Sunday, April 29, 2012

Making the Most of Our Moments with New Friends

 Lucky and  happy to hand over our dear Corona car to new cruising friends Bruce and Jody.
 Great evening out with Beth and Ken from s/v Eagles Wings. While anchored out in the Nook with them,
 we were picked up and taken to Eagles Wings for a very special, scientific project of wine-tasting. Very fun
 Celebrating ANZAC Day dawn parade with Tony and Nicki was very special.
 Walking with Joanie, Julia and Henry, going to the fresh Saturday market was such a delight. We will miss them as they head out for Asia. Who knows......we just may catch up with them again !
We have spent these last weeks working hard to finally get dear Sidewinder ready to go, but have also spent time with our new friends who will always be special to us. I am grateful for special evenings with engaging conversations, a night bike-ride and wonderful yoga sessions at Sharon's home, a gourmet breakfast on Migration,  wine-tasting on Eagles Wings, a walk with Tony and Nicki  into town before dawn to see the ANZAC parade/memorial for New Zealanders who fought in past wars, early morning walks to the Saturday market with the Pickles'crew, happy hours with the Dockland 5 locals, and so much more......and it is because of these wonderful people who have made the experiences meaningful.   We are sad to leave those behind who live here, since we are not sure we will be back, and we will keep them in our hearts forever. We are fortunate that some of these friends are also cruisers and we look forward  to seeing them again in the near future. New Zealand has been a wonderful experience!  Onward to the next  :)  Love to all, Suzi

Friday, April 27, 2012

Well we never made it to the Barrier Islands as we had planned, A few "issues" came up on our way out there that needed addressing so we returned to the Town Basin Marina and started back into the work mode. It was much to short of a break away from the work needed to keep a cruising sailboat maintained but were glad these "issues" came up now and not half way between New Zealand and Fiji. But it's all taken care of now and the new game plan is to head for Fiji around noon on Monday, April 30th. Our visa's expire on May 4th and there appears to be a decent weather window coming up so here we go, once again crossing an ocean in search of warm weather and water. New Zealand has everything a sailor needs to give his boat a face lift and the country side is beautiful to say the very least. But it's been the people that has made this place so special. Always quick with a smile of an offer of help. They are a fun loving and healthy group who have a relationship with the Sea that a sailor can appreciate and when upon saying goodbye their  handshakes are warm and firm and there is a smile on their face. It's like they enjoyed meeting you as much as you did meeting them. So to Mike and Tony, Nickie, Sharon and Brian and to so many others that are to many to list, thanks to all of you for a great time. I now know what it takes to be a Kiwi. Love life and live it one day at a time !!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Getting Ready to Test the Waters Outside Whangarei

Finally making the time to send photos from the last month's journey from Dockland 5 into the water and onto a pile mooring in Town Basin, Whangarei. We are getting ready to do a "shake-down" cruise out to Great Barrier Island and then on to Auckland, where we need to find the US Embassy and sign official documents for our finalized re-finance. Given the favorable weather window this upcoming week, we will then make our way back up to the Barrier Island again, do some fun hiking, and then come back here to Whangarei for the the last of our provisioning before heading out to Fiji. There is still lots to do and it sometimes seems over-whelming to be heading back out to sea after so long, but we know that once we get out there, Sidcwinder will be smiling once again, as she is happiest when she is sailing, and her crew relaxes with the good vibes. We hope to leave for the beautiful bay at the mouth of this river tomorrow afternoon, and then we will sail on Sunday for our first destination. Onward!!!!!  Hope all is well with everyone. With the very sad news that our dear friend, Kenny Phebus passed away last Saturday night, we are filled with a renewed spirit to make each moment memorable. We love you all.     Suzi and David
 David and Doug help Tony, our next-door neighbor, ready Catalyst II for the water.
 Tony heads for the Town Basin while the kids from Mango watch and wait for their turn.
 David does the last of the boat work, happy to know we will be back in the water soon.
Charlie generously treated us all to a wonderful Easter BBQ and Suzi, Jason, Mike and Tony enjoy!
 Conor and David played wonderful sweet music while we all sang.  Great evening had by all!
 Farewell to Sidewinder We will miss all the friends we have made and hope to see them out there sailing.
 The travel-lift, driven by delightful Doug, gently takes Sidewinder back to the water where she belongs.

 Whangarei has some wonderful hiking and our first adventure while here in Whangarei was with Bruce and Alene from Migration, whom we first met at Rainbow Reef, Fiji.
 The friendly cat welcomed us to his backyard and escorted us up the trail for quite a distance.
 The river continues up toward the falls and many paths are enjoyed by all.
 After our first rainy hike, Alene and I ventured back out a few days later to re-energize.
 From the top of the hill, the view of Whangarei is spectacular. It feels so good to hike again with a friend!
As we all know, life is so very precious.    Suzi and David

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Another Easter in NZ and the sun is shining!

Greetings from Sidewinder here in New Zealand on Easter Sunday, with brilliant sun shining and green grasses all around, a little band playing Easter hymns I recognize from years past in the park nearby where we are on a pile mooring up the river in Town Basin Marina, and little children  running around hunting for Easter eggs the EBunny managed to hide, even in the rainy weather last night.  As always, I sense renewal and rebirth, and my heart is filled with deep love and appreciation for my family and friends. I think of abundant flowers filling the landscape at the ranch, as family members search for the perfect spot to celebrate life and each other and of course, I do wish I were there with everyone physically! I also have visions of warm sunshine welcoming a beautiful Easter morning on the beach at 9th Street, with dear friends gathering to watch dolphins play in the surf and enjoy life with each other. What fortunate beings David and I are, to be given such an abundant life filled with amazing people. We will download some pictures sometime today, and update you all with the latest from here. We continue to send warm love and prayers to son Casey in Portland, who is slowly healing from his tragic loss of Liz who passed away a few months ago after fighting for her life with incredible spirit, and to Julie, Casey's mom, Liz's family, and all the dear friends who were constantly there for both of them during their year of struggle. The mystery of life continues to confuse, but it also reminds me even more of how essential it is to celebrate life each and every minute.  We send you all our love and thank you for being in our lives!
 Suzi and David