Friday, January 29, 2016

Great Barrier Island New Zealand....

Hello Everyone,
Nagel Bay, NZ

Photo bomb at the Irish Pub

Port Fitzroy, NZ

Book worm...

Tryphena Bay, NZ

Tryphena Bay, NZ sunset at low tide

 We have had so much fun and have seen so much in the last few days that it is hard to put it into words... We have very limited wifi over here so while we are sitting here at the Irish pub i am going to try and upload a few pics...  Just to let you know we have had amazing weather, beautiful landscapes, and more wildlife than we have seen in quite awhile .... Lots of dolphins swimming around the boat, a very large whale surfacing 20 feet off our port side, penguins, ducks and birds... And a shark to name a few.. Amazing!  Really amazing I can not express in words the beauty of our surroundings and the serenity and peace that follows every night with everything around us (animals and kids) going to bed.  As I am sitting outside watching the sunset and listening to the sounds around us... the fish started jumping and it literally looked like rain drops on the water and sounded like popcorn... (thinking of you kla).. Again just in awe of nature right now!

I hate to admit it but we have become quite the waterfall snobs... we walked the trail from Port Fitzroy to the bridal vail falls.  It was a really nice walk but after 50 minutes there the waterfall was quite small.... hmmm but that is okay.  Great barrier is known for their hikes and I just felt that we needed to do at least one while we were there and this is the only spot where you could get ice cream at the Port Fitzroy General store after your hike... so we were sold.

swimming in Nagel Bay (before the shark came)

Chris was enjoying the sunset playing his guitar peacefully while I was reading below him in the cockpit... when all of a sudden a huge shark (size of a baby whale) surfaced right behind our boat, jerked back and forth like he was eating something and then swam away... Hmmm okay that was interesting, now back to guitar and reading... 

Beach looking out at Tryphena Bay, NZ

Dolphin right below alina... just hard to see it.

Port Fitzroy Bay, NZ
The fish at night in Port Fitzroy Bay and Nagel Bay were amazing... they must have been eating mosquitos or something.  The water looked like large drops of rain was falling on it but there was no water, and the sound was like popcorn popping.  So much so that the girls came running out into the cockpit saying... Is it raining?  Super cool to watch.. and then of course following this is the diving birds to catch the fish... 

Hugs and love to everyone,

Monday, January 25, 2016

Mountain goats or not... NOT... Hee hee

Hello Everyone,

We left the marina and its nice to be at anchor again for a little while.  We are anchored at the whangarei headlands waiting for our weather window to go 40 miles to Great Barrier Island.  There is a silly cyclone making waves and some wind for us so we will be hanging here until thursday when everything settles down.  The cyclone isnt close to us but all the surfers are totally excited for the waves dude.  Sweet as bro, as they all say!

We went for a little hike to the topof a very large hill! I clamored up with Tristan thinking there is no way Oma would be able todo this.. I was worried about her hips and legs. I sat down and low and beholdwithin 1p minutes she is rounding the corner and heading up the hill in true swiss alp form!  Chris and I and the kids just cant say enough for a younger (older) woman she is amazeballs.

Now a gin and tonic and some pasta for dinner! Great end to a great day, despite the rain...

Hugs and love,


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Finally back to the beach... NZ style.

Hello Everyone,

We have been tootling around the boat for a little while now and needed a day off.  It has been seasonably warm for NZ, especially since we have been here.  We were given a great recommendation on a beach to have fun at so we packed up the car with all our umbrellas, boogie boards, picnic, dive suits, and kids/Oma and drove along the coast north to Matapouri, NZ.

It was a wonderful 45 minute or less drive up the coast to a quaint little town set in on a little bay.  I felt like I had gone back in time about 50 years... There was only one little grocery/restaurant/ice cream parlor in town amongst some modern reconstructed 70's style houses.  It is amazing how clean everything is here, I never see any litter as we travel around.  This little beach was a really nice surprise and a great day was had by all.  The kids couldn't wait so they all grabbed a bag and ran to the water to dive in.  Oma couldn't wait to get out in the water so she grabbed a board and ran (okay sauntered) into the waves to enjoy some splash time with the kids.  She rocks!  It was a much needed time away to unwind, get our minds off the boat, relax and play some frisbee.

I love this about this girl!
You can just see her little feet going under in the waves... 

We haven't been in the sun for awhile so we all came home with a little (or too much) color, but well worth it.

This little girls is fearless, confident and ready to take charge... 

We are now getting ready to head out to Great Barrier Island for a week or so with Oma.  It is only about 50 miles from here and from what we here a nice day sail.  We hear from all the cruisers in the marina that in one of the bays, there is a pod of spinner dolphins that come around the boats to check them out and some are even able to swim with them.  I hope they are still there.  I would love to hang out with some dolphins before our trip ends... and not have it be in an aquarium. 

