Friday, May 1, 2009

About the Trip

Peter, Antonia and Silas Murphy are attempting to sail around New Zealand.

The immediate question that people usually ask us is: “WHY?” After all, the trip involves some difficult and uncomfortable sailing. The winds are strong and changeable, the seas can be quite large, the weather has a tendency to be cold and wet, and penguins are more likely to go swimming here than people. As we come down the South Island and round Stewart Island, we will be traveling well into the Roaring Forties, a notoriously unpleasant place to sail.

There are several reasons for our madness. Our first excuse is that Antonia is writing a book about the adventure. Not a cruising guide or a sailing book, this will be a funny travelogue that weaves contemporary and historical New Zealand together with the story of our voyage. It’ll be good. When she writes it, you should buy a copy.

The other reasons are more abstract. The trip is beautiful, foolish and poetic, an irresistible combination. Since 2005, we’ve taken Sereia through more than 12,000 miles of trade wind sailing, and we found ourselves ready for something more challenging. The fact that few people sail these waters means that we will encounter more wild albatross, more untouched wilderness, and less beach volleyball.

We use the phrase “attempting” to sail around New Zealand advisedly. We have a two year-old baby on board. Antonia is pregnant with our second child, due in May. And our boat is thirty years old. As experienced sailors, we are well aware that we may get turned around by dangerous weather or nautical mishap. But we’re giving it our best shot, regardless.

We are travelling clockwise around New Zealand’s three major islands: North, South, and Stewart. As our trip progresses, safe harbours will become fewer and farther apart. Our planned itinerary is as follows: Whangarei – Bay of Islands – Whangarei – Auckland – Tauranga – Gisborne – Napier – Christchurch – Dunedin – Stewart Island – Fiordland – Nelson – Bay of Islands – Whangarei.

This blog will follow our travels, and serve as a sketchpad of sorts for the book. Please join us online, and tell us what you think! We love hearing from our readers. It makes us feel a little less lonely, down here at the bottom of the world.

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