25 February 2018 | Hamilton
24 February 2018 | Marsden Cove Marina
23 February 2018 | Marsden
19 February 2018 | Marsden
06 February 2018 | Waitangi Day
31 January 2018 | Whangarei
30 January 2018 | Mimiwhangata
27 January 2018 | Whangaruru
21 January 2018 | Whangarei
20 January 2018 | Langs Beach
17 January 2018 | Great Barrier
03 January 2018 | Marsden Cove Marina
31 December 2017 | Old Whaling Station
27 December 2017 | Marsden Cove Marina
26 December 2017 | Marsden Cove Marina
25 December 2017 | Marsden Cove Marina
24 December 2017 | Marsden Cove Marina
16 December 2017 | Whangarei
13 December 2017 | Whangarei
07 July 2017 | Simpson South Farm

25 February 2018 | Hamilton
As it was Sunday we had expected quiet roads and had planned on taking the scenic route to Hamilton. The road was clear at first and we stopped at a new viewing point to take some pictures but it did not last and the delays at Warkworth were as bad as ever (certainly not hidden), Auckland was also slow going and was able to take some photos of the tower and town centre while we queued. We therefore decided to take the direct route and arrived mid-afternoon. The approach to the motel was not encouraging and it looked a bit run down but the reception was friendly and inside was clean, well equipped and roomy which was quite a relief as it had mixed reviews. It was great to be able to jump into the pool which although small was deep enough for even Chris to swim in.
After cup of tea and a good splash around we set off to explore town. Hamilton is an attractive town on the River Waikato with plenty of parks and gardens and a lovely shady walkway alongside the tree lined river. The main street has many old (for New Zealand) buildings and covered walkways along its length, with loads of eateries and cafes (you would think too many for a small town) but they tended to be closed in the evenings. Halfway along was a statue of Richard O’Brian the ‘Rocky Horror Show’ creator who although born in the UK spent his teens and twenties in Hamilton. He was decked out as Riff Raff which meant nothing to me but was apparently the role he played in the film of the show. Sadly the photos I took have disappeared I do not know if I accidently deleted them or if the camera did not take them. Big mystery and disappointment!

Road Trip

24 February 2018 | Marsden Cove Marina
Mucked out the car, washed the crocks, checked tent etc and aired sleeping bags. Shopped for dry goods a new carving knife and roasting tray. Now ready for departure tomorrow Sunday

Cyclone Gita

23 February 2018 | Marsden
We were lucky the cyclone passed south of us but has caused flooding and land slips in parts of New Zealand. so although it was a bit windy we did not have any problems and when there is risk of flooding a boat is the best place to be. The cyclone has caused devastation in Samoa, and Tonga but seems to have missed most of Fiji and New Caledonia. Water supply is the greatest problem but needless to say houses and crops have been destroyed. In New Zealand the South of N Island and North of South Island bore the brunt of it.
The road to Golden Bay where we camped a couple of years ago was shut by slips cutting off about 6000 locals and tourists and will remain closed for day.
Huge rainfalls were recorded in the Tasman district on Tuesday - Waingaro got 211.5mm, Takaka got 204.2mm, Motueka received 180.1mm, and Riwaka got 146.9mm. So there are major problems with roads washed away and flooding.
States of emergency have been declared in many areas.
Roads that have only recently been reopened after the earthquake damage are now closed again by landslides
Winds of 140kmh have been recorded, including on the Rimutaka Range, Hawera, exposed areas of Wairarapa, and Buller. At Kelburn in Wellington winds peaked around 120kmh.
Many are still without power and water


19 February 2018 | Marsden
We motored out(no wind at all) for a few days at anchor before the cyclone hits. We stayed at Urquharts and Peach Beach. Peach (also known as Smugglers Cove) is a lovely curve of white sand but it was very roly and the boat would not stay still enough for photos, it was more out of the current than Urquharts so was good for swimming. At Urquharts current was so strong I could not swim against it so resorted to tying a rope around myself so that I could haul myself back to the boat. The approaching cyclone was making it hot and humid so the forays into the water were essential. We returned to the marina on the Monday to make sure we were safely tied up before the cyclone arrived The wind had started to increase but not enough to cause any problems

