Thursday, February 26, 2009

Claphams Clock Museum - Good "Time"

We sure enjoyed this museum! lots and lots of different clocks and time pieces. some really old!
We learned a lot and they even had old music box and playing machines. The clocks from Germany where really beautifully carved!
We have been doing all kinds of projects , getting ready to do the next 3 big crossings before home. Have been selling and giving lots of things away , to help make room for all the food ect. Greame ( our nephew) is coming with us from NZ to Hawaii and we are looking forward to having him on board. I know he will enjoy it!! Sure glad he is able to come as he has put so much work into Orca III , helping us a ton before we left! She is a great boat!!!!
The kids have grown lots, Emma is the only one shorter than me ( not for longer , either) and Kyle is almost as tall as Steve! They do grow fast!! Time is going by so fast!!
I have been struggling the last day and half, my computer has been acting up , firefox web browser which has been my main browser for the last oh, 2 years , suddenly stopped working and I can't get it to open!! It has been causing my great grief, I have done everything - uninstall, delete temp file, profile files ect. just like I was told to do, then re- luck!! I am using internet explorer and having to get used to its set up. never mind that all my bookmarked sites are in firefox, any ideas? Oh well, enough complaining - see its not all playing , we get frustrated here.
Today - which is our Friday, your Thursday is looking like rain......... they have been calling for it all week, and we've been lucky with sun , but today not looking so lucky. I don't mind its been so hot its nice to have it a little cooler for a change. Our plan today is to go and walk the Kauri Tree canopy walk. I will take lots of photos.
We had a nice dinner with fellow cruisers, Tin Soldier and Meridian last night. One thing for sure a lot of socializing goes on here! But everyone is getting ready to leave NZ - March 20 is the earliest one is going - Candine , canadian boat out of Victoria - he is heading home, we will probably see him in Hawaii as we are each going a different way until Hawaii. Lots of cruiseres are continuing on to Fiji and out for another year or 2 . So we have some good byes yet to do.....

Trivia - what is this called? hint it was used at sea long long time ago for telling the time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Just another day in Whangerei!

I spent the morning doing laundry, hanging it all over the boat to dry. I have gone back to this as it is way cheaper ( the dryers suck here and the cruising kitty is rather low!) . the clothes dry in a couple of hours and smell so fresh!
and the kids built their own abucus! I gave them a printed instruction sheet , but Kyle didn't like it and wanted it bigger so they could count to a trillion! so this is what they designed themselves , not bad , eh?!

After that we went for a hike at the Whangerei falls. We took the bus with the Meridian troup and Chris from Candine to the falls and then walked home. The bus was cool , check out the GPS screen they have . It also tells you the weather and show different angles in the bus to see all the people. There are 2 screens and one up fron for the driver. We liked it! these are the Whangerei Falls , a very nice walk to the bottom if them
It was quite the long walk took us about 2 hrs to get home from the falls all along the Hatea River. There is a canopy walk through the Kauri trees which we will go back to ! We loved all the great trees and birds and even came across some horses. the girls loved this! at the end we treated ourselves to ice cream!
the Hatea River from the falls
Us ! finally a picture of us together , not very often we get one of these!!
on the way home we saw this man carving a maori carving with a chainsaw right in his back yard

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Whangerei - lots to do!

We have been socializing like crazy here!! We have been here exactly a week now and busy everyday! lots of kids around so ours have been "relating" tons.
Tuesday was our last day with O'Vive - they flew out on Wednesday to Colorado to ski. We went to the Whangerei Fernery together. It was really pretty , there was also a garden area and cactus too. The kids love the venus flytrap, had fun puttin a plastic spoon in it's "mouth" to make it close. It was nice to end our time exploring. After that we walked to O'Vive's flat and hung out for a while. The kids came back to Orca III for dinner and the adults went to Reva's for the cruiser's night. We met up with all the other cruisers around and we all said our goodbyes to the Ovive clan. they will be missed but I know we will meet again!
Alec, Emma Kyle , Emilie , Maya and Chris - our Fernery lesson
Nathalie in the Fernery- very green and mossy just like BC
the kids checking out the goldfish pond, we had a nice day hanging out , our last for a long time

