The First Step

A couple of months and a couple of lifestyle changes – in October we became a retired couple and this month (December 2017) we’re leaving our landbase – a berth in Westhaven Marina – to cruise the northern and eastern coast of the North Island taking in as many islands as possible, such as the Mercuries, Little and Great Barrier Islands and so forth down to White Island off Tauranga plus the coastal bays and villages along the way.  Then there’ll be the times when it will be necessary to find shelter from the weather regardless of where we’re headed.  Leaving the security of a marina berth has some apprehensive moments but it’s exactly what we want to do.  Only four days to go.  We’ve got plenty of time and hopefully will be fully-fledged cruisers by the time we set sail for Tonga in May 2018.  Well, that’s the plan anyway.

The vista of varying vessels has been an intriguing part of our stay at Westhaven.  This week both these vessels have been in our back yard.  On the left is an old New Zealand sailing ship Ted Ashby and a Russian superyacht Tango. 


Training with the All Blacks – yeah right!!!

Poetic licence – perhaps! At my regular gym workout with an awesome personal trainer, I puffed my way up the stairs to the fourth floor trying to keep up with Courtney. When we got there, I couldn’t read the look on her face then she said: “Maybe we shouldn’t be here, the All Blacks are training.” I looked around and then I knew it was true – there was Richie McCaw!! Wow, he and the team look so much bigger in real life than when they are being televised on a rugby field. I did my best not to look and intrude on their personal space, but it didn’t work that well. Had to get on with it then and off to the rowing machine – with Richie McCaw a few steps away, I have never rowed so hard in all my life. I smashed the 400 metres. Those guys are a real inspiration!

keven-mealamu-psport-1200Now the dead lifts – technique is everything here to prevent injury.  Here I was being pushed hard by Cadence and giving it my all when Keven Mealamu walked by and commented on my excellent technique. “Better than ours”. Yeah right!!   But I was stoked. Then he said I was doing an awesome job with my workout. Well, well, well, I was more than stoked – speechless!!

I guess it’s easy to tell who is an All Black fan! And now, especially a fan of Keven Mealamu.

Here is a comment and clip taken by Courtney when I first started dead-lifts:   “Cheryl is one of my awesome clients with a bad-ass attitude. Today was her first time doing deadlifts & she nailed it to say the least. Big things to come from this one! Proud of you Cheryl, keep up the good work 🙂


Shanghai 2014

The opulence of the Shanghai Yacht Club is impressive but where are the yachts?  There are more reception rooms than vessels in the marina, or berths for that matter.  After passing through two security guards with very explicit hand waving signals as to our desire to have a look at the Yacht Club, we were eventually delivered to a stunning

Decked out in gold at the Shanghai Yacht Club     The Wine Cellar

English-speaking receptionist, Coco, who not only welcomed us but gave us a personal tour through the Club: western and eastern designed reception rooms, see-through fish tanks, decks with gold bar tables and chairs not to mention the large bottles of Moet et Chandon awaiting purchase.  Permission to enter the wine cellar was granted by the 24/7 security guard; so many bottles and not a glass in sight!!  Each room was named after a yacht club around the world – there was a Royal New Zealand Yacht Club Room.  Now there’s an opening for the Squadron to rectify naming rights.

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The Xingyu Oriental Bund Hotel was more than adequate with just a few idiosyncrasies; the most disconcerting being that the temperature in all the rooms is set at 25 degrees Celsius – but don’t worry, “it will be fixed tomorrow” and, of course, tomorrow never comes. And we just get hotter and hotter.  I can tell you that eventually you do get used to it.  Receptionists speak limited English but then again we speak no Chinese.   Observation: a ringing mobile phone gets immediate attention no matter at what point the receptionist is dealing with a guest.

Xingyu Oriental Bund Hotel     What a choice; bullfrog or pig feet!

