While we’re holed up in Whangarei we’ve been lucky to have some of our cruising friends stop by for visits. Mark and Sue of Macushla met us for lunch and Diana and Alex of Enki II accompanied us to the Saturday farmers market, then took us on an expedition to Bream Head. Whangarei is 12 miles upriver and hours by boat from Bream Head but Diana and Alex had a loaner car and we drove through the beautiful North Island countryside back to the point of land we passed when we sailed south.
It’s always interesting to see by land the places we navigated on the water. I remember the thrill when we stood on the mountain in St. Thomas looking at the vast and empty sea we sailed when we first sighted land after our long passage from the Bahamas to St. John back in 2013.
Bream Head is a landscape painter’s dream of dramatic rock-studded rolling hills and we followed the twisting track from one breathtaking view to another. We were in no hurry, just enjoying each other’s company and peppering Kiwi-native Diana with questions about the birds and plants we encountered along the way.
Every moment with Diana and Alex is precious to us because Enki II is now offered for sale and her crew are returning to land life in Sydney after an epic journey from Turkey to New Zealand. We met the day they made landfall in the Marquesas and we shared the pleasures of French Polynesia, from our hike to the Vaipo waterfall in Nuku Hiva, to pearl shopping at Heiva in Rotoava, to drift snorkeling and beach bumming at the South Pass, to our Tahiti road trip, the shrimp farm in Moorea, with long talks about life and art and books over sundowners all the way to Bora Bora. When I injured my back, Diana and Alex enveloped us in their generous hearts, helped us puzzle out our next steps, and kept eyes and ears on us even when they had to follow the weather and move on. Diana’s daily emails while we were at sea kept us sane and focused, and Alex’s pharmaceutical expertise guided my confusing medication choices.
We meet a lot of amazing people and make a lot of wonderful friends. We share life-changing experiences with people who will forever be associated in our minds with special places. But we especially treasure the friends who are there in rough times because they see us at our worst and jump in with both feet anyway. Diana and Alex are friends for life and we’re not letting them go no matter where we are.