The rest of the week has been just hanging around with our other friends. swimming in the pool - I got a pass for the local aquatic center, its a wave pool and waterslides too! heap of fun.
We went of to the library the following day where we had no problem killing over 2 hours and the kids where thrilled to get a ton of books - different library experience - it costs $60 NZ to get a card and then when you turn the card in and all books are back you get $30 back. lucky for me Nathalie gave me here card and I just gave her $30 - so I break even. a few of us are sharing the card. also in the library the best sellers books you have to pay $4 per week for, and dvds, cds, you pay $2 for 2 weeks. at home that is all free with the card. anyway, we can't watch the dvds cause this is a different zone here and our computers have switched the max amount, we are on the north american zone only now. that's okay with us.
They have a big produce market here on Saturdays. Early 6:30 am - 10 am so off I went , nice veggies and fruit ect. great prices compared to the grocery stores! next week the rest of my family will join me. they have music and everything. However, the Raratonga market has been the biggest and best so far!!this is the Catydid- they are noisy noisy bugs, you hear them all over. this one I happened to hear him on the sidewalk and he stayed long enough for a photo, they usually are in the trees.

Steve has been working on a couple of boats and that is helping our "kitty". And Malachi, O'Vive and Hanna all emptied their fridge and extras to us as they have gone on road trip, to Australia (couple of weeks) or have left for good. So its been like Christmas around here. Maya has even been babysitting, making some cash for herself. So far staying here is "paying off".
Steve has found a place to "jam " on Wednesdays , this makes him very happy! and there is a big party happening in March with the Street closed off and 9 bands - this should be fun!
Everyday the weather here is different - poured rain 2 days ago and I mean poured! then the sun was out yesterday and it was sooooooooo hot!! and today , well it started to sprinkle, there are many a cloud in the sky, but may just get some sun too. nice to have it a little cooler though cause it was so hot yesterday. well that's it for now, boat chores and hopefully a hike to the waterfall - oh yeah almost forgot to mention , the boat Earthrace - the power boat that made the record of going around the world in 61 days is here. Just in front of us. They were in Granville Island in 2005,funny looking thing. It can pierce 7 meter deep waves.our home here in Whagerei. we are rafted to Hanna, and he has complimented our kids , saying how quiet they are when they cross, he can tell when its not our children as all the rest walk loud and bump into things. I like to hear that! Thanks to all you we've rafted to , you taught our children well.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Re United in Whangerei!!!!

We left the Great Barrier Island and headed to Whangerei, it was Friday the 13th , not really the best day to leave for a 5 hr tour!! we had a steady 28 knots of wind just ahead of the beam, waves breaking all around us! We had tons of salt water,spray and water on the boat!! very wet ride , thank god for the enclosure! ( it was a good reminded of what I need to do for cooking before the crossings home!! a few pots to pick up and tons of easy to prepare foods!)
We were glad to get to the base of the river - Urquhart Bay and anchor, but just half hour after anchoring the waves were 3 feet and we were bouncing like crazy , we moved and anchored further up the river and around the corner. we couldn't go all the way up to Whangerei as we needed to wait for the high tide. So that was the next morning.
Marg, Nathalie, Nancy, Dionne Marilyn
What a long way up! but when we finally got there, we had quite the welcoming party!! There was the crew of Meridian ( John, Nancy , Mattie and Sophie) and a few others waiting to help tie us up!! then came Malachi and soon after, Tin Soldier, O'Vive, Candine and oh my so many more. Almost all the cruisers are here!! nice reunion!! Emma was thrilled to see Meridian again, as was Kyle and Maya to see all the boats. the kids have been hanging out since. We arrived on Saturday and that night we went to a bar called Danger Danger! the kids even came , we had great ribs - sat night special, played air hockey and pool til our arms dropped off and then danced up a stream!! what a blast! Steve, Dave , Nathalie
Kyle , Emilie and Chris pool time
future dancers? Maya, Emilie, Jenny, Jaryd, Jocelyn and Alec
Where all kids should be!! Mattie, Emma, Sophie, Yonna, Lola
Sunday was another day of socializing - Steve got work on a boat for a few hours ( good thing !!) and then we were off to O'Vive's flat for a BBQ- ( O'Vive the boat is on dockwise heading to Florida) We had a feast and great time OrcaIII, Tin Soldier, Candine, O'Vive, Ocealys - were all the boat families there! we had 20+ people there! we ate, drank and where merry - a final good bye BBQ - O'Vive family fly home on the 18th ( that's the 17th for you in North America) It has been many great months, and miles of good times. Monday night - our last night all together, we did the final farewell with just our 3 boats , playing cards and laughing , remembering ! so many good byes, ! Malachi is of to Australia for 20 days - leaving early Tues morning, we are lucky to have one more day with O'Vive....... it will strange to cruise on without them.

