2018 Vanuatu. Visit from NZ friends Pete and Mel

Click here for Google Map Link – Lakatoro

Lakatoro would have been a nice anchorage but while we were there the weather was nasty. Denny and I had a long dinghy ride to the dock and from there a 3 mile walk to the airport where Pete and Mel would be arriving. We did manage to find a ride and it was a

Burned out hulk of an airport

good thing we did because I wouldn’t believe we were at the airport. It was just a burned out building, open to the elements and no security or gates. There were a couple of people hanging out with their luggage and that was the only evidence that we were in the right place. We waited and waited and waited. Finally Denny found somebody that looked like he was an airline employee and asked about the flight schedule. He informed us that the flight had been cancelled due to thunder and lightening storm in Port Villa. So we headed back to the boat not knowing where Pete and Mel were. We finally got a text that explained they were delayed, and then one saying they were on the way. The wind had worsened so we arranged a water taxi for them as the dinghy ride would have been a wet one. With the wind howling there wasn’t much to do except take a little tour of the nearby village. We decided not to stay in Lakatoro any longer and sailed to the next anchorage that was a little more protected.

Click here for Google Map Link – Crab Bay

Crab Bay was a little challenging to get into as there was coral everywhere. The little hole we anchored in wasn’t very large with minimal swing room, so we put out a second anchor to keep us from swinging. It was still very windy out but we were sheltered and felt no swell. There was a nearby nature reserve with a trail so we decided to do some exploring.

We found another shipwreck on the beach which is always sad to see. We couldn’t find the story about this boat on the internet. One of the planned stops during our friends visit was to do the volcano hike on Ambrym. The hike would take 10 hours through some rough terrain and uphill and it would have to be guided. We decided we would do it in 2 days and hire porters to carry our food, sleeping bags and camera equipment. This would give us more time and energy to enjoy the hike and the volcano. We got a weather window so after 2 days in Crab Bay we set sail for the next Island, Ambrym.

Click here for Google Map link – Ambrym

 

 

 

The link to google map will give you an idea of our less than desirable anchorage and the distance we would have to hike to the Volcano. Google describes Ambrym as one of the most active volcanoes in the New Hebrides and one of five lava lakes in the world. We were all pumped to go. 

We took a hike through the village looking for a guide, along the way we made friends with a village dog or I should say he made friends with us.

Our Buddy Flea

We named him Flea for obvious reasons. He followed us everywhere and was even prepared to jump in the dinghy with us. From the boat we could see him trying to swim towards us and  made it half way before giving up. He then started barking and pacing back and forth on the shore for a long time (Mel’s offering of cookies may have something to do with Flea’s persistence)

 

It was a hot and humid stroll around village and we were starting to second guess our ability to do the walk. We  came across a cozy, little Cava bar where we could celebrate our success. We found somebody who had the experience and knowledge and willing to take us to the volcano Caldera but the weather wasn’t cooperating. There were low lying clouds and it was coming from the wrong direction which would probably hinder our view of the lava lake in the crater once we reached the top. We weren’t willing to do the hike without being able to actually see the volcano. We waited for a day but weather wasn’t improving nor did it look good for the next couple of days. However, it was a  good sail (motor) window to head back South to the main Island, Efate. There were no available flights from Ambrym to the main Island that Pete and Mel could take in order to catch their connection to NZ so we decided to abandon the Ambrym hike. We hope to come back someday and do it. The night before we left we did see some Dugong swim by the boat and on the day we left Pete, who was in charge of fishing, caught us an Albacore Tuna so we were happy with that. The passage back to the main island Efate was an overnight motor but that was better than a beat against prevailing wind.

Clouds hanging over Ambrym

 

 

Click here for Google Map link – Havanna Bay

Back on the main Island we spent the time enjoying food from some nearby restaurants and resorts. Pete and Mel had friends that had a little cottage near where we were anchored so they were able to get off the boat for a little while. I did end up with a very nasty infection from a small cut on my ankle that appeared to be nothing at first. The cut became swollen, red and from there the symptoms worsened and I had fever and chills. It was going to be a hospital emergency stop for me but luckily Pete and Mel’s friends had the proper ointment and antibiotics and by morning I was cured. But it does stress the importance of keeping small cuts clean and having appropriate medication for these instances. The outcome could have been very bad for me if appropriate action wasn’t taken quickly.

