Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dave's special day !

It started out perfect right out of the gate !! The sun was out, the wind was down and the temps. were up. And it was my Birthday !!! And I didn't have anything pressing to do on the boat, for a change. So after a relaxing morning including opening my presents ( killer jade necklace and a new clean T-shirt that doesn't have any holes or stains on it ), we jumped in the dinghy and headed for shore. Suzi had arranged for some cruiser friends, Jim & Katie of the s/v Tenaya. to drive our car into town so she and I could walk in and then ride back with them. Not sure why Suzi wanted to walk when she could have ridden but whatever ?? It was a pretty walk following a narrow path along the bay winding around all the coves with their white sand beaches and passing by some great little houses. But by the time we made it to town I was more than ready for a cold beer and I didn't waste any time covering the last mile in under (4) minutes. Ok, maybe not that fast but I was on a mission and there was more than just a cold beer waiting for me at this place. There was" MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" . That's right, you see Monday Night Football is shown in New Zealand on Tuesday afternoons because of the date line and I hadn't seen an American football game since last years Super Bowl. This place served ice cold Coronas and had very comfy chairs arranged around a large flat screen TV. I had died and gone to Heaven !! Kim & Larry of the s/v Magenta joined us and when Larry, who had gone to USC, found out that both Jim and Suzi had gone to UCLA, he couldn't help but rub in the thumping the Bruins had just received from their cross town rivals, the Trojans.  My birthday was complete as far as I was concerned but no, we still had dinner to go to after the game  and it was one of my favorites !!! All you can eat Chinese food  !!! YES.....  Now some people may question the quality of the food at a chinese buffet but I'm one of those who think that quantity can replace quality  and this place had both. So after a few trips back to "fill her up" we waddled out to the car and headed back to the marina and I thought the evening was over. But I was wrong again; we got detoured to Restless where Brandy and Mark waited with rum on the rocks, a Birthday card ( "May the wind always blow up your aft !!"), and candles on a Brandy home-made fresh apple pie, along with some ice cream  waiting to be stuffed into our already full stomachs. No problem !!! Home (boat) made apple pie with ice cream; there's always room for that so plates were soon stacked high but not until I had made my wish and blew out all the candles. Thank God they chose to use one candle for every decade, no way I could have blown out 61 of those little suckers.
It was a birthday to remember for sure and with the stars out and shining on the water of the bay, we motored the dingy back out to Sidewinder and crawled under the blankets. But there was one little detail I had forgotten to explain to all the fine friends who had helped me celebrate. Since I was born in North America and the time is almost a full day behind New Zealand , my real birthday wasn't until the next day and I felt that we should all meet and do it again tomorrow. Only one person bought into that one; she is by my side as I type this, singing Happy Birthday and helping me eat a choclate brownie with ice cream and fresh strawberries on top. Thank God birthdays only come two times a year .......

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

First adventure in the Bay of Islands, NZ

 Out of Opua we go with Scream on our first Bay of Islands adventure.
 Capt David showing off his brand new $8.00 shoes that match the sailcovers:)
 Roberton Island from the look out platform. Great hike with Steve
 David, Suzi, and Steve enjoying the view and companionship
  Definitely a great spot to anchor for the over-night adventure with Scream
 Lovely grasses, flowers, beach, birds, pine trees- a wonderful relaxing playground

 A great first adventure with our friends on Scream in New Zealand. We look forward to many more and of course, we are grateful for it all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Wishes

We left Opua yesterday around noon with Darusha and Steve on Scream and we are now parked in front of the beautiful Roberton Island, S 35 14.03'   E 174 10.11', about 10 NM from the marina. We had a great sail the last hour when we made a 90 degree turn and we are thoroughly enjoying a peaceful, sunny morning surrounded by pine trees and craggy rocks. We had a fun hike with Steve yesterday and dinner on Scream, relaxing with these two talented friends. The island is calling to me for another hike and we will leave later today and sail our way back to Opua. Brandy and I have a bit more shopping to do for Thanksgiving and we hope to hike the trail into Paiha to go eat pizza and listen to music. 

