NZ South Island – George Sound March 13 – 16

Click here for Google Map link – Anchorage Cove 

The narrow steep walls of the fiords offer spectacular views but it also creates a great channel for the wind and it accelerates as it blows through the fiords. George Sound is about 12 miles long and is recognized as being one of the most sheltered. The sound was given it’s English name by the famous sealing captain John Grono who made many sealing trips around the fiords.

Our exit from Bligh was a motor sail with 25 – 30 knots on the nose so it was a slow slug out. When we arrived in George Sound, it was getting late in the afternoon so we had to take the first all-weather anchorage tucked in behind a little island and close to shore. As it looked a little snug and close to shore I went ahead in the dinghy to figure out how this anchorage was going to work. There was a sturdy, permanent fixed line tied from the island to the shore, perpendicular to shore. There were 2 buoys marking the loops for a stern line and bow line. DSC_7436I explained this to Denny and we decided I would go ahead with dock lines and he would follow, bring the boat slowly to the fixed line and grab my dock lines. Denny slowly maneuvered Landfall past the island and the fixed line, did an almost 360 turn to face the exit of the anchorage and slowly made his way to the bowlines which I held. There was a moment of panic when he thought the bowlines were too close and he was stirring up the mud bottom with only inches to spare on the depth meter so he gunned it out of there. I shifted the dock lines further apart and further from the shore and we repeated the process this time with better success. Once we had Landfall securely tied to the permanent shore line we could relax. This was a new anchoring technique for us and one that fishing boats liked to use as we later learned.  

While anchored here we decided to try out our fishing skills. We took the dinghy to a nearby rock outcropping with a sandy beach and fished using our frozen squid bait. It took a couple of tries and lost bait before we knew how to bait the hook so that we hooked the fish not just fed them bait.

Red Gurnard

We didn’t know it at the time but this would turn out to be the best fishing spot we encountered during our South Island sail. Each time we baited the hook we caught a fish and we were never sure what it would be until we had the catch close to the dinghy. Some of the fish we returned to the water because of size restrictions and because we were not familiar with the fish we were catching. We returned to the boat with 2 Blue Cod, 1

Tarakihi

Tarakihi, 1 snapper and 1 Red Gurnard we kept for a taste. We actually quite a few Gurnards but we weren’t sure if they were edible as their appearance was a little odd with beautiful fins and 3 small lobster like legs on each side. We released the Blue shark which we didn’t want to bring into the dinghy and one octopus escaped just as we were about to pull it on board but not before he squirted water at Denny. We had  a BBQ grilled fish feast that night and the Gurnard turned out to be my favorite grilled fish. It would be the only time we caught these peculiar looking fish. Shortly after the BBQ ran out of propane on one tank and had to go to our spare tank. We regretted not thinking about this while in Milford so now we had to use the propane a little more sparingly and would have to do a refill in Doubtful or there would be no going Stewart Island.

Click here for Google map link – Alice Falls

We left Anchorage Cove on a beautiful, flat calm day. I used the dinghy to release the shore lines and push Landfall out of the little cove so Denny could motor ahead without getting the permanent line wrapped around the propeller.

Motoring to Alice Falls

Motoring to Alice Falls

We motored to the end of the sound and anchored in a neat little cove with Alice Falls flowing into it. It took a little maneuvering to get the stern lines tied just so while the current wanted to push the boat out. Current was definitely the challenge in this neat anchorage.

 

 

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Alice Falls just around the corner

While in Alice Falls Denny had a new boat project. The water maker was leaking whenever we tried to make water and as it is in the V-berth this was not a good thing. We basically had to move our sleeping quarters to the salon and the Water maker was  dismantled and re-assembled in the middle of the V-berth quite a few times during our Fiordland visit as Denny fixed one leak only to find another. It isn’t just luck that we have spare parts for fixing things that break. I would say it’s meticulous planning on Denny’s part, anal as he is! While he was working on this I made some Kayak trips and found the Department Of Conservation DOC cabin on the nearby shore. I was there when a tour boat appeared and offloaded a boatload of people at the same DOC. This tour boat followed us through a few of the fiords. It is a great way for people to experience the fiords although it did change our fantasy of being out here in isolation.