We enjoyed our time with our friends and 12 days seemed to go very fast. They were back to NZ and it was time for us to head to New Caledonia with one stop on the way, our last chance to see an active volcano in Tanna.

2018 Vanuatu -Maskelyne – July 20 to 29

Click Here for Google Map Link

Beautiful village on Uliveo near where we were anchored

Our visit to the Maskelyne Islands would have ticked almost all our ‘bucket list’ boxes for our visit to Vanuatu if we had boxes to tick. If it had had a volcano we would have stayed here for the remainder of our visit to Vanuatu.

I will say that there was one distasteful incident which happened on a Catamaran anchored near us. A local that introduced himself as the chief dropped by while we were visiting on their boat and demanded that we pay a fine for snorkeling in Tabu waters. As our host family had told us where to go for snorkeling and hadn’t mentioned any restrictions, we refused to pay the $20 fine. We promptly left the Catamaran not wanting any further discussions with the local. We were informed the next day that he had been an impostor. Although infrequent, there are such incidents that give the village as a whole a bad reputation in the cruising community. I included this story at the beginning as it really was just a little blip to an otherwise beautiful experience and probably our favorite Vanuatu anchorages. And we loved the people.

If ever in Uliveo have Stewart give you a tour of the villages. Great stories and a wonderful personality.

The dugout, main means of transportation by paddle or sail in Uliveo. No cars!

We arrived at Uliveo island by mid afternoon and now had to find our anchorage point. The 2015 cruising guide showed an anchor icon in one bay but the waypoint indicated the anchoring in another bay. Hmmm, which one is correct? A local in a dugout came by our boat and volunteered to show us the pass. We invited him on board and then he proceeded to try to help us but couldn’t say which bay we should anchor in. Our first pick turned out to be a bust as it shallowed up really fast and there was coral everywhere. Stewart, our visiting local suggested that we try the next bay, which is where other visiting boats have anchored. It was a little nerve wrecking getting in as it became shallow quite quickly before it dropped off again.  Stewart had no understanding of how much water our boat draws being used to paddling a dugout most of his life. He gave us no warnings about how shallow it would get, just three feet under the keel at one point, or where we should really anchor.  Part of his reluctance to say anything may be mainly due one of the culture habits that became very apparent to us, Vanuatu people just don’t like to give you ‘bad news’ or ‘negative answers’. They would rather say nothing or tell you what you want to hear. And this has been a recurring theme while visiting Vanuatu and sometimes it got us in trouble.

We did anchor nicely in a very well protected hole. Shortly before arriving, we had caught a pretty large Barracuda and as we had some concerns about Ciguatera poisoning we gave most of the fish to Stewart. Google will tell you that Ciguatera poisoning is caused by consumption of reef fish contaminated with ciguatoxin which originates with certain algae associated with coral reef systems and accumulates up the food chain from small herbivorous fish to large carnivorous fish such as the Barracuda. It has no specific color, odor, taste but the effect of the poisoning can make one feel ill for a long time.  When we asked whether they ate Barracuda the answer was “yes”. When we asked whether Ciguatera was a concern the answer was “sometimes”.  It turned out that the fish was fine and they enjoyed every morsel or so they told us.

Basic but comfortable tourist lodge

There was a small basic resort on the island and there were  some NZ visitors staying there.  As they had not had a taste of a cold beer since their arrival in Uliveo we invited them on board for Happy Hour.  We were also craving some socialization as so far other cruising boats have been scarce.

As we had arrived on a Friday we were quickly invited to the Sunday Presbyterian church service. We arrived at Tom’s house at 10:00 for the 10:30 service. Tom took one look at us and suggested that Denny borrow one of his collared shirts and that I borrow one of his wife Esther’s ‘Island dresses’.

