I popped down to Auckland for the weekend, and next thing I knew, Jim and Island Prism had sailed to join me! It's early Autumn, which means we get four seasons in one day (if you don't like the weather, look in a different direction!). The light was interesting so I filmed the trip- look out for a very fast sail-by from the newest America's Cup boat (it kicks up quite a wake!). It was wonderful to see Aotearoa, the waka moana, sailing past downtown Auckland and the hulking mass of the Emerald Princess! Ocean cruising past and present... Whilst I wouldn't mind a buffet and a pool, I'll stick with the slower-paced way of doing things- it feels like more of an adventure. I wonder if I'll be saying the same thing after the passage to the Austral Islands?
Our departure date gets closer and we are gradually ticking boat jobs off of our to-do list. Having the windvane up and running is a game-changer for long ocean passages with only two of us on the boat. Hand steering for three weeks would become very arduous. The windvane allows us to set a course and then relax, hands-free. We still need to keep watch, and if the wind changes we have to manually adjust the sails and vane to stay on course, but it gives us a bit more freedom during our watches. Our windvane also has the great advantage of using the wind to power it, saving energy. I've made a short video about how it works (it's a very rough guide!).
We've been back in Tutukaka with Island Prism for a couple of weeks. Jim's been working on fixing our leaky water tanks whilst I've been relief teaching at the school in Ngunguru- a welcome top-up to the cruising kitty! Once we get overseas, working becomes more complicated- generally we travel on tourist visas meaning that paid employment is forbidden. One of my boat tasks at the moment is checking that our visa info is up-to-date. Things can change quickly, especially the world's current political climate, and it's worth keeping on top of things, though immigration websites are not always the easiest to negotiate. Thank heavens for art to help me relax!
I've been going back to the sketches and video I took on our trip out to the Poor Knights a few weeks back. I'd love to go out there again, but Prism is stuck here until the water tank repairs have cured and we can fill both tanks (we're currently surviving with our smaller 20 gallon tank and are very thankful of our proximity to the marina!).
We haven't seen marlins in the water- just being hauled out at the game fish club. They are very tasty, but also incredibly beautiful, so it makes me rather sad. I brought the one above back to life, using some of the trophies inside the club as inspiration.
We've also been lucky enough to see Owha, the leopard seal. Normally they hang around the Antarctic, pestering penguins and being generally fearsome. Owha is enjoying a northern summer, first in Auckland and now on the Tutukaka Coast. She's been visiting the marina, and paid a visit to Island Prism whilst we we anchored in Pacific Bay. Very exciting- she's a beautiful creature- but we won't be swimming for a while!
I've been continuing practicing with my brush pen-I'm enjoying the way the style is working. I tried to use it for the textures on the rocks on the paintings of the pinnacle and the stream of knifefish below. It took a lot of concentration, but ended up feeling quite meditative as I tried to use the very tip. There seems to be a single hair that sticks out a little- it's a bit annoying but seems to be useful for very fine work!
I've been putting together an Etsy shop and think I'll put a few of these in there- more details to come but I hope to get it finalised over the next few days. I've been a bit hesitant over selling my originals- I think my inner critic gets a bit chatty, even though I've had my Redbubble store for a while now! But I've started to feel sorry for them just being filed away on the boat, so hopefully a few of them will find some loving homes!
In the meantime, I think I'll add a few more to this series- I'm playing with some compositions involving rays, so we'll see how those turn out! Plus continuing to get the boat ready- we have a month and a half left here in NZ before the big adventure, and I see that painting the cockpit has been added to my 'to-do' list!
An Artist Afloat- Painting the world one anchorage at a time.