SCENERY DURING OUR MOTOR TO ALICE FALLS

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NZ South Island – Shoreline anchoring

Post by Dennis.

Anchoring in the Fiords is a different kind of animal altogether.  I had to anchor the same way when I was in the Fiords of Chile.  But  shoreline anchoring works well whenever you have swing room problems and or in really deep water.  The example I am using is what we had to do when we were in Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound.  It was very deep, 500’ to 1,200’, and at the end was the river which has dumped tons and tons of sand and debris over the last 10,000 years.  The sand delta did not taper into the depths but dropped off very sharply, 60 degree angle or so.  So if you tried to anchor on the slope and the wind came from the river direction, the anchor would be pulled out easily and Landfall would drift out the sound.  I know of somebody that had this happen and they woke up to their anchor chain clanking. They had floated five miles downstream.  So the shore lines are the solution. 

Diagram of Doubtful Sound anchorage and shoreline requirements

Diagram of Doubtful Sound anchorage and shoreline requirements

In Doubtful sound the Delta left a little hole next to the shore and this was the place we could hide.  so for this example this is what we would do:

First I drop the anchor in about 60’ of water fairly close to the sand delta and start backing into the hole.  When I get close to where I want to be I set the anchor then continued to back in.  While I am doing this Barb is in the dingy and  heading toward the shore towing the shoreline that is being played out from the boat.  Once she gets to shore, ties the dingy up and brings the line to shore, she has to find a nice strong tree to tie the line to.  She needs to tie it so that it is not underwater when the tide comes in or to high so she can’t reach it if the tide goes out, just in case we have to leave quickly.  This is when Barb gets nervous and can’t remember how to tie a bowline or can’t get the motor started.  I can’t help because I am busy trying to keep the boat off the rocks.  After she does have it secured I can tighten the line up while Barb makes her way back to the boat.  She takes the next line to shore and secures that too.  Lastly I put the snubber line on the anchor and let out the chain while Barb pulls in the stern line.  The lines are all tweaked a couple more times and we are set for the night. 

Lines, lines, lines and sometimes still not enough for anchoring with shorelines

Lines, lines, lines and sometimes still not enough for anchoring with shorelines

This all sounds really good but I tell you there are a million things that seem to go wrong.  A knot in the line or the realization that the shoreline will not be long enough even though they are 330 ft long. With all this line being drug towards shore, a line can easily get wrapped around the dinghy prop.  We use polypropylene line that floats, but on occasion it still seems to get wrapped up in the propeller.  Shorelines can be slippery or steep or trees can only be found inland after some crawling through thick brush. All this with either a little wind or blowing a gale and a little current to lots of current maybe from nearby waterfalls. What could go wrong! 

But we did get much better at it, having done over thirty anchorages over the last two and half months, and over two thirds of them needing shorelines. How could you not help but get better at it.  Now if we get an easy one where there is a float tie for the stern, we just drop the anchor and back up to the float and loop a dock line through the eye. 

The South Island anchorages always caused us some anxiety, even with the cruising guides. You still never knew what you had to do until you got there and checked it out and no two anchorages have been the same or done in the same way. Very different from South Pacific Island sailing where dropping, setting and snubbing the anchor was all that was required. 

NZ South Island – Bligh Sound March 10 – 13

Posting by Barb.

 Click here for Google Map linkBounty Haven

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It was a beautiful motor to Bligh Sound. We cruised all the way to the end of the fiord and anchored in Bounty Haven. This was our first of many  anchorages that required shore lines. With two stern shore lines and an anchor, we were sitting nicely. We woke up to 25 – 30 knot wind on the beam and we knew we had to leave this anchorage. We were not that far from the shore and the wind was trying to take us to it. We decided to start bringing in the anchor and slowly releasing the stern line but we just didn’t have the power to bring the bow into the wind. The wind continued to take us to shore. It was panic mode.

