After almost 3 months of skiing every day in Whistler, BC, and socializing with friends, we traveled back to our beloved S/V Whistler in NZ.

We needed to spend a night in a Vancouver airport hotel to make our morning flight. We made the best of it, with good friends joining us for dinner. The flying part of the 30-hour journey included 3 flights with stops in Seattle and Tokyo. Gotta love traveling on Aeroplan these days! Happily our luggage arrived intact too!

Weary travellers with our boat supplies.
Whistler about to sit lower in the water with the luggage coming aboard! A cull is coming!

Her hull could use a serious scrub! Don’t marine organisms love these rich waters?
The dinghy engine back on and starting up like a charm!

We spent five days getting the boat in a state we could move her. Then we headed into Auckland. We wanted to get divers to clean the hulls, shafts and props and that was not allowed at Gulf Harbour Marina. Gulf Harbour was keen to fill our dock space too. The Viaduct had space and it was going to be a change of scene with lots of chandleries and marine services within walking distance.

The draw bridge is opened for us to enter the marina.
Our route from Gulf Harbour to the Viaduct Marina in Auckland.

A bird’s eye view of where we docked (the blue dot on the image below).

A closer look at the downtown around us.
Stern view dockside
Whistler docked next to the Park Hyatt hotel (under construction)

During the day we listened to lots of clanking from the hotel construction. They were busy removing the scaffolding. The workmen yelled out signals as they passed the pieces to one another.

During the night noise from the bars makes its way across the viaduct. We managed to sleep through it.

Busy waterfront restaurants and bars

For what the marina charges, it is a bit surprising they have no facilities for the yachties like toilets, showers or laundry. We ran our engines to warm up the water for our showers and Monty broke down and bought an electrical cable and box so we could hook up to power.

230v Marina RCBO Power Lead with 20m of cable

At last, I could use a blow dryer on board! It has come in handy for other uses as well, like when a trade needs 230v shore power for a drill!

The dining options were endless. Lots of tourists with the cruise ships visiting.

Enjoying St. Alice’s Restaurant
View from St. Alice’s

We hired experienced divers to clean the hulls and props. It took over 2 hours and they were not wasting time. They said they did not see any evidence of marine pests and provided a certificate. The other marinas in the Bay of Islands and Whangarei are trying to keep this Mediterranean Fanworm out but it is well established in Auckland.

The fanworm, seen just below the waterline, has long branches with fans at the ends.

We hired World Power to come and do a battery load test. Claire, our “sparky”, thought they might have another season left in them.

Claire from World Power discussing our battery, monitors and charging systems with Monty
Monty “assisting” Claire

After seeing the results of the load test, Monty decided it was wiser to replace. Not fun trying to source batteries in the islands.

Claire disconnecting and removing the old batteries
Testing the new US Batteries, weighing 54kg each!
Devon from World Power hauling the new batteries. Better his young back!
Wonderful to find replacements (at a reasonable price) that fit the battery box even better than the last ones!

On a calm day, we tackled other jobs like going up the mast to lubricate the mast track and shives and raise our code zero sail.

Bill on Music (from Vancouver) arrives in the Viaduct Marina. We had met him in Fiji.
We joined Bill and his crew member, Peter, for dinner at the RNZYS. The yacht club is open to all, and had good food at reasonable prices!
View from the RNZYS of the busy Westhaven Marina and city skyline

Some scenes from around Auckland.

Chinese New Year, celebrated at Sky City, a complex with a casino, hotel and Sky Tower
A wall puzzle by the Viaduct. People spent hours working on it.
A “trampoline” filled with water, enjoyed by “young and old!
Remember to walk (and drive) on the left!

My heart was often in my throat trying to avoid being run over by the bicycles and electric scooters sharing the pedestrian paths. The “LimeS” (green electric scooters for hire seen above) were taken off the road while we were there. Too many accidents! It was so much more peaceful walking after they were removed.

Another mode to get around town! Auckland was popular for stags and stagettes!
Queen Victoria in port
Three cruise ships in port at the same time! My Dad said it was a great way to see NZ!
Ominous sky at sunset

For a change, I took a few night shots on terra firma! Hard to use a tripod on a boat! Monty kindly played caddie and scouted out interesting perspectives.

A tourist boat returns into the Viaduct Marina at dusk.
Sky Tower shrouded by clouds.

Our first couple weeks in NZ seemed time evaporated. We were so busy with boat jobs, we never got to do any touristy things like visit the Maritime Museum or going up Sky Tower. We will just have to come back!

Thanks for coming along on our adventure. Next up, cruising in the Hauraki Gulf.