Vacationing with Visitors
21 February 2018 | North Island, NZ
As you may know, we love it when we can share Elevation with friends from home and we've just had the opportunity to spend 10 fabulous days with our Mandurah mates Paul and Heather, both on the road and onboard. We started our little adventure by collecting them from their Auckland hotel and meandering our way down to Lake Taupo, stopping out by Hamilton Gardens for a lunch time bite to eat.
The lake, the largest freshwater body in Australasia, sits inside an ancient caldera created by what is considered to be the world's last super eruption (the Oruanui eruption) some 26500 years ago. The explosion, scientifically calculated to have been at a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 8 was so intense, it is said airborne ash was seen across the entire planet for months. With a surface area of 616km2, it provides an absolutely stunning vista as you wind down the hill through the surrounding beech and podocarp forests. The Waikato (Maori for flowing water) River, the longest in NZ, drains out of the lake to create the nearby Huka Falls and then flows northwest to empty out into the Tasman Sea. Underwater hydrothermal activity powers ten geothermal power stations along the course of the river; the same hydrothermal properties drive the bubbling craters and steaming vents of the unique "Craters of the Moon". Many accommodation sites close to the lake have been able to tap into the geothermal waters, offering travellers private thermal hot tubs - I had specifically chosen our overnight lodgings at Baycrest Lodge for that very reason! After checking in, we headed off to the town ferry dock to join the replica steam ship, the Ernest Kemp, for their twilight "Cocktail Cruise" of the lake. What a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours - a casual cruise out on the water via Acacia Bay and Hot Water Beach to view the stunning "Maori Carvings" at Mine Bay. This project, hailed as one of New Zealand's most extraordinary artworks, towers 14 metres above the deep water of the lake, and was completed over a four-year period between 1976-1980 by Marae-taught carver Matahi Whakataka Brightwell and four of his fellow Iwis as a gift to the nation. The stunning rockface carving is of Ngatoroirangi, the high priest and skilled navigator of the Tainui Iwi, who voyaged to Aotearoa over 800 years ago. Surrounding the rockface are many smaller rock sculptures, all depicting ancestors and guardians of the Iwi which include a mermaid, a crocodile, several great chiefs and a number of Maori warriors. It's an visually stunning art installation and definitely an NZ "must do". Our cruise included a free bar - wine and beer; always appealing to an Aussie or 4 - plus homemade pizza, soft drinks, tea and coffee and some very tasty desserts. Total value for money! It was then back to our apartments for a long and leisurely soak in our personal thermal pools .... Bliss!
The next day, we headed off for the Coromandel via Hobbiton, an essential place to visit for all Tolkienites. Situated on the Anderson family farm just outside of Matamata, the location was spotted by "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" director and Kiwi Sir Peter Jackson during a helicopter scouting mission in 1998. Jackson was thrilled with the undulating hills surrounding a long lake which he felt was a perfect setting for Hobbiton and The Shire. Whilst the film sets were not originally built to last, it became very clear that the site was of great interest to Tolkein fans. Accordingly, the set was upgraded to allow guided tours to commence in 2002. With permanent teams of guides, drivers, maintainence specialists and retail members Hobbiton is today a major employer for the region. It's a super way to spend a couple of hours and the large mug of cider provided at the Green Dragon is the perfect way to finish!
