2019 Tasmania Road Trip with Bill and Ella

We had trouble getting a berth in Triabunna but this little beauty had a permanent home at the marina

Our road trip with Bill and Ella had a 3-day time constraint because that is as long as we could get a berth in the Triabunna marina. So, taking that into consideration we took a northerly scenic route. First stop was Swansea and we arrived just in time for lunch so we convinced Bill and Ella that had to be pie and we’re not talking sugar pie but hearty meat pies. It seems to be a thing in NZ and in OZ. Love it!!  Than it was onwards to Frecynet Park. We opted to do the hike to Wineglass Bay lookout. It was a strenuous uphill climb but it was a treat to sit at the lookout and see the famous Wineglass Bay with 20 or more boats anchored there. We could just pretend it was our boat there.

An Echidna hiding from us. You can’t see me if I can’t see you

From the lookout we managed to do a short hike to a nearby lighthouse. The highlite was the visiting Wallaby who was intent on looking cute and wrangling treats from tourists. Locals were quick to shrug away the obvious pest. We spent the night in a large cabin nearby and opted for some takeout food. And it was Taters with Sour Cream and Sweet Chili sauce. A local specialty and a new unhealthy treat we may have again.

Magnificent trail to Wineglass Bay Lookout

Finally arrived at Wineglass Bay Lookout

Famous Wineglass Bay

The little fellow knows Bill is hiding a cookie

The next day it was on to Bicheno and St. Helens. The highlights were Bicheno blowhole and the Bay of Fire. The blowhole could spray meters of salt water whenever there is a decent swell. We knew if we timed it right you we could get a dousing of salt water spray for the perfect photo op. There were no volunteers in our group of four, water was dreadfully cold for us old folks.

Well maybe I did volunteer for the blowhole spray. Calm day

Just another bird picture

 

 

 

Bay of Fire was a stunning bay with orange lichen rocks in contrast with pristine white beaches. Another place to wander and be in Nikon heaven. We spent a night at the Squeechy Motel. With a name too close squelchy or squishy expectations were not high but we had a cozy night.

What’s Bill taking a picture of? Not Ella this time

in contrast to the white beaches, it was a bay on fire. Can you see Barbie?

Saw this little bird in a flowering tree. Flew like a hummingbird, just a little bigger

 

 

 

On our way back to Landfall we made another stop for pie in Swansea and after a long drive we were back at home. Bill and Ella spent a night on our boat and then we said our goodbyes. They would make their way back to Sydney and we would continue our cruise circumnavigating Tasmania.

It was a great trip. Until next time…..,.

 

2019 Cruising Australia with Bill

Before we post anything further we have to clarify that although I do most of the writing, Denny does all of the photo editing and we both are contributors to the pictures as we both love toting our Nikon cameras around. So the blogging work is shared.

And our friend Bob also asked me to insert this picture he took while visiting us and add the comment:

Dennis working hard

Three generations!

getting ready to watch the Junior World Series Hockey Game at my Dad’s

After arriving in Australia we left the boat on the hard at “The Boat Works” and flew to North America to be with family for the Christmas holidays. This means that I am in Ontario, Canada and Denny is somewhere between South Dakota and Minnesota USA, although I did make a detour stop in South Dakota to get a little quality time with our grandson, Rhett. Besides the beautiful family time, which we can’t get enough of after being half a world away, I was fortunate to be able to drive across Canada with my daughter Allison. She was moving from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Port Hardy, Vancouver Island to start a new job. She needed help to move herself, her little car and her little bit of stuff to her new home base. It was quality time with my baby girl in a little car for roughly 3000 km or 1800 miles with stops along the way to reconnect with family and friends. Some of the mountain passes where a little icy and treacherous (Ally drove on those occasions) but otherwise it was pretty good driving conditions considering it was middle of the winter. Allison and I can now both say we have been in Canada from coast to coast.

 

 

CHRISTMAS FAMILY PICTURES ( Sad we didn’t get to see my son Dylan)

 

Bottom painting complete. Should have waited for Bill

2019

Denny arrived in Australia a few days before me. He left from  Minneapolis and I left from Vancouver, British Columbia. Once we were both back on the boat in Southport, Brisbane it was work, work, work. Five days of bottom painting, cleaning and getting Landfall back in the water ready for our friend Bill’s arrival.

What were we thinking!! We should have postponed preparations until Bill was on board, at least for the sanding and bottom painting.

We started provisioning the day Bill arrived so that he could have somewhat of a say on what we had in the pantry. But the only thing he really asked for was hot dogs and coffee.

