12 January: Kahangaro, Cavalli Islands Departing from the idyllic Okahu Passage is not an easy thing, but we’ve been promised wonders in the Cavalli Island and the much praised Whangaroa harbour, so, as soon as we’re up, we hoist the sails to venture further up North, and when the Cavalli Islands are in sight, weContinue reading “Sun kissed for 31 days (part II)”
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Sun kissed for 31 days (part I)
Memories of bliss times on the water slowly recede, while the tide brings back the daily routine of land-bound life. Let my heart not sink but stay buoyant, by recalling the vivid impressions of heightened senses, absence of commitments, and communion with nature. 500 miles, 34 anchorages, 12 islands, 7 hikes, 1 night navigation, 1Continue reading “Sun kissed for 31 days (part I)”
La Obelix vida es un carnaval!
Time to farewell 2020, a full-on year on so many accounts… Despite unexpected global circumstances which culminated, in New Zealand, with a couple of lock-downs, near-closed borders, and ever changing game rules, we’ve managed to make new friends, reconnect with old ones, sail the Hauraki gulf quite extensively, get Obelix a new jib, staysail andContinue reading “La Obelix vida es un carnaval!”
Sometimes the stars align, and all you need is to be outside to witness it. Like spontaneously casting the lines after work on a Friday, to honor the gentle breeze, still water and clear skies, with no other reward in mind than, trying our new jib, leaving the hustle and bustle of the week behind,Continue reading “Sunset-moonrise double-bill”
Life and death of a life raft
Inflating a 44-year-old life raft for fun and education purposes
Obelix & the Wonder Women
First time skippering a boat, fortunately surrounded by Wonder Women. What can go wrong?
Making our bubble great again
Free-range kids As lock-down 2.0 was announced on August 13th, Auckland schools closed, and we retreated back to our bubbles, we decided not to add any complexity to the ever changing and (sometimes) absurd rules that governed our strange world, and let our children be free-range. No virtual hui. No homework. No schedule. No pressure.Continue reading “Making our bubble great again”
It takes a special kind of person
After a full week-end saving lives, I am exhausted! Ok, this was all pretend play, but I swear that NZ Coastguard /MedAire coastal medic course is not for the faint-hearted. Between gore pictures and videos of a femoral artery gushing blood (albeit very pixelated, thank God), de-gloving fingers (I learnt a new word), or woundsContinue reading “It takes a special kind of person”
Obelix meets Zampa in St Heliers
Imagine paying a visit to your old neighbourhood, meeting long-time-no-see friends, and doing a bit of treat-shopping… by boat. That’s what we just did last week-end, taking Obelix for the first time to Saint Heliers Bay! Not as exotic as many places in the Hauraki Gulf, for sure, but an idea that kept nagging me,Continue reading “Obelix meets Zampa in St Heliers”
Obelix takes a deep breath
NZ lockdown, day 6 on our 12-meter boat. Taking notice of all the positive.
Obelix in Terra Incognita
Day 0 of NZ Lockdown on a 12m boat
Scrapes, scratches & silver linings
“It’s alright mum, our boat isn’t badly damaged, just a few small repairs and we’ll be off again”, wrote Zephyr on the day of our incident… (cf. Obelix on the rocks) The small repairs took three weeks, and, thankfully, no one dared tell me at the time it would take so long! Apart from theContinue reading “Scrapes, scratches & silver linings”
Meeting Obelix’ two dads
It’s not a beautiful boat, but it’s a good boat! Uwe Tolks Obelix is the brain child of Uwe Tolks, former Master Mariner & Marine Construction Engineer, and Erwin Haag, Naval Architect, both German established in Whangarei, New Zealand, since the 70’s. “December 1976, he comes to my office and asks can you draw meContinue reading “Meeting Obelix’ two dads”
Obelix on the rocks
No it is not the name of the latest trendy cocktail, although I wish. This is how I miserably ended an otherwise gorgeous long week-end sailing with friends. I’ve tried to find myself excuses, or blame others, or circumstances for the accident, nothing softens that overwhelming feeling of shame and guilt. I was at theContinue reading “Obelix on the rocks”
Recipe for the best day of 2019 Ingredients 1 handsome multi-talented man 2 kind, fun, resilient boys 1 sturdy sail boat 1 pinch of wind (not too strong, not too light, and preferably in the right direction) slight sea 1 whale 1 island (not too far, not too close, and preferably with an iconic bay)Continue reading “Fare-whale decade!”
Christmas in the engine room
Tuesday 24th December 2019 6:00am. We’re raising anchor from Bon Accord – Kawau, perfectly synchronised with our friends Marion & Borja on Ad Hoc, ready to sail to Great Barrier Island for Christmas. We’ve set our alarm early to strategically leave at dawn, kids still asleep in their cabin, sea still undisturbed by the sun’sContinue reading “Christmas in the engine room”
Obelix itchy feet
And crew on edge… More than a month has passed since Obelix’ last sailing adventure and this meant countless week-ends watching, with envy, surrounding boats vacate their berth for a few days, and their crew coming back on Sunday with a tan and a beaming smile, while we were stuck at the marina with eitherContinue reading “Obelix itchy feet”
Family impressions (part 2/2) And what about us, the parents? What is our take on this new lifestyle? Thomas He’s a natural, he’s been drawn to the sea his whole life, so, one might say he’s like a fish in the water! Being on a boat, stepping on the floating deck each morning, looking atContinue reading “Serendipity galore”
Floor is lava in 3, 2, 1, 0!
