Monday, March 23, 2020

A Quick CINNABAR Update

We are in Whangarei, New Zealand. We are fine (so far). We apologize for the lack of blog updates but we've been crazy busy putting CINNABAR back together. If you recall, we hauled the boat out of the water one year ago. Since then we, and professional local tradespeople, have been working on her to repair/refit a variety of issues. More on this work later in another post.

With all that is happening in the world regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and being away from home we are super concerned for our friends and family back in the states and other places around the world. On one hand there is the feeling of "I want to go home right now!" On the other hand we feel fortunate to be in a country where most people, including the Prime Minister (PM) seem to be sensible and kind. We'll see if those traits manage to be upheld as the health situation worsens here.

On 23 February the first known infected person entered New Zealand via airplane. That individual was tested 2 days later and tested positive. Yesterday there were up to 66 tested positive (total so far) and today the official number has reached 102 positives so far. Most of those cases had traveled out of New Zealand, but now (not surprisingly) they are seeing some testing positive that are community infected, i.e. the individuals had not traveled out of country. So far most of the infected seem to be in highly populated areas such as the capital city Auckland. 

In our yachting community many of us are returning to our yachts from overseas. Our friends who returned from Italy stayed quarantined on their boat for 3 weeks just to be safe - good for them! In our boatyard/marina some friends made it back from the Netherlands the night before the NZ border closed. They are quarantined on their boat which is out of the water and high on stands. The boatyard installed a Porta-Potty under their boat which only they can use, a wonderfully proactive idea which keeps them out of the public facilities. But we have also heard that some returning yachties are behaving in a cavalier fashion and not respecting the self-isolating as instructed. It's extremely worrisome to know that people in our direct circle of friends could be a health hazard. Especially since most of us are retired, ahem... "older" folks. 

Today New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern announced that the entire country would be in lockdown starting Wednesday. For us this means that all the tradespeople and vendors that we utilize will not be available to us for at least 4 weeks.

We're going to miss the help we get from local boat builders. Alister and Tom fit the anchoring hardware onto the sprit.

Hopefully we (as in Tom and I only) will be able to keep working on CINNABAR but we won't be able to purchase anything else if we need it until lockdown is over. 

We yachties are like migrating birds and here is our migration schedule: 1) typically the yachts sail out of NZ and north to the tropical island groups in May or June when cyclone season ends; 2) then we return to weather-safe NZ (or Australia or somewhere else out of the cyclone belt) when cyclone season begins in November. Tom and I are here on visas which expire on May 30th. Our plans were to sail to Fiji before that but with all the border closures sailing anywhere may not be an option for us this year. CINNABAR also has a visa (of sorts) and hers expires November 15, 2020. (Yes, humans can only stay 3 months and get a special extension for another 3 but boats get TWO YEARS automatically!) If we can't sail to Fiji this year we'll have to get special permission (if possible) for the boat to stay in NZ past November. We're working on this now but Customs and Immigration NZ is SWAMPED with phone calls and email queries. They got over 50,000 calls last Thursday. 

All the boats that were planning to sail from the US/Mexico/Panama to French Polynesia this year are having to change their plans. If they haven't left yet they are advised to stay put. Boats in transit will either have to remain in their first port of call (usually The Marquesas) or possibly have to sail directly to Tahiti. No inter-island sailing will be allowed. Our friends already (or still) in French Poly are concerned about their next moves. Currently they cannot leave their boats to go ashore and there is talk about them having to leave their boats in Tahiti (or wherever) and flying home.

On March 17 a group of us went to the movies and then an Irish Pub to celebrate St Paddy's Day. As with all over the world, those times have changed. It just took a little longer to get to this island nation.

With fellow yachties at the pub, Tom took the picture.

Today we are scrambling around making lists of everything we think we might need to buy for the boat because tomorrow will be our last opportunity for a month. After that we will either make do with what we have or just wait until we can get boat supplies. The inconvenience is well worth it to keep us all safe and healthy.

VIRTUAL hugs to you all.


  1. Nutball / friends / fam are all good... Will trade you Epoxy for TP? "price adjusted"

  2. Glad to hear! As typical yachties we've got PLENTY of TP stored onboard.

  3. We know how resourceful cruisers can be - thanks for the update. We know we'll see you when we do and there will be more stories to share. Stay Safe! Meanwhile, back to mowing & weeding.....