From Bag End, we headed to the very funky little town of Tirau for lunch. This gorgeous town is dotted with some amazing corrugated iron art - even the Information Centre is housed inside a "Giant Dog" building made from this unique ribbed sheeting. It's a popular destination for shoppers looking for antiques and collectables, and of course fascinated tourists. Whilst lunching at the very cool Poppy's Café, I received a call from Gordon, our Coromandel Airbnb host, advising that there had been some significant rainfall in the region. Our accommodation for the next three days was to be a cottage on a large native bush property in the Wentworth Valley where we were to be able to see kiwis at night. Gordon was concerned that we would be unable to cross a flooded ford on the way into the property and wanted to meet us along the way to discuss. We agreed to catch up with him at the foot of the Coromandel at Paeroa; a perfect excuse to see the giant L&P bottle (the town is the original home of NZ's much-loved Lemon and Paeroa soft drink)! After meeting Gordon, seeing a photo of the ford and discussing the situation at length, we agreed that it may be difficult to get there however we would like to go and suss out the situation for ourselves. Gordon generously refunded us and advised that if we did manage to make it to the cottage, we could simply leave the cash there for him to collect - love the Kiwi's openness! So off we went, snaking along the windy Peninsular roads in rapidly increasing rain. On arrival at the ford, it was obvious we would definitely not be able to transit the now very fast flowing brook; disappointing, but as with everything, it's safety first with us. A quick look at the map showed we were in close proximity to Whangamata, recently voted the Number 1 beach in NZ. With our Plan B hatched, we headed off to this east coast surfing mecca to find overnight accommodation; tricky as it turned out at short notice, but we eventually got the two last rooms at a motel after driving around the town and the coast. Once checked in, we headed down the main street for a massive NZ feed of "Fush and Chups". The rain persisted - as it turned out 300mm fell in 24 hours - and with no respite obvious in the local forecast, we had to abandon our plans to do the Driving Creek Railway and several other Coromandel locations. After a poor night's sleep on very lumpy beds, we headed to the quaint town of Thames for a magnificent breakfast at a lovely old café run by a group of delightful ladies. Situated on the Firth of Thames, this now quiet backwater was formed by the joining of two historic gold mining towns, Grahamstown and Shortland. The original buildings still standing, including the very sturdy Police Station and House, certainly reinforce that there was once great wealth in the region. We took a trip up to the WW1 War Memorial; perched high on the edge of the high volcanic Coromandel Ranges, it has a commanding view of the long bay which separates the Coromandel from the Hunua Ranges.
The weather up in Opua was much better so we decided to head back to Elevation a few days early. On the north side of Gulf Harbour, we detoured off the highway to take the coastal road through Red Beach and Waiwera. Rejoining SH1 again, we continued northwards, opting to then take the signed "Tourist Route" via Marsden Point - a totally worthless deviation as other than the marina, it was simply suburbia. We stopped to check out the raging Whangerei Falls where we were entertained by a group of teenage boys leaping into the river from a tall gum tree. And of course, no visit to Northland is complete without seeing the amazing Hundertwasser Toilets in Kawakawa - this iconic tourist photo site being the brainchild and last project of the reclusive Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who lived in Kawakawa from 1975 until his death in 2000. One of only a handful of PC Art works in the world, the building is made entirely of recycled materials, including discarded wine bottles and bricks from a former Bank of New Zealand. I love how the locals have totally embraced Hundertwasser's style and have adapted and embellished shopfronts, completed colourful street art on walls throughout the town and even added a Kawakawa Hundertwasser ceramic sign to the entrance of the town's park. Being an aficionado of art, Heather was completely impressed!
Back onboard Elevation after morning tea at the Rainbow Falls Tea House, a visit to Rainbow Falls, a quick provisioning trip, and a delicious wine tasting and lunch at Marsden Estate Winery, we headed out into the Bay of Islands to enjoy a few sunny days out on the hook fishing, paddle boarding, swimming and relaxing. We spent most of our time at Otaio Bay at Urapukupuka Island, a completely delightful and calm anchorage. Our last night was at Kororareka Bay, primarily to go ashore and share the delights of Russell and the Duke of Marlborough Hotel with our guests. Once again, a great meal in a fabulous old pub.
Once back at the marina, we headed into Paihia for dinner at Charlotte's Kitchen where, after a magnificent tasting plate of Poisson cru and Poke, the guys both indulged in a slow roasted pork knuckle each whilst we girls enjoyed freshly caught local fish. On Sunday, we spent most of the day at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, some 18.5 hectares of varying landscapes from native bush, boardwalks, paths, tracks, beaches, lawns and coastal clifftop. This very scenic place is known as "The Birthplace of New Zealand" and is NZ's most important historic site. We wandered through the very well thought out and informative museum before we took a guided tour with a very knowledgeable and entertaining 20 something Maori guide who, when introducing himself, advised that he was related to the great Iwi chiefs of the Ngati Kahu. He piloted us around the Treaty Grounds, giving us great information on Maori culture and ancient ways; talking us through the building of the Ngātokimatawhaorua - the world's largest ceremonial war canoe or Waka (pronounced Wokka, like Quokka) - and the process for launching and paddling it. What a magnificent sight it would be out on the water, filled with 120 Maori warriors (80 at a time paddling to a set beat and rhythm)! He gave us his take on the Treaty, a somewhat contentious issue given that the original treaty endorsed by over 500 tribal chefs was written in Maori, whilst the English version, signed by only 39, became the "official" document. We got the impression that this younger generation of Maori are intent on reconciliation and engagement for all New Zealanders whilst working hard to protect their language and traditions and that can only be a good thing. We were then treated to a very entertaining cultural show in the Te Whare Rūnanga carved meeting house before checking out Treaty House, a traditional Maori carver, a 30-minute video on the history of the Treaty and of course the gift shop on the way out!