Family impressions (part 1/2) One month in. Time to reflect: How is the family rating their new life aboard?To get a qualitative answer to this, I asked each one of us to come up with our top likes and dislikes. The first answer I got from Azur, was “But there is nothing that I don’tContinue reading “Floor is lava in 3, 2, 1, 0!”
Magic moments in Kawau
Initially, our ambitious plans for the Labour week-end was to go to Great Barrier Island… Thomas had even taken his Friday off to give us four full days of adventures. However, our religiously watching the weather situation the week leading up to our mini-holidays, did nothing to slow down the wind, which was still howlingContinue reading “Magic moments in Kawau”
Happy Bday Obelix!
At 8 am on Sunday the 13th, at high tide, after a full-moon night, our dear friend Naomi rocked up all dressed up with orchids and hibiscus flowers around her neck and arms ready to lead Obelix’ blessing ceremony. We showed her and Dave around, had a quick chat, and finished to prepare ourselves. OurContinue reading “Happy Bday Obelix!”
Bye-bye St Heliers!
Last week-end was one of transition, endings and new beginnings. Marcia and Camille, neighbours and friends, took the kids for a sleepover on Friday so we could have the night off and release a bit of the pressure accumulated over the past few weeks. Watching The Dust Palace and the APO’s epic production ‘Dawn’, thenContinue reading “Bye-bye St Heliers!”
Spring cleaning in progress for imminent downsizing…
Obelix may be a fat bastard, but there is no way we could fit all the stuff we’ve accumulated over the years (and that will mainly have lived through the time of their negotiation*) on board. Nor is it our intention to keep things for later, when we decide to return to landbound life. IndeedContinue reading “Spring cleaning in progress for imminent downsizing…”
Celebrating Obelix first times
With a Margaux, Château Marquis De Terme, which was waiting all those years for the right occasion… First cruise on Obelix as a family, just the four of us, for the pleasure. First time without having to go all the way to the marina toilets to pooh. First time communicating on the VHF with anotherContinue reading “Celebrating Obelix first times”
Obelix now in Bayswater!!!
Two months after patiently checking the weather forecast every day on various websites, Thomas has finally spotted a fine weather window last week, quickly gathered a crew, found someone to drive them to Whangarei, and organised everything to attempt the voyage for the second time last Saturday 17 August. As a cautious skipper, he minimisedContinue reading “Obelix now in Bayswater!!!”
The Waiting Place
You can get so confused that you’ll start to race […] headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. The Waiting Place… Oh, the places you’ll go! Dr. Seuss I fear I’ve now landed into that most useless place mentioned by Dr. Seuss in his wonderful book “Oh, the places you’ll go!”… for people justContinue reading “The Waiting Place”
No hummus at sea!
And other lessons learnt from a memorable maiden voyage on Obelix We were excited about this week-end, the stars had aligned and all the conditions were gathered for us to bring back Obelix safely from Whangarei to Auckland with the family: low tide around 10:30 to allow smooth motoring out of the river with theContinue reading “No hummus at sea!”
Obelix lift seen by Azur
I wish I could share more of Azur’s drawings but they’ve all stayed on the boat, I have just managed to take a picture of that one which I thought was too good to withhold. Seeing our journey through the eyes of our kids is precious, and insightful. For example, it made me realise thatContinue reading “Obelix lift seen by Azur”
Obelix can swim!
It feels like a cosmic realignment, as though the universe was a bit more orderly now, as though a wrong has been righted: a boat has returned to where it belonged… June 21st might have been the shortest day of this year 2019, but it certainly wasn’t the least glorious. The boys must have feltContinue reading “Obelix can swim!”
In Obelix’ bowels
First Friday off without having to drive up to Whangarei (getting fined on the way): let’s take some time to post pictures of inside Obelix…
Another weekend, another mission tickedHere we are with a fully covered bottom! After Thomas and I finished the last of the 14 coats of epoxy/fairing/primer/antifouling on Sunday, you might think we kissed languorously, hugged each other, and jumped in the air, arms up high in large victory signs. I wish. Instead, I somehow had mixedContinue reading “Antifouling ✓”
Antifouling part I
Or when you learn the difference between epoxy and antifouling paint Just the antifouling left…So we were done with our seven coats of epoxy and, “only”, had to apply the antifouling. Two coats of primer, three coats of antifouling that is, but no mixing to do, no sticky sleeve to change every so often, noContinue reading “Antifouling part I”
Obelix – Mission ‘Epoxy’, la revancha
Or how it took seven of us to take care of Obelix’ “down there”… We had a mission: Covering Obelix’ hull, below the waterline, with 4-6 more coats of epoxy resin. May sound easy, but not so much when you consider that: the surface to cover was 43 sqm with all sorts of angles toContinue reading “Obelix – Mission ‘Epoxy’, la revancha”
Obélix, our new baby
All things considered, perhaps conceiving a third child would have been simpler… Boats and babies have much in common: from day one they require a lot of undivided attention to fulfill their destiny and (your) dreams, they’re full of surprises – you never quite know what will come next, and they add a new lineContinue reading “Obélix, our new baby”
So we bought a boat
And quickly got to learn the meaning of the word… Indeed, comments abound when you start telling people you’ve bought a boat, and you suddenly get pitchforked into the not-so-secret society of boaties. A special race of people who talk, think, and breath boat, and expect you, now that you’re one of them, to have becomeContinue reading “So we bought a boat”