My borrowed Island dress. Covers everything, especially the knees

She came out with 3 and then accompanied me to the eating area hut and watched me try on the dresses. She shook her head to the first, second and third dress and then exclaimed I was ‘Fat, very Fat’!! Her comment took me by surprise and I found it  refreshing that they had no body shame to casually make such a remark  and I exclaimed that life was good. Although I was a little puzzled as by comparison to a lot of the ‘mammas’ I was not so fat?? I realized later that she was probably referring to me as being ‘Tall, very Tall’ and most dresses did not properly cover my knees.  (at least that is what tells herself,  and of coarse I have agree)

The church service had the usual local vibrant optimism and  unabashed singing and at the end of the service they welcomed us to their village, said a prayer for our safe journey and then asked us to lead the exit procession so that we could give a hand shake to all attendees and receive many a  ‘God be with you’ remark. Tom and Esther invited us to share a Sunday meal with their family and it was the first time we ate the local Lap-lap, Vanuatu’s national dish.

Sharing Sunday dinner with Tom and family. Still wearing Island Dress. I was actually enjoying it!

It was made by grating manioc, smothered in coconut cream, wrapped in banana leaves and then cooked in a ground oven of hot stones. It wasn’t Denny’s favorite but the second time we were invited for a Lap-lap meal and chicken was added it was actually pretty ‘tasty’!

Tom’s family sharing a meal on Landfall

We had several meals with Tom’s family and also invited them back to our boat for dinner. I am not sure if the meal was a hit but the cake sure was.

Tom’s sister harvesting the shell meat for the Sunday dinner

Tom invited to go fishing in his brother in-law Philippe’s power boat for a fishing excursion. All we had to do was bring our own fishing lines, lures and supply the gas. They weren’t too impressed with our lures, too BIG! Most of the fishing was done inside the reef and the tuna they were catching were no more than a foot long. Fish was actually scarce and we were told that they used to export 40 large bins of fish per week to the markets in the larger islands.

Fishing with Philip. Lots of rain, no fish

Now they can only fill up about 25 bins and that is slowly diminishing. They were actually contemplating putting a stop to all netting. difficult to do if fish is one of the main income source for the small islands in the Maskelynes. It was a great way to see the outer islands although we hit some very hard rain and wind on our return trip making it a miserable ride home. We didn’t catch any fish with our lures.

No pic of a Dugong but lots of other interesting sea creatures

We did do some snorkeling as there were Dugong here. And I finally saw several Dugong although not with a camera.

We stayed at this anchorage for 10 days so that we could partake in the annual Canoe Race festival. This was a 2 day celebration which included lunch and dinner, watching the local canoe races and even participating in the tourist canoe race, which I won (thanks strong big arms)!

The festival took place on the North side of the island with a beautiful backdrop of the mountains of Malekula and colorful canoes scattered on the beach and ready for the races.

The day was filled with a range of canoe races which included different age groups, ladies and men but never mixed as that was Tabu, and mother daughter races.

The BIG boy canoe race

The SMALL boys getting ready

 

Preparing the Kava. Notice the meat grinder being used

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a Kava making demonstration which was basically peeling the Pepper plant root and grinding it using an old fashioned meat grinder into a small bag which would be submerged in a bucket of water and water squeezed through the bag to seep the drug out of the ground root.

Meat grinder Kava

This process was repeated 3 times and then we were all offered a cup to gulp down. I could feel tongue and lip numbing for about 10 minutes but nothing after that. It was suggested that we drink about 4-5 cups to have the pleasant, happy, relaxing feeling. They named the kava ‘Morning Fresh’ as no matter how much you drank you would wake up morning fresh. We found that hard to believe. First cup was free but after that we had to pay.

Kava ready for drinking

We were good with just a taste as the sloppy, grey dishwater kava drink wasn’t all that appealing.

For one it was ‘hmmmm, maybe’, for the other it was ‘I’ve done it before and love it’ and for Denny it was ‘let’s get this over with!’

It will be a turtle when finished

 

 

There was a sand drawing demonstration which I had also seen at the National museum in Port Vila. We were asked to pick a specific animal, plant bird and then the sand drawer would make the elaborate drawing all in one smooth flow, never lifting his finger until the picture had been completed. Pretty impressive!