Paul and Heather's time with us rapidly came to an end and we farewelled them onto their Auckland bound bus in Kerikeri on 19/2. What a great, actioned packed and fun time together!
FYI: If you click on the Gallery (if ising a Desktop it's to the right; if tablet or smartphone it's located in the blue bar above this post) you can check out some of the photos of our short adventure. Chur Bro!
Happy on The Hook
06 February 2018 | Bay of Islands
With a large percentage of our boat jobs done, including the full replacement of our standing rigging, we were super excited to be able to escape from the marina and enjoy some quality time exploring the very stunning anchorages of the Bay of Islands - our primary reason for coming here for the summer. Our first choice was the amazing Paradise Bay at Urapukapuka Island; on route Paul was thrilled to capture his first NZ fish, a salmon known locally as kahawai which is prized for hot smoking.
From there, and with a strong easterly forecast for a few days, we headed across to Opunga Cove, a very popular anchorage with a long beach dotted with a number of bachs (NZ beachfront holiday homes). Here we celebrated Australia Day amongst a large crowd of Kiwi yachts and power boats - as it transpired January 29 is Auckland Anniversary Day and many locals had taken the opportunity to have an extra long weekend up in the Bay. Obviously there was a lot of banter between us and the Kiwis ("puss" taking being the national Aussie/Kiwi way) which in fact became an easy introduction into the local boating community. We hosted our Grand Bank owning neighbours and now new friends Dave and Alana for drinks and picked up a good amount of information on things from smoking fish to the best anchorages in the area.
Next to Opunga is Te Hue Bay, also known as Assassination Cove. In 1772, the French explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne and 26 of his crew were killed and cannibalised by the Ngapuhi iwi in this bay. It is understood that the assassinations were carried out due to the chief Te Kauri, initially a friend to the French, becoming angered at them for breaking several tapu laws which they had been informed of. These included the harvesting of kauri trees without following Iwi rituals and taking fish and shellfish from Manawaora Bay. All fishing had been banned there after the several Maori had drowned, including one of the chief's sons. One survivor of the massacre escaped, and the French retaliated by incorrectly attacking a different pa, wiping out an entirely innocent community, before leaving the area and abandoning any plans to colonise New Zealand.
We spent our time in the cove paddle boarding, dinghy exploring, swimming, beach walking and simply relishing being out on the hook. We cured and smoked our kahawai, offering one large fillet to Dave and Alana. You know you've smashed Manuka smoked fish when the locals tell you "good job; we scoffed the lot!"
We then moved out to Moturua Island, intending to anchor at the very pretty but small Mangahawea Bay. We could see three yachts and a power boat already settled as we sailed across however just as we made our approach, a 52' Maratimo raced in and effectively took the last available space. So, back to Opunga it was .... let's call that a fishing trip! We spent another week there, mostly with only one or two other yachts in the bay; all very tranquil and relaxing. We looked for fresh oysters on the rocks (all obviously harvested over the Christmas-New Year break by Jaffas); we watched the antics of the gannets as they dived for prey; we made friends with a very cute Jack Russell pub named Max as we walked along the beach. All too soon it was time to return to Opua to get Elevation ready for guests and to head down to Auckland to collect them. With absolute glass out conditions, we motored back to the marina. It was Waitangi Day and the RNZ Navy had sent two warships to the Bay to participate in ceremonial activities. Was it a coincidence they welcomed us with a 21-gun salute ...? Yeah, nah it was all about Waitangi
Hanging Out in KK
28 January 2018 | Kerikeri
This cruising lifestyle provides many varied and special opportunities and there is nothing better than a long stay in a new country. We are just loving NZ, and this new experience of being able to spend time with friends from home who are now Kiwi locals has been a real highlight for us both. As previously blogged, our friend Annie is one such Northland resident. She's a Kiwi by birth and on returning to her home country chose the Bay of Islands for her next life phase. We've been really enjoying having the opportunity to hang out and learn a little more about "her backyard" of Kerikeri which is a mere 30 minutes away from us in Opua.
