It’s difficult living in one world let alone two; or three. I’m a cruiser, a tennis player and a yacht maintenance guy. I don’t love everything sailing. Light air sailing is my absolute favorite. Ghosting along at 2-3 kts with flat water, the ocean a deep blue, and a rising Sun; that’s for me. A luxurious ride, minimal noise and nature’s overwhelming beauty seeping into every fiber of my being. But, those moments are rare and I cherish them. After a beautiful sail I love the harbors where I can see the anchor on the bottom. The water is so clear the boat appears to float above mother earth, fish swimming near by looking for a meal, a good book in hand, shade, and a cool drink to wet my whistle. That’s what I look for, I don’t always find it but I find it often enough to keep going.
Now however I’m tied to the dock. I’ve been here almost a year completing some major boat projects. Deck painted; check, hull painted, check, new batteries, check, bottom painted, check, seacocks lubed, check, mast painted, check, all rigging inspected, check, new spreader lights, check, mast back on, check, booms painted, check; etc. There are still some projects to complete but I finally see the end of the tunnel. And I look forward to ghosting along again and reading a few more good books.
While the majority of the boat work has been happening I’ve lived another life; one from years ago. Three days a week I play tennis. In NZ they play on an all weather court, quite different from the clay courts I loved in Florida. If it rains here; they keep playing. I’ve served a ball that looks like Saturn as it spins off water traveling to the other side
of the net. Kiwis like to bemoan the heat here. Compared to Florida and 5 t-shirts a match this for me is nice warm weather. Most of my game is back but not all. I am still struggling; struggling to strike the ball like I remember, struggling to move as a fit club player, struggling to get the quality of match play I once had. But; for the most part I am coping.
Before visiting NZ other cruisers talked about the beauty of the country, the friendliness of the people, and the quality of the workmanship. Those characteristics are what drove us to this place. No one bragged about the weather!
W/ and I were painting the booms the other day and 5 minutes from the final brush stroke mother nature sprayed us with a fine misty rain. It lasted a couple of minutes. . That amount isn’t enough to ruin the project but it worried us. More rain would add another day to the project putting us further into arrears. We finished painting and tented the booms. Worrying was for naught. They were fine.
The day before we were to play tennis and the weather looked gorgeous. The club is 5 minutes by car and the weather was perfect. Twenty minutes later the rain starts and within the hour it has stopped. We play tennis with wet; heavy balls.
We joined a gym; Anytime Fitness. After a decade of living in a sailboat we were beginning to feel out of shape. The gym is a 15 minute walk and our fitness has returned. We walk to the gym on a clear, warm, blue sky morning. By the time we are ready to leave the gym the rain is falling in sheets. We wait. A bit later the sky is clear and we risk the walk back home. It doesn’t matter, wet or dry the people of NZ don’t seem to care near as much as we do. There is a wonderful 5k walk around the river harbor; across the fish hook bridge, through to the town docks and
back to the marina. Anytime of the day; any weather; rain or shine, there are Kiwis walking the loop often in bare feet. We are not as comfortable in the rain as they and never with bare feet out and about.
Locals laugh and say in Winter you have 4 seasons every day. In Summer you have at least 3 every day. And while those seasons are tolerable they are not conducive to
completing boat projects nor indulging in outside sports. Not for us, often traveling by foot. For spoiled American cruisers a good part of our time here; at least for me, has been frustrating.