We have ended our New Zealand road trip and are now back on the boat in Whangarei. We had an amazing time in the South Island. It truly is a spectacular place to visit. An extra bonus from our road trip... All the amazing people that we met that welcomed us into their homes and taught us so much about their lifestyles. I have to say that if we didn't go through Air BnB and have as many options for our stays as we did we wouldn't have had nearly the experiences we had. There were many times as we are driving out of our way, on some winding narrow back roads, to find our little home for the next two days, that Chris and I would look at each other and say, "Thank god for Air BnB, because we would never have found this quaint little spot, or found out about the history of this town, or met these wonderful people." I am not sure if I would do our road trip any different, except for to make it longer... often there were times when we wished we had one more day here and there to explore or just have some down time for the kids (and us). All and all I can't say enough about New Zealand and what this country has to offer and the ease it is to travel around here. Just keep in mind that you need to have flexibility in your schedule because of the weather.
We are now back in Whangarei. It is a little bit of an adjustment again getting used to the boat systems, and just being on the boat again. One thing that we all looked forward to was climbing back into our own beds for a good night sleep. Chris and I had escaped for a little while to start making our preparation lists for leaving New Zealand. We feel that our time is running out and it is a little sad for us to wrap our head around leaving here. We are hauling the boat out next week so we have to make some priorities in order to maximize our time in the water and out of the water. I think we have 5 working lists of boat maintenance at a minimum... I know Chris has many more. There are only a few major items we need to get down before we leave and so the others just take time.
In the meantime the kids are doing well. We are back on a school schedule and are able to catch Amaia and Alina up on Math and writing. Their reading has blown sky high and often I am telling them to put their kindles down and get outside to play while the weather is nice. I am very proud of Alina, she has taken an interest in writing on the computer. She still practices her hand writing but in order to get both, Alina and Amaia, to write in a journal I have had to resort to computer typing. I am happy they are at least being creative and learning how to write in paragraphs. Writing seems to come natural to Alina and she likes to use descriptive words so it is fun to read what she comes up with. Amaia I fear may judge herself to much and she compares herself to the books that she reads and doesn't feel that she is a good writer. We are taking baby steps and encouraging as much as we can.... She is starting to enjoy it more and is only putting up a little resistance now.
Tristan is on schedule for his school year to end in the middle of June. That would mean that he would have completed 60 months of school in 3 months... I am crossing my fingers because I would really like him to have a summer break before we start integrating back into mainstream and school. Alexia is also excelling, but often she gets lost in her writing and has started many books. I wish she could incorporate them into one but we will see where she ends up. I always thought that she should write a book but as all books hers should have an ending... or maybe not.
Well there isn't much to say and we wont have much for a little while. We are just checking off our lists both for the boat and school and also trying to have some fun in between. We are starting to communicate with our weather router and our friend Dave to help us watch for a window to Vanuatu. We are thinking we would like to have the boat ready to untie the dock lines the first week in May. I am very excited to get this passage done and be up there. I can't wait to experience the rim of the volcano on Tanna Island and dive in the blue cave.
Hope all is well back home and everyone had a great spring break. We are thinking of our family and friends and are looking forward to being home in about 4 months. Boy time flies by.
Hugs and love,