Kerikeri (pronounced Kirry Kirry) is a vibrant country town, known for its art, craft and culture; for its agricultural produce and farmers markets; for great wine (the first grapes grown in NZ were planted in the region in 1819); and for its great food and boutique foodie products. It's a popular tourist destination "So Nice They Named It Twice" and is home to both the oldest wooden structure in NZ (the Old Mission House) and the oldest stone building (the Stone Store). Both properties sit at the ford of the Kerikeri River under the eye of the ancient Kororipo Pa. Well before the arrival of European settlers, the region was home to the Ngāpuhi people and the strategically located Kororipo Pa offers a extensive view of the river and the cove. The Iwi were skilled in agriculture and managed extensive food gardens in their large kainga; the arriving Europeans (Pākehā) mistakenly believing that Kerikeri meant "dig dig" although modern day consensus is that it means "bubbling or churning waters". Samuel Marsden, the first Anglican missionary to Northland, traded 48 axes for a parcel of land on the riverbank which became the site of the Mission House, the Stone Store, and a combined chapel and school. The remnants of a thriving kitchen garden and orchard still exist at the rivers edge, including the "oldest pear tree" in NZ. Along with Annie, we spent several hours exploring what the missionaries called Gloucester Town. Being conscious of the popularity of the area with cruise ship tours, we arrived at the Stone Store as they opened at 0900. This 185-year-old building has been a trading post since inception and today sells a variety of unique household goods, local produce and souvenirs. It also houses a very interesting small museum upstairs, well worth the hour or so to go through.
From the Stone Store, we walked out across the footbridge to view the river and the ford below. The footbridge was erected to replace the post WW1 stone bridge, which was lost after flooding in the 1980's - initially a controversial decision by the Far North Region Council but now a very much-loved thoroughfare. We then meandered through the old mission grounds, trying to identify the many gnarled fruit trees - so many heritage varieties, including quince and the good old Jonathon apple. There were breeding pairs of Pūkeko (the NZ purple swamp hen), with their broods of three and four chicks in tow, casually feeding along the waters edge and a large paddling of Pāteke (brown teal ducks) enjoying the cool of the river.
Passing by the old pear tree, aptly located in the grounds of the Pear Tree Restaurant and Bar, we headed up to Hongi Hika Recreation Reserve and the Pa. The start of the walking track, which follows the original Maori pathway, is marked by large warrior totems or Waharoa. After passing through these, the track takes you through towering gums and regenerating native forest, to the top of the Pa. The viewing platform situated there provides an amazing panorama plus several tourist boards with great information on the history of the original settlement.
History lesson over, we treated ourselves to lunch at the Marsden Estate Winery - a small boutique vineyard located on the outskirts of town with a stunning lakeside eatery. After completing the obligatory wine tasting - can highly recommend their sparkling rose - we enjoyed a superb lunch out on the restaurant deck. Everything on the menu is locally sourced and beautifully prepared and we were all wowed with our meals of choice. Definitely another "must go again" location for us!
There are several great wineries in Kerikeri and seeing as we were on a vineyard roll, we headed across to Ake Ake, a certified organic vineyard, to try their award-winning Pinot Gris and Sav Blanc - both excellent! Our last stop was at the very small Kapiro vineyard, where we completed a very entertaining tasting with the owner Kathy. This tiny boutique winery is situated amongst several kiwifruit orchards and produces small batch vintages of Pinot Gris, Rose and Syrah (and a very delicious Syrah Jelly, perfect with a cheese board). Another great day in Northland with a good mate!
A Day in the “Hellhole”
26 January 2018 | Russell
December seemed to pass by so quickly as we combined completing jobs on our to do list with partying up a storm for the "Silly Season". One of the many highlights was our day out in Russell for my birthday - this very quaint town with a fascinating history sits a short ferry ride across Pomare Bay from Paihia. The original settlement was known as Kororāreka by the Maori (translation "how sweet is the penguin" - the Maori considered the local fairy/little penguin a culinary treat). The safe anchorage, declared by Captain James Cook as "most noble" attracted whalers, sealers and sailors and enterprising Iwi quickly recognised that they could benefit from trade with passing vessels. The Maori initially offered timber, fish, local vegetables, flax, and fresh water in exchange for goods, especially favouring firearms and alcohol. With more and more ships visiting, brothels and grog shops sprang up everywhere - at its peak it was estimated there were more than 150 whorehouses and drinking holes lining the waterfront - and the lawlessness of the town earnt it the nickname "The Hellhole of the Pacific". There were tragic consequences of this trade, firstly the Musket Wars of the 1820s where under the leadership of Hongi Hika, the northern Iwi waged "Utu" against more southern tribes. Villages across Northland and further south in the Auckland-Coromandel region were sacked and destroyed with tens of thousands killed in mismatched fighting. Those who survived the onslaught were imprisoned and enslaved to work in the flourishing flax, wheat and market gardening enterprises which ironically provided trade goods to obtain more firearms. The second major incident was the "Girls War" of 1830; a disagreement between several high-ranking Maori women, all vying for the affections of master mariner Captain William Darby Brind, escalated into a violent and bloody feud between the tribes of Kororāreka and Kerikeri. It culminated in a beachfront battle where some 100 were killed; after this a peace was negotiated between the tribes by the much-respected missionary Henry Williams. (NB: I Googled without success for a photo of Captain Brind, who clearly must have been a very good-looking chap with a big personality!)