 

First anchorage and the pelican was patiently waiting for an easy meal

Click here for Google Map Link

We spent one calm day at the Muriel Henchman Park which is also where we spent our first anchorage in Australia with Bob. That was our starting point for our sail with our goal to get to Tasmania.

Seas getting a little rough

Our first few days of heading South had it’s challenges. We caught a fish and after considerable amount of effort trying to get it on board we lost the fish; a wave crashed through our open galley ports dousing everything with sea water and Denny had to spend time fixing our water maker luckily with success! About 60 miles south of Coffs Harbor the winds turned and it was on the nose. We were making very little progress and unable to get a good weather forecast so we decided to turn back and duck in for shelter in Coffs Harbour

Safety in Coffs Harbour

Click here for Google Map Link

Once we were safely berthed in the marina Denny realized that one of the cars on the sail track was broken. He managed to find a marine store and order the part with only 10 minutes left before closing. It was Friday afternoon and the part would be shipped the next day. We enjoyed the marina hot showers, had a little walk through town and found a quaint little Mexican restaurant where we had dinner. The next day Denny and Bill worked  on replacing the sail track “car” and managed to fix that with some challenges. Before setting sail on our Southerly course, we grabbed a tasty burger and a fine pint of beer and we were off again.

“The Boys” working together doing repairs

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We had some strong northerly winds, found a current that helped us get to Pittwater before the prevailing southerlies hit us again. Pittwater was busy, hot and lots of activities as it was the Australia Day holiday. We spent a couple of days here, grilling hot dogs, relaxing and waiting for a weather window to keep heading South.

Note the fancy bandage on the finger. Not even coffee is making me feel better

From Pittwater we sailed to Port Eden before the Southerlies made us take shelter again. This wasn’t an uneventful passage either. First we caught the monster fish!! Can’t say what it was as we never did see it but when it caught the lure on the first fishing rod it pulled on the line at great speed and I managed to clip off the top of my left hand pointer finger trying to slow or stop the drag. The HUGE tuna or marlin managed to break free but then snagged the lure on the second fishing rod and went straight down taking the lure and all the line with him. Not a fish we wanted on board anyway but it would have been nice to at least get a glimpse of the fish. We put a new lure on the remaining fishing line but forgot to tighten the drag so somewhere along the way we caught a fish that took our remaining line and lure without us even knowing about it.

On a calm day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before arriving in Port Eden we were hit by a thunder and lightening storm like we have never encountered before. Not the usual wind but a lightening show that lasted for hours. With each lightening bolt we were thankful that it didn’t strike the boat. And somewhere between the thundershowers we also had a squall that caught us unaware as we were sailing with the large 160 jib. We managed to sail through it but Denny had to go forward to untangle lines on the roller unit and going forward during a squall is never a good thing.

This little fellow hitched a ride during the storm and hung around for a while

 

 

Click here for Google Map Link

Came across these little beauties

And then found these. Mussels for supper YUM

We waited in Port Eden for 10 days trying to get a weather window to cross the infamous Bass strait and finally get to Tasmania.  But we didn’t just sit on the boat and do nothing. We went on daily walks, had beers at the local pubs, had some Australian pizza and socialized with some of the locals and other cruisers.

Didn’t make it to the Wooden Boat show in Tasmania on time but saw these in Port Eden

 

 

 

 

An afternoon with Doug and brave Cloe

 

We had a nice afternoon with a man who volunteered to take us into town to buy sparkplugs for our dinghy motor that was acting up. His dog, Cloe was a sheep herder but was deathly afraid of cows.

Beautiful ‘ Sally Forth’

We had ‘happies and appies’ with Mark and Sally on their beautiful Nordhaven 52ft power boat “Sally Forth”. They were also trying to go to Tasmania.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We visited the museum where we learned all about Old Tom, the killer whale. He was thought to be the leader of a pod which helped the whalers by herding the baleen whales into the bay. The killer whales were then rewarded with the tongue and lips as their share of the kill. We rented a car and did some day trips in search of the elusive Platypus and Koala. Never did see either one but we did manage to come across a Wombat road kill and stopped to have a look as we were desperate to see some Aussie wildlife.

