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?

Bahamas, Boat Life

Cruising in the Bahamas

Bahamas Collage

We’ve spent two seasons cruising in the beautiful waters of the Bahamas. There’s a reason why the Bahamian islands are such popular cruising grounds – friendly people, crystal blue water, wonderful sailing, and lots to explore (both on land and in the water).

The first time we cruised in the Bahamas was in May 2015, right after we bought our sailboat, Tickety Boo. We sailed her to the Abacos on a shake-down cruise to see how the equipment and systems were working and, more importantly, what wasn’t working. We returned in 2017, spending five months exploring more of the Bahamas including the Abacos, the Exumas, the Berries, Cat Island, and Eleuthera.

If you want to know why we loved our time in the Bahamas so much, all you have to do is check out these pictures. It’s a truly magical place.

Hope Town View (800x533)
Exploring Hope Town, Abacos.
St Lukes Fair2 (800x533)
Enjoying a chicken dinner at a local church fair in Rock Sound, Eleuthera.
Hermitage2 (800x520)
Visiting The Hermitage on Cat Island.
Stocking Island3 (800x533)
Going for a hike on Stocking Island, Exumas.
Piggy Carrots (800x413)
Feeding one of the swimming pigs at Big Major’s Spot, Exumas.
Dinghy (800x534)
Taking our dinghy to shore and exploring one of the islands near Hoffman Cay, Berries.
Black Point Sailboat (800x533)
Watching locals racing at Black Point, Exumas.

Have you ever been to the Bahamas? If so, what did you enjoy the most?

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Boat Life

Naming Our Boat Tickety Boo

Tickety Boo Bow

Our boat has had four names in its lifetime – What a Day, Y-Knot, Moody Blue, and Tickety Boo. In some ways, it seems odd to change a boat’s name. After all, you wouldn’t adopt a child and change her name. You might change a baby’s name, but imagine saying to a seven-year-old child, “From this day forward, your new name is Esther. Start getting used to it! Now, sit up and eat your peas. They’re good for you.” 

Our boat is even older – 28 years old to be exact. She wasn’t too impressed by the fact that we changed her name – again. In fact, when we told her that we were going to change her name, suddenly equipment started breaking. I think it was her way of letting us know that she was struggling to embrace this whole name change nonsense. Even 28- year-old sailboats have been known to throw a temper tantrum from time to time.

We sat down with her and told what her new name meant. Tickety boo is one of our favorite New Zealand expressions. We love living in New Zealand and wanted a little Kiwi touch on our new boat. We explained that it’s a British expression meaning that “everything is all good.” Which is exactly what you want on a boat – for everything to be all good.

After that, she got on board with her new name.

Tickety Boo Definition

I’m not sure what the true origin of tickety boo is – there are a lot of different stories out there. It could have come from the Hindi expression, “Tikai Babu,” meaning “It’s alright, Sir” or it could be a shortened version of “That’s the ticket.” Whatever the origin, it’s got a nice meaning and it’s fun to say. Go on, say it aloud – tickety boo. Kind of makes you smile, doesn’t it?

When I tell people the name of our boat, I get one of two reactions – “Oh, how cute!” and “Wow, your husband must really love you to let you name your boat that.” Considering most Americans have never heard the expression, it certainly generates a lot of questions about what it means. A guaranteed conversation starter.

Had you heard the expression Tickety Boo before? What are your favorite boat names?

Boat Life

Our Boat | Tickety Boo

Tickety Boo Little Bahama Bank - Copy

We live on a Moody 346 sailboat, Tickety Boo, which we bought in April 2015. She’s 34-feet long with about 350 square feet of living space. That might seem like a really small space for two people to live in, but it’s a step up from our 13-foot Scamp travel trailer, which had about 65 square feet, and our first sailboat, which had about 250 square feet.

Let’s go for a little tour so you can get a feel for life aboard our sailboat.

Here’s the layout of our boat. She has five main living areas – a v-berth, an aft cabin, the saloon, the head, and the galley.

Moody 346 Layout

This is our main cabin, or saloon. It functions as our living room and dining room. It has a table which can fold out and seat six people. Our water tanks are stored under the settees.

Tickety Boo Saloon2

This is our kitchen, or galley. It can be a bit of a juggling act trying to find room to set things down when you’re doing food prep and cooking. When we’re out at sea, our stove gimbals so that our pots and pans don’t go flying everywhere. We have a small fridge (no freezer) which you access from the top of the counter. The microwave doesn’t work, so we use it for storage, as well as to protect our electrical devices during lightning storms.

Tickety Boo Galley

This is our bathroom, or head. If you want to take a shower, you pull out the faucet from the sink and shower right next to the toilet and sink. We don’t use the shower in our bathroom, preferring to bathe in the ocean or by using a solar shower in our cockpit.

Tickety Boo Head

This is our v-berth, which is the cabin at the pointy end of our boat. I like to think of it as our garage as we use it for storage, stowing stuff under the berth, on top of the berth, and in cupboards on either side of the berth.

Tidy V-Berth

This is our bedroom, or aft cabin. I love the fact that it has a decent size bed for a boat this size and a separate seating area.

Moody 346 Aft Cabin2Moody 346 Aft Cabin

Our cockpit is where we spend much of our time when we’re out cruising. The cabins down below can get quite hot, so we tend to relax in the cockpit and enjoy the cool sea breezes.

Moody Blue Cockpit

How big is your house? Could you live on a small sailboat?