July 19, 2013

containers, marriage & nostalgia for where it all began

Seems very fitting that we would end up at the Viaduct, living with three kids aboard Anasazi Girl. The most ironic part is that we are surrounded by development that has integrated creative multi-use shipping containers into the landscape.

The entire waterfront has changed, but in some ways things don't feel all that different from the way it was when James and I first came here in 2007.  When we see the containers, it's nice to be reminded of how this place used to be back when we were first in love and ready to start a life together.

Thinking back on the history we have with this city, it made perfect sense to choose Auckland as the location to get married.  Eight years after we first met, three kids later, and more adventures together that I ever imagined you could squeeze into such a short amount of time - James and I finally tied the knot.

We had a civil ceremony on July 1st at the office of Internal Affairs with a small group of witnesses, celebrating after at the top of Sky Tower.  We partied the following weekend at the home of our friend & midwife Tina Patrick in Ponsonby.  Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us on short notice.  The love has always been there, but it felt really good to make it official.

Te Wero Island, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland - NEW ZEALAND (July 2013)
James talking to our good friend Judy Churchouse on the urban astro-turf at the book swap container. James was cruising in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in the 80's on a Blackburn 2 tonner called Nyamba when he met Michael & Judy Churchouse. The Kiwi couple spent seven years circumnavigating the world on a Lidguard 30 with a Chinese junk rig called Shantung. We reconnected with them in 2007, and they have since become like family to us.  Thanks Judy for the awesome spread of food & Michael for walking me down the "aisle" at our Kiwi wedding two weekends ago.

Fremantle Sailing Club, WESTERN AUSTRALIA (May 2007)
During James' solo voyage (2005-2008), he made a non-stop record attempt from Cape Town to Tauranga. He was ahead of Derek Hatfield's record when he broke Anasazi Girl's mast deep in the Southern Ocean. He successfully brought her unassisted under a jury-rig into the port of Albany. A. Girl got moved up the coast to Fremantle and the mast was transported separately by road to Brett Burville at Windrush Yachts for the repair. A month before he departed for New Zealand, we cycled to the container port, found & bought a used 20 footer (above). This box served as a storage space and workshop while James prepared for his passage. By this time, James had Anasazi Girl dialed and had figured out that when he left port, it was all about sailing, not working on the boat. From that point on, he sailed super light with only the bare essentials, shipping spares to the next port of call.

In October 2007, James and I conceived our first child Tormentina in a 20' sea container on the wharf in Auckland.

At that time, he was preparing for the second half of his solo circumnavigation aboard Anasazi Girl.  This leg (9000nm crossing 13 time zones) would complete his circle around Antarctica. He loved sailing in the Southern Ocean and wanted to experience every nautical mile of it.

After two years of being in an atypical relationship that had spanned several oceans and continents, James and I committed.  We decided to start a family together.  When we succeeded at getting pregnant, the boat was hauled out at the Viaduct, next to the Team New Zealand America’s Cup base where the Events Center is currently located.

We were living dirt-bag style, squatting in the windowless container next to the boat.  Accommodation was simple:  a foam mattress and sleeping bags on the floor, MSR camp stove, no refrigeration.  

Inside, we set up a temporary office and workshop.  We were surrounded by all the boat gear, which included 1000 meters of spectra lines, fenders, dock lines, boat spares, tools, and sails.  We had road bikes and Sector 9 longboards to cruise around on.  Showers happened at the Team NZ base and the Auckland City Tepid Baths.

Life was simple.  We were in love, we had each other, and a mutual promise to do everything we could to live an outrageous life together.

We no longer have the 20 footer that sealed our fate together, but it's nice to walk around the waterfront now and be reminded of those special days.

The scene in our 20' container parked on the wharf at the Viaduct.
Auckland, NEW ZEALAND (September 2007)

James styling on the Sector 9 longboard with Anasazi Girl & the ETNZ base in the background.
Viaduct Harbour, Auckland - NEW ZEALAND (October 2007)

Container scene:  James drinking Taragui Yerba Mate with a bombilla and a traditional gourd.
Viaduct Harbour, Auckland - NEW ZEALAND (December 2007)


  1. If you are a girl longboarder, then you should learn to support other girls for riding longboards. You can start your own crew if you don’t have one in your city.