Alas, NO Platypus

 

In the end Bill had to get a flight to Tasmania as his time was running out and Ella (his wifey) was due to arrive soon. He booked flights from a nearby airport with a final destination to Burnie, Tasmania. On his last evening we had a couple of drinks on another cruising boat. It was priceless to see Bill’s face as the local sailor exclaimed he had never heard of an airport in Burnie and further more would never fly there. Bill grudgingly left the next day but we had agreed that if we ever got a weather window we would try and meet again in Tasmania. As it would have it, Bill inadvertently forgot his wallet on Landfall so a meeting up with them in Tassie was a definite. 

More shopping. Where’s Bill?

Is there a resemblance?

The coast is not that friendly

Goodbye Bill, see you in Tasmania!!

 

NZ south Island – Purau Bay May 11- 23

 

Click here for Google Map link

As we motored into Purau Bay it appeared that there were quite a few sailboats anchored there but as we came closer we realized that most yachts were on moorings. We did manage to find a fairly well protected anchorage away from the moorings in 10 feet of water. From this anchorage we were able to take the ferry across to Lyttelton and check out the earthquake devastated marina (which is only now being rejuvenated), the small grocery store and lots of quaint little restaurants. Lyttelton is only a short underground tunnel away from Christchurch which is where most people work and shop.

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Purau Bay, view from our boat

Sheffield Pie ShopWhile we were in Purau Bay we decided this was a good place to jump off the boat and do a little road trip. We rented a car in Christchurch and planned a route that would take us coast-to-coast traversing the Southern Alps via Arthur’s Pass. Our first stop was the Original Sheffield Pie Shop as we have garnered a love for the traditional NZ meat pies. We were not disappointed, bloody good pies!!

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Arthur’s Pass

The road slowly wound its way up into the foothills of the Southern Alps and the scenery changed constantly. But the pictures can better describe that. To make our road trip a little more NZ authentic we did follow a sheep transport truck for a little way as we wound our way up through Arthur’s Pass and little did we know at the time that the stream of water being dumped out of the truck was actually liquefied sheep dung. After a while we started to get an odor in the car and during our first stop we realized the odor was very distinct outside of the car from even 10 feet away. Oh well, no worries, it’s a rental!

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Creative ways to divert water and rock landslides from the road

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Of course we saw sheep sheep sheep

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We managed to do a stroll on one of the many on the southern Alps treks

DSC_8330 DSC_8432 DSC_8428We made it all the way to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and by the time we reached there we were tired, it was getting late and we didn’t feel like driving anymore so we made the decision to spend the night there. We were a little anxious about leaving the boat anchored without us being on board but we checked the weather and there didn’t seem to be anything to worry about for the next 12 hours or so. Noahs ark

Noahs ark 4

Our room number !!!

Noahs ark 1

Our hostel room wall decor

We found a great Youth Hostel, Noah’s Ark. Each room was identified by an animal versus a room number. We got the keys for the ‘Pig’ room. Hmmm was it because we hadn’t showered in a week or more, looked a little scruffy or maybe had some sheep dung residue? Whatever… we had a great meal at a nearby restaurant,  took advantage of the hot showers and had a great night’s sleep. We made our way back to Christchurch via the same pass and made a few other pit stops along with another stop at the Sheffield Pie Shop. We made it back on Landfall before nightfall and all was well in Purau Bay.

We were fortunate to be back on the boat as the next evening a weather system passed through bringing with it gusts of 50+ knots of wind. It all happened very quickly. I was standing in the galley and could hear and feel the wind picking up. I suddenly felt the boat moving and at the same time the anchor alarm went off. Dennis was on deck within seconds and quickly started the motor realizing we were dragging the anchor. There was a large Otago University research boat anchored behind us and we were drifting towards it very quickly. Dennis had the boat in full throttle trying to keep Landfall from crashing into the research boat. I radioed the captain to alert him of our predicament and to determine where their anchor was in relation to our anchor. He turned his spotlight on us and advised us that it was safe for us to pull in our anchor. I quickly went on deck with a jacket for Denny as it was cold and raining very hard and he was out there with just pants and t-shirt. I ran forward and proceeded to bring in the anchor and luckily we were in shallow water so it didn’t take much time for the windlass to raise the anchor.  Thanks to Denny’s quick reaction to our predicament, we managed to avoid a collision. We moved to the center of the bay and re-anchored hoping that we could set the anchor despite the driving wind and rain. We put out about an 8 to 1 scope and we were successful in re-anchoring. The weather front only lasted about an hour and we were soon back in calmer weather conditions but we didn’t sleep well that night. All the while we were dealing with avoiding a collision and re-anchoring  we were aware that there was another boat in the same predicament. It was our first experience with the anchor dragging and we were thankful that we were on board when it happened despite the fact that we had a 4 to 1 anchor scope out in only 10 feet of water. It was also the other boats first time dragging anchor and we figured it may have been attributed to some very fine sand in spots. Incidents like that make us more aware of how quickly things can take a turn for the worst when mother nature unleashes it’s fury.

