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Off Again
Penny
18/03/2015, Marsden Cove

Weather seems to be settling down so we have shopped and are planning on going to Opua. I have had a hair cut, it was badly needed as hair was a rather sun damaged thatch and getting in my eyes. Pleased with the result although it is rather shorter than usual and I have lost most of the blond.

Cyclone
Penny
16/03/2015, Marsden

We were well protected in the marina. A bit windy and lots of rain. It passed down coast of NZ but further offshore than expected. Poor Vanuatu has been badly affected again though, whole villages blown away.

Cyclone
Penny
14/03/2015, Marsden

Had a couple of nights at Mimiwhangata and then returned to base rather than going on to Bay of Islands as there is a cyclone on its way in. Sounds quite severe as there were 250km/hr winds at its centre when it hit Vanuatu. Marsden seems to offer good protection and secure pontoons. We have stocked up on food bought new mooring ropes and tied everything down. It is now just a case of waiting for it to pass. Latest predictions seem to say it will pass some way off the coast.
Have taken pictures of the beach and dunes here as the predicted 7m waves may carry a lot of it away

MIMIWHANGATA
Penny
09/03/2015, Mimiwhangata

After a few days of cleaning, shopping and an afternoon on the beach we are on the move again. This time to the Bay of Islands. Last night we stopped at Tutukaka, a harbour with a narrow entrance which opens out into big bay with several beaches and protected anchorage. There is also small Marina and lots of fishing and dive trips leave from here for the Poor Knights. It is the first time I have seen it in the sun (One previous visit by boat and another by car) and it is quite pretty without the rain. Supposed to have good coffee but we did not go ashore. Tonight we are at Mimiwhangata another pretty anchorage but no sun this evening, maybe tomorrow. At least it is not raining

Back on board L'Esprit de la Mer
Penny
07/03/2015, Marsdon Marina

Arrived back at boat on Monday Chris very relieved to find everything still in one piece. Thick layer of dust over everything even inside the boat so we had a major cleanup operation followed by shop in Whangarei. Nothing changed there! Chris suffering from itchy feet so we are off tomorrow (Sunday), probably to Bay of Islands on the boat.

Taupo
Penny
01/03/2015, Centre of North Island

Long tiring journey as the road from Hastings was blocked by an accident. Many people gave up and turned around but as we had paid for our room we had to wait it out as there was no other way around. We had difficulty booking accommodation here, camp sites were all full so we booked in at Chantillys Motel in Taupo. It was a lucky accident as we liked it very much, taking advantage of their hotpool and swimming pool after the journey. Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand and is certainly very impressive. It was formed by the eruption of Mount Taupo in AD 186 when the underground magma chamber emptied and the roof collapsed. It was a huge event, bigger than Krakatoa and St Helens combined, covering N Island in pumice. The event was even observed and recorded by the Romans!
You can see snow capped mountains (volcanoes) in the distance and parkland surrounds the lake. There are also many geo thermal pools but mostly on private land and enclosed. We went to the Spa Thermal Park and Hot Stream walking up from Taupo, a long hot walk and we found when we arrived that we could have driven most of the way! That would have enabled us to walk Huka Falls. The Hot Stream is amazing, it is really hot (not just tepid like the Azores ones) steam billows up where it meets the cold river Waikato, you choose your spot lie back and relax. Huka Falls on Waikato did not disappoint although not very high (in fact more like rapids) it thundered through a narrow chasm. I had hoped to see one of the adrenaline boat rides go through but they only sweep through the surf at the end.
We decided to stay an extra day in Taupo and visit the Whakarewarewa Park from there. I wanted to see the Geyser which erupts once or twice an hour. I thought that Rotorua was rather some of the modern Canary or Tunisian resorts so glad we had not opted to stay.
The geyser performed well and was very impressive as were the bubbling glooey mud pools, but the nocturnal Kiwi House only contained one Kiwi and he was asleep. I'm not sure that it is worth the $50 but it is the only way to see the geyser.

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