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Bounty Haven anchorage – 35 knots on the port beam almost pushed us on the shore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We scrambled to put out the spare anchor which meant emptying the cockpit locker and jumping into the dinghy with the spare anchor and enough line tied to a cleat on the port to keep the boat from drifting closer to shore. With the boat stable we decided to wait until the wind abated and then leave the anchorage. The wind continued to slowly build! Denny came up with a plan to slowly release the stern line while pulling up the main anchor hoping the spare anchor would hold us off the shore while the wind pushed the stern and allowing the boat to point more into the wind. We powered the boat out of there leaving the shore lines behind and leaving the spare anchor tied to a fender so that we could hopefully retrieve it later. With the wind howling and our nerves frayed we had to find a second anchorage which would give us better protection.

Click here for Google map link  – Amazon Cove

Picture was taken shortly before he fell in the water

Picture was taken shortly before he fell in the water

We backed into a little cove and re-anchored with two shore lines. Denny had to climb up15 feet or more to find a decent tree to tie to and in the process of doing this he did fall in the water with his foul weather gear and boots. It gave me a scare until I saw him climb back into the dinghy. We were both feeling drained and now we just had to wait for the wind to abate so that we could retrieve our lines and spare anchor. The anchor was going to be a problem as it was well set and two people in a dinghy were probably not going to be able to pull it up. As we pondered the situation we saw a large sailboat in the distance heading to the end of the Sound. Denny jumped into the dinghy and headed to the sailboat to warn them about our abandoned tackle.  They then offered to get it for us which Denny quickly agreed to.  So 2 hours later they dropped our spare anchor off. Denny retrieved the shore lines and we could again enjoy the 2nd anchorage.

fiordland penguin

this is the face of the fiordland penguin I came face to face with. Picture from the internet

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This is the only picture we could get of my penguin without harassing him

When we left this neat little cove I did the climbing to release the lines while Denny controlled the boat. While I was hanging on to a tree trying to release the shoreline with one hand I saw the grass move in front of me and thought I would see a rat or possum. Suddenly I was face to face with a Fiordland penguin. We looked at each other for a couple of seconds, both surprised to see each other. He buried his head in the grass and I quietly left it alone and got Denny to come back for a look with a camera. Unfortunately the only picture we could get was with his head still buried in the grass.  Seeing penguins was on our ‘to do’ list and seeing one face to face 2 feet away was more than I could ever hope for! Making the sighting even more special was reading about them later and finding out that the Fiordland penguin was the rarest of all penguins with only 2500 to 3000’s pairs in the mid 1990’s. Not sure what the numbers are today.

We learned something and gained experience from every South Island anchorage. In Bligh we learned to always go for the all-weather anchorages no matter how calm it may be upon arrival, always anchor facing an exit so that we can make a quick departure and that people in the South Island are the greatest and without any hesitation are there to help.

NZ South Island – Milford Sound March 6 – 10

click here for google map link – Free Mooring from Milford cruises.

DSC_0028DSC_7339It was raining, foggy, and dreary when we entered Milford Sound. The waterfalls were plentiful and roaring. First thing we noticed was the number of tour boats queued up to give the all the tourists the same views of the falls and the seals lounging on the rocks.

DSC_0043aDSC_0080After finally making the motor sail to the fiords our next challenge would be anchoring and we knew that could be tricky.  We knew we would have to use shorelines, either entirely, or to set the anchor on the slope and use several stern lines – this way the anchor is being pulled uphill, in constant tension. As the weather is unpredictable most all weather anchorages would be in small coves necessitating lines because there would be insufficient swinging room (the norm). Fortunately the Cruising guides indicated that Milford would probably have available moorings. After a call to the Milford Lobster Company, we were advised of which mooring we could take and we could finally have a quiet, peaceful night’s sleep.