As if all the colour of  costumes and surroundings wasn’t enough, they introduced us to their local birds which I had had rare glimpses of and now could look at up close.

She made a fan for me!

 

 

 

We were given a basket weaving demonstration and shown how the coconut leaves were used to make the walls for their huts, fans, carrying baskets used to carry the vegetables gathered from their farms and throwaway plates and garbage collection baskets. They made all this stuff with such ease and it is great knowledge to have considering plastic has now been banned in Vanuatu.

With a little help, doing some of my own weaving. Making the wall for the hut

Bringing in food by dugout. The island is to small so much of the growing is done on the neighboring island.

Lap-lap or Bunia in the making

The ‘Mamas’ gave us a traditional food making demonstration which included Lap-lap and Bunia (which stands for baked solid food and meat). The main difference between the two being the meat which is included in the Bunia.

Food preparation by the Mamas. Note the sea shells in her hands which would be cooked in lemons

The meals that the mamas prepared for us was very tasty. It included a buffet of shell fish marinated in lemon juice, deep fried taro patties, kumara chips, rice, curried fish and grilled fish and we served ourselves using ‘Island paper plates’ (a stack of 2-3 large leaves cupped in your hands to hold great quantities of food).

The roasting pig required constant attention

For the final meal they even roasted a piglet over hot coals. The roasting was well tended by several men that continually fanned the meat with fragrant leaves and one man manually turned the piglet on the spit as required.

 

 

The children were a constant source of entertainment with their beautiful smiles all eager to watch the races and play their simple old fashioned string games. They would come in pairs and show you what symbols they could create with 10 fingers, a long string and little help.

Beautiful Beatie, Tom’s grand daughter

 

The closing ceremonies included Kastom dancing and singing.This required some pretty elaborate face painting and costume preparation all from local materials.

 

 

life here is much simpler but it is changing and the future is not always the brightest.

NZ south Island – Akaroa May 10

Click here for Google map link

We had to wait for the peak of high tide and motor sail our way out of the long harbor on a falling tide. This meant that we could not leave Dunedin until mid afternoon and it was an overnight and a full day sail to Akaroa. We entered Akaroa on a setting sun and had to anchor in the dark. This required me to stand on the bow with a flashlight so that we could avoid motoring over existing mooring balls.

DSC_8270

Beautiful Akaroa Harbour

DSC_8272We spent a day exploring the touristy little town with it’s French heritage. It was nearing the end of the tourist and the cruise ship season. Although it was a quaint little town, we had the sense that the locals were preparing for ‘down’ time and were a little tired of catering to tourists like ourselves. We had pastries and coffee at a café and made the decision to continue our way up the coast to nearby Lyttelton where we would wait for a weather window for our next puddle jump. size of hector dolphinWe left the next morning, shortly before sunrise and had a spectacularly warm, sunny motor to Purau Bay. Hector dolphins followed us all the way up the coastline, showing off their elegant blend of colours.  Again we felt fortunate to experience a rare gift of nature as Hector’s dolphin is considered the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin.DSC_8304 DSC_0533

NZ south Island – Dunedin May 02 – 09

Click here for Google Map Link

DSC_8133-1We finally had a weather window to leave Steward Island and cross Foveaux Strait, which  is in the middle of the roaring Forties and rarely calm.  With the diminishing effect of distance, Steward Island slowly disappeared. We felt some regret to leave this beautiful, isolated little patch of paradise.

My anxiety about crossing Foveaux Strait was unwarranted and our sail to Dunedin was uneventful. As we approached Dunedin we were again awed by the beautiful coastline.

 

After contacting Harbor control we were given clearance to traverse the 6+  miles of the natural harbor to our destination, the Otago Yacht Club (OYC). I used our Vodafone cell phone service and called the OYC manager, Barry, so that he could help us navigate Landfall to our berth as we arrived shortly after sunset.  DSC_0453He stood on the shore and used a laser pointer to ensure that we approached the entrance without any incident, although we did have to drag the keel through the mud. It was a little intimidating to motor to our designated spot in the yacht club with ‘0’ feet showing on the depth meter.