Our delivery trip to Nelson with our friend, Nick, who we met in Vuda Pt., is on hold, waiting for a good weather window and that is great. The rain is predicted for Thursday and Friday and there are gale warnings on the South Island right now. BRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!  We took a trip down to Whangarei two days ago and investigated services down there and I think we are going to take Sidewinder down there and haul her out on Jan 9. David will work on her while I am visiting you and hopefully, all the work will be completed by the time I come back ( wow, wouldn't that be nice!!!)  Time to ready myself for a bit more land exploration and a chance to appreciate even more, all that we are given in this pretty amazing life. Happy Thanksgiving.  I love you  Suzi    I will send pictures next after we look through them. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thank you for making life so good

 Great to see Darusha and Steve again and look forward to exploring NZ with them. El Salvador, where we met them, is soooo very far away. What a treat!
Thank goodness we're still having fun after all these trials and tribulations! Yay!
 Happy birthday celebrations bring us together and that is so special.
 How interesting all of these people are; what fun it is to connect.
Flying high at the fair.......what amazing horses these are.... what fun it must be to be on their backs, feeling them lift and fly.......wow!
 A real NZ country fair with lots of events and everyone enjoying the fun

Re-uniting with Brandy and Marc and Pam and John makes us smile a lot!
Happy Thanksgiving to all. Thank you for making our lives so meaningful.

Where on earth have you two been?!!!!! We are so thankful for all the people in our lives

 Wendy celebrates her 55th birthday after crossing from Fiji to NZ with us. Joey, friend from sv Rhythm, enjoys the friendship made over the years as well.
Wendy was so great to talk to everyday on the SSB during our crazy crossing. Thank you for words of encouragement and for being there!
 Did we really volunteer to do this passage?!!! I just can't believe that!!!!!!
 Well........that's it for our dear Fiji flag. It pretty much tells the story, doesn't it!
 Our American flag certainly is a significant symbol of our crossing but also the struggles of life today in our country; we do hope it can be saved.
 Dear friend, John, from sv Beyond. Thank you so much for words of confidence and advice. It has been great getting to know you!
 Lots of work to be done on Sidewinder everyday. She has been happy to rest!
Safe and sound

Yes, indeed, we have certainly taken quite a break since Sidewinder touched the dock and we are finally back to thank you all for patiently waiting. Opua is a wonderful place to find ourselves after our intense passage and we truly have appreciated tucking ourselves into this safe haven. We arrived at 2 AM on Thursday morning and were so thankful when we tied ourselves to the Quarantine dock. The passage definitely gave us a chance to get to know Wendy and John on sv Beyond, sharing the ride together verbally every morning and evening over the SSB, and the following weekend we enjoyed more real time together, including a wonderful celebration of Wendy's 55th birthday on the sv Rhythm, with Peggy, David, Joey and Olivia, who also made the passage with us, at least for the first few days.
 They left for Auckland the following weekend which was also the beginning of the Opua Allpoints Rally, celebrating the return of many sailors after their cruising season in Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia. Our first adventure in our new/old Toyota Corolla was also that Saturday, when we took in the local town fair on our way back from Kerikeri; it was great just getting out in the beautiful countryside surrounding the Bay of Islands and people watching. This whole last week was filled with informative seminars, BBQ's, comedy and talent nights, along with so many wonderful new cruising people to meet; the grand finale was Saturday night and yesterday many people quietly took the day off.  We are really enjoying re-uniting with our friends from last year, Brandy and Marc on sv.Restless, who we first met in Suwarrow, and our friends, Steve and Darusha on Scream, who just arrived last weekend. Thanksgiving will be on Restless and we all will celebrate just how grateful we are for this opportunity to enjoy new adventures with wonderful people. I am also looking forward to some exploration of the Bay of Islands before we head down to Whangari for Christmas, and then, of course, I will bask in the presence of family and dear friends when I return home for the month of January. We are so fortunate to be able to have the time to delight in all the people who make our lives so full. Thank you all for being.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Made It!