DSC_7289We woke up to a beautiful sunny day so we decided to do a tour of Milford. The waterfalls were not as plentiful as the day before and this is due to the lack of top soil in the in the fiords. Not much water is absorbed after a rainfall so waterfalls can disappear within 24 hours based on the amount of rain. But the scenery was spectacular. DSC_0062We were surrounded by cliffs that rose vertically from the waters and there were mountain peaks, some snowcapped, that scraped the sky. We were amazed at how close we could come to the cliffs, almost touching, and then look up and up and up at endless rock cliffs. We could almost visualize the glaciers slow process of scraping and chiseling … scraping and chiseling … causing the patterns on the rocky surfaces.

 

DSC_0060DSC_7356After our tour of Milford and we were comfortably moored again we wanted showers and we wanted to top up the diesel tank after our motor down the West coast. There were showers available by the Lobster Company and were free for us to use although not esthetically pleasing. We just had to make sure we beat the rush of dive tours tourists.  Diesel was expensive and required a couple of dinghy trips with jerry cans and after the first attempt to get fuel we were told not to show at the pumps until after 2:00 when the offloading of crayfish by local fishing boats slowed down. We enviously looked at the large crayfish holding tank but couldn’t buy a single crayfish as they were all destined for China!

There was a café 20-minute walk from the pier and it was the base where people booked their Milford tours. We this location to complete our Visa extensions as we knew once leaving Milford we would not have internet until the only town in Stewart Island, Oban. Obtaining our visitor visa extensions took 2 days using unreliable satellite internet which cost $10 for 100 megs, a few trips to the boat getting all the information together, frustration trying to get data and pictures contained on the either IPad or on the Microsoft Laptop when neither liked to talk to each other. Getting the visa extension applications filed meant we could comfortably continue our South Island sail without fear of being in New Zealand illegally.

Milford gave us a taste of the hordes of sandflies that would feast on us during the duration of our cruise through the fiords. I won’t mention the nasty sandflies again except to say that they were waiting for us at every anchorage and Denny seemed to be their preferred meal. We learned how to dress appropriately, showing very little flesh while outside and sometimes while inside, even during sleeping.

Oban, Stewart Island

Post by Barb – We have made it to Oban. So here we sit at a Youth Hostel doing laundry. It’s been long overdue and so has our showers. Denny finally shaved his face fur and looks like a new young fellow. Our sail to Port Pegasus and to here was fast considering the 25 to 30 knots on the stern. When we get back to some decent Wifi areas we will post our pics and stories.

Post by Dennis – Barbie was getting cranky, just because she hadn’t had a shower in a month or so, I just don’t know what the problem is.  So now she is squeaky clean so she should be good for another month.  It has really been an incredible trip and the stories we have to tell will be endless.  Fishing where your baited hook does not even reach the bottom before you have a bite.  Every day something new happens.  We have been eating mussels and cockles, that we collected, Was given a rear quarter of venison which we have been eating on.  The thing I am looking forward to having is a Sooty shearwater, which is a young sea bird and maybe an oyster or two for Barbie.

Laundry is done so we have to go. Stay tuned ….

NZ – North of the North Island

SV Nyon in Te Pahi

SV Nyon in Te Pahi

Our freezer has been fixed. Northfreeze may have been expensive but the repair man knew what he was doing. After a couple of attempts to use a vacuum pump to suction out the moisture and any oil out of the freezer system the freezer worked better than ever. The first vacuum pump nearly caught the cockpit on fire but luckily we were on board to see the smoke and unplug the machine. We spent a fine evening by the Te Pahi Islands with Rick and Kyra on Nyon (we met them in the Marquesa). It was a nice anchorage with just our two boats there.  Click here for Google Map Link

