Auckland in February
04 March 2012
February in Auckland
Well, it’s been quite a summer here in New Zealand; cold and rainy. Almost every Kiwi we have talked to, has told us apologetically, that this has been the most extraordinarily cold summer they can ever remember. Usually, they told us, the days are so hot that you just want to stand in front of a fan all day!
Other than the rain, we haven’t minded so much! Unless the sun is out in full, and the sun here is burning hot, we wear our fleeces. When we first arrived, we dug out our sleeping bags because we were so cold at night. This was also due to the fact that we had gotten used to tropical temperatures. I guess we aren’t the hardy Canadians we used to be!
At the end of January, we had to leave the slip at West Haven Marina, because the owners came back. How fortunate we were to have had so much time in a marina so close to downtown. We could bike to the skate park, the grocery store and the main area of downtown. We tried to get another slip there, but none was available. We anchored out for a few days while we checked out some other possibilities. Now we are at Bayswater Marina across the bay from downtown Auckland. The ferry comes right to the marina so we are only a 10 minute ferry ride away from the main street downtown. It is the best of both worlds!
So, what have the ‘Gromiteers’ been up to?
Little bits and pieces of things like visiting the Art Gallery. We’ll be going again this week to see the ‘Degas to Dali’ exposition. It is an exposition of the major movement of modern art. We will be able to see 79 paintings, sculptures and prints of 62 international master artists such as; Bacon, Magritte, Manet, Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Pissarro, Renoir, Rodin, van Gogh right up to Warhol. It’s very exciting for us to be able to see an exhibit of such magnitude with so many famous and important artists.
We went to a Chinese New Year Festival and saw martial arts, dance and heard beautiful singing. The girls had their faces painted in the most vibrant and artistic styles I’ve ever seen face painters do.
Another piece of news is that we bought a van. It’s a 1989 Toyota Townace with a full bench seat in the back that folds forward, so the floor of the van can be used for sleeping when we start our camping adventure next week. Between this and the tent we brought along from Canada, we’ll have enough sleeping space so we won’t be cramped into our tent that used to fit us all, before the kids grew so big! Zoe is only an inch or so shorter than me!!!! Yikes!
A few weeks back, we had lunch at an incredible house that Caroline from s/v Riada II was house-sitting. The form of the house is simply an arched roof from ground level at both ends to about 25 feet in the middle. It has windows on both sides. The walls within are curved and almost everything is completely white. When we sat down to lunch, most of us had to put on sunglasses because of the brightness. It was a stunning piece of architecture with an equally stunning view of the ocean from high atop the hill it was built on. We could see the outline of Great Barrier Island and other smaller islands in the bay.
We hadn’t swum since we left Great Barrier Island in December, so with our friends on s/v Rhthym, we decided we’d like to go to a beach. We drove to the west coast, about an hour, and spent the day on Piha beach. It is a famed surfing beach due to its large waves. This also makes it dangerous because of its many rip tides. It was surprising to see how many life guards with 4-wheelers and rescue dingys we saw watching closely over the swimmers. Since that outing, we’ve been told that there is a reality show on TV called ‘Piha Beach Rescue’, which showcases the weekly, yes weekly, rescue of surfers and swimmers. Oh, boy! Or should that be: Oh, throw me a buoy!!!
Piha Beach is in Wairakere Ranges Regional Park. It has an impressive Visitor/Interpretation Centre, which we took some time to look around and found really great displays and carvings. We also learned the meaning of the names of Piha beach and area: ‘the bay of boisterous seas’. So true!
Bruce, our friend from s/v Farfetched, returned from the Philippines where he’d done some land travel to check out places to sail to and marinas he might stay in when he gets there. He stayed aboard Gromit for a night and then we took him to our good friends, Randy and Jenny, who have their boat moored at Herald Island. It was a quick visit with Bruce and only a few minutes to see Randy and Jenny, but we are hoping to connect with them all again during our camping trip.
So this week and weekend promise to be busy with Zoe’s birthday coming up and all our camping preparations. We also have to get everything ready for leaving Gromit while we are away. We’ll put him on the inside of the break wall here at the marina. At present, we think we might just explore the north island, but we are still considering south island, too.
So, that’s it for now!
New pictures - in the gallery under ‘Auckland in February’.