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A family travels from Florida to New Zealand aboard their St Francis 50 catamaran
The south island, a ride on the wild side!
01/10/2009, Picton then Punakaiki

Since we arrived in Picton, the south island ferry terminal, we did not stop. We hiked 15Km of the Queen Charlotte trail, a beautiful path longing the sound beginning in ship cove where captain Cook (yes, him again!) loved to hang out. Next day, we decided to head for the west coast, we picknicked in Nelson, went across following a fantastic river for miles and miles, finally stopping to cross it on a suspension bridge, the kids ziplined it back, it was so pretty and of course the sun was out and makes everything so colorful, then we arrived on the west coast where the wild Tasman sea met us with her crazy large waves, what a view all along the road, we finally found a little village called Punakaiki , a good hamburger and a good bed....Let's see what tomorrow brings out....oh and by the way, the kids still managed to squeeze in some school this morning (we woke them at 6am!), we are so tired tonight, goodbye!!!!
Depuis notre arrivee a Picton, le terminal du ferry de l'ile du sud de NZ, nous ne nous sommes pas arretes. Une marche de 15 Km sur le chemin de Queen Charlotte qui suit une baie tres profonde en commencant a Ship Cove, un des endroits preferres du capitaine Cook (encore lui, decidement, il etait partout!). Le lendemain, nous sommes partis pour la cote Ouest, apres un picnic a Nelson, nous avons continue notre traversee en longeant une riviere magnifique que nous avons par la suite traversee sur un pont a suspension, les enfants eux en zipline, le soleil etait present et bien sur tout est tellement plus l'autre cote, la mer sauvage de Tasmanie nous a accueillis avec ces vagues enormes , quelle belle vue tout au long de la route pour finalement trouver un petit village Punakaiki avec un bon hamburger et surtout un bon lit....nous verrons ce qu'apporte demain, mais quelle belle journee... Au fait, ce matin, les enfants ont travaille leur homeschool (on les a reveilles a 6h du matin) jusqu'a notre depart vers 10h30, nous sommes tres fatigues ce soir! Goodnight....

Rotorua, Thermal water and mud bath.
01/04/2009, North island, NZ

We left Auckland for Rotorua where we spent 4 days visiting the famous thermal water and mud bath, the agrodome, paradise garden but beside the usual looking ,tramping and roaming ,we really got into it once we began to luge down the mountain (not on snow, it is summertime on this side of the equator), then water rafting (with a jump of 7 meters, the highest rapid commercially rafted in the world according to our guide ) and finally Zorbing (going down a hill in a big transparent bubble), those New Zelanders really know how to have fun!!!!
It was just an amazing four days and it went all too fast, and... it was time to say our (maybe) final goodbye to Orca III and Malachi ...This was very difficult.... We have been traveling together for eight months, our kids are very very close (sometimes a little too close!) and we have been getting to know each other pretty well as our sailing trip progressed , I am so happy to have met those two amazing Canadian women, we are so very different from each other but I think we brought a lot to one another, , Dionne and Marg helped me so much in this venture and we had so many laugh, cries, I am so happy I met them... and the guys, you know they never say too much when they cut apart but I bet they will miss their frantic chat about the weather, repairs and... boats. So we are just the four of us again, this time on a land exploration towards the south island of NZ until we ship O'Vive at the end of January. We traveled all day today towards Wellington, the most south town (and windiest) of the north island which happens to also be the capital of New Zealand.
Nous avons quittes Auckland pour Roturoa ou nous avons passé quatre jours a explorer les eaux thermales et les bains de boue, l'agrodome, le jardin du paradis mais a cote des visites habituelles de cette region, nous avons vraiment vecu des aventures surprenantes, entre la descente en luge (mais pas sur la neige, n'oubliez pas que nous sommes en ete de ce cote de l'equateur ), le rafting (avec un saut de 7 metres, les rapides les plus pentus au monde etant descendus en rafts commerciaux, d'apres notre guide), et enfin "Zorbing" qui consiste a descendre le long d'une colline dans une immense bulle transparente remplie d'eau, ces New Zelanders adorent les sports extremes et originals!!!!!....
C'etait vraiment quatre jours supers et tout a ete tres vite et puis voila le temps des "au revoir" est arrive, cela a ete bien difficile de se separer de Malachi et Orca III avec qui nous avons partage nos aventures depuis huit mois...Nos enfants sont tres proches (quelquefois meme trop proches pour certains!) et nous avons appris a nous connaitre de plus en plus a mesure que notre voyage a progresse, je suis si heureuse d'avoir connu ces deux femmes canadiennes absolument geniales, nous nous sommes beaucoup apportees l'une a l'autre, Marg et Dionne m'ont tellement aides dans cette aventure, nous avons tellement rigole, pleure, je suis si heureuse de les avoir rencontrees... et les hommes vont aussi surement se souvenir avec nostalgie de leurs interminables conversations a propos du temps, des pieces a reparer, des bateaux, mouillages, etc... Maintenant, c'est de nouveau nous quatre , comme au debut et le voyage n'est pas fini, nous allons explorer l'ile du sud de NZ jusqu'au depart d'O'Vive fin Janvier. Nous avons roule toute la journe, aujourd'hui, jusqu'a Wellington , ville la plus au sud de l'ile du nord (et la plus ventee) mais aussi la capitale de la Nouvelle Zelande.

02/01/2009 | Jeri and Michael Innis
Dear David and Nathalie,

I just discovered your web-site and spent about an hour reading through your entries and looking at your pictures. Congratulations on buying a St. Francisis and for beginning your trip. It sounds like you have had a terrific time.

