|Vessel Name:||Zephyr, Zoia,|
After my breakfast 🍳 of two croissants 🥐 and a latte coffee ☕️ from Starbucks. I jump onto the skybus to Auckland international airport, which took about 50 minutes, then a short walk to the FedEx world wide distribution centre, to try and find out why after over 3 weeks my box 📦 has still only got to here from Fiji 🇫🇯. ( according to emails) When it should have only taken 8 days to get back to the UK 🇬🇧. At this point I'm quite worried because most of my sailing ⛵️ kit is in it. I now have new plans which means I'm sailing again in November across the Atlantic Ocean 🌊 to the Caribbean and Panama 🇵🇦, then back to the Canaries via Bermuda 🇧🇲. After quite some time and searching they find the box 📦 then promise me that it has already left via the USA 🇺🇸 and should be in the UK 🇬🇧 (time will tell). Then back on the skybus to the city. I then spend a few more hours re-exploring Auckland with my slightly heavy bag 💼 until I can jump on another bus 🚌 out to the bnb. Now that I'm reunited with my laptop 💻 I can start to upload my photos to my gallery.
I took myself for a walk and was determined to find a bike shop that loaned mountain bikes 🚴 out. At the third shop I succeeded and was the proud owner (for 5 hours at least) of a Scott hard tail bike and a helmet. The first thing to do was decide where to go, so after being told twice how to get there I decided to ride up to the wind turbine some almost 1,000 feet above sea level and over Wellington. And managing to get lost within a few minutes, it takes me about one and a half hours to get to the top. The single track that took me up was rather disappointing and scary, it's no more than 24 inches wide and they make it not only 2way, but pedestrians 🚶 are also allowed to be on the same trail (how dangerous is that?) I would have classed it as blue/green but the locals recon its above our red classification, I found nothing technical just a constant climb and a few hairpins, I took advice at the top how to get back down a different way and hopefully a more technical challenge and basically it was a 4wd drive track, which was worse than going up, phaa. But looking on the bright side I was on a bike again. When I get back to the hostel I get a long relaxing shower 🚿 and soak away some of my aches and pains 👍. I get to bed around 23.30 ready for my 05.00 get up, when the two Argentinian t***t come in just past midnight and start banging about and packing their cases I couldn't help myself so I was diplomatic and told them to shut the F up, it still took them over 10 minutes to get sorted, then at 04.15 they are at it again and left the room just before my alarm went off (nearly 1982 all over again) the thing is they were still waiting for their bus after I had got on my transport, so as I passed them I had to give them something ( nope only the bird 🐦) and it did make me feel better. My bus 🚌 journey from Wellington to Auckland took over nine hours. I'm now sat on my bed in at the Base hostel Auckland, it is huge, my room has no windows and doesn't smell very nice. I'm back at my old digs with the AirBnB tomorrow so should be much better.
I was picked up at 10:00 to have yet another great day, this time touring the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) in and around Wellington. So it started off with us going out to an old mine out of town where we could see where they filmed the Minas Territh, and Helms Deep scenes. Next we saw some other places where significant scenes were filmed, like did you know when they are chopping all the trees down that they have multiple shots of the same tree that is on a hinge. Just after we had our lunch (provided by the tour company) we took a short stroll 🚶to Rivendell, here the gated enter an event was still there, we were told that they lifted a whole load of trees 🌲 then after filming they were put back. We also saw where the horse 🐴 picked up . We then went up Mount Victoria and saw where several other scenes were shot. I even got to sit in the same tree and the exact place that Frodo sat whilst smoking his pipe. The best bit of the tour was without a doubt the WETA cave and workshop, the cave was rammed with original pieces from the films 🎥 there was also lots of replicas for sale ( unlike Hobbiton this was all quality stuff) I just wanted to spend, but I resisted. The workshop was where I got to see just how it was done from weapons to chain mail and the fantastic masks with all the animatronics involved in moving the different head and face parts.
Today was quite a busy day. We started by leaving the blue duck lodge accommodation, within 10km we started to see snow, then soon it was about 5cm deep the driving was sedate along the very twisty gravel roads, the further we got along the more we could see of the snow covered mountains. We stopped and went for a hike to the Tarraniki falls, the snow was around 25cm. Now the thing is as you know it's winter ❄️ down here and the lowest temperatures I have had is about 25c degrees but mainly I have had +28c so all my kit is shorts tee shirt 👚 and open toe shoes. So I had to rent boots, jacket, gloves and a walking cane, I also had to buy a pair of socks. The hike took us just over an hour and a half, unlucky for me because I rubbed a bit of a nasty blister on my stump, but onwards and upwards as they say. Now due to my famous stubbornness, when we got to our new accommodation I took Vlad to the indoor climbing wall and gave him a lesson in climbing, we stayed there for just over an hour, the place was empty apart from 3 young Swiss girls who were skiing 🎿 instructors. Next I finally killed myself by winning 2 of my 3 games of table tennis
After we got up some were worse for wear after the night of drinking that went on last night. I must have misunderstood what was said last night so I trekked up to the main lodge only a couple of hundred yards but when I got there they said that the cost of brekky was going to be $10NZD well I wasn't prepared to pay that much, so off I goes back up to the backpackers common room and kitchen and made my own with all of the others 4 slices of toast 🍻 a yogurt and a banana 🍌. I have been trying to finish my latest Wilbur Smith book but it is hard going 😩. In the afternoon, myself, Kevin (frenchy) and Vlad (Russia) were taken on a 3 hour horse 🐴 tack, up and down some very steep hillsides the horses were slipping and sliding all over the place, when we got to the highest point Mount Doom was pointed out in the distance. Up until this point it had been pouring down with rain, we were well dressed for it though I had a pair of wellies on that had more water 💦 on the inside than out, I also had a pair of waterproof trousers and jacket along with a wax riding coat, and I must say apart from my feet and hands I was feeling very warm. My horse was called Joe, ( he wasn't quite as big as my last horse 🐴 'Big Ben' who I rode with Leanne and Sarah back in the UK 🇬🇧many years ago) we also had a very welcome hot chocolate 🍫 and marshmallows whilst at the top. Then with the sun shining it was a steady ride back to the lodge. There was no trotting or cantering allowed due to, I think the very slippery conditions. Where I watched for a short time some of the others partaking in a bit of clay pigeon shooting, they only had 1 basic trap which was too easy, so I declined the opportunity. Ok here's the thing it is almost summer here and the weather is not as good as I have been having in recent months in fact it is downright cold and wet most of the time. But we must take the rough with the smooth. I'm still not complaining though, I just thought you would like to take a laugh 😂 at me for a change.