We left Bay of Islands and motored to Whangaroa. Out first anchorage was in Rere Bay nestled among rock outcrops and cliffs. It gave us a sense of what the Fordland’s may look like. Click here for Google Maps link. The bays are narrow and it’s hard to imagine what this place would be like during ‘crazy busy’ cruising season. We could see the famous Duke’s Nose and planned to do the hike up the peak but Denny walked on something sharp and got a cut on the bottom of his foot while climbing to knob which overlooked our boat anchorage. We did take pictures and capture the spectacular scenery. DSC_7219-1

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DSC_9984We spent an entertaining evening with a beautiful couple and their 4 young boys. Six of them on a 34 ft boat and you would think it would be chaos but not with those boys. They were funny, talkative, interesting, considerate and just all around great kids. We gave them a tour of our boats and talked a lot about how to prepare for offshore sailing which they would like to do in the near future. Maybe someday we will see them somewhere in the high seas!

Collecting wild Oysters

Collecting wild Oysters

We checked out the Whangaroa Harbour town, fueled up and disposed of garbage. There wasn’t much else here so we pulled up anchor and moved to Touwai Bay, a little bay near the Oyster farm. Click here for Google Map link . For the most part we were by ourselves except for the  late night arrival  early morning departure power boats and the many seagulls

waiting for a snack

waiting for a snack

that liked to hang around for the hope of some scraps. Denny of course checked out the Oyster farm and learned a few interesting facts and came back with 2 large oysters for sampling. They are harvested in June so the samples we were given were supposedly undersized. Denny shucked them ‘for his woman’ and it was the freshest, biggest oysters I ever had. Superb!!

 

 

I don't know

I don’t know

enjoying the moment

enjoying the moment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some facts that Denny learned about Oyster farming:

Oysters are grown in sacks attached to 2X4’s. Wild Oysters attach themselves to the posts as well because they tend to congregate and these are hacked off and also placed in bags for future but are worth less because of imperfections. Profit margin is very small and it’s hard work.

DSC_7260While Denny was Oyster farm information gathering, I finally managed to get my Kayak into NZ waters and explored the East side of Whangaroa Harbour.

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Our last stop North of the North island was Mangonui Harbour. Click here for Google Map link . On the way we caught a Kingfish and it took Denny 45 minutes to bring it to the side of the boat and then he got away. But we were sure that he was smaller than the legal 75cm legal catch. About an hour later we did catch a Skipjack Tuna which Denny easily brought it on board, cleaned it and cut it into nice Tuna steaks. Despite our fresh fish on board we still went out to dinner at the ‘world famous’ Mangonui Fish Shop. It was probably the best fish and chips we had in NZ and plenty of it as well. We sat next to a German couple who were touring NZ. Their goal in life is to complete all 6 world class Marathon races. So far they have completed 3 which included New York, Chicago and Berlin. It’s the Toyko marathon they are really looking forward to. Denny makes it a point to meet people and learn about their passions.

Today is Saturday, February 25th and we would like to wish our beautiful Allison a very Happy Birthday. Besides celebrating that very special occasion we are also starting our trek to the South Island. We will be leaving at 5pm so that we can round Cape Reinga in daylight. The weather window is not ideal for a sailboat and quite a bit of motoring is expected but we are anxious to get to the South Island. Hopefully we will be able to post our progress using our SSB. Denny replaced the cable while in Marsden Cove and it yet has to be tested. Other than SSB and a satellite phone we will be off the grid for probably a couple of months.

Dropping Anchor for the First Time in NZ

On January 20th, we returned to our boat in Marsden Cove, New Zealand.