Hugs and love to all,

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Whangarei New Zealand

Hello Everyone,

Well, we arrived back home safely here in New Zealand after about 26 hours of travel.  We got in at 3:30am to the boat and all was good.  The boat was still in great condition, nothing missing and to my surprise no mold in the boat.  YAY!  It is really nice to be back in our beds hunkered down in our caves and in our small space again.  We are starting to get back in the groove of school, repairs, tourist stuff and relaxing.  We are all a bit sick from our travels but all is good.  

The weather here is like a San Francisco summer.  It is really a funny climate.  Down pouring one minute with hot humid air, and then the next completely sunny and dry air and then the next day really cold… you can also have all of the above within a one day time frame so you really have to layer as you go out and about.  When you look at some of the weather forecasts online they have a section where it says how many layers to wear and how many windbreakers to bring.  

Oma is loving being here with us… Chris and I have been busy getting the boat ready to go back out and also making some slight adjustments… We have converted the power on the boat to European power so we can plug in now… YAY!  We are also adding some sun/water shades to the cockpit area for a little more protection.  The sun down here is so strong that even our solar panels are taking a beating (in a good way) and are able to power up our batteries with a quarter of what they were able to do in the states and Mexico.  We have changed out many of our lights in the boat and have ordered some outdoor lights for the cockpit to change from the cold white lights to a warm glow… Mainly the boat lists is just some cosmetic changes and updates.  Amongst the repairs and errands we are fitting in some field trips to see the local sights and be tourists.  It is a nice break in the afternoon, to get off the boat and go explore.  

We have gone for a few walks exploring waterfalls and the Abbey Caves.  The nature around here is just stunning and with every corner there is a new landscape in front of you. From meadows, to huge boulders in the middle of the fields, to Kauri Forests, over bridges and through what we call fern tree forests…  Stunning.

We are always impressed with the waterfalls here, they never disappoint us.  The walk ways throughout New Zealand’s parks are well groomed, clean and inviting.  The fauna around is endless with so many varieties that I have never seen before you often get distracted and have to stop along the way.  Not to mention the sounds of the forests here.  Yesterday as we were walking to the caves it felt like R2D2 was following us.  The bird calls are so different from what we are used to and then competing with the insects and the cicadas it is defining at some points.  

Since we had been to the caves before, we thought Oma must see it.  We remembered our flashlights this time and we all had one which helped immensely.   We had forgotten how steep the drop into the first cave was and all I can say was Oma was a trooper climbing down these steep and slippery rocks to get into the cave entrance.  Once in the cave, if you turn out your lights you can’t see your hand infant of your face so it is important to have your head lamps on.  Climbing through the caves there are many rocks to climb over and water that you wade through up to mid thigh, but when you turn your lights out and look up it really is super cool to see the glow worms at the top… little green dots speckle the ceiling like stars.  As we were heading back up to the car you walk through several meadows and the trail leads you through many people’s properties and pastures… at one point I think the cows were waiting to come home and eat so they were all congregated at the fence entrance.  

Glow worm webs to catch their food (what ever that may be)

On the way home we found a gypsy fair and the kids had a good time wandering around and checking out their converted homes and shops and then playing on the trampoline.  There was a skate park set in the meadow with a tree that had all the old skater shoes thrown up into it… draped like a christmas tree.  Not sure the meaning behind the shoes, I think maybe it is just a way to make a claim to the park for themselves.

We also visited the acclaimed Kawakawa Hundertwasser’s Toilet… When we first heard about it we thought… What the Heck!  So of course we grab the Tourism Brochure (yes they have a brochure to make sure everyone visits these toilets)… and told the kids to drink plenty of liquids.  The town of Kawakawa is cute but nothing really special…. it is funny how when we are sitting outside these public toilets that were designed by this artists you see a multitude of tour buses stop to let people go in and take pictures… Hmmm it is a little creepy to come out of the restroom and everyone has their cameras out taking pictures.  Of course I took some pictures  too, trying to wait until the restroom was emptied so not to capture anyone in an unsuspecting pose.

After we ventured up to the Wangitangi Treaty Grounds to view where the first treaty was signed between the British and the Maori Chiefs for the rights to use and own the land here.  The site also offers a performance of traditional Maori dance and music.  The style of dance here is unique in the way they use facial expressions to intimidate throughout their dance.  It was a more primitive style with more of a fear factor too it.  Throughout the dance routine, they often charge at the audience with spear raised, eyes as large as they can make them, and tongue out in an angry manner.  

We are now back in a rain pattern for the next 3 or 4 days so we will be hanging out here and catching up on school work and boat repairs… blah, blah, blah and blah… I can’t wait until we can get through some of this weather and chores and be able to go and explore… I get a little restless being in the marina.   

Hugs and love,