Waitangi Day

06 February 2018 | Waitangi Day
Today we went to the Waitangi Treaty Ground to celebrate Waitangi Day. We decided to give the dawn raising of the flag a miss as it is over an hour drive from Marsden Cove Marina and thought that heavy traffic might make it even longer. As it turned out traffic was negligible until we reached Pahia. The grounds were closed to parking and no spaces in town but people had opened up their front gardens and were charging $10 so there were no problems finding a space for the car. Other houses had dug Hangi pits and were selling traditional food or cold drinks.
Waitangi Day is the national day of New Zealand, and commemorates the signing, on 6 February 1840, of the Treaty of Waitangi. Ceremonies take place all over New Zealand to commemorate the signing of the treaty, which is regarded as New Zealand's founding document. The day is a public holiday, was first celebrated in 1934 (although not a public holiday then). The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February 1840 on the grounds of James Busby's house--now known as Treaty House--at Waitangi. The treaty was signed by representatives acting on behalf of the British Government and, initially, more than 40 Māori chiefs. It guaranteed British sovereignty over the islands of New Zealand, which was officially proclaimed on 21 May 1840.
We arrived just in time to watch the ceremony of launching the Waka (war canoes). The Ngatokimatawhaorua, one of the world's largest Māori ceremonial waka (war canoe), sits on the grounds at Waitangi. The 70-year-old waka was refurbished and relaunched for the 170th celebrations in 2010. Each February, Ngatokimatawhaorua must be prepared for its Waitangi Day outing prior to the big event. Made from massive trunks of New Zealand's giant kauri trees, the gigantic waka - which weighs an incredible six tonne when dry - must first be moved by human force across the Treaty grounds and down to the sea. It is then moored in the water for up to two days allowing the wood to swell and become airtight, doubling the weight. I'm not too sure how effective the process is, may be airtight but from the frantic activity of the boys who were bailing it is not watertight! (see photos). It carries 80 paddlers and 55 passengers.
Māori cultural performances, speeches from Māori and Pakeha (European) dignitaries are found at various locations over the Treaty grounds. There are pleasant walks all around but the Museum and Treaty House were closed for the Day. There were also numerous stalls selling food (including melon and pineapple hollowed out and filled with chopped fruit and ice cream), jewellery, T shirts and traditional crafts. The naval 21 gun salute was a bit of a let down, you could hardly hear it and there was only a tiny puff of smoke.
We had a great day and we were lucky with the weather (I was glad I had taken my ancient Cuba Sun Hat),I would like to have spent more time looking at the jewellery and crafts but Chris does not like ferreting around stalls and by the time we walked through the area they were packing up although we did manage to get a melon with ice cream.
You can join in the fun at home as there are Waitangi Day celebrations around the world, in London there is a Waitangi Day Ball, cultural entertainment, a church service and a pub crawl using the London Underground Circle Line which takes place on closest Saturday to 6th February.


Blue Moon

31 January 2018 | Whangarei
Back in the Marina The wind is getting up already and heavy cloud rolling in so it does not look as if we will see the Blue Moon, Super Moon or Lunar Eclipse. A Blue Moon is a second Full Moon in the calendar month, Supermoons happen when a full moon is in a point in its orbit at which it is closest to Earth. This makes the moon appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than usual. These events are coinciding with a full lunar eclipse which is quite rare and will not occur again until 2037. The photo shows a quick glimpse of the moon as it rose but it was soon covered in cloud and although I saw it again briefly through the cloud at 01.00h I could not see the whole moon and therefore missed the eclipse even though I waited half an hour in case the clouds cleared
Vessel Name: Esprit de la mer
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau
Hailing Port: Milford Haven
Crew: Chris and Penny Bates
Chris Bates is a Haverfordwest GP retiring at the end of March after 28 years at Winch Lane Surgery. Penny is a nurse in outpatients at Withybush Hospital and retires at the end of June. [...]
Capt pictured here with his pet seagull says 'Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans: it is lovely to be silly at the right moment' and thinks it is far more important to find him a name so we are running a competition to find him a name and guess the miles he will have sailed by [...]
Esprit de la mer's Photos - La Gomera (Main)
ASCOT Motel and Hamilton
No Photos
Created 15 March 2018
At the Waitangi Treaty Ground
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Created 12 February 2018
1 Sub-Album
Created 27 April 2015
1 Photo | 14 Sub-Albums
Created 2 August 2014
1 Photo | 49 Sub-Albums
Created 18 March 2014
126 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 26 August 2013
17 Photos
Created 11 June 2013
Chris's solo sail from Panama to Tahiti
10 Sub-Albums
Created 11 June 2013
1 Photo | 20 Sub-Albums
Created 22 June 2011
Summer in Canaries 2010
1 Photo | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 24 April 2011
Six months in Brasil
1 Photo | 22 Sub-Albums
Created 12 December 2010
Cabo Verde
20 Photos | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 31 October 2010
No Photos
Created 31 December 1969
No Photos
Created 31 December 1969