New Zealand Cruising Begins!

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After over a year of living out of suitcases and trekking from California to Canada to Europe, back to California and then Indiana, we are finally and happily back on board our beloved boat SV Banyan on the beautiful north island of New Zealand! We flew over the dateline on my birthday… so no aging for me this year;).

We are slipping back into the life of a cruising family. Cameron is completely absorbed with the power situation on board.  Turns out all of our solar panels are blown, the charger needed replacing (or did it…), our engine starter battery is done, the dinghy is in need of some patching and there are about 50 other little things that need doing – including getting the fridge up and running… just minor things like that. Luckily the mold wasn’t too bad and we only found one dead cockroach! We were able to move right in.

I’ve been busy the first few days pulling everything out of its lockers, deciding if we still need it and organizing and putting back.  I started with books, then games, then art supplies then toiletries and medical supplies and the kitchen.  Oddly two cans of coca-cola were completely empty, but not opened… that must be the source of the strange brown powder all over the canned food.  We still have more to do, but it’s coming along.  All the cushions need washing, we have heaps of things that need to be given away and the to-do list feels a bit daunting.

But, we are falling back into the rhythms that make our life on the boat so wonderful.  Cameron and I stop at sunset for a sundowner and talk about the day and our plans.  The girls lay in bed in the mornings reading their books and I can hear them turning the pages as I wake up – a sweet sound I’d forgotten that I’d missed. I’m also remembering that feverish need to connect with other kid boats. We stumbled upon our Finish friends from SV Panacea and have already had a picnic with them and have plans for more.

What we will do and how we will spend our time for the next few months feels very very up in the air.  More to come as we sort out our near future.  In the meantime, we are enjoying the charm of New Zealand’s people and we are so happy to be in a place where sourcing equipment and parts is a cinch.

On our way to the Airport in Indiana, we left and with four bags and returned with five… uh oh!



  1. Barbara Vawter says:

    You’re an amazing family and so dear to our hearts. Indiana and our families were blessed in so many ways to have you with us. Enjoy N Zealand, a beautiful country & very friendly people.

  2. Scott Gerber says:

    I wake up often, hoping that there will be an update from the Vawters!! You consistently come through, just as I start to think that I have somehow “fallen – off “ your distribution list! While we have a beautiful sailboat, I dream about living your life! Keep the ink flowing, more on the electrical system please and how you solve the constant need to fix things onboard! All the Best Scott Gerber SV Late Harvest

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Hey Scott, Great idea! I’ll have Cameron author a post all about the power situation and all the repairs onboard and how we deal with them. It is never-ending as I’m sure you know. Dealing with things here in New Zealand has proven to be much easier than in many places we’ve had to make repairs. But there is always a hitch. It’s kind of like working on a puzzle constantly along with a 2-year-old who is also “working on it”. more to come!

  3. Joyce Beery Miles says:

    Glad to follow you back on the water…….although your land adventures have also been exciting. We just missed seeing you in France in May/June 2019. The Purdue President’s Council has just left New Zealand and are on to Australia. They are cruising and doing land tours. They shared many Facebook photos of the lovely island, New Zealand.

    • Anne Vawter says:

      HAHAHA! Thanks to YOU we do now have a GIANT additional stuffed sheepdog on board… Yes, A put him and all the stuffies into a stuff sack and got them down to the size of a soccer ball. Charles is now a boat dog:)

  4. Marianne McGriff says:

    Good morning, ALL
    Your blog began my morning with such joy and Blessing. We LOVED our time with you here and miss you!!! Thank you for keeping up-to-date with events/pictures!!! I’ll email you with some things going on here…love to ALL, Marianne

  5. karen says:

    I love that you got to move right onto the boat yay! Ahh that sundowner sounds divine. Got me a bit jealous so I better go take some liquid drops of vitamin D before I really start to think about it haha! The weather here has been lots of snow, and then it has warmed up to the 30’s and 40s so that means it’s melty and the valley is too warm and there are lots and lots of ski tourists. There has fortunately (for fire season concerns) been a lot of snow in the mountains, so we are optimistic for a good summer!

    Can’t wait to see more pics and the video! Also does/will Isa need a new violin? Daniel’s aunt is selling a nice looking one and I can send you pics if you’re interested in it for next year….
    Tell the girls Jolie made pita bread last night for a class Mediterranean feast to conclude some Greek history and geography studies and she gets her braces on tomorrow!

    BIG (across the world) HUGS!

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Ya know, you can have a sundowner in Montana… although it might be at 4pm… :). The weather is a bit different here. We are running around in shorts and T-shirts and sandals, but with the influence of the ocean it can cool down fast. The sun beats down on you like crazy and then a cloud comes along and you are freezing. Well… freezing in a relative kind of way:) December video coming soon! I’ve been TERRIBLE about taking video in early January, but I’ll cobble something together:). Yassoo Jolie!

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Hi Taylor,
      The flight was fine. It was a little bumpy for a bit early on. We flew out of Indy at 6:30am so we were up early on Eastern time. Then we had a 13-hour layover in San Francisco where we went to see my parents. We were all exhausted when we got on board at 11pm which was perfect because we all slept really pretty well and were ready to take on the world (and the driving on the left side of the road) at 8am NZ time when we landed. None of us has had any jet lag! It’s really only 3 hours different from Pacific Time … oh yeah, and a day ahead :).

  6. Debi Vawter says:

    Sounds like you will be busy for a few days! But, will all be worth it… We enjoyed seeing you over Christmas! Safe sailing, we will look forward to your posts as always. Love you all..
    Aunt Debi

  7. Ruth says:

    Thank God you arrived safely to your home on the water. We are grateful you visited us in Lafayette while you were in Indy. We enjoy your blogs with your adventures, food, history, nature, musical talents, etc. Blessings of protection along your journey. Praying your boat is in tip top shape for sailing when you are ready.

  8. Libbey McKendry says:

    I agree with Barbara. You are an amazing family and we loved, and I do mean loved having you in our area for much of the year. Each of you are a blessing to Poppi and me.

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