reducing a sun LOP, weather plotting and storm avoidance, use and programming
of weatherfax, INMARSAT satellite communications system and SSB radio,
survey of prevention and treatment of cruising medical problems, survey
of MT's extensive Medical SeaPak, inventory of all spare parts for boat
and engine, engine maintenance, extensive survey of MT's electrical system
and philosophy, watermaker use and maintenance, survey of our 3 Abandon
Ship packs, liferaft launching, menu planning and cooking at sea, splicing
3-strand and yachtbraid line, servicing and rebuilding a 2-speed winch,
calculating best anchorage scenarios, setting a second bow anchor, dropping
and picking up anchor under sail. Whew! Since we are having every person
do each of these things, not just explaining it, I think the learning retention
will work, even though we are covering a lot of material.
Here's are Leg 8 crew:
Leg 8-97 crew arriving in Auckland
Margaret Gokey, 43 of Sonoma, CA is a vineyard owner and an Occupational
Therapist who actively races her B-25 out of Sausalito. Margaret lived
aboard her Islander 36 on San Francisco Bay before getting serious about
Steve Kennedy, 47 of Vancouver, BC originally, who is now owns an accounting
business in Friday Harbor just down the street from Mahina Expeditions
office. Steve just took delivery of a new 30' Nordic Tug which he and his
wife Judy and their daughters enjoyed a cruise into Canada this summer.
Judy and daughters love spending time aboard and are pushing to move aboard
full time! Steve is thinking about long distance cruising under sail once
their daughters are older.
8-97 Dominique hoisting sail.
Dominique Coindre, 32 of Montreal and Vancouver owns a C and 25 and
is planning a solo world circumnavigation in the next three years and is
shopping for a boat around 35'. In her non-sailing life she is a tax lawyer.
Bruce Harding, 57 if from Bamff, Alberta and is retired manager of a
helicopter skiing company who has taken a year off from his real estate
business to explore the world. Lucky guy, he has one more month to explore
and travel New Zealand after the expedition. Bruce is signed up for Leg
2-98, Tahiti to Rarotonga.
Catherine Searle, 17 just completed high school and is enjoying a sailing
vacation before starting college soon to become an arborist.
Leg 8-97 crew visiting the America's Cup, Royal NZ. Yacht Squadron,
Dec. 22, 1997 Update:
In just six hours Mahina Tiare III will be hauled out for dry storage and
we'll be taking the sails off and putting her full boat cover on. Yesterday
Amanda and I were reflecting on what a good and eager group of sailors
we've had this year. It will be fun to watch them preparing for their own
Mahina Tiare III headed for dry storage in Auckland.
For those of you that have been following our adventures via the www,
thanks for your interest! I plan to continue updates this winter with items
of interest to future cruisers including updates from Bob McDavitt, out
Met Service NZ meteorologist friend who will be e-mailing us breaking news
re. El Nino and South Pacific cyclones between now and April.
1998 is shaping up to be another exciting and full season as yesterday
we received six more applications via fax from Tracy in our office. Several
legs now have only two berths available. Please don't wait too long to
apply as in '97 we ended up with wait lists for nearly every leg. I will
update berth availability numbers as soon as I'm back in the office.
Between now and our May 11, 1998 Leg 1 departure we will be back in
Jan 16-25: Seattle Kingdome Boat Show Seminars:
Sat., Jan 17 @ 3:30 Outfitting for Coastal and Offshore Sailing
Sun., Jan 18 @ 11am Liferaft Inflation and Survival Demo
Mon., Jan 19 @ 6pm Electronics for Cruising
Sat., Jan 24 @ 5pm Sailing the South Pacific
Sun., Jan 25 @ 4pm Sailing to Cape Horn and Antarctica
Feb 11-25: West Marine In-Store Seminars, 7 PM
Feb 10: Everett, WA
Feb 11: Bellevue, WA
Feb 12: Seattle, Mercer Store
Feb 13: Portland, OR
Feb 17: Sausalito, CA
Feb 18: Oakland, CA
Feb 19: Palo Alto, CA
Feb 23: Ventura, CA
Feb 24: Marina del Rey, CA
Feb 25: Long Beach, CA
Weekend Offshore Cruising Seminars
March 7 & 8: Offshore Cruising Seminar, Orange Coast College, Newport
March 14 & 15: Offshore Cruising Seminar, San Francisco
March 21 & 22: Offshore Cruising Seminar, Seattle
March 28 & 29: Offshore Cruising Seminar, Seattle
April 4 & 5: Offshore Cruising Seminar, Seattle
May 11, 1998: Depart Auckland, NZ for Raivavae, Iles Australes and Tahiti
For information or brochures on any of these programs, contact me at