DSC_0459 It was somewhat of a treat to stay at a marina with hot showers, laundry facilities, access to fresh water, free Wi-Fi and use of the club house that included a large kitchen with  commercial grade appliances. DSC_0474_1I took full advantage and used the slow cooker to make  ‘pulled pork’ and the oven to roast a couple of whole chickens. We shared our oven cooked meals with friends from Dunedin. OYC is probably one of our favorite NZ marinas because of the people and the facilities. We took advantage of the available fresh water and thoroughly cleaned everything including the ‘miles’ of line we used for anchoring in the fiords and Steward island.

Early morning fog

Early morning fog

While in Dunedin we toured and enjoyed the grocery stores, restaurants,  city architecture, museums,  and public transportation. We visited the large Saturday market and came home with some NZ chicken and beef pies and a Venison smoked sausage stick. The ‘pie’ lady gave us a small complementary venison pie as a welcome gift once she heard how we had arrived in Dunedin.

Dunedin Train Station

We packed a picnic lunch and with the help of the great  public transportation, we made our way to Tunnel beach. Access to the coastline required us to tramp down a steep inclined coastline but it was worth it as the scenery was stunning.

DSC_8187

Denny taking a snooze in preparation for our return uphill hike

DSC_8167-3

Note the hiking trek to the top of knob where we had our picnic.

DSC_8198DSC_8215DSC_8181

After the isolation of Steward Island, it was a nice change to return to urban living!

 

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!!

Fiji 2016 – Vuda Marina

17 40.873 S – 177 23.213 E

Link to Google Maps

Posting by Barb :

dennys-birthday-2016We have been in Vuda Marina since November 1, Denny’s birthday. We celebrated his birthday at the Sunset bar with our good friends Barbara and Michael from Astarte. The bar must have known it was Denny’s birthday because they had half price pizza. Denny didn’t have a birthday cake as we were en-route to the marina and I didn’t seem to have the ingredients to make a cake (not that I am such a great baker anyway). But Denny did get to savor a pack of Oreo cookies!

We have been sitting here at the marina preparing for our passage to NZ. We finally have the weather window we need (at least we hope so) so we will be leaving as soon as we check out with customs and immigration. Check out scheduled for November 8th. We will do our usual en-route postings. We hope to get to NZ by November 21 and then back to Canada/USA for December.

We will be seeing some of you soon!!dsc_7152

 

Fiji 2016 – Anchorage # 10 – Nukubati

October 10 – 14

16 28.139 S – 179 01.749 E

Link to Google Maps

Posting by Barb:

As we headed to our next destination the wind started to increase and it started to rain. At first we were both excited as we hadn’t seen rain since we started our cruising around Vanua Levu. The decks and everything on deck had layers of salt so a good rain was what we needed. By the time we were near our intended stop it was a torrential rain and we couldn’t see 10 feet in front of the boat. We nearly t-boned a local power boat that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. We had to wait and do circles with a constant eye on the depth until the rain stopped or lessened long enough for us to pull in and anchor. By the time the anchor was finally buried in good mud we were quite drenched but the boat was clean. We arrived near the Nukubati resort on our first anniversary day so we were in a good spot to enjoy a tropical drink at a nice bar. But that would have to wait until tomorrow as Denny felt ‘done in’ after a stressful passage.

dsc_9731The resort was beautiful and we enjoyed a couple of evenings chatting with the owner and some guests. But the staff were all very pre-occupied preparing for the weekend Fijian wedding of the owner’s son. Family were arriving every day and on Sunday the official Fijian wedding would take place with 400 guests invited. On the menu was a pig cooked on the spit and beef. Extra locals had been hired to prepare all the food.

dsc_9726We stayed out of the way and finally managed to put a coat of Teak Oil which was long overdue. Denny had to stand in the dinghy and float along while carefully brushing on the oil. I had to do the portion accessible on the deck, easier but damn hot with the deck radiating heat absorbed by the sun.