Strangely, there were two restaurants advertised for the use of guests but the first restaurant is for the exclusive use of the Chinese guests and we were not permitted to enter. Europeans ate in the adjacent restaurant with only one waiter who literally ran from table to table.  The dinner choices were minimal (but did include Sauteed Bullfrog and Pig Feet) compared with the extensive breakfast, which is similar to a full Asian dinner buffet with curries, noodle and rice dishes, steam buns, all sorts of meat, mushrooms and vegetables, won ton soup, etc.  Western food – fried eggs are cooked and left to cool on a saucer ready for the next European to collect it.  We passed on that one.

The Hop-on Hop-off bus was a great way to learn about and to see Shanghai but the highlights were finding the Captain’s Bar in an old building just off the Bund.  This bar had an open deck overlooking the river with it’s amazing views of the ultra modern buildings on the opposite bank along with the myriad of cargo ships relentlessly trekking up and down the river, some with minimal free-board.  The ambience was warm and friendly as was the

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Pudong Financial DistrictButtons for anyone?

personality of our guide on the Shanghai Shopping Tour.  What a treat – four people on the tour; a van at our disposal; and a guide with an in-depth knowledge of Shanghai who shared poignant points of both history and culture.  Emily and her team have already done the research of best value for money and have negotiated unbelievable prices for their clients.  Here we go – tailors poised to take our measurements, opticians with drawers and drawers of frames, souvenirs, silk factory showcasing duvet inners and covers, exquisite ceramic warehouse, leather goods, shoes, and a delicious lunch.  For the record, this tour is equally interesting for both men and women.

We came home with a tailor-made cashmere coat for Cheryl and shirts for Ian, leather gloves, a silk duvet inner and cover, prescription glasses for Ian and, of course, a few souvenirs. A very productive few hours!!  And the beauty of it all is that Emily and her crew collected our tailor made garments and prescription glasses, then packed all our purchases and mailed them back to NZ.  How good is that?

Just Keep Pumping!!


An aperitif (or two) on Silver Light

Just keep pumping!!

Anchored in Ngaruru Bay, Marlborough Sounds, Silver Light awaited the arrival of Gucci with Wai-aniwa in tow – literally!  They finally rounded the corner and after a flurry of fenders and springs we settled into a pleasant evening in the bay.

Next morning before breakfast – almost out of character – Gucci was up and away and headed for their destination. They were very quick off the mark and we planned to be close on their tail on our way to Endeavour Inlet.    Roger was managing to get the engine to tick over for a few seconds before it stopped again.  The start-stop of the engine was becoming repetitive when, from the depths of Wai-anawa, Roger asked Ian if we would tow them into Waikawa; and, of course, there is only one answer to that question regardless of the detour we would be making.

At that point and with some trepidation I decided to intervene – after all, I had been on a full day’s marine diesel engine course!!  Fully aware that not all men appreciated women interfering, particularly with a diesel engine,  I asked Roger to explain the problem. I suggested that he needed to keep pumping to get an air lock out of the fuel pipe – just keep pumping!!  He reluctantly said that he would try one more time.  The engine started ……… we waited ………the engine kept going………we waited……….and going.   Annalise and Ian looked at me in surprise and I was starting to feel surprise myself when the engine just kept going.   Eureka – one for the girls and Warren!!

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Wai-aniwa leaving Ngaruru Bay

We said that we would follow him to where he turned off to Waikawa and if all was going well, we’d continue to Endeavour Inlet.  All went very well and we waved them goodbye. When Wai-aniwa got closer to Waikawa Roger called the Coastguard for assistance as he’d turned off the engine to sail and wasn’t sure if it would start again.  Guess what, the engine started again!!  (We were listening on VHF.)   What a thrill!   A win/win for all concerned.

The Initiation


Potential marine diesel engine mechanics eating a hearty breakfast

Sitting here in the evening on Silver Light having a glass of wine with Janet, a neighbour and fellow diesel engine student, I ventured the idea of setting up a website but, no, Janet had other ideas and initiated me into the world of blogging.  Watch this space!

Janet is second from the right and is my inspiration for this blog.



And as a matter of interest, the person responsible for our extraordinary learning experience about marine diesel engines is Warren Algie from Beachroad Marine, Waikawa.

Warren doing what he does best – on his knees!!