Boat Life, New Zealand

Cruising in New Zealand

NZ Collage

When I told my husband, Scott, that I had a job offer in New Zealand, he was over the moon. Sure, the job offer was nice, but what he was really excited about was living in Auckland, otherwise known as the City of Sails.

During our time living in Scotland, Scott had become obsessed with sailing as a result of his time crewing on sailboats in the Mediterranean and racing in Scotland and Ireland. He had hatched a cunning plan to buy a sailboat, move aboard, and head off into the sunset. He just had one problem — convincing me that this was a good idea. What better place to win me over to the joys of sailing and cruising, he thought, than Auckland?

Turns out he was right. We chartered boats in the Bay of Islands for a couple of years, then I suggested that we buy our first sailboat, a Raven 26. Next thing you know, we moved aboard, cruised in New Zealand, decided that this was a great lifestyle, and eventually moved back to the States to buy a bigger boat.

My experiences learning how to sail (which is still very much a work in progress) and living aboard a boat in New Zealand are reflected to a degree in the main character of my cozy mystery series, Mollie McGhie. Mollie’s husband has a dream to buy a boat and go cruising, and then tries to convince her that it’s a good idea.

Have a look at the pictures below and you’ll get an idea of how wonderful sailing and cruising in New Zealand is. With scenery and anchorages like you find in New Zealand, is it any wonder that I decided full-time cruising was a good idea?

Peach Bay NZ (800x533)
Watching the sun go down at Peachgrove Bay, Mercury Islands.
Westhaven Skyline
Westhaven Marina in Auckland, where we kept our boat.
Sunset Te Kouma.JPG
Sunset at Te Kouma Harbour, Coromandel.
Paradise Bay
Our boat, Rainbows End, anchored at Paradise Bay, Urapukapuka Island.
Mt Hobson Walk 22
View from Mt. Hobson, Great Barrier Island.

If you want to read more about our adventures in New Zealand, check out this page on our other blog, The Cynical Sailor.

Have you ever been to New Zealand? Is it someplace you’d like to go to?


Writing Inspiration | Press-On Nails

Press On Nails (800x449)

Sometimes, inspiration for my writing can come from most unlikely places. Like the time I was walking through Walmart, looking for moisturizer, when I stumbled across a display of press-on nails. I was mesmerized by all of the colors, patterns, and designs. For a few moments, I was tempted to buy some and add instant glamour to my life.

Then I remembered that I live on a sailboat. Boat life can be hard on your nails, especially when you’re in the midst of boat projects. Long nails and manicures aren’t all that practical for me. So, I put the sparkly nails back on the rack.

While I continued with my shopping, I thought about press-on nails and a wedding we attended many years ago. One woman started off the evening with long nails, but by the end of the evening, after one too many glasses of champagne, she had pulled them all off, scattering a few on the floor.

I tossed a couple of chocolate bars into my cart and wondered if I could somehow incorporate press-on nails into my cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina Ideas kept running through my head — What if a press-on nail was found at a murder scene? Who would that implicate? What color would the nail be?

Before I knew it, I had the makings of a new scene fleshed out. I picked up a bag of spinach to counteract the chocolate bars, hit the check-out line, and headed back to the boat to get it all down on paper. Who knew grocery shopping could be so inspiring.

What inspires your creative pursuits?