Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tauranga NZ, April 26

OK, blog fans, we’ve heard you. We are still in New Zealand. Still in Tauranga. Still tied up at the dock.
We have been working on the boat almost nonstop since we returned from Australia on February 16. A month later, Tom wrote his sister, “It’s been frustrating, discouraging, depressing, annoying, bitter, laughable, cryable. We hug each other and say surely we will be out of here come May. But it’s raining again.” At that point all we had to show for 30 days of work was the installation of two new reading lights.
Since that time there has been a lot of forward progress. We see the light at the end of the tunnel and should be ready to leave New Zealand in mid-May, weather permitting. What will happen if the weather doesn’t come before we are officially kicked out on May 30 when the temporary import entry for the boat expires, we don’t know, and don’t think about too much. There are so many other things to think about. Will we go to Fiji which just experienced its umpteenth coup since 1994? How do we operate all our new systems? Will we remember anything at all about sailing after 18 months in the marina? What’s our long term plan?
Not exactly paradise. We have been working as hard as we ever worked in the States with familiar patterns of stress. We have given up all reading except for electronics manuals, cruising guides and charts.
We do get a bit of entertainment. Ellen joined the local rowing club. Our cruising friends are supportive and an endless source of advice, comfort, food, and drink.
We’ve gone on two excursions. The first was The Great Walk over the Tongariro Crossing. When we arrived, hundreds of people from all over the world had been waiting four days in cold mountain rains for the trail to open for this once in a lifetime opportunity. The winds on top at 6000 feet were fierce driving knock-downs, reminding us of books we’d read about climbing the Himalayas. It rained nonstop. We couldn’t see a thing. (Well, the photo above of the sulphurous lake near the summit was decent.) Disappointing.
We also went to the NZ World Cup Qualifier horse cross-country event where we saw a top level thoroughbred die in front of our eyes from overstress (not nutritional supplements). Creepy. Better stick to the to-do list.