Despite the lawlessness, the region was an important mercantile centre and a CBD of sorts was set up just outside Russell in a new settlement named Okiato (the original capital of New Zealand). The ongoing chaos and disorder did eventually signal the demise of both Russell and Okiato and with the signing of the Waitangi Treaty in 1840, Auckland was named as a better and more appropriate capital. Missionary Jean Baptiste Pompallier established a Marist mission and printery in Russell in 1841 and embarked on converting many of the local Iwi to Christianity. Things were peaceful until 1845, when Hōne Heke, an influential Ngāpuhi chief and one of the first to embrace the Waitangi Treaty, expressed his growing disillusionment with English colonial rule by firstly destroying the British flagstaff on three occasions and then wiping out the guard post at Flagstaff Hill. Other than the Marist mission, the town was attacked by Iwi with settlers fleeing onboard British ships based in the harbour. The British subsequently shelled and destroyed much of the town, leaving the few remaining inhabitants to eke out a quiet existence. Today Russell is a very popular tourist destination with safe beaches, beautiful walking trails, great restaurants and cafes and a good range of accommodation options.
Along with our French cruiser buddies Jean Marie and Agethe and our Kiwi sailor friends Malc and Joan, we took the free marina shuttle to Paihia, where we hopped on the fast ferry to Russell. Our first stop was Pompelliar House, where we enjoyed the "Coffee and Croissant" Tour of both the house, the tannery and the printery. Our Maori guide, Anahere, was extremely knowledgeable and gave us a great insight into the workings of the Marist priests and lay workers, who translated and printed the Bible in Maori. We also learnt of the origins of many well used expressions taken from the printing industry - typecasting, mind your Ps and Qs, out of sorts, a dab hand, upper and lower case, hot off the press - a very educational hour! After our tour, we enjoyed coffee and delicious French pastries out in the very pretty mission gardens before we took a slow stroll around the streets of Russell. Then it was drinks and dinner at the Duke of Marlborough, the oldest surviving pub in New Zealand. Situated right on the bay, the lovingly restored Duke is a favourite with local foodies; we were all very impressed with our meals and we will definitely make a return visit before leaving the Bay of Islands. All in all, an excellent way to celebrate my second 29th with some very special people!
23 January 2018 | The Far North
We've been so busy, with both work and play, that I've neglected updating this blog as often as I should - now we are relaxing out on anchor in the Bay of Islands, I can rectify that ... so stand by for a series of stories from Te Tai Tokerau (aka the Winterless North).
One of our first northern excursions was a day trip to Cape Reinga, the northern most tip of NZ, where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet. Along with our local friend Annie, we set off early from Kerikeri, heading north on State Highway 1. Our first stop was Kaitaia, known as the Gateway to the far North and steeped in Maori history. It's a town with a long association of the gumdigging industry - Gumdiggers Park, worked by Maori and European, mostly from Dalmatia, has been in operation for over 100 years with thousands of tonnes of this local amber exported for use to make floor varnish, incense, jewellery and sculptures. We stopped for coffee at the recently opened training restaurant being run by the He Korowai Trust - located in the historic and recently renovated Kaitaia Hotel, the café provides opportunities for Iwi youth to practice their hospitality skills. We are big fans of training restaurants and make every effort to support them wherever in the world we may be.