Our next adventure will be sailing around the South Island. It will be a colder, challenging, with “gales of mosquitos” the locals tell us. We see it as a place of beauty, wildlife, isolation, and  the chance to serve up some freshly caught fish and shellfish.  We spent 3 weeks doing boat maintenance, provisioning, and visiting our friends in Dockland 5. We have to say that the hardest part about continuing with our sailing plans will be saying ‘so long’ to our very good friends. And we would like to add a ‘thank you’ to our friends, (you know who you are who) gave us a ‘Bon Voyage’ gift.  Besides the delicious homemade scones, we were gifted back candies we tried to offload on the D5 ‘For Free’ shelf, an abandoned, ceramic fish plate which we snuck on their deck for some tender loving care. This was all packaged up to look like a fully loaded candy sailboat with Landfall signage on the side complete with a sail and replica of ‘Barb and Denny’ made from wood ice cream sticks. That brought on the laughter. I would include a picture but that would reveal the creative culprits. No worries, we will have our revenge!!

We left the dock on Saturday, February 10th and made is as far as Whangaruru.  Our NZ sailing started with a beautiful Spinnaker sail. At 7pm we dropped anchor in NZ for the first time in a large protected bay and witnessed a stunning sunset and a full moon rising over the bluffs. It was a peaceful, quiet night. Click here for the anchorage  Google Map Link

Next morning we were gone by 8 and dropped the fishing line while we exited the bay. Within 10 minutes we had a fish on the hook. Nice size for lunch but he got away as we tried to hoist it into the boat. Can’t really say what we had actually caught. Our fishing luck continued by catching a small tuna which we threw back as we thought he was too little but then we caught another Tuna, this one even smaller.  We returned that Tuna back to the sea as well but now regretting not keeping the first Tuna. All I kept thinking was the Tuna steaks we could have had on the grill if our standards had not been so high. It won’t happen again. Now all Tuna caught will be keepers, maybe. As we rounded Cape Brett the wind picked up and we sailed through gusts of 25 to 30 knots of wind but it didn’t last long.

Bay of Islands is cruising paradise with lots of little bays with beaches and tramps but also many many many more yachts. We sailed around a little bit exploring the Islands and finally anchored in Otaio Bay off Urapukapuka Island. Click here for the Google Map Link As the weather forecast for the next day was not supposed to be good, we decided to stay 2 nights here. This may have been a good decision as Dennis ended up working our freezer which had stopped working. Considering it was very full, this was not a good thing. Next stop was Opua Marina where we finally had our freezer fixed and where we spent some time with our friends on Nyon. Click here for the Google Map Link

The weather for the South Island is starting to look better with a ‘large’ high moving in in the next 8 – 10 days. We will head to the beautiful bay , Whangaroa, where we will wait for the weather window to sail the 700 miles to the South Island Fiords. We will keep you posted.

2016 Adapting to Circumstances

January 1 – August 17

Posting By Barb:

I love to have good Chinese Takeout. We always make a point of finishing off with the Fortune Cookies. We would each take our turn reading out loud the “fortune” but we would begin with ‘When in bed….’ And finish with the fortune cookie prophecy. It usually created some fun after dinner conversations. But a recent Fortune Cookie gave me an ‘A-Ha’ life moment. It read ‘A wise man adapts himself to circumstances as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it’.

A HA!! That’s what living and sailing our little boat is all about to us. Adapting and shaping to circumstances. Maybe we are wiser than we thought we were!! So circumstances have taken us to in many directions for the first half of 2016 and plans have been continually changing.

IMG_0743In January we were back together again on Landfall in NZ. FirstIMG_0650 - Copy time as an old married couple. We travelled back with full ‘boat supply’ suitcases, including a box with our new ‘Oru’ kayak. (comment by Denny – I hope Barb is good at origami or it could fold up and down she will go).  DSC_9406 - Copy (2)The month was a whirlwind of visits with our new and old ‘cruising friends and local friends. We also managed to complete a short list of boat maintenance and did a little leisurely sightseeing. We weren’t very diligent capturing on camera the moments with our friends or our touristy adventures but we had some great memorable times together. And this moment I did capture; Denis unable to be a menace!!IMG_0648

 

DSC_6241 - Copy - CopyIn February we were back in South Dakota, USA. We worked hard on our cabin (the cabin is owned by Dennis and his 2 cousins). We finished the basement to include a bathroom, bedrooms, storage space and laundry room. We managed to do the rough work and contracted out the visually finishing work. It wasn’t all work; we did manage to spend fun times with Dennis’s daughter, Jenny and her husband Tyler and with his cousin Steve and wife Andrea.  The plan had been to work in South Dakota for a year but we were happy that circumstances changed and we were headed back to NZ to continue sailing.

