Alphabet Photography Project Bay of Islands

Alphabet Photography Project | N is for New Zealand

Wednesday, December 23, 2015S.V. CAMBRIA

Welcome to another installment of the ‘Alphabet Photography Project’ a blog-hop sponsored by PODcast where each week I post a picture from our life on the water that represents a letter of the alphabet and write a short blog about it. This week’s letter is n and (I have to admit) I struggled a bit.


I came up with a few ideas: nun buoy (we have a great photo of  Stellar Sea Lions napping on one); nostalgia (because I can’t help but long for the days of summer); and night (because yesterday was the Winter Solstice – my favourite day of the year). But honestly, one of the most important n’s in our lives is the country New Zealand.


Long, long ago in a time before the blog, David and I lived in New Zealand. Like a lot cruisers, we sold just about everything we owned, packed up what was remaining and left the US behind to go sail the world. The only problem was we didn’t own an ocean-going boat.


In 2000, New Zealand received a lot of attention because of the America’s Cup. ESPN televised the races live and Tourism New Zealand started a huge advertising campaign, using the coverage as a platform. At the same time, just about every edition of Cruising World and Sail Magazine seemed to run a story about the country. We were sold. Not only is New Zealand knock-your-socks-off beautiful, the US dollar was strong at the time and the exchange rate was in our favour (around $.040). So, we hopped on a plane and flew to Auckand to search for our new home.


We found one and spent the next two years prepping her to go offshore. In the meantime, we fell in love with New Zealand and what was supposed to be a six month stay turned into six years. A lot happened between the time we arrived and the time we left (including buying another boat – that would be Cambria – and starting the process all over again), but I won’t bore you with the details.


We did a lot of cruising while we were in New Zealand and one of our favourite places was the Bay of Islands, so I really wanted to use a picture from our time there. Because Christmas is this week, I chose this one of Marsden Cross overlooking Cambria anchored in Rangihoua Bay. It’s not the most beautiful place in the BOI, not by a long shot, but its historical significance is timely – the cross marks the spot of the first Christmas sermon given in New Zealand.


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  1. Perfect pick for the letter N! A couple of years ago, I read some excerpts from old diaries that talked about this service. Fascinating subject.

    1. The history of the Bay of Islands overall really is interesting, isn't it? It seemed like every anchorage had a story to tell.

  2. Replies
    1. We really do miss it, especially this time of year. Some of our best Christmases were spent in the cockpit of Cambria while at anchor. The good news is that we can (and will) go back one day.

  3. Very interesting - and I'm not surprised you fell in love with New Zealand!