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Hello from Zephyra
Day 3
05/18/2010, At Sea

We finished with customs and left the dock about 1pm on Monday. Winds have been light, with squally conditions and most on the noise and we have been motor sailing on and off to put some miles behind us. Being at the dock for six months have left us with no sea legs, so we are just trying to take it easy and just keep the boat moving. 880 miles to go.

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05/10/2010, WHANGAREI

Testing remote system before leaving for Vanuatu.

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05/16/2010 | Paul and Gina
Good luck. Hopefully we will catch up along the way
Easter Weekend at Great Barrier Island
Debbie Noorda

We finally left the dock and went sailing (mostly motor sailing) for the long holiday weekend to the Great Barrier Island. On Thursday afternoon, we left work and motored the long way up the river to Marsden Cove to anchor for the night so we would have a good start on the 60 mile trip. Gerry, a co-worker who used to live on the island, came along to show us around and make sure we caught fish. When he went down for a nap, Russ caught a fish for dinner on the line he had rigged up. On Friday, we anchored at the south-east part of the island at Medlands Beach. Gerry jumped off the boat with his surfboard to catch a few rides and then we BBQ's the fish for dinner. The anchorage and beach were beautiful but rolly, so Saturday afternoon, we decided to move the west side of the Island to Tryphena. Since we were in a more populated location, we were able to rent a car on Sunday and drive around to see more of the island (see photo gallery). Then Monday we started off at 3am to make it back before low tide in Whangarei and Tuesday it was back to work. Way too short!

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04/08/2010 | Debbie & Russ Noorda
Great Island
Louis Vuitton Racing
Debbie Noorda

We took a weekend trip to show Joel and Robin Auckland. On Saturday after a scenic drive down, we all indulged ourselves on Oriental food and going to see "Alice in Wonderland" in 3D at the IMAX theater. We also got to spend time with our friends, Stacy and John Stuart on Lightfoot, who joined us for drinks and eats and sailboat racing.

On Sunday morning, we lined up early for free tickets on a spectator boat for the final race of the Louis Vuitton series. The City Council of Auckland had lined up a luxurious sailing/motor cat for the 2 race weekends to allow the "average person" to enjoy some Louis Vuitton racing. They were able to accomodate 120 passengers for morning and afternoon cruises. The race we saw turned out to be the deciding race as Team New Zealand beat Mascalzone Latino Audi Team (Italy) for their 2nd win in the best of 3 finals. This is match racing at its finest and we were able to see it both on the big screen TV on the spectator boat and by looking out at the course. The parties at Viaduct harbor were starting even before the boats returned to the dock.

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03/24/2010 | Dru and John
This is great - I get your blog on an automatic feed so I see each time you post. Beautiful photos
Russell in Russell
Debbie Noorda

On our third trip to Russell, we finally found the "Welcome to Russell" sign as we drove by it and had to pull a u-turn to get the picture. We spent a pleasant weekend touring Northland by car with our house (boat) guests, Joel and Robin, who were visiting from Tonga. On Saturday we enjoyed the Kauri museum and on Sunday, we visited "romantic Russell". Our guests especially enjoyed the cool New Zealand weather.

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Growing roots to the dock in NZ
Debbie Noorda
02/06/2010, Whangarei, New Zealand

It is a long time since we sent an update and after a stressful passage, we have made it to New Zealand. We spend 5 days in Opua , checking in and getting organized. Found checking in easy and all officials were very professional and courteous. We arrived at the end of the All-Points-Rally to Opua so only got to go to their closing party. The next night we traveled by ferry to Russell to see the town and hear Bob McDavitt speak, (a New Zealand weather Guru) He was very knowledgeable and entertaining which was surprising since we have so much trouble making sense of his Weathergrams (we are working on the local vernacular). The next day we left for Whangarei (pronounced Fong- ga-ray) to get settled before Russ started work.
We are now in Whangarei tied to a dock in the Riverside Drive Marina. Russ has a job in a rig shop (they call it a factory in NZ) and Debbie is working in the office of the same business. We have bought a car and cell phone. Cruising has been great this year, but it is also great to be connected to the grid after a year of constant moving and being at anchor. We like Whangarei which a medium sized city (about 78,000) on the North Island of New Zealand. It is up a river 2 hours from the ocean, so we are here to stay for awhile, since leaving is a long way and can only be done when the tide is right. Since we now have a little car (Honda Civic) we are getting to see parts of the Northland by land trips. Debbie is trying to get used to driving on the wrong (left) side of road and all the round-a-bouts. (Russ grinds his teeth a lot these days.) There are great walking and hiking trails very close to where we are staying and it is so nice to be somewhere where the streets and trails are clean and well maintained.
New Zealanders really take their holidays seriously and all business close for the week between Christmas and New Years, so after working for the company for 3 weeks, Russ had a 10 day (paid) vacation. We spent Christmas in Whangarei, having a potluck dinner with our fellow cruisers in the marina. Dave cooked a leg of lamb on the BBQ and we all brought other dishes to share. It was about 75 degrees out and didn't get dark until 9:30, so Christmas dinner outdoors was very successful. A couple of days later we got in our car and started driving around Northland. The first stop was Hundertwasser's Kawakawa Toilets. Not that stopping for a toilet is such an unusual concept for Debbie, it was the first time she took pictures of the toilet in question. Next we visited the seaside town of Kerikeri which was one of the first places to be settled by Europeans in the early 19th century and is the site of New Zealand's two oldest buildings, the Kemp House and the Stone Store. We also toured Rewa's Village . This is a full-scale recreation of a pre-European Maori village which details traditional aspects of life including a marae, the chief's house, a cooking area, weapons, store, fishing canoe and hangi pit (ground oven). We spent the night camping (in a tent) at a bird sanctuary called Aroha Island (our first night off the boat in a long time). The next day we drove north to Cape Reinga, where the Tasman meets the Pacific Ocean. Great views.
We also visited a Kauri forest and saw the largest and second largest Kauri tree in New Zealand. The forests here are green and lush, with streams and waterfalls. New Zealanders will proudly tell you that it is safe to hike in the woods in NZ because they have no snakes and no dangerous animals. Outside of possums and rats, they virtually have no land mammals, but a wonderful collection of birds. So far, the only Kiwi we have seen was in captivity, but he was in a display set up to be as close to his natural habitat as possible. In the wild, Kiwis are nocturnal and shy of humans, so they are hard to spot. Hopefully we will get lucky before we leave but understand that many New Zealander live here there whole life and never see a Kiwi in the wild.
Since we are working, we are now only doing weekend trips and sightseeing. This is being alternated with the long list of boat projects, we need to complete before we leave here in the spring (NZ's fall). We did get to visit Auckland where we stayed with our cruising friends, the Stuarts, on their boat Lightfoot which is mooring on the Viaduct. They took on a great tour of the city's parks and downtown area and of course, eateries. We had brunch in the Sky Tower in a restaurant that rotates every hour and 10 minutes, giving a constant different view of the city. We watched the cable jumpers leap from the building and plummet to the ground where of course the cables are tightened as the reach the jump deck.
The last couple of weekends have been boat projects, but hopefully more sightseeing next week.

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02/08/2010 | Scott Humes
Hello to Russ and Debbie Noorda from Scott here in Sutter Creek CA. Close to Lake Tahoe.
I was wondering were you were? I'll forward this to Hildinger Madsen Mason Vindum. Good to hear from you. [email protected]
03/04/2010 | Joan Martin
Your blog looks great!!! Great photos!:)

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Hello from Zephyra
Who: Russ and Debbie Noorda
Port: Lake Tahoe, California
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