But before heading back we decided to have some more family and friend fun time. Road trip with Denny’s Dad to my sister’s condo in Florida!! Denny did all the driving and Eugene and I took turns navigating or sometimes we both navigated at the same time with Eugene saying turn Right and me saying turn left and Denny going straight until we could agree to a route.

Franklin, Tennessee

Franklin, Tennessee

Along the way we made a couple of stops. First stop Franklin, Tennessee to visit the site where 10,000 died during the civil war. It was a must see place for me after reading the book ‘Widow of the South’. Next stop, Alabama to visit with Eugene’s and our friends Bernie and Randi. We stayed the night and had a great, late night discussion. It all started with a round table question to each of us ‘Are you happy’? IMG_0923It’s amazing how often people don’t stop to think whether they are truly happy or not! Denny has a knack of getting people into some deep, soul searching discussions. Last stop Florida Condo. While there we had a visit from Denny’s daughter Becky and her friend Rachel, my sister Caroline and husband Vic and finally we spent some time with my other sister Karen and George, owners of the beautiful condo. As we were there for Easter we decided to drop in and visit our friends Brad and Gloria from ‘Kindred Spirits’ who also have a condo in Florida. We danced the night away and enjoyed being Easter Bunnies as we traded chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday. We did a lot of tourist stuff including a tour of the Yuengling Beer brewery and a few other beer watering holes. What fun we all had!!DSC_9488 - CopyIMG_0925 IMG_0699 IMG_0133 - Copy

 

IMG_0704IMG_0826From Florida I headed back to Canada for a quick visit with family again while Dennis did the road trip back to Minneapolis by himself. He managed a quick stop to visit friends he met while in NL. They have since moved to Florida.

We flew back to NZ together to start our sailing plans when circumstances again changed our plans and I headed back to Canada for a family emergency. I stayed in Canada to help my parents while Dad recovered from major  surgery. So fortunate to have the freedom to stay and help my parents, to have been able to be there and spend precious family quality time  to have Denny  be so understanding while he continued working alone on Landfall in the NZ rainy winter.

But we are both back on Landfall now, docked at Marsden Cove and in the morning after a visit from Customs we are finally sailing again.

First stop Fiji, then New Caledonia and then back to NZ unless circumstances happen and like the water shaping itself around our boat we will shape ourselves to whatever the new day will bring.NZ to Fiji

Road trip with Dylan, River Rafting

March 11 – 15

35 44.393S 174 20.339E

https://maps.google.com/maps/place/@35.44393,-174.20339,12z

Posting by Barb:

Last day of the road trip and it was Dylan’s day. After doing the fantasy, high in the sky, volcanic , and below ground adventures the last quest would be in the water, river rafting to be more exact. Dylan booked in for an afternoon of river rafting. I was going to take it easy for the day and let my muscles absorb the pain of the Tongariro Alpine crossing. Dylan managed to negotiate for a free 3 hour mountain bike rental to go with the rafting experience. DSC_8045So the plan was for us to pick up the bike and then for me to relax in the sun until he was done. Well, when we got to the bike rental the lady working there did a fantastic sales job and convinced me to do the bike and river rafting tour.