We had to wait a couple more days for a weather to make our way to the North Island and after the anchor dragging incident we were hesitant to get off the boat so that  made the wait seem to go on forever.

Family time and Road Trip

Living on a sailboat and anchoring and cruising in places where there is no reliable Wifi makes staying in touch with family a challenge. So going back to the USA and Canada  during the Christmas holiday was special as we got to spend some time with our parents and all of our children.

During this trip home, we also did a fabulous road trip with Denny’s daughter Jenny and hubby Tyler, Jenny’s close friend Kathleen and her fiancé, Jeff and our friends Bill and Ella. As the saying goes ‘Go West young man, go West!!’. It was a 3-day road trip to Deadwood, nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It used to be a lawless wild west town started by the Black Hills Gold rush and it harbored many gambling saloons and brothels. It’s the very place where Wild Bill Hicock and Calamity Jane met their demise.

Jenny planned the whole trip and she was a fantastic hostess. On the way we made a stop in Sturgis for lunch and we tried to imagine what the town would look like during the famous yearly bike rally. Deadwood is now just a modern day gambling town with a lot of history. We tried to re-live the history by dressing up in Wild West costumes and acting out our part!

Deadwood

As far as gambling went, we tried our hand at Blackjack and Roulette and Denny and I can say that we didn’t win or loose but we all had loads of fun and laughter. An afternoon was spent playing shuffle board, drinking beer and eating lots of free popcorn which only made us want to drink more beer. We decided to have a shuffle board tournament with some serious competition. Some of us took it more seriously than others! The pictures tell the story!

Denny 1

Playing with the camera instead of shuffle board

Tyler 1

I can drink beer and play at the same time

Ella 1

I am gonna win!

Barb 1

What is Ella doing that I am not!!

Bill M Deadwood 2017 (32 of 175)

What to do. Wipe them out, hit and stick, how fast to push, where to aim????

But the highlight was our visit to Mount Rushmore. It was a beautiful, cool, sunny day. Even the drive there was spectacular with a stop here and there to play in the snow. Bill M Deadwood 2017 (80 of 175)

Bill M Deadwood 2017 (101 of 175)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill M Deadwood 2017 (115 of 175)We were able to wander around the park and museum at leisure without having to jostle through thousands of tourists that normally go there during the summer vacation. We were told that during peak season an average of 10,000 people a day visit the park. Pictures do not capture the enormity and grandeur of the sculpted faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. I tried to the a selfie of the moment with Denny!! Bill M Deadwood 2017 (138 of 175)Bill M Deadwood 2017 (140 of 175)

Bill, please take the pic!!

Bill, please take the pic!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided that maybe we could make this an annual Christmas Holiday event and next time we would hope that the rest of our children could be there as well!!

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.

Road trip with Dylan, Waitomo

March 11 – 15

35 44.393S 174 20.339E

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

Posting by Barb:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur next stop was Dylan’s pick, a Waitomo caving adventure. Back to the world of Glow Worms but with some heart thumping action. The first Waitomo quest was called Black Odyssey. It was a couple of hours in the cave with emphasis on different caving techniques (zip lines, rope work, swings, heights) over glowworms. Before being able to participate we would have to pass a test where we had to squeeze ourselves in OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAa tight box and move through a narrow cardboard tunnel to come out at another opening. I didn’t even attempt that test as I am slightly Claustrophobic.  Dylan would have to do that escapade all by himself. All I can say about that adventure was that when I saw him again he was grinning from ear to ear. As I looked at the pictures I almost wished I had muddled through the test because I think I may have enjoyed the thrill of climbing and swinging above the Glow Worms.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe second Waitomo quest was black water rafting, the Black Labyrinth. It was another couple of hours in a cave but this time we were dressed in wet suits and given a large rubber tube so that we could weave, jump and float our way through the glowworm flecked underworld.  It was dark, cold, wet and we floated and jumped off some ledges to the next pool, rear end first! We even floated by a nice size,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA fresh water eel, which we took a picture of. Although I have a dislike for cold water, I actually did enjoy the tube ride. Lucky for us it was only a 3 hours experience whereas  the Glow Worms live their entire lives underground in the cold, wet caves eating other bugs or each other. Quite a miserable life but they provided such beauty for us!

