Daily Archives: December 23, 2015

Naughty or nice

I can’t say that we’ve managed to acclimate ourselves to the temperature down here (too cold) or humidity (too rainy) but I think this picture of M. conning Escape Velocity while leaving Russell tells the tale.    

  We’re off for a spot of Island hopping in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands. There are so many anchorages that it’s hard to choose and we want to stage ourselves for Christmas but still hike up a few of the many trails that seem to crisscross these islands and of course take a picture of EV from hard-won heights. With that in mind, first up would be Waiwhapuku Bay which is a narrow passage sandwiched between Moturua and Motukiekie Islands, yes I know, these names, and I thought French Polynesia was tough.  

We’d heard that there were WWII installations still in place up on the heights but it was still a shock coming upon a pillbox in this beautiful natural setting.  

We crossed the island to Mangahawea Bay where this fellow took exception to my walking on his beach. He actually charged at me squawking bloody murder.  

 Back on our beach we ran into volunteers from the Island Song Project who are dedicated to returning these Islands back to their natural state, but who would really know what that is?  Part of their work is trapping the predators that have reduced the bird populations. 


 Communication is certainly back to its natural state, forcing us to hoist our last functioning iPhone up the mast on a flag halyard just so you can read this post.  

 Next up was an enticingly named Paradise Bay, not more than a few miles away. There are extensive hiking trails on Urupukapuka Island, the largest in the group, and we were surprised to find just one boat at anchor in this large beautiful bay. By evening, there were 19 boatloads of hardy, determined, exercise-crazed yachtsmen recreating in cold damp Paradise Bay with little more than a modest swimsuit for warmth. When we first arrived in NZ a local called it just one big outdoor adult playground. They are hardy souls, these Kiwis.

They don’t get carried away with holiday spirit down here and we find ours is flagging as well. In the meantime Saint Nick, whether I’ve been naughty or nice, I’ll be easy to spot. I’m the one under a pile of jackets.


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In the mood, a little

It’s been hard getting into the holiday spirit, what with most of our cruising friends either back home or scattered all over the many anchorages in a sudden and unexpected diaspora, and with our land-based friends and family so far away. Add to that a snow-free environment and it just doesn’t feel like Christmas. Last year we were back in Pittsburgh eating traditional Irish curry with our loved ones. Two years ago we were in Martinique eating curry with our friends from Flying Cloud. See a pattern? This year it’ll be curry onboard, but for just the two of us. The samosa filling is ready to go, the curry is made and we even strung solar lights in the cockpit. All we need is a parade. Luckily Russell had one planned and we met soon-to-be-ex-cruisers Pim and Hanneke for a couple of days of slow-poke wandering punctuated by beer and pizza, and capped off by the 8-1/2 minute parade. Thanks, Russell! And a sad goodbye to Pim and Hanneke.  




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