We were given directions on how to get to the mountain bike trail which meandered along the Tongariro river.DSC_8039 It was a beautiful trail and it gave us a chance to see the river that we would later raft on. Dylan has been mountain biking in Newfoundland so he was off and racing down the track which would be rated as ‘easy’ for any Mountain biker. I had not been on a bike for years and years. After an hour or so I was feeling pretty comfortable and managed to stay on the bike and on the trail with a little exception of a nose dive into the bushes to avoid the tree. Just walked away with a scratch and my pride was a little hurt. But what hurt the most was the leg muscle burn. As if the Alpine crossing wasn’t enough?

We made a stop at the Turangi Trout farm and watched some anglers fishing and catching some pretty impressive trout. It was a catch and release program as they try to rebuild the fish stock.

We made our way back to the River rafting hut and got suited up for our next adventure. I was given an extra little fleece sweater as they were aware of my dislike for cold water. And so we were off! IMG_1802This wasn’t a gentle float down a river it was a hard paddle in rapids with the guide yelling ‘harder, harder, paddle harder, ok we made it again. Thank you folks!!’.

IMG_1784It was 3 hours of intense paddling and some floating with a couple of swim spots. For the swim we were given the option to get off and climb up a rock outcrop to jump into the river. I declined but Dylan did an impressive Topsy Turvy jump into the cold water. DSCN3750We did one more stop where people could jump into the water in a spot where the water was gentle and calm. Three hours of rafting and we arrived safely back. Although being with Dylan made me feel young as he challenged me to do things I may not have ordinarily done all I can say is that every muscle ached after the last 24 hours of hiking, cycling and paddling.IMG_1812

That was the end of a truly exceptional bonding experience with Dylan but it was time for me to head back to the boat. Cyclone ‘Pam’ was heading to NZ after devastating Vanuatu and I wanted to be back to help Denny in case the weather got really bad. Dylan continued his NZ travels. We did hope  to get together for one more road trip before he headed back home to another island, Newfoundland!

Road trip with Dylan, Tongariro Alpine Crossing

March 11 – 15

35 44.393S 174 20.339E

https://maps.google.com/maps/place/@35.44393,-174.20339,12z

Posting by Barb:

Tongariro Elevation chart

Tongariro Elevation chart

DSC_7981My turn and I of course would pick a hike. Tongariro crossing is something I wanted to do since I arrived in New Zealand. It wasn’t something Denny was keen on doing with the trouble he has been having with his knee. The hike is just short of 20 km and it traversed over a glacially carved out valley and quickly started ascending to the highest point called the Red Crater before starting the long descent to the car park.

Mount Doom

Mount Doom

The day started at 6 am and we had to drive to the end point of the hike where we took a 20 minute shuttle bus to the beginning of the track. I did feel like an ant climbing the ant hill as hundreds of people were being dropped of by shuttle buses and we all walked single file through a well groomed and stepped trail. Regardless of the vast number of people it was a stunning hike! We could see Mount Ngauruhoe in the distance and this was the site for Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings!

Let's go to the top Mom

Let’s go to the top Mom

There was a side trip we could take to climb to the top and Dylan was very excited about doing that. I was adamant about not doing it as I knew we still had quite a long hike back to the car and my knees were feeling a little shaky already.

As we approached the

At the top on Red Crater

At the top on Red Crater

Red Crater we could smell the sulphur and saw pockets of steam rising from the ground. I found it invigorating to be walking in an active volcanic area. There had actually been a small eruption in 2012 so there were lots of warnings to be vigilant and to obey all warnings! They did have red flashing lights installed which waned people to quickly exit the track if flashing. The track continued from the red undulating red ridge to brilliant emerald lakes. It was a feast of

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake

 

colours but there were long lines for the best picture spots. From there it was all downhill and I felt the stress on the leg muscles. We practically sprinted down the hill to catch the 3:30 shuttle bus and save us another kilometer walk to the car. We arrived at 3:35 and decided to finish the walk versus waiting and hour for the next shuttle. Spectacular hike that I could tick off my ‘to do’ list.