Fully caffeinated, we continued north; our plan being to enjoy a leisurely stroll around the Cape before a mass influx of expected coach tours managed to arrive. It was a perfect Northland spring day, ideal for sightseeing and we followed the track down to the lighthouse. The views were outstanding and we were lucky enough to glimpse the offshore Three Kings islands. To see the meeting of two powerful bodies of water was mesmerising - the churning, swirling currents creating magical liquid patterns below us. The Maori believed that the tidal rips were created due to the meeting of Te Moana-a-Rehua, the man-sea of the Maori, with the woman-sea, Te Tai-o-Whitirea. Cape Reinga, or Te Rerenga Wairua (leaping place of the spirits) is sacred to the Maori as they believe that the spirits of the departed, after arriving here from Spirits Bay, commence their journey through the underworld to Hawaiki from here. The gateway is marked by a gnarly, ancient and very weather beaten pohutukawa tree which clings to the rocks at the very tip of the cape. The vista across to Cape Maria van Diemen, named by Abel Tasman as he passed by the northern capes in 1643, was exceptional, with the rolling surf crashing on to the white sand beach of the western most point of the North Island. The lighthouse at Cape Reinga, the last manned in NZ, was initially established in 1941, replacing the 1800's built Cape Maria van Diemen lighthouse which was situated on Motuopao Island and considered too dangerous to access in the generally rough seas of the tip. It was fully automated in 1987 and is now managed remotely from Wellington; emitting a signal every 12 seconds which is visible 19NM out to sea. It's a popular photo stop with signposting to many different cities across the globe.
From Cape Reinga, we headed to beautiful Tapotupotu Beach for a picnic lunch. The stunning pohutukawas were just beginning to bloom and the bright scarlet flowers made for a gorgeous contrast to the turquoise ocean and sky. Our next stop was the Giant Sand Dunes of Te Paki. On the edge of Ninety Mile Beach, these dunes are a favourite place for both tourists and locals alike to sandboard. We spent some time there as impressed spectators! Driving down a twisty forest track, we emerged at the lake by the entrance to the walkway to Spirits Bay. This pristine bay is in legend where the spirits of the dead gather to make the journey to Te Ura Tapu (Cape Reinga). It's off the usual tourist route and apart from us, there were just a few local families enjoying a day at the beach.
After a quick stop at Awanui to see the tree carvings and the giant Kauri staircase at Ka-uri Unearthed, we drove on to Mangonui Harbour where we walked to the top of the ancient Maori Pa, Rangikapiti. The views out across the harbour and Doubtless Bay were sensational and Coopers Beach looked stunning in the early evening twilight. Our plan to dine at the must do Mangonui Fish Shop was thwarted due to the restaurant being closed for a private function - obviously we will have to schedule a return trip to this pretty little seaside town before we leave. Instead, we headed back to Kerikeri, stopping for "Fush and Chups" at Waipapa. An amazing day out!
31 December 2017 | Opua
It's early morning on 31 December 2017 - New Years Eve in some parts of the world and Old Years Night in others - and the just risen sun is shining brightly here in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. The air is still, the water is like glass and a chorus of cheerful birdsong resonates across the marina. It's the perfect time to pause and reflect on everything that's occurred in the last 12 months as we all made one more turn around the sun.
Our year has been filled with challenges and triumphs; with family and friendship; with anticipation and adventure. Every event, good and bad, has been an opportunity to learn and grow. We've sailed more than 8000 NM (almost 15000 KM) and have been privileged to spend time in some truly amazing locations. So many highlights - transiting the Panama Canal; experiencing nature up close and personal in the astonishing Galapagos Islands; exploring the absolutely stunning and varied locations in French Polynesia; discovering the beauty of the isles of Tonga and now living like a local amongst the breath-taking beauty of NZ. Losing our rudder in the vastness of the Pacific taught us we can deal with serious adversity and reinforced our ability to work together seamlessly as a team; it also emphasized that we have many wonderful people in our lives who were all providing us with long distance positivity as we completed our very demanding 820NM journey to make it to the safety of Nuku Hiva. We've been so honoured to meet some fantastic new friends and we've been blessed to have time at home with beloved family and friends. Sharing last Christmas and New Year with the combined Carter/Barnes/Goodlich clan was such a special time; being able to celebrate with our great mate Bazz in Broome another pivotal occasion and of course having Denise and Brad onboard in the Society Islands an absolute treat! We're looking forward to more of the same in 2018 as we host some friends onboard here before we fly home to share in the celebration of the Pink/Harwood wedding and catch up with Aussie mates in both the East and the West. We're also thrilled to be sharing more time with NZ based friends before we sail away.
We're excited about our plans for the next 12 months and are looking forward to exploring new locations - Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia being on our cruising itinerary for the 2018 season. Where will we be next New Year?? Umm ..... watch this space!
To all our beloved Whānau, both near and far, may your New Year be filled with good health, with prosperity, with all that you wish for. Be bold, be brave, be kind, be amazing in all that you do.
Tau Hou Hari !!!