Tag: Dazzler’s Watch

It’s Not All Fun & Games

We know that to many of you it probably looks like all we do around here is play but the truth is that living on a boat full time is a lot of work. During the six months we are here waiting out cyclone season in New Zealand we have a list of projects to complete that’s as long as Dazzler. Many of these things can’t be done in the islands because you just don’t have access to supplies so when you do, you have to work.


If you know anything about boating you know that no project is ever easy. What starts out as a simple project can quickly become a massive one and some projects are tedious and just take a lot of time. Dan does just about everything on our boat. I’m sure you’ve heard me say more than once that there’s nothing the man can’t do and he proves that time and again. One of his favorite things to do on the boat is to varnish her. Yeah, I know, sounds like a sentence not a pleasurable activity but Dan loves it and when he’s done it’s nearly perfect.

I’d be more than happy to help him but there’s two reason he won’t even think about it. The first is that I shed like a long haired pup and long black hair doesn’t look very good in the varnish. The second reason he won’t let me play the varnish game is that he is an absolute perfectionist and he’s afraid I won’t be able to do it exactly the way he does. Honestly, it doesn’t really hurt my feelings that much. I mean, varnishing is a lot of work and I’d just assume stay below deck writing articles and creating videos for you fine folks.

Dan recently spent three weeks varnishing Dazzler’s cockpit. This time he needed to take it back to bare wood which meant it would require eight coats of varnish! Yes, that’s a lot when you consider he has to sand in between each coat. And, like I said, no project is easy. Just after getting started sanding the cockpit he found wood rot in one of the seats. This required him to completely rebuild the seat. He’s never done anything like that before but he didn’t let that stop him and the finished project was perfect!

And there’s been a whole host of other projects from cleaning stainless to removing the sails for when we take our trip back to the states. There have been parts to find and engines to service. In the two months since we arrived Dan has replaced the front main seal on the Yanmar, serviced the shower bilge pump, rebuilt the propane locker door, cleaned the rigging, replaced the deck waste fitting, replaced gimbal brackets on the stove, rewired our steaming light, installed a 240V battery charger, had injectors and our spare alternator serviced, varnished, and even managed to fit in a bit of sight seeing. I guess you could say he’s been a busy man.

It’s a whole lot more fun doing it this way than in a bucket on the deck of Dazzler.

As for me, I’ve been maintaining things below deck, writing, making videos, cleaning, cooking, doing laundry and doing research and planning for a three week trip to the South Island with our friends, Jack & Mary, who are coming here from Los Angeles. Not long after they leave we will be making a trip to the U.S. to visit our families for a month. We’ve got lots going and before we know it cruising season will be upon us again.

But don’t think we won’t pay for the “vacation time” because when we get back Dazzler will be on the hard and there’s a bottom to paint, deck repairs, a thru hull replacement, provisioning and a list of other items that must be done before we can take off for this year’s cruising season. Yes, the sailor’s life can be exotic and take you to amazing places but there’s always work that must be done. As Dan always says, “Nothing’s free in Water World!”

Until next time,

Jilly & Dan


A Sunday Drive Through The Countryside

Well, we woke up and did our usual coffee and internet routine and then Dan said, “Let’s go for a drive in the country.” Well, that sounded like a brilliant idea for a beautiful Sunday so of course I was all in. We got dressed and headed out toward the north. Just about an hour’s drive north of Whangarei is Opua and the Bay of Islands. Lots of cruisers make this their first stop when coming into New Zealand. We originally planned to stop there but then our friends talked us into coming to Whangarei so we were excited to see what all the hubbub was about in this northern port.

The drive through the countryside was amazing! New Zealand is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. It’s rolling hills and beautiful forests just beckon to be explored. Along the way we saw a sign beside the road that read “Kawiti Glowworm Caves”. Well, we were on an adventure so we turned and headed to see what it was all about. Just as we turned onto this road we saw this sign…

You have to love the Kiwis….they just say it how it is! Of course we adhered to the instructions on the sign and made our way cautiously to the entrance of the caves. There was a small park area with some picnic tables and a building made from an old shipping container. That’s the office. Of course there’s a fee to see these caves. We’re quickly learning that everything in New Zealand has a price attached to it. We spoke to the Māori gentleman at the counter who informed us the tours go every half hour and they cost $30 NZD per person. We weren’t really all that excited about spending $60 NZD for a half hour tour of the cave so we thanked him and got back on the road.

It wasn’t too long before we had made it to Opua. WOW! The sites of the bay and the islands from the main road were pretty spectacular. I can see why the cruisers like this place. It’s quaint and beautiful. That said, other than a handful of restaurants and marine related businesses there’s really nothing else here. We both quickly agreed that we made the correct choice to make Whangarei our home while in New Zealand. There we have many options for restaurants, stores and places to get parts etc… whereas Opua is pretty limited with just a couple restaurants and marine stores. There’s no doubt we want to stop here on our way out of the country but for our purposes Whangarei is definitely the right choice.

We did stop in at the Marina Cafe and have a bite of lunch. The food was really tasty. I had my first “pie”. No, not a sweet pie. Here in New Zealand they sell savory pies everywhere. The look like Chicken Pot Pies. This one was chicken and leek and boy was it good. I think I’ll be having more of these tasty treats during our stay in this fabulous country. And, the view was pretty nice looking over the marina and all the boats. It was a great stop. Of course we also had to check out the two marine stores. You never know what you’ll find that you didn’t think you needed until you saw it.

After a couple of hours in Opua we headed back south. It was still pretty early so we took the turn out to the Tutukaka Coast. Our fiends had told us what a beautiful place this is so we decided we should take a little side trip. It was definitely worth it. There were magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean with rocky cliffs and beige sand beaches.

When we arrived back in Whangarei we decided it was too late to worry about making dinner so we stopped at the one our favorite little pubs, McMorrissey’s Irish Pub, for a bite to eat before heading back to Dazzler. They have the most amazing Guiness Stew that they serve in a sourdough bread bowl. YUMMY! It was the perfect way to end another wonderful day here in the land of the Kiwis!

Until next time,

Jilly & Dan