 

 

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Road trip with Dylan, Hobbiton

March 11 – 15

35 44.393S 174 20.339E

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

Posting by Barb:

Dylan and I wanted to do a road trip  to see some of New Zealand and spend some quality time together. Dennis decided to stay behind on Landfall as he had lots of boat projects to work on and he wanted Dylan and I to just have some time to ourselves. We planned our 4 day trip and we each picked places we  we both wanted to see and places we individually wanted to see.

DSC_7832DSC_7919First stop would be Hobbiton!! Yes, it’s a tourist trap but both Dylan and I were huge Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie fans. Actually our love for the story started long before the movie was made when we read the J.R.R. Tolkien’s book the Hobbit. We probably both immersed ourselves in the fantasy at about the same age, many years ago when I was 16 and not so many years ago when Dylan was 14 or so. It would be a Mcisaac family tradition to see the Lord of the Ring movies when it premiered every Christmas. This last Christmas I watched the last 3D Hobbit movie with our good friends Tina and Sonke. Never would have dreamed that I would actually be here in NZ for a premier showing!

DSC_7824DSC_7881When we got there we were greeted by Gandalf himself. We, that is Dylan, I and 20 or so other people, followed the tour guide, along the Shire. When Peter Jackson began to look for suitable locations for film series he first saw the Alexander Farm during an aerial search. Peter Jackson nailed it because the Shire was everything I imagined when reading the book.

 

 

 

DSC_7957DSC_7920Our tour ended at the Green Dragon where we enjoyed a good craft beer and a traditional New Zealand pie. Everyone visiting in NZ must have pie!!

After visiting Hobbiton,  it made us want to go back and have a marathon day of Lord of The Rings and Hobbit movies. Get the popcorn ready Denny, I know you can’t wait for that day to come!

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Hikes and Road trip with Dylan

February 15 – 20

35 44.393S 174 20.339E

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

Posting by Barb:

As Landfall was on the ‘hard’ we could not take Dylan sailing so we planned a couple of road trips. Close to Whangarei we decided to take him to the highest point, Mount Mania and then to an underground experience, Abbey Caves.

DSC_7686DSC_7729I had already hiked up Mount Mania but this time we decided to do a sunset hike. We  packed a couple of head lamps for the return trip and a couple of beers to enjoy while the sun was setting. Denny decided that he should not go as DSC_7749he was not sure if his knee would survive the hundreds of steps up and down, approximately 3.5 kms of stairs. There were a few people at the top when  we arrived but we were soon left alone to sit and watch the sunset. It was an incredible experience to be able to have front row seats to a beautiful sunset while sipping on a cold beer and being able to enjoy great conversation without trying to compete with social network pings and tweets.

Just a few minutes from Whangarei is Abbey Caves and Glow worms! So off we went with our headlamps and Denny was all over this hike! I never could understand why a cave would be more appealing than a mountain top with sunsets but that’s something Denny would have to answer to. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a short hike to the mouth of the cave and then with some encouragement from Denny and Dylan I followed them into the cave.  The warning “Only experienced cavers should enter underground, as there are risks from rapidly rising water and roof falls” was enough to dampen my enthusiasm. I did follow the boys for a while but as it got wetter and narrower I was out of there. Denny and Dylan did discover a chamber inside the cave that contained abundant glow worms. What is a glowworm you may ask? Although we see them as a dreamy mass of twinkling lights they are actually larvae (maggots) of a species of fly called a fungus gnat. Maybe not so dreamy!

Dylan had obtained tickets to the yearly Splore festival which included 2 nights of tenting with all day music and festivities. In Mrs Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure and Preposterous Words; defines Splore as ‘Merry making festivities, carousing and frolicking or a good going session.’ Just what Dylan was looking for!015fb71a5ce3ed5dd31c4b6a339c3ebfaa228e798b The festival was to take place in a location  South of Auckland so I decided that I would do a little road trip with Dylan to Auckland, enjoy the city and then drop him off at the festival. We stayed at the International Youth Hostel and had a clean,  sparse room for $70 in the heart of the city and it included free parking. Everything was within walking distance so we did a lot of walking. We enjoyed a fine, large mug of Belgian beer at a nice little pub and we now understand why Belgium has won ‘World Beer Awards’. We drove and walked on a few of the volcanoe craters in the city and took the usual visiting family/friend iconic picture on Mount Eden. It was a great bonding weekend. Loved it!!

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