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Packed and ready (almost)
08/01/2015, Marsden Marina

Tomorrow we set off on our trip around South Island, ferry is booked for next Wednesday so we will have a stop on the way down and a few days in Wellington. Feeling rather apprehensive as Chris does not seem very keen I suppose he is suffering from sailing withdrawal symptoms as we have not sailed anywhere since arrival apart from two days out to scrub the bottom. He will not discuss where he wants to go and says he is just the driver so rather spoils the trip.

Day at the Races

We spent a day at the races today and came out $1.20 in profit, it is not often you beat the bookies!
The race course is in a beautiful setting right by the beach and a backdrop of the hills. Lunchtime you can go for a swim or surf and the lifeguards are on duty on the racecourse beach.
Morning was mostly trotting races, with flat (called galloping here) racing in the afternoon. This was interspersed with childrens trotting and sack races and a mixed wheelbarrow race with a car ferry crossing as a prize (worth $600).
No dress code and although there were some very dressed up ladies their husbands/boyfriends seemed to be 'slobbing' it in shorts and 'T'shirts. The strangest get ups were wedding style hats (feathers, net and flowers etc.) paired with shorts and 'T's.

Sunny weather
05/01/2015, Marsden

The sunny weather continues so we have had several trips to beach and the sting rays are back in the marina (they must have been waiting for the holiday visitors to leave) I still have not managed to get a photo as I am either without camera when I see them or they are in a murkey spot where the will not show up. There is a pop concert here next weekend which we will miss as we have booked our ferry to South Island. Missing the pop concert is probably fortuitous but am disappointed to be missing the rodeo which was also that weekend.

Highland Games
01/01/2015, Waipu

It seems funny to travel all this way to go to the Highland Games but that is where we were today. It was a great day out lots of tree trunk tossing and chucking wheat sacks over poles. They even had hairy haggis tossing for the uninitiated. In addition there were piping, drumming and dancing competitions with pipe band parades. Another beautiful day but by face got a bit toasted and as I was wearing sunglasses I now look like a panda.

Christmas Day
25/12/2014, Kerikeri

We spent Christmas Day with James and Tracey Christie (and his mother) at their lovely house near Kerikeri. They have a 'lifestyle' plot with sheep, chickens, dogs and two horses, beautiful views and garden. We knew them from the UK when they kept their boat near us in Milford Marina. Dinner was delicious, as was the wine so we were grateful to be able to stay overnight.
Sue (James's mother) has a delightful real Hobbit house on the plot with stunning views over the valley.

21/12/2014, Marsden Marina

A big wedding here at the Marina, with the weather not being too good it gave us some entertainment. First preparations and then people watching. There is a huge semi permanent marquee and this was greatly extended with a porch and second tent for the ceremony.
Our boat was well positioned for a good view but the heavy rain made it difficult to get photos. The ground around was flooded, the groom arrived in a Roller which pulled right up to the entrance for him so he stayed dry. The bride and retinue arrived by helicopter so could not get very close to tent and had to paddle in and of course no - one saw the grand entrance as they were all inside out of the rain

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