That's right, we are here in one piece and still talking to one another. Stepping off onto a stable platform was weird at first, even I, who usually don't feel that land moving feeling, was a bit wobbly at first. But as you can see with this sailmail, we still don't have internet yet. Tomorrow for that and a phone as well as a trip to the super market. We ended up getting here this morning at 02:00 and got to bed around 03:00 but it's off to a party tonight, so sleep will have to wait for a bit longer, running on fumes!! That Friday night tequila is going to kick my ass ~~~  See ya and talk more tomorrow night.  David & Suzi

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Race with the Weather

My how things can change around here. Now there seems to be a low pressure system on its way across New Zealand that is supposed to be here tonight about 02:00 (tomorrow morning here) and we were advised to get into the bay by that time as big winds are predicted. Can you believe it?? What we thought was going to be a nice casual sail in during the night with a comfy arrival tomorrow morning has now changed into a race with the weather. So out came all the reefs in the main as well as pulling out the head sail all the way and over we went into high gear. It's still a nice sail right now, and if we can keep up this speed we should just be tying up to the customs dock at 02:00 in the morning. That's the way I figure it anyway, and we all know how dependable the weather is?? This lifestyle is giving me grey hair!! Good thing it's hid by the blond facade. So that's what is happening around Sidewinder right now and as soon as we can after getting there, we will drop you a line and tell you the outcome of the race. Sorry to keep you always on the edge of your seat but just think how we are feeling !! I'm not sure it's all worth it either, Kris, the feeling of accomplishment is worth something, but who knows how many years this is taking off all of our lives?  Talk soon- (I hope?)  David & Suzi   
Position =  33° 49' S  173° 54' E  
P.S. We won't be able to contact you until at least 12:00 noon our time which I think is midnight there due to being confined to the boat until customs checks us in and I've heard that Sailmails don't go out very well there. But that's way beyond your bedtime so you'll know our fate when you wake up tomorrow.

Day 8: Warm and Well Fed

After motoring all day yesterday and last evening, the W winds began to fill in and we started sailing once again around 3AM, with flat seas and stars all around. It was a wonderfully calm early morning sleep for me, warm once again, but with no engine din. David is resting, after sleeping an hour and eating, and the sun is back out after a small squall. Life is good and we are about 200 nm from Opua. We both feel refreshed from our sunny, dry motoring day, which included taking long overdue showers and basking in the warmth of the sun. What a journey! When the sun is out, the temp is still really nice, and we hope for good weather when we arrive. Today I must make sense of the topsy turvey salon scene and prepare for stringent customs rules. I actually think we will be just about out of frozen meals and fresh veggies, and the old rice and flour I will have to give up is not such a big deal. Our position right now is: S 31 54' and E 173 21'; weather forecasts for today and tomorrow are favorable. We should be in Opua on Friday (your Thursday) and then we have to wait with our yellow quarantine flag up until the officials board the boat. It will be so fun to sail into the Bay of Islands and I will let you know whether or not the rush was worth it. (Personally I don't think so!) Hope that all is well. Love you mucho, Suzi and David

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 7: All's Well

Explanation of references to my injury: Suzi and I scraped the front off our shins on the same day, which I reported to her because I thought that was pretty cosmic. (I was assaulted by my composter, which landed on top of me and pushed me downhill into a tree. No big deal.) - K.

Just a quick note to say it's a lot better today. Not only was I able to get the old diesel to fire up (bad ground at the engine) after working on her for 3 hours but the sun has come out, the wind is down to 7 knts with all good wind for the next few days and that's all we need to get there. Knock on wood - cross your fingers and if you're a praying type please say one for us. We have had more than our share of adversity on this passage and we are due some mellow times. Our position is 30 21 South  172 58 East. Only bad thing about us getting there is that if we continue at this speed we will get there in the middle of the night??? Oh well, New Zealand marks their channels much better than Fiji (which is like outrunning a polio victim). So that's it for now, sorry to hear about your battle with the compost bin, you need to take on smaller opponents. It is cosmic that the two of you have matching shins now and it wounds like you may of been wiping up blood about the same time??? Suzi's will be a scar for life I'm afraid. Talk more later. 
-David & Scar    
Just had to thank you, dear soulmate best buddy for totally wanting to be with me to the very core. I hope you are healing and aren't feeling too sore from your tumble. I think you might have experienced more pain than I and I am sorry. I love you. Can't wait to write you from a quiet serene anchorage where reality is mellow. Thank goodness we are closing in on our destination soon.  Love you,  S