Over and out!
14 December 2008 | Viaduct Marina, Auckland, New Zealand
Here we are about to berth at our new home, so over to the crew for their thoughts...
Philip It's always difficult to try and become part of a team in the latest stages of its evolution, but thankfully 'Christiania' has been the perfect host and has never made it an issue. I did not know what to expect when I boarded in Fiji but I have always been made to feel welcome. I never thought, a life on the Ocean waves as easy, but the first few days I found difficult to say the least, mainly due to the constant roll and heel of the boat. One thing I will never take for granted again at home, is the ease of going to the toilet at night or in fact at any time during the day. I distinctly remember when Nic suggested that I may like to join the final leg from Sydney to Auckland, what an opportunity that would be. I have since learnt that 'Christiania' often has other ideas, hence my journey to Fiji. My family which has since grown have always supported me in this and I cannot thank them enough for that. I have extreme admiration for Nic and the rest of the crew for the journey that they have made together through the good times and difficult. Finally I feel privileged to have been invited on a once in a life time opportunity that I shall never forget and cannot thank Nic enough for that. As for Sydney - Hobart maybe next year!
Lisa We are now 12 miles from our final destination, and even though I have been a part timer throughout the trip it is difficult to imagine what the coming year will have in store that could beat the last one!! Thank you Nic for giving me the opportunity and experience of a life time. I hope life won't feel too dull for us all now it's all over.
Emz Well I've travelled from the hot shores of the Caribbean, through the alligator infested canals of panama and dived with the seals and sharks of the Galapagos. I've wandered through the temples of the Marquesas Islands and broken bread with the locals on the distant pacific atolls of the Tuamotus. I've watched the longest left hand surfing break thunder into the shores of Tahiti and weaved through the coral gardens of Morea. I've cycled the flat roads around Bora Bora and relaxed on its hot white sandy beaches. I've shared evenings with Samoan chiefs and watched the fire dancing of Savaii. In Fiji I spent afternoons hunting sea snakes and my mornings plucking shells from the coral sands for jewellery. If I was to write all that I have done and seen on this trip, this would be a short story not a few paragraphs. The crew, the people I have met, the ups, the downs, the challenges, the time away from family and friends, my time with Neil, and the fantastically wet forepeak I could write endlessly! I will forever be able to close my eyes and be taken back to the days and nights at sea on a beautiful old wooden boat. Christiania has been a lovely home and an amazing eight month adventure thank you Nic and thank you Christiania.
Neil 365 days ago mid an Atlantic crossing I was busy writing in my diary about how I wanted to join Christiania, which at the time I didn't even know how to spell. Joining an old wooden gaff rig boat to New Zealand was one of my dreams. I did not know Nic and his crew very well but after finally getting a spot on Christiania in St Lucia, I had the option of sleeping in the forepeak on the sails, in a hammock on deck or on the floor I was a happy man. Luckily for me Lisa decided to skip the next leg and I was given a real bed on board. For the next 5 months in the Caribbean I was welcomed as family and hopefully I earned my keep. From there I enjoyed every part of the journey. Travelling through the world's largest canal in the world to seeing some of the most enchanting Galapagos Islands. Visiting the remote Tuamotus and swimming across the equator. The journey had lots of ups and downs as every sailing trip should have and I would like to thank the crew (that includes you Clint) for putting up with me!! Thanks Nic for making this happen and if you ever decide to do it again give us a shout. I will forever hold the forepeak close to my heart!
Alister With mixed feelings the trip all of a sudden is coming to an end. I've seen many interesting things and met some wonderful people. I will find it difficult to adjust to a normal lifestyle.
Nic Believe it or not I am at a complete loss for words! The trip has been truly amazing on many fronts, and to try and sum it up it a few words without sounding crass is almost as difficult as motivating the crew in a Force 8!! So in true Hollywood Oscar fashion, first and foremost I would like to thank Christiania - you have been a great boat to skipper, challenging at times, keeping me on my toes but also always ready to reward a bit of love an attention - thank you girl my heart is really and truly yours. Secondly, Mr Alister, again what can I say, we have had our ups and downs, but without you as my wing man I'm not sure if I could have managed the trip, please accept my heartfelt thanks, I hope what we chatted about comes to fruition but even if not you have been a star mate and I will never forget your help - come and do the Sydney-Hobart it wouldn't be the same without you. Next on to the reason for my sudden onset of grey hairs - the crew!!!!!! Danny, Lisa, Tommy, Felix, Nic Crawford, Eskil, Neil, Emma, Clint, Phil & the Antigua race crew you have been an integral part of the adventure, and to do you individual justice would just take too long, so thank you all guys and girls you will always have a wet and uncomfortable bed where ever Christiania and I can be found! Special thanks are also necessary to Greg & the crew of Cadans, to have you guys there during our times of need was truly a comfort. Is there anyone else left on the planet that I could possibly thank - well just a couple so keep on reading folks! Everyone who has read and commented on the blog site, the feedback has made it so much easier to keep writing when all I want to do is lie in my bunk and chill. Finally Mum & Pops thank you for your total and un- conditional support and love, it has meant a lot and I am for ever in your debt. So there you go folks, no more nonsense from me until the Sydney Hobart Race - its been a blast, thanks again for tuning in, and WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!
We can see Auckland!!!
12 December 2008 | Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand
Morning all, well we are still on route to Gulf Harbour as the wind has been on the nose all night again slowing our progress a bit. The really exciting bit of news is we can see "Sky City" in Auckland on the horizon! Sky City is the tallest tower in Auckland and compromises a Casino and 360 degree viewing platform on top - when I was there in August I went for a trip with Nana and my cousin Tony, and Nana won $80 on the slot machines! So as you can imagine being able to see our final destination on the horizon has got us all quite excited, and the nights cold and wet weather, and Terry's hangover are all forgotten! As we wont be arriving in Gulf Harbour till 1800 ish the spring clean we had hoped to undertake over 2 days will now have to be done in 1, so apologies to those of you who are meeting us in Auckland that she might not be as spick and span as I had hoped. So that leaves 1 more blog to write on our 12 mile passage from Gulf Harbour to Auckland on Monday - I hope all the crew will give a brief summary of their feelings and highlights, so until then I'm off to watch Sky City get bigger and bigger!
A bit delicate!
11 December 2008 | Cape Bret, New Zealand
Hi again all, we are currently heading down the coast towards Auckland and its pouring with rain and freezing cold - It is supposed to be the middle of summer, but feels more like February back in Blighty. We had a cracking 2 nights in Opua and everyone is keen to return again soon. As I mentioned earlier we had to sit at the quarantine berth all night the 1st night, and just to rub salt into the wound it was right opposite the Yacht Club bar - so we were able to sit and watch the locals supping their Speights (local beer) while had a nice cup of tea! So to make up for it we had a bit of a large one last night, and the boat is quite sombre today as hangovers are nursed! We only have a short 100 mile trip to the next Marina at Gulf Harbour, where a 48 hour spring clean will take place ensuring we look in tip top condition for our arrival into Auckland on the 15th. Best get back up into the rain so Terry can come below and dry off a bit!