We had a visit from the school boat driver and his family. They were amazed at how good our de-salinated water tasted. They would cautiously take a drink expecting salt water. They were amazed at how our salon chairs could be pulled out and turned to a bed and the topper was Coke made by our Soda stream. dsc_6722They liked the taste but we knew it wasn’t something they had before when they proceeded to dip their cookies in their drinks! I made paper airplanes and boats with the kids and they left with extra sheets of paper so that they could show their friends. They left with lots of invitations to come visit their village.

dsc_9732We did a little bit of snorkeling but the coral was dead. I did however see my first close-up look of a turtle. It was feeding below me and it took a little while before he realized I was hovering over him then he disappeared pretty quick. We did a little exploring of the outskirts of the resort. We found some pretty large Mangos which Denny decided to devour. He was sorry he did once he realized he had no way to clean his sticky hands until we reached the salt water edge.

It was a busy anchorage with lots of locals going to and from the resort, probably as a result of all the wedding preparations, with the constant wave or ‘Bulah’ yell. We decided it was time for a quiet reef anchorage but we would return to do a visit of the nearby village Nasea as we promised we would. On a final note we would like to say that despite the busy, special family wedding celebrations, the Bourke family, owners of the resort, made us feel very welcome.

 

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!

DSC_7871 DSC_7904 DSC_7837DSC_7926

Dylan in NZ

35 44.393S 174 20.339E

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

Posting by Barb:

015de8981abc96c06267fc80ad599efe07fdd91bc0There is no doubt that one of the negatives aspects of living on a sailboat and moving from one anchorage to the next is keeping in touch with family and friends. And to that end we are held hostage to the availability and quality of  internet services. But in the last year we have been fortunate to have had many visitors. So having Becky, Allison and Mike on board was fantastic and now my boy Dylan was with us in New Zealand! Dennis will attest to the fact that as February 12th drew near I was more and more anxious and excited. I looked around the boat and tried to imagine whether 6″3′ Dylan would be able to stretch out and sleep in the salon or whether he would be able to walk tall and straight inside our little home. But despite all my distressing the day was finally here. It was so good to see him walk out of the Auckland International Airport terminal gate. All was ok, he was finally here! (He slept fine in the salon and his beautiful curly hair grazed the ceiling and gave it a badly needed Dockland 5 dusting).

01b53363060a9b13704a46b8f8f7b02d2f03bc8503 01a4d0a634995f79c71fe8b5eaf2b597dfe28b5346

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Dylan’s first day I took him to several of the culinary spots in Whangarei. That included the Fat Camel and the Butter Factory for a cool tall one. So what else  does a visitor from Newfoundland want besides a good beer?  01115b541237e28c444954c275efa766b8a423d57bThat would be a hot day on a white, sandy beach so that was on the agenda for the second day. And it was a hot day and it was a beautiful beach, Ocean Beach!

01f11f02fc397e54aa05f70cbf4eb4d015e25088a8On the way back from sunning and swimming we passed by an area where there were quite a few cars parked by the side of the road. Of course we had to check it out and it turned out to be a Kiwi Release occasion. We got to see a real, live Kiwi up close.
There were a lot of things ticked of Dylan’s ‘To Do’ list in a couple of days.

 

We are a Threesome again

35 44.393S 174 20.339E

http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:35%2044.393S%20174%2021.339E

Posting by Barb:

January 6 – January 20

Denny flew back from Minneapolis with our friend Pat. I love having Pat around as we usually team up and give Dennis a hard time and some well-deserved teasing. IMG_0398Pat stayed in a small B&B place within walking distance as Landfall was going to be torn apart by Dennis who was going to be working on our new engine to replace the transmission (the reason for this will be explained by Denny in his boat projects post). Pat walked to the boat every morning carrying his expensive NZ Flat White coffee. I heard that Starbucks now serve Flat Whites as well so Pat can continue to get his expensive fix!!

The B&B was quaint but I avoided the place after my first visit as the little dog there fell in love with me and insisted on wrapping his little paws around my leg, arms or anything it could hug and then proceeded to show more than just a simple affectionate hug! The dog left a little present for pat in his room thanks to an upset stomach.

The three of us hung out at the boat a lot as Dennis worked on replacing the transmission. Every morning after his walk and coffee Pat would log on the internet and call work.DSC_7573 