Beth and Nicky had a great time early this morning using the little grass slope in front of Beth' house in Devonport as a mudslide. We had driven down to Auckland yesterday (Wed, 24APR) for a farewell get-together with our friends from Sea Bright before we'll leave NZ for warmer latitudes further north soon. It had rained quite a bit since mid day yesterday, so the conditions were perfect for the mudslide...
Namani got back into the water on 08APR after 4 days on the hard. Nicky was still attending the local Opua school for that week, so we stayed on a mooring for a few more days. This turned out to be a good thing as we re-discovered a pesky little leak somewhere on the port side of our deck (we had washed off the deck with copious amounts of seawater after the launch and then noticed some water on our port side shelves).
So why isn't Nicky in the picture, you ask? While Markus and Nana work on the boat, Nicky is attending nearby Opua Primary School for a week. It seems a very friendly and accommodating place - as evidenced by the fact that they accept short-term guests! Nicky has been enjoying it so far and has good timing - sports day is coming up soon! He mentioned two noticeable differences to school back at MIS: first, he says it's more relaxed in terms of the daily schedule (with more recess time, he happily reports), and second, it's a very small school of about 60 students.
On our way back from the South Island, we spent a fun night with our friends from Sea Bright in Devonport and a morning at the Auckland museum to wrap up Nickyâs school unit on Art and Culture. It is great to have this much time in NZ to see our friends a lot more often than we would be able to do from Europe! Then we headed back to the airport to pick up Nanaâs Mom who flew all the way from New York for a week long visit.
Wow, wow, and wow! We just returned from a ten day trip to the Otago region of New Zealand's South Island and the scenery was just incredible! So many highlights! We were extremely lucky to catch fine weather throughout our stay in this normally fickle region. After months of ocean and island scenery, the mountains and lakes were a real change of pace for us - not to mention the fact that did more than just stretch our legs with several great hikes.
One of the projects that we finally completed during our two weeks up in Whangaroa was converting Nana's "Lesson Plans Ahoy! to an eBook/Kindle format, which is now available at amazon.com. So, after two print editions you can now enjoy the 3rd edition on your favorite e-reader (a version in EPUB format will follow shortly).
We're back in Opua now, after two weeks in Whangaroa and another week between Oke Bay and Urupukapuka in the Bay of Islands. Had some great company on the sail back to Opua this morning: A pod of 6-8 big bottlenose dolphins that seemed to have a great time right next to Namani. We'll be catching the bus to Auckland tomorrow, from where we plan to fly to the South Islands for two weeks. People keep telling us that two weeks are too short for the South Island but we still look forward to it. After all, we only want to see a small part of it. Stay tuned...
We sailed into Whangora on Tuesday afternoon (it's Friday today) and have spend three very nice days in this large natural harbor / inlet with numerous side branches. It is fringed by steep wooded cliffs, giving the whole scene a fjord like feeling. Only 20nm NE of the Bay of Islands, this feels very differently and we had the feeling as if we had been transplanted from New Zealand to somewhere in Nova Scotia when we visited the little town at the head of the inlet yesterday.
Nicky has been very interested in NZL2, New Zealand's high-tech catamaran for their latest America's Cup challenge. He build a Lego model from a picture in a sailing magazine, albeit with a Teutonic twist: While the orginal carries a giant "Fly Emirates" commercial on it's main sail, Nicky changed that to good old trusty Lufthansa. Who knows... we've been a bit cut off from news from Europe...perhaps the German flag carrier is indeed sponsoring another entry into the next cup...
After almost two months we're now (Sunday, 10FEB) back in Opua in the the Bay of Islands. After leaving Oneroa Bay off Waheke on Wednesday, we stopped in Bon Accord Bay (Kawau Island at the northern end of the Hauraki Gulf), and then had two longish sailing days, first to Whangarei and then to Whangamumu (old whaling station), before turning the corner around Cape Brett and into the Bay of Islands on Saturday afternoon. We had a nice night at anchor off Urupukapuka Island here in the Bay (see picture above) and then came back into Opua Marina this afternoon.