Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mom has arrived safe and sound. She was pretty tired as she was unable to sleep on the 12 hour flight. We didn't do much the day she arrived but have been touring around ever since. The day after she arrived we went to Russel and visited the oldest chuch in New Zealand as well as an old Caltheolic tannerty and printing shop. That was pretty interesting, they had a guide that demonstrated how to set type and print a page in very old printing press.

Yesterday we took a bus tour up to the very northern tip of New Zealand. We drove along 90 mile beach, the bus zooming along the beach as the tide was coming in. There were spots where fresh water streams emptied into the water and the bus would slow down and then plow across the water. I am glad we did not decide to take the car up there as I do not think Barry would have attempted some of the spots the bus went carooming by. At one point there were a couple of car skeletons that had gotten stuck in the sand on the beach and they were still there.

At the end of the beach we drove up one of the rivers and then we stopped and went sand tobaganning. The sand dune was really steep and I was a bit worried about flying down the hill. If it had been snow you would have been out of control going down the hill but the sand had enough friction that the sled did not go too fast and I had so much fun I climbed the hill twice.
We headed up to the northern tip of the country from there. There was a path down to the lighthouse there and you could see where the waters from the Tasman Sea collided with the Pacific Ocean. There was alot of upheaval and current in the water and I would not want to get my boat anywhere near there!!
We stopped off at several beaches and view points after that and ended the day at a shop where they made furniture and carvings from Kauri wood. These trees were logged extensively at the beginning of the centure so the wood they are using now has been found in swamp land that has been drained. The wood is as old as 45,000 years old. It is lovely strong wood that was used in ship building and making spars for masts, there are few knots in it due to the way it grows. There was a table and 6 chairs for $20,000 NZD!!!!!!! I would have to buy quite the house to put that in.
Today we are planning to go and look at the one of the oldest building in New Zealand as well as a waterfall and the mission buildings.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bold Spirit in the sunset. We were within VHF range for 7 out of the 10 days so we had someone to talk to and they could report our position to the Ham net we were following.

Sunset near the Tropic of Capricorn

Repairing the radar, notice the fishing tape around my arm. I must have shoved that thing up and down the mast about 10 times before it finally worked.

My morning walking buddies.

Hilly, hilly New Zealand.

Saturday afternoon saling for the juniors at the Opua Crusing Club. They take their sailing seriously.

We went to a Santa Clause parade in Kawakawa about 20 minutes away. This train is a big tourist attraction.

Santa New Zealand style.

We bought a little car to get us around. It is a Daihatsu, a Japanese car and it is called an Applause. It is a 1995 and it has 200,050 km on it, but it seems in pretty good shape. We only paid $1000 NZ Dollars which we figure is about $750 Canadian, a pretty good deal I figure. And yes I am sitting on the correct side of the car. Whenever I am driving I have to think, outside shoulder to the middle of the road, so far it has worked, but sometimes I really have to think about it!!!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hi there, I have been having a break from the blog. I have just not had the energy to do much of anything since we arrived. Our passage was a pretty good one as crossings of that stretch of water go. Reading the log entries, we had a bit of everything. We had calm winds and seas where we motored and then we had seas we had to beat into where the boat was bashing to weather. At those times it was hard to sleep because it felt like the boat was going to come apart it was smashing into the waves so hard. The calms and the bashing bits seemed to alternate quite nicely though so we were given time to recover from the bad bits during the quiet times. The last day and a half the wind moved around to the north and we had the wind behind us blowing us into New Zealand. We were in short sleeves and shorts enjoying the sunshine as we sailed into the Bay of Islands. It was a marvelous way to end our trip.
We were very happy to arrive, it was a huge relief after all the horror stories we had heard about sailing here. It took me about a week to get my head around the fact that we were here and that we had to figure out what to do now. Everyone kept asking what are your plans and where are you going and when??? I just wanted to tell them to quit asking me questions and when I had anything figured out I would let them know. Barry has been very busy getting repairs done to the boat, he knew what he had to do and I just watched him do it.
The marina had a welcome to cruisers week the first week we were here. There was an open house at the chandlery and the sail loft as well as a bus trip to Whangarei. We ordered a new genoa and got a bit of a discount at the sail loft and took the bus trip to Whangarei, which is another port south of here where we going to leave the boat when we go touring with Mom. New Zealand is very hilly, the roads are extremely windy and narrow and there is something different around every corner. The hills are grassy and have sheep or cattle grazing, most of the land is fenced as well. We are staying at the Opua Marina and have a slip here for a month. It is nice to just be able to step off the boat and access all the businesses that cater to boat repairs. The only trouble is that it doesn’t have much else. There is no grocery store, only a small convenience store, one restaurant and one coffee shop.
Our buddies on Taran have bought a car and they have very generously taken us shopping a couple of times. The other day they were going to a bigger town near here and we went along. We replaced our camera which was one it’s last legs after being smooshed when I fell on it in Apia and I finally replaced the sheets the laundry lady in the Marquesas lost. I got my glasses adjusted so they no longer drop off my nose as soon as I look down and Barry got a new pair of fake crocs after he discovered a hole in the pair he has been traipsing about in.
Barry has been working away at all the small jobs that need to be done in order to get the boat back into shape. He has packaged up the ham radio to send it back to Canada to get it repaired under warranty. I spent about five hours hanging half way up the mast trying to string the new cable for the radar. We finally got it done and the electrical guy is in the boat at the moment trying to connect it and then Hallelujah we might have a working radar again!!! (If you want details ask me when you see me, I can’t believe how much work it was.) Barry took the water maker out today and took it in to see if they can repair a small leak which it had developed. I made a huge list when we were under way so I guess we need to look at it to see what else we need to do. Barry was going to put a replacement part in the head yesterday to stop it from flooding and when he went to turn off the sea water inlet the inlet flange broke, so we no longer have a head that works. Good thing there is a small washroom that is fairly close. The plumber is supposed to arrive today to have a look at that; I sure hope he shows up. That is our life so far, I will try to keep more up to date.