Going North for Summer


“Where are you living now?” is a question I commonly hear. At times, this can be a little unfair. We were in Tasmania for over 5 years after all! At other times, it can seem a reasonable question. The past two years saw us living in Laos, Australia, New Zealand’s south island, and now, the almost tropical by comparison, Auckland region. Christmas and New Years break was a taken up by an unceasing exercise in packing, op-shop donations and cleaning. In the first week of January, a truck arrived, and large men who drank a lot of V and Red Bull, loaded a 20ft container with our most prized possessions.

Excluding furniture and boats, just about everything we simply can’t live without
One 20ft container (just) takes the lot, two boats take a lot of room…
As with most places we leave, it can get a little emotional. More so when fresh tomatoes were so close..
The Picton ferry carries us across the Cook Strait
Goodbye South Island, hello North!

The north island is more densely populated than the South, and Auckland, although not the capital (Wellington has that honour) is New Zealands largest city. Choosing a location to live, that matched our sensibilities, whilst still being within a reasonable distance of the office proved challenging. In the end, compromises needed to be made, so we selected Stillwater, a small community at the end of a road nestled against a river and small bays. All very nice, but on a bad day the 30km trip to the office can take nearly two hours. Ask any Aucklander about traffic and you better take a seat!

SH1 on a good day
But the location has its charms
The local boatyard often has some nice boats in for repairs and maintenance

With all the excitement of moving, and hours lost to sitting in traffic, the boats have not received a lot of updates since the maiden voyages late last year. However, I have started construction on the oars, installed seats on Double Brown and acquired a lovely table saw.

Stay inside the lines
Could you build a boat without clamps?
New seats for Double Brown

To fit in better with our new neighbours, it felt appropriate to motorise one of the boats. In the interest of economics, and to signal my saltiness, I acquired a dependable (if somewhat rugged and very simple) 2-stroke Seagull motor. Designed in the late 40’s, the Seagull outboard motor does not concern itself with such pleasantries as retractable pull cord, protection from spinning flywheels or even a forward/neutral selector. Just wrap some shock cord around the flywheel, give a good yank and make sure the boat is pointing where you want to go, because it will start moving straight away! I love my new seagull.

British engineering!
Trailers come in a box these days
Double Brown ready for the road
The locals are all very impressed

In keeping with the theme of British engineering, I also acquired a 40 year old Kenwood chef mixer. It has already won me over with its dependable ability to whip copious quantities of cream, sponge mixtures and bread dough.

Weighs a tonne, but such timeless styling!




Rach will say she kneaded this dough by hand, but I would have used the Kenwood

Until next time, enjoy a short film of Double Browns first fishing trip!







  1. Hey Damo!

    10 out of 10 for the pretzels. And a heavy motor in the Kenwood sure does indicate a long life ahead of it. 🙂 The cream roll looks great too, what is the cake base?

    The awesome power of the seagull! Is that really the flywheel spinning around on top? Good stuff and a design from a saner time, although you wouldn’t want to get your fingers too close to the flywheel. Two stroke huh? That would give it a bit of oomph. Took a good look at the Wikipedia page for those engines, and they’re really cool. I assume that there are some bevel gears and a shaft drive in there? Did you have to fix it up at all, or did it just work? I couldn’t see whether it had a muffler, so I’m assuming that it didn’t?

    The traffic would drive me bonkers! Some days I travel twice the distance, but in half the time… I thought Auckland traffic was bad in the late 90’s when we visited the city.




  2. Hi Chris,

    Yep, that is the flywheel. Salty seadogs would stop the motor (as there is no kill switch – obviously!) by using their mighty callused hands. Such is the legend anyway.



  3. Hi, Damo!

    I was hoping that you would put up photos of your move and they are just wonderful. I am more impressed than ever with Double Brown; and what a fine motor you have found! And you caught a nice fish, too!

    You have found a lovely place to live, though I am sorry that the commute can be so long. What I wouldn’t give for that mixer. I had to buy a new one recently and it is basically rubbish, though I’ll grant you it is in the low-end price range. Sheesh – your baked goods put anything I ever made to shame. Yum!



    • Hi Pam,

      Thank you for the kind comments, although I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Mrs Damo is doing most of the baking. And fishing, we now have a good haul in the freezer that she got in a kayak for the hard winter months ahead :-0

      I hear you on the mixer. What type did you end up getting? I looked at some of the cheap ones and they still cost more than this old one, so it seemed a reasonable risk.



  4. Damo:

    Ah, Mrs. Damo is the exceptional baker – and a fisherwoman! You have your own triumphs in those areas, too, I know.

    At the moment I only have a handheld mixer. I have not gotten a new one that twirls around on its own since my trusty old one broke.

    Pam “in Virginia” – just noticed that doesn’t show up here


  5. […] trips, I did complete both hulls in a slightly embarrassing 12 months. Then promptly moved to the other side of the country. Initial plans were for sails on both boats, but the lucky find of an ancient motor changed that […]


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