Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dessert for Christmas Dinner, New Zealand Style (pavlova, yummm)

I did this blog just after Christmas and it describes our trip from Opua to Whangarei on the boat. I thought it worth posting.

We have arrived in Whangerai. We had a lovely Christmas in the Bay of Islands. On the trip we have discovered that Mom is not cut out to be a sailor. At eighty years old I doubt whether we can change this fact. I guess I should have known the first day, she took sea sickness pills when we were at anchor because the rolling bothered her!! Well to be fair it was rolling a lot and it was not very fun to be down below. Then Mom and I decided to go ashore and do some beachcombing. Mom got off the boat into the dinghy without a problem, she really is very spry and agile for an eighty year old. When we got to shore I put the dinghy up as close as I could get it to shore and then told Mom to get out. Well she got one foot out and then had a problem getting the other leg over the edge of the dinghy and in she went. She didn’t fall over she just gracefully sat down while still holding on to the dinghy. When I told Barry, he said “Oh, she pulled a Steve did she!” She was only wet up to the waist, rather than get her back into the dinghy and have to get out again, I just roared back to the boat and got her some dry clothes and a towel. Fortunately the beach was deserted so the process of changing clothes went on uninterrupted.
We left that anchorage the next day because the wind had come up and we were not very protected. Mom stayed down below and was alarmed as books that were not stashed very well crashed to the floor, and the glasses in the cupboards rattled away. We only went about 6 miles so although it was rough it didn’t last long and Mom did not get ill. The next day Mom and I went ashore and landed safely. We tromped up to the top of a hill and had some great views of the Bay of Islands.
Christmas Day found us in the cockpit opening our gifts under sunny skies with 20 + degrees. We spent the afternoon cooking the turkey and decorating the pavlova. Everything was delicious but we didn’t eat until about 8:00 P.M., it was still very light out as the sun does not set until almost 9 now. We spent Boxing Day playing back to back Scrabble games, non of us were happy in the first game with the letters we had picked, Mom and Barry had all vowels and I had nothing but consonants.
We headed south on the 27th, going to a wonderful anchorage about 10 miles away. We tacked right by a big tourist attraction the Hole in the Rock and got some great pictures. It was a spectacular day, bright and sunny, very little swell, enough wind to sail along at about 4 knots. At Whangamum Bay there is an old whaling station and Mom and I went ashore to explore. I was trying to get the dinghy as close to shore as possible when there was a loud hissing noise. There were some razor clams stuck to some rocks and I think I must have dragged the dinghy over them. I was trying to get the motor up, the catch was stuck and I didn’t want the motor to bang on the ground so I was not watching where the dinghy was going. Mom had safely got ashore but I suggested that she should get back in and we should go back to the boat before the dinghy was completely flat and would not hold us. It was pretty low by the time we got back but we made it. I guess our ventures ashore were just not meant to be. There is a 3 inch (7.5 cm for you youngsters) rip in the bottom of the dinghy which we will have to repair.
The next day we headed to Tutukaka, a famous New Zealand boat building town. I was very disappointed not to be able to go ashore and have a look around. Mom did not feel well on that trip and spent the day lying down on the settee below. The next day took the cake though. It was blowing about 20/25 knots and a swell had started building. We just had the staysail up and were beating into it. Mom’s system couldn’t take it and she spent the day lying on the settee cushions on the floor (hoping to minimize the movement) and throwing up, I don’t think she was having fun yet. When we started going up the river and it was calm Mom came up and looked around. There was an oil refinery and a big logging operation at the edge of the river. There was a ship that was loading lumber and one of the cranes was dangling a huge machine used for cutting timber, it looked so small dangling in mid air above the hold of the tanker. Mom got chilly and couldn’t get warm. I bundled her up with our down comforter and turned on the furnace and we got her warm eventually. I was pretty worried that I had done serious damage to her system and she would not recover. Imagine the SNAFU if she died over here!!!!!!! I guess her boating days are over, I don’t think I will suggest another holiday like this. If she comes to stay again while we are on the boat it will be at a marina, THE WHOLE TIME!!!! Oh well, I gave her some stories to tell her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Not many people can claim to have spent Christmas in the Bay of Islands, one of the favoured boating spots in New Zealand.
We are leaving the boat tomorrow and going on a 10 day trip around New Zealand. Mom and I did the laundry today and poured over the map and tourist books making a tentative plan. Barry headed back to Opua on the bus to get the car. We will head to Auckland tomorrow and then head south. We hope to make it as far south as Dunedin on the South Island but will have to see if our schedule is too ambitious.