Did you sell your house and business? How long will you be out? One of your entries mentioned shipping O'vive the end of Jan. Where are you shipping her to? I hope your adventure is not over.
Did I read it correctly, Ecudorian diesal at $102/gal???
We returned across the Atlantic in Nov and are making our way back to the States after spending the last 2 years in the Med. Since we have been gone we had had 4 grandchildren and one more arriving the end of May so we are returning to spend a year in the States enjoying our grandchildren.
Ihope this note finds you all happy and healthy. I am glad to have your website and look forward to hearing from you.
Auckland , a volcanic hub!
12/28/2008, Auckland, NZ

What an amazing city, Auckland the city of sails surrounded by 48 volcano.... We are just across the city's heart in a marina called Bayswater, it is calm, clean and with a spectacular view. Auckland downtown is not far either by Ferry or by car... We visited today the Auckland Museum, it was very impressive (a really interesting and moving presentation of the New Zealand war veterans), beautiful (incredible Maori and Pacific arts and artifacts) and fun (interactive volcano's eruption simulation). The "high"light of Auckland is the sky city tower, it is higher than the Eiffel tower by 3 meters (do you believe that!) and the view from up there is spectacular of course, NZ being the country of extreme, they offer body jumping from the top of the tower or you can simply walk on a 1m wide walkway without rail surrounding the outside of the tower just secured by a belt cable, we passed on both and just look through the window, that was scary enough! Downtown is very busy on Friday night near the water, plenty of pubs and gourmet restaurants and a lot of people (I thought NZ was not so populated, 3M, most of them must hang around Auckland!!!!).
Beside the tourist highlights, we are quietly living at the dock, sometimes too quietly for some (David already wants to move more!), but I like it like that. We had a nice Christmas feast on O'Vive with Malachi and Orca III, and are planning to tour around Roturoa after New Year's eve.
Auckland , la cite des voiles entouree de 48 volcans... Nous sommes juste oppose du Coeur de la cite, dans une marina appelee Bayswater, calme, propre et avec une vue spectaculaire. Auckland downtown n'est pas loin en ferry ou en voiture... Nous avons visiste aujourd'hui le muse de Auckland, tres impressionant ( une presentation interessante et emouvante des veterans de guerre de NZ, magnifique (l'art et la civilization maori) et amusante (simulation d'une eruption volcanique, reconstitution de squelette de dinosaurs, etc...). Et puis bien sur la tour de sky city, plus haute que la tour Eiffel de 3 m (incroyable, n'est-ce pas?) , la vue est est spectaculaire . NZ etant le pays des sports extremes, ils offrent de sauter en body jumping de la tour (tres peu pour moi) ou de marcher sur une petite passerelle de 1 m de large sans barrierres, juste attache par un cable a la ceinture, nous avons prefere regarder derriere la vitre, cela suffisait amplement! Pres du port, la ville devient tres animee surtout les Vendredi et Samedi soirs ou les pubs et restaurants sont nombreux! Nous avons passes un Noel tranquille avec nos amis d'Orca III et Malachi et puis après le premier de l'an, nous partirons pour une excursion sur Roturoa.

12/30/2008 | Nancy
Happy New Year to you All! Remember Last year this time....Crazy Busy getting ready to go!! We have enjoyed your adventures & look forward to seeing you! Love, N & J
01/01/2009 | séverine
HAPPY NEW YEAR... Full of good things... health, happiness... ;-))
Bye bye
12/08/2008, Auckland, New Zealand

We are at the Viaduct Harbor marina in downtown. No internet but a great location in the middle of everything. The Louis Vuitton Cup will be staged from the Viaduct next month. As I type this I am watching a travel lift maneuver two BMW Oracle Racing boats around just 500' off our starboard side. We will move to Bayswater marina on the other side of the harbor on the 15th, the same day Nathalie returns from France. It is bittersweet arriving in Auckland as it marks the end of our sea voyage. We will ship Ovive back to Florida next month on Dockwise. However it is the start of our land adventure and we are excited about the next several months exploring New Zealand by land.

12/21/2008 | PS
Wishing you a Bon Noel & continued grand adventures! xo
12/22/2008 | Jorge & Bonnie Aladro
Just wanted to tell you how happy we are that you completed your dream trip. We have been watching your travels and have enjoyed following you thru your blog. Wanted to wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a safe New Year. We Love you and your family and miss all of you. After spending so much time together we truly miss you all. Give the kids and Nathalie a big kiss and hug. Love you Bonnie & Jorge
12/23/2008 | PAOLA
Merry Christmas in New Zealand. We'll see Vincent and Yvana during those holidays and I am sure we'll talk about you and your amazing trip. We'll sure be glad to see you back in the keys next year. Love, Paola
12/25/2008 | Genevieve
Joyeux Noel a toi et a ta petite famille qui t'entoure.

Que la nouvelle annee t'apporte tout ce que tu esperes.

Egoistement, je suis ravie que tu reviennes de ce long voyage fascinant de decouvertes et attend avec impatience de t'entendre.

Je t'embrasse,
12/25/2008 | séverine
Merry Christmas :-)))
Bye Bye
Great Barrier Island
12/03/2008, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

We traveled to Great Barrier Island and anchored in Port Fitzroy harbor. On the way (about 50 miles) we ran though a huge pod of whales. One was right between our bows and we had to put the motor in neutral so as not to overtake him. They were fairly small thankfully, about twice the size of a bottle nosed porpoise. Great Barrier is a very quiet place. One of the highlights was the hike (tramp in Kiwi) to the top of Mt Hobson (Hirakimata). 621 meters high with 1000 steps, 814 continuous steps at the end to reach the summit. The Kiwis have incredible hiking trails; the effort put into building some of the trails is impressive. Alec and I went over the side to clean the waterline before leaving as this might be the last clear water we see for a while.

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Who: David, Alec, Emilie, Nathalie
Port: Tavernier, Florida USA
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