From Coromandel to Great Barrier Island

We left Coromandel and headed to Great Barrier Island. When we left it was just noon and we had a 7 hr trip. But unfortunately the wind picked up right on our nose, the waves also there and then it started to pour, after about 4hrs and boat speed dropped to 1.9 knts ( and we hadn't gotten that far mile wise) we decided to turn around and head back. That was not a comfortable sail so we sailed across the Hauraki Gulf to Waiheke Island - this gave us a great sail doing 7 knots, so what took us 4 hrs to do only took us 1.5 hrs.
So we anchored for the night and got up the next morning early and left! we had a great day on the water, never would have guessed how stormy and rainy it was the day before. on the way we had a pod of dolphins( either Hectors or Dusky on sure which) jumping and flipping and playing in our bow wake - the kids sat on the bow watching them. It has been a long time since we saw any dolphins!! what a treat! they were even singing to us!We arrived and what a beautiful Island! Great Barrier Island

We went in to Fitzroy Harbour - there a few bays in here! anchored in Kaiarara Bay and went to shore. Here is great hike to Mt Hobson ( 7 hr return) we just walked a bit on the trail as it was 4pm and a little late to do the mountain hike . we decided to leave it for the next day. Here's the dingy on the shore just before our walk up and up and up the trail! I broke my sandal so the hike was cut short!Steve took this ! that's our boat through the trees . Isn't it beautiful! the water, the trees (love my trees!)We met this couple , they were anchored out by us boat name Ichiban! yep Steve and the kids loved it right away ( besides being their favorite noodles) the boat was a beauty and she came from Vancouver! this couple bought it from the people who sailed her here a couple of years ago.The dingy they are caring is made from the Kauri tree here. just gorgeous and I was proud of my kids to ask if they could help carry it to the water.

The next day is was so windy we opted not to do the big hike, we left this bay and went to Point Fitzroy bay. Ran into one of our cruiser boats - Ocealys! nice to see them. We went to shore , checked out the store (mailed postcards!) and did a little walk through the forest. I really wanted to get to Smokehouse Bay so we didn't stay long - and the weather was turning! So off we went do the other end ( took us less then 15 minutes) and we anchored in Smokehouse Bay! cool place this is. A fellow built this for the cruisers - and it is a smokehouse , bathhouse and laundry area! even can scrub the bottom of the boat here as they built pilings that you could tie to at high tide and then when the tide is out clean clean clean! quickly before the tide comes back - we may do this before we leave NZ , not sure yet. anyway., the kids found 3 rope swings and had a blast.
I found the laundry basins complete with running water coming to them and WRINGERS! Check it out! too cool, wish French Polynesia had those!and then the highlight The bath house!! We built a fire in the stove and it heats up the water in the tank and Viola! hot deep bathes for all of us! we enjoyed this. ( just a quick note , Steve had a hard time lighting the fire in the stove ,used up all of our matches so he went back to the boat to get some more, in the mean time I found some in the bathhouse and I started the fire - it seems Steve has forgotten how to start one with just matches as he uses his torch all the time - hahahahah - I feel good- da na na na na and I know that I should now- oops getting a little cocky I am!! tee hee hee. but truthfully , he was proud of me!)The wind picked up so much! that we did a quick bath visit and headed out to anchor back where we started in Kaiarara Bay. much better anchorage for the angle of the wind. We also decided to leave the next day to Whangerei as it was supposed to get worse 2 days later and we wanted to see O'Vive one last time before the left for good to the states. but we do plan on coming back, with Graeme!Orca III anchored out in SmokeHouse Bay! before the wind really picked up
Maya taking her turn to chop the wood for the fire. she liked this job!
Kyle of course loved to do this! He and I fought to light the fire. It was my turn !
Just had to include this as I have a thing for the toilets here in NZ. this was neat though! a composting toilet, just my thing!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The last couple of days on the road Kaikora to Coromandel

From the westcoast to the eastcoast! Kaikora is very rugged and this day we had rain! first real rain in a while, as we drove the windy ( that's wiiindy as in lots of turns not wind! haha) road we stopped at a cafe and there the owner name was Gary Robb - must be related some how,
the coast road to Kaikoraanyway he was thrilled to know that we had the same name- after that we lucked out and saw lots and lots of the New Zealand fur seals! there were so many pups playing in the tide pools! they were so cute!we drove a long day that day to get as close to the ferry as we could, we ended up staying jsut past Blenheim for the night. Headed for Picton first thing in the morning, ferry was at 12:10pm so we checked out the aquarium there. Saw our first tutatara - thats lizard thing, very ancient reptile here. learned lots and then we were off.

Arrived in Wellilngton ( 3 hr trip) and headed straight for the Te Papa museum. this is a great place, they have the only collosail squid in the world - so we learned a ton on that. spent 4 hrs there - lucky for us they are open late on Thursdays so that is how we killed our time.Maya getting ready to watch the 3D movie of the collasal squid at the Te Papa museum Wellington
this is Kyle in front of the actual size of a blue whales heart! big eh?! and Kyle is holding pumis stones they are so light.

We stayed the night in the parking lot- funny, but there was a big rugby game on that weekend called the 7"s so there were tons of campers in the parking lot for the night. quite the party! the next morning we went early to the aquatic center for a swim, play in splash pool, hot tub and showers! nice way to start the day.Next stop was the Weta Cave- this is a production company that made all the props ,weapons,ect for Lord of the Rings, Narnia, King Kong and a bunch more. very cool place. Kyle even got a picture with one of the stars of the film. see below.
they had this awesome behind the scenes movies we watched , very informative and a great place to check out!!it was in a suburb of Wellington so we drove the waterfront road around the bays, very nice!! looks like a good place to bring the boat if you wanted to go that far south.
It was now time to make headway back to Coromandel and Orca III. we missed her very much ! It was a hot ride home especially as the car kept overheating and we needed to keep the heat on to help the radiator. we took the less mountainous route going to Napier on the eastcoast and then up to Taupo , we camped just between Taupo and Rotorua for the night .one of the many beautiful gorges and rivers we saw along the way, notice the road to the left, they love the windy thing! and narrow!

Off early the next morning, we stopped to fill up with grocieries for the boat and off we went . We arrived in Coromandel around 4pm - the coast road from Thames to Coromandel is quite the scenic and windy road! very beautiful- I finally remembered to take a picture! so you only get to see one. I was enjoying the view.
the coast road from Thames to Coromandel also very very narrow, windy and extremely beautiful. some spots are only big enough for 1 vehicle to go through, don't do this road very fast!
Almost home!! getting excited to see the boat. Coromandel Harbour

We pulled into Sandy and Bryan's farm and had a great visit and then it was off to unpack! we did it in record time. making about 10 trips ( one tank full of gas) by dingy! thankfully the weathere gods were on our side and we had good seas . Steve and I went back to the farm and had a visit and dinner. On our way back to the boat we had to give a fellow boater family a tow back to their boat as the outboard quit. they were very thankful. Kyle was actually on his way to tow them as Steve and I showed up. good ole Tremblay helpfulness my son !

Yesterday morning and all day in fact was packed full of company! At 7:30 am one of the ladies we met the previous night kyacked out to the boat for morning tea. then the family we towed managed to fix outboard problem ( with Steve's guidance) and came for a late morning visit , then Lisa ( the kyack lady) brought her husband and kids via dingy for the late morning early afternoon slot. they have a steel boat as well and have been offshore to Tonga and Tahiti. so lots of stories and boat ideas were being talked about. They took my girls back with them to hang out at their place and on the farm . and for dinner we had the MacLeod clan out on the boat. they were here until just before 9pm - pushing it for the tide!! but they made it back - great visit and we will miss them tons! Very , very nice people. hoping they come to Canada!! LOve the Coromandel area, an absolute must to see for anyone coming to NZ! This has been my favorite spot so far!MacLeod clan doing the time warp!!(best I could get given the time, light and movement. they look like ghosts )

Now through all that I managed to get lots done on the blog and the kids school updated. we are heading off today to the Great Barrier Island - the adventure continues!!....................................

This is the Coromandel Harbour from the top of the road from . see the wild turkey! our boat is way down the head of the bay and to the right. can't see it yet.





'Lil' putt putt

'Lil' putt putt
Christmas at Snug Cove