penguin down under

Tue 24 Oct 2006 07:37

A month after Nick and Jo leaving Tonga, the crew of Penguin were sailing towards the

White Knights of the east coast of New Zealand. Heading towards Whangarei where Jackie had been sorting out marina's etc for our arrival.


We had left Tonga a week earlier with one blade of the folding propeller not operating.

As a result the whole propeller shaft tried to shake the engine out when we used it.

Getting things fixed in Tonga was not an option so we decided to sail to New Zealand .


The highlight of the trip was catching a big tuna which put up a good fight for ten / fifteen minute, came to the surface and fought no more. As we reeled it in we realised

that there seemed  to be a lot of interest and activity in the water.

We pulled it on the boat as quickly as we could to find we had only half a tuna and a

shark had taken the other. The shark then followed the boat for the next fifteen minutes eating whatever was thrown over. We only needed about a quarter of what was left to feed us all the way to New Zealand.


After eight days of sailing we got to within fifty miles of Whangarei at six in the morning and looked forward to be drinking beer at a bar sometime later in the afternoon. As with most things to do with sailing it was never going to be that easy and we ended up sailing

into wind between the headland and the island and anchoring up at four in the morning in

a place called Smugglers Cove. Jackie had kept in touch through radio messages and was

expecting us sometime, she was more realistic about what time we would arrive.


The following morning after three hours sleep we radioed through to the Whangarei harbour master. By this time the propeller was not driving the boat at all and we needed

assistance to get up the river and clear customs. Our radio call to the harbour master initiated a pre conceived plan and within half an hour the coast guard came out to tow

us in and take us to the customs. We were then towed the rest of the way up the river by

a local fisherman. The operation had been put in place by Jackie and the boat yard operator.


So that was it Penguin had sailed half way round the world and was towed in to New Zealand to be met by Jackie and a bottle of champagne. It was great to have achieved our

half way point, the sad part about it was that Colin was going to go down to the South Island and Niamh would soon be off to Ireland and then Australia. Niamh will be rejoining Penguin in March for the return trip to the UK. We had sailed together for

five months, seen loads and had a great time together.At the start of the trip a year ago

in Lymington the idea of sailing to New Zealand with two unkowns  was not part of the

plan but fate has a way of sorting things out and I   sailed across the Pacific in the

company of two great characters and had lots of fun. So here's to the crew.


We had got to New Zealand and would be able to fold the sails away tie the boat up to a pontoon and would no longer travel anywhere by sea for the next few months. As most of you are aware back home this would be the pleasurable part of the trip for Jackie.

She can get her tennis racket out, her walking boots, riding boots & have her feet firmly attached to the ground. She is also surrounded by plants, birds, houses,gardens & Kiwi's with a great sense of humour. It had taken her three hours to fly from Tonga and during

the week she was in New Zealand before us she had sorted out accommodation and joined the local tennis club. She is now featuring in the matches for the club. Giving

the locals a hard time.!


We have spent the last few weeks doing plenty of sight seeing ,great walking. I spend

most mornings on the boat while Jak plays tennis and in the afternoons we head off into

the countryside. So all in all everything has been going well. We are now looking forward to our friends Jane and Peter Hannifan   coming over to see us early next month.We will then go travelling through both North and South Island and become

real pommy tourist.


There has only been one unfortunate incident, whilst walking across a road in Whangarie

Niamh got knocked over by a van. She ended up with a broken wrist and bruised ribs and

we received a phone call from casualty asking us to collect her which was very worrying. She spent a couple of weeks getting herself fit again and we put her on the plane on

Sunday 23rd bound for Ireland. She was smiling but with her arm still in a cast. We have certified her as a fully qualified single handed sailor and look forward to her being a

double handed on her return.


We are based at Riverside Drive Marina, P.O Box 1709, Riverside Drive , Whangerei   New Zealand.  We are looking forward to getting at least one Xmas card this year

Because last year we had only cards brought out to us by J & Clare. Ah,

We will try and send photos with this up date but they might arrive a few days late.

Sorry for this minor problem, our IT dept having pissed off….




Now that we are on land HLS is fully occupied playing tennis. Or so it would appear.

HMMM .Nothing else to do.!Wonder who typed this for a start.?

Enjoying New Zealand making the best of having Rob tethered to dry land for a while.

Be back sometime early in 2007 when I have exhausted all the locals or myself.


Lv Jak








Blowing off  Tonga.






Shark attack.

Sept 7th 2006 Half way.

The lady that pulls the string's


Smugglers cove seen from the top of Bream Head, afternoon walks.

Man in white van did this. Niamh's best evil stare.!

Come out Frodo, the camera's r here

Hot & Steamy Rob & Jak reunited. Rotarua!



No not the latest swimming pool. Chemical lake caused by volcanic activity which changes colour depending on the chemicals released.


SOLVED, how the Kiwi bird became endangered. Their all stuffed in museums.!