Friday, April 11, 2008

Tauranga NZ, March 31


March was a big month for us. Hard to digest all that happened and didn’t.

We completed our New Zealand road trip, logging well over 3000 miles in 20 days. After Dunedin we visited Invercargill (home of the world’s southernmost Starbucks and the World’s Fastest Indian), Doubtful Sound (very beautiful), and looped back up the west side of the South Island through Queenstown, Fox Glacier, Nelson, Abel Tasman and back over to the North Island. It was a bit of a forced march. The car did well (only one flat tire in a very convenient place) but Tom and Ellen didn’t. Tom never did recover from his flu. Ellen never got her travel high and got grouchier by day. The windy roads, dull towns, sheep, backpacker hotels, just didn’t do it for her and we didn’t allow enough time to do more of what we wanted to do – hike, kayak, be outdoors, smell the roses, meet the people, taste the wine.

We got back to Tauranga on March 11 just in time to welcome Eve and three friends on a whirlwind two week trip of Australia and New Zealand. We introduced them to sailboat life and driving on the wrong side of the road, watched them take surf lessons, and visited important sights like Kiwifruit World and the Sheep Dome. We enjoyed their energy, enthusiasm and lots of long conversations. It was wonderful to have visitors from home.

On the one hand, it felt good to be back in Tauranga. On the other we were overwhelmed by the mountain of work ahead on the boat, anxious about getting it done in time to leave for the tropics in June, missing family, friends and life back home, and bummed by life in the marina. In the words of Tom’s nephew Alec Brecher, “Nothing good never happens in port”.

There are so many big projects on the boat right now. The list is both more extensive and complicated than the apartment Tom remodeled last year. We ordered a lot of items from the US. None have arrived yet. Other projects we are farming out to local tradespeople –upholsterers, riggers, boatbuilders, electricians, stainless steel. They like to talk and get to know you. They like their weekends, evenings, and vacations. They do not like to overcommit. “Oh, I have one project that will take me til the end of the month. Then I will start looking for more work.” Are you getting the picture?

The picture is, there is virtually no way that the boat can leave New Zealand by June. We are now sketching out Plan B which is vastly different from Plan A because sailors leave New Zealand April - June. The rest of the year one faces winter storms or tropical cyclones. Thus the boat’s departure from NZ will likely be Spring 2009. We will do as much as we can on the boat, return to the States this summer for three months, maybe more. We’d rather be heading off to exotic islands this summer but are excited about being home for a substantial block of time.

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