New Zealand, The arrival
Thu 23 May 2013 08:15
Opua, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
What it’s like to be back in western culture after 3 years out, actually we had no intentions of coming here we should have been in Australia 2 years ago, opps.....
Opua in the sun – lovely days
Having survived the storm, found the first sight of land fall totally mesmerising, I don’t think we had any idea how beautiful NZ was going to be. It’s the first time we’ve seen land scape anything other than Tropical island Pacifica for 2 years so seeing mist covered pasture land is really rather magical. After much scaremongering among the cruising community customs was a delight and a breeze. These even a welcome party from the marina presenting us with a woven bag full of goodies. With our anchor chain is great need of attention we have to opt for a marina birth until a replacement is found. The arrival in NZ along with being spectacularly beautiful is like a D Day celebration as all those limping in feel a massive sense of relief for having made it. Everyone of the boats on the Quarantine dock is in some way bruised and damaged.
The other wonderful thing about getting in is finding our young friends Jon and Nia here, we’ve not seen these guys since Ua Huka, they’re now engaged and amazingly made it safely here after encountering two mega storm fronts on the way down.
Dinner was a get-together with buddies at the local sailing club. A stark reminder that food at a sailing club can in fact be really rather delicious. But the most remarkable thing is half way through the evening a huge figure of a man came over to us to say he new us. And low and behold when we where on our day trip on the Vaca with Robert Oliver. The guy who was playing the ukulele during the voyage. Joe runs one of the best restaurants in Apia, and is very much involved with the Vaca operations. After a wee chat Joe disappeared only to return some minutes later with the shirt off his back, literally. It seems he happened to be wearing his Vaca T-shirt and like so many of the magic folk from these Polynessia the generosity continues to astound us.
Back to the Western world and I have to say it’s pretty good. Within a few days we’ve managed to purchase a car all for the princely sum of NZ$1500, not bad for 6 months especially with a guaranteed buy back the day we leave the dock.
What I’m loving most of all is the abundance of fresh vegetables, I had now idea that NZ was able to produce any thing other than Kiwi fruit, butter and lamb. It make driving to the nearest town rather distracting as every other entrance has a sign out selling vast bags of oranges, avos , strawberries along with huge range in varieties of apples. The kids can’t get enough of it and we’ve given them free rein to eat as much fruit as they like, after 3 years of rations they’re in seventh heaven. Oh and oysters I have to say I had about the most delicious Oysters ever the other day again brought straight from the farmer. Oh and could I ever bang on about the farmers markets, never before have I seen a range of fresh herbs like it. The Vietnamese Mint has to be up there with some of the best food finds on this trip.'
The first week of arrival was declared a school holiday which in my mind means a holiday for us parents too. But Colin wasn’t in the same mind set so we did life the first while at odds with one another. The biggest impact we had to deal with was the cold and given we never expected to be in anything less than 30 Degrees it’s was a rather nasty shock. I was dispatched to go and find jumpers, shoes and heaters. It’s a bit of a killer to have to once again buy a range of footwear other than flip flops that effectively only get worn occasionally. Added to the expense of work being needed to do to the boat it’s sending Colin into a state of apoplexy. Whilst the kids and I are in a state of shear joy. So nice to have a big old social life we don’t see the kids from dawn to dust as they a have an ever increasing poesy of other children to play with. Current cultural mix is American. Dutch, Lois. Brazilian, Australian Canadian and Kiwi. like all good responsible parents we’re all particularly relaxed about the kids hanging out in the parking lot. Whilst Colin is hard at work on the boat, my days are spent in the Laundrette the whole boat is in need being put through a hot cycle. The great thing is it darn warm and hugely social in the wash rooms.
Kids meet old and new friends
We have a number of jobs that have to be done before we can even think about departing the dock most importantly our anchor chain has come to the end of it’s life. We discover it’s worst than we had thought so it’s dispatched to the trash leaving us without anything and seemingly the only decent chain due in won’t be till late Jan next year. I think Colin would have a complete melt down if we had to sit on this pretty unprotected expensive, noisy pontoon for more than a few weeks. We do make an attempt to use the small amount of chain and rope but that works out to be untenable so with wounded pride we limp back to our birth, for yet another weeks frustrations for Colin. It’s perhaps the closest he’s come to throwing in the towel he seems unable to relax.
So other than the hideous rates we’re thrashing through funds it’s great to be back in a rather relaxed veg rich western culture. For me the downs are getting used to layer of clothes and the realisation that with out the constraints of waistbands and clothes it appears a little bit of expansion has developed over the past 3 years, time to address the situation. The other thing I’m really finding difficult to come to terms with is the ridicules mounts of disposable packaging that comes with all consumables. Having spent an excited hour on our first trips to the super market we’re now finding the trips more and more aphorent and hugely depressing, it’s so unnecessary give us a good farmer market any day and bring your own bag and one can do without so many thing absolutely hate it and quickly find strolling around the supper markets rather depressing. I’m now desperately trying to contain most of our shopping, other than basics to Farmers markets and finding a Butcher that doesn’t need to put there wares on plastic trays it’s making me feel really rather sick. Oh and the amount of discount stores selling cheap Chinese unnecessary rubbish is hideous, surely the world can work out it’s all a terrible waste of money not to mention the horrible pollution and plastic we are left with to dispose of. So I guess you could say coming back in to the western world has had an impact.
We found the access to plastic bags at the checkouts in Samoa rather worrying in all the Polynesian Island to date a plastic bag is considered a precious item and never disposed of the moment it arrives home it’s washed and stashed for at least 10 more trips out. Polynesians due to the lack of supplies or the expense we’ve found our naturally eco. The access to cheap unnecessary stuff makes man far quicker to dispose of things.
Time out to walk with friends in the sunshine – Daph, Lucas, Vries, Liz, Sandra
Along with a boat in need of TLC we too appear to need a little rebuilding. Colin's Ears have been playing up for the past few months leaving firstly unable to dive and provide the family with our much needed fish supplies. But over the past month he been unable to even enter the water as it leaves him in a state of exhaustion. I been suffering from more personal women issues and just when we thing we getting to the bottom of our issues Cosmo has an infection in one of his Testicles that leaves us in need of rushing to A and E with a the potential having it removed. So within 6 weeks of reaching NZ Zinnia is the only one who’s not had to see a specialist. Both Colin and I both need surgery of one type of another me having a general that leaves me more than shattered just before Christmas.
But that doesn’t stop a whole lot of fun despite the wind blowing a hooley and the rain being never ending for weeks leading up to the festivities.