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Farewell Party
Penny
23/04/2015, Whangarei

The floating tadpole is driving me nuts but not sunny enough for dark glasses which help mask it. Once again our return visit to the Kauri Museum was Postponed as we decided to go to a BBQ and would not have time for both. It was put on by the Marine Business Association in Whangarei and profits from ticket sales went to the Coastguard (similar to Lifeboat in UK) and Helicopter Rescue Service. A good 'do' with live music, a gymnastic display by some local kids, and the highlight an excellent Traditional Maori Song and Dance display by the Hatea Group. They compose new songs which they perform in the traditional manner, we heard one in honour of a Maori Soldier who was awarded the Victoria Cross (ANZAC Day on Saturday) and are a choir. The Haka was very impressive from close up!
The BBQ was excellent, a good selection of food including 'homemade' mussel fritters which are very different from the chip shop ones (which I also like)

Kauri Museum postponed sightseeing at hospital instead
Penny
22/04/2015, Whangarei Hospital

Last night had flashy lights in my eye and this morning a large tadpole shaped floater. As Zisca at Withybush had said I should get it checked out (not wait for return to UK) if it happened again, we postponed the Kauri Museum visit and trotted up to local hospital which has the regional eye centre. They checked my BP and to my horror it was 215/110 so that probably speeded up my visit to eye department. Eyes gave me the all clear, it was a 'posterior vitreous detachment' but had to have BP rechecked a few times. Luckily it dropped a bit but will have to go on manic diet to try and bring it down to reasonable levels. Sadly goodbye to the marvellous New Zealand fish and chips and many thanks to Whangarei Hospital. Very surprised that I should have been so stressed by a visit to A&E! I was not aware of it.

Kiwi House
21/04/2015

Weather not too good today so as still have not managed to see a kiwi so decided on a visit to the Kiwi House to rectify the problem. We had some unexpected bonuses as there was also a museum, restored chapel and house, some interesting restored engines at an engine club (we were given a tour and demo) and had a steam train ride. We were lucky to catch the train ride as it only runs every third Sunday The ticket collector was originally from Pembrokeshire and his mother from Keeston, although she unfortunately died last year. The Kiwi House was disappointing as there had been only two Kiwis and one of them died yesterday but at least it was feeding time and I actually saw it close up. There was also a collection of geckos, tuataras and wekas.

Cruising Club BBQ
Penny
12/04/2015, Riverside Drive Marina

Annual end of summer BBQ at Riverside Drive and presentation of awards. Very nice lamb provided and everyone contributed salads and a desert. It was an afternoon event so made it easier for getting back. Noseeums were a bit of a pest!

No Eggs
Penny
02/04/2015, Hens and Chicken

A short break in the weather with not much wind so decided to go to Hens and Chickens just off Hatea River mouth (entrance to Whangarei) It is generally considered only suitable as a day anchorage as there is not much protection and water is very deep. We had a lovely day there and decided to stay overnight as there was no wind. It was very peaceful as there were no other boats, one night stretched into two but as it was a weekend we were joined by two others taking advantage of the calm spell. We could see Barrier Island, it looked quite near but we would have had to motor there and maybe back again as we needed to get back before the expected gale went through

Langsview Track
Penny
01/04/2015, Langsview Track

Have wanted to do this trail for a while but Chris's knee has been bad and it is fairly rough and quite steep in places. It forms part of the tramping track that runs the full length of New Zealand (Cape Reinga to Bluff). We expected to get some great views and we had a lovely sunny day. Most of the way we could not see the view as we were surrounded by natural forest, but sadly tracks had been cut into the hillside for housing all the way up. I found my perfect plot (view below) but would not like to see it when the development is complete. Chris waited at a picnic table here while I continued on but did not find a better view.

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