Here's a video from a hike we did a few days ago. It was about a 3 mile hike, up hill to Parihaka Lookout. The views were great of Whangarei, the Town Basin Marina and of the river. You can also hear the cicada's singing their tune! Do you see Tanga in the video?
We read this description about the Parihaka Lookout in a Whangarei Walks brochure we have. "Parihaka is an old eroded volcanic cone rising to 241 metres (not a typo, this is how NZ's spell it) above sea level. There are extensive remnants of Maori settlement extending along the ridge and including three heavily defended pa sites. The Pa (meaning settlement in Maori) complex at Parihaka was the site of a significant battle and massacre in the 1700's. Whangarei's War Memorial stands at the summit of Parihaka and the lookout offers spectacular views of the city and harbour."
Many of you have asked what our cruising schedule is for this coming year. And some have asked about joining us in some of these locations. So, here is a rough summary of where we are going and when we will be there. Again, I stress the rough summary part. We have learned that many unpredictable things can happen while cruising; such as: something breaks on the boat, weather can hold us somewhere longer than intended, or we just are enjoying ourselves at one island and decide to stay longer..
Mid April-May: Fiji
June: Vanuatu & Solomons
July: Papua/New Guinea
Late-October thru November 2013 Crossing Indian Ocean
November 2013 - February 2014 South Africa
We are really excited about this coming cruising season, with Fiji and Indonesia as our highlight areas. With an exemption for Tom, he's really excited to tour Guadalcanal (Solomon's) for the WW2 history.
We would love any of our family and friends to join us and guarantee you will have a wonderful time. But a couple words of caution before you book those plane tickets. In addition to the above stated caution about timelines; you must also consider you will be cruising on a boat. This is easier than camping, but we feel that if you don't like camping for multiple days without TV, internet, hot showers, etc., then you won't enjoy this. Living on a boat can be rough. In addition, you will be expected to assist with catching and preparing meals, and cleanup as payment, paradise has a fee! Also, for a very long list of reasons we would rather not have guest during any of the crossings.
We have some guests that are going to join us in October, in Thailand, for their honeymoon, but the rest of the time is wide open.
We only guarantee to sail you to remote islands for beach cookouts, fishing, snorkeling and some intense relaxation. Everything else will be played by ear.
If this is something you would like to do, email us and we'll deal with the details then. We look forward to hearing from you.
We've just completed re-bedding and sealing all windows (port holes) and stanchions (the silver poles around the deck). We now have our task list down to only 2 pages (70 items), some of which can only be done when we haul the boat out in March. We are making progress and now that the time consuming re-bedding projects of windows and stanchions are done, progress should be faster.
We had re-sealed all the windows and stanchions prior to leaving San Francisco and had a nice leak proof vessel. What we discovered during this first leg of our journey is the difference between rain and submarine testing.
During the two nastiest storms, the first out of Bora Bora, and the second, and most violent, on our trip to NZ, we had seas that made us act like a submarine due to large seas burying various parts of Tanga underwater. The pressure and direction of the water demonstrated that we needed to overhaul all hardware penetrations. They weren't designed to act as a submarine and take the amount and direction of forces that are placed on them during a collapsing wall of water. The largest demonstration of this was while we were riding out the NZ storm, we discovered water in our bilge! Our bilge is always dry, unlike many cruising vessels, we run a dry bilge. After we got over the anxiety of having a hole somewhere, we discovered that the water was coming in from underneath a window as each wave would smash into the side and push up on the base of the window. Not good, but fixable.
Tanga is now ready to pop out from underneath waves as dry as she entered.
A side note about fluid in the bilge. When a standing puddle of liquid is discovered, it's important to determine what it is so we can determine the source. Our first step is to put our fingers in the fluid and smell it. If it smells like diesel, then we know it's a fuel line issue and can chase accordingly. If it has no smell the next step is to taste it. This will tell us if its fresh water, indicating an internal plumbing issue which has happened as a fitting has vibrated loose in the past. (Since then all hose clamps have been replaced with two 316 stainless clamps, as they should be.) If it taste salty, we have saltwater coming in from outside. Saltwater is the most feared because that means the ocean is getting inside. In most conditions, this means a leak below the waterline which is very bad. Having a dry bilge at all times is considered an essential safety item on Tanga.
No neat stuff to post. Since our return its been projects projects projects. Tom is working on removing, repairing, and reinstalling all 16 windows. I've been trying to clean 8 months of salt out of the nooks and cranies. We have several more hard projects to accomplish prior to touring NZ. We're both very motivated to go inland and play so we work between 6-8hrs per day...sheesh.
Well, it was more like bus, plane, car and another plane ride to land us back to America and to Columbus, Ohio for Christmas. Our flight out of Auckland was a very early morning flight at 6:30am. So, we decided to get a hotel room, near the Auckland airport the night before. Since Auckland is about 3 hours south of Whangarei, we hopped on a bus called The Naked Bus and headed south to Auckland. The Naked Bus does not mean that everyone on the bus is naked or that clothing is optional, it just happens to be the name of the company and their slogan is "we stripped our prices". It's quite a catchy name!
Once we arrived in downtown Auckland, we took another short bus ride to the airport, and then hopped on a shuttle that took us to the hotel. As we were riding through downtown Auckland, we were happy to take in the sights of the city. Our first impression is that Auckland is a very clean and happening area with tons of stores, shops and restaurants. I don't think we saw one store front that was closed or out of business. Auckland appears to be a thriving city. The other thing we noticed is all the fast food restaurants that we haven't seen in many many months, such as Wendy's and Burger King, along with McDonalds and Subway, unfortunately, still no Taco Bell to be found.
Early the next morning, we left Auckland airport at 6:30am and flew 4.5 hours to Melbourne, Australia. We had about a 2 hour layover before our "long haul" flight to Los Angeles. Since we were hungry, we exchanged some New Zealand dollars for some Aussie money and went to a fast food place called Hungry Jacks. The place was a Burger King but with a different name. Same sandwiches, same symbol, and even found the paper bag said they were a trade mark of Burger King. We really couldn't figure out why they weren't called Burger King. Anyway, the time came for us to board the plane and begin our 14.5 hour flight back to America. The fight was uneventful and we both tried to sleep, we watched movies and TV shows, and I even sent Tom an instant message through our TV screens, even though he was seated right next to me. Before we knew it, we were on our final approach to LAX, arriving on the same day we left Auckland, remember we passed over the International Date Line, so we went back in time or maybe, time stood still.
We rented a car in Los Angeles and drove to Las Vegas for a little rest and relaxation before heading to Columbus, Ohio. We are so happy we decided to rent a car, because the drive to Las Vegas was beautiful and made us realize how much we miss the desert. We always loved the desert scenery with the cactuses, desert floor and the mountains.
Once we checked into our hotel in Las Vegas, we immediately went down to the casino and headed to a bar that had poker slots. With the amount of traveling we just did in the last 24 hours, we were both ready to take a breath and relax over a drink or two. The first thing that we both noticed about being back in America was the crowds of people. Too many people, it was a little overwhelming for us. Also, we noticed that most everyone was in a hurry and didn't look too happy, maybe more of a stressed out look. We only stayed down in the casino a few hours and because the hotel room was calling us. We were all about the hotel room because of all the space to walk around in, the big king bed and most importantly, the unlimited hot water in the shower and a flushing toilet all within a few feet. We were in heaven!!!
The next morning, we took our flight to the cold Midwest, to Columbus, Ohio. Tom's parents picked us up at the airport and drove us to my parent's house. All 6 of us had a great visit that night, telling stories of our past year of sailing adventures. It was great to have an evening reminiscing with just our parents.
The following 2 weeks was filled with lots of visits with most of our families, playing in the snow, eating too much wonderful food, shoveling and playing in the snow. We also got to see a few of our aunts and uncles that we haven't seen in many years. We also took care of several things that we could only take care of in America. We switched satellite phone providers from GMPCS (note to any future cruising: do not use this company. We have had a lot of problems with them and would never recommend them) and switched to OCENS. We also downloaded a ton of movies, shows, and music. Living without a radio and a TV for the last 9 months made us realize how little music and shows we had. So, we took advantage of the unlimited internet access and always had our computer powered on and downloading something.
Before we knew it, our 2 weeks was up and it was time to say goodbye to our families, good bye to America and to start traveling west again. We spent 2 more days in Las Vegas before we started our very long journey back through Los Angeles, to Brisbane Australia, to Auckland New Zealand and finally to Whangarei. We jumped ahead 2 days during our travels and spent New Year's at 30,000 feet in the sky. We arrived back aboard Tanga around 9:00pm. We were feeling exhausted from our flights but feeling relieved to see Tanga safe and happily tied inside her slip. It's time for us to catch up on some sleep; unpacking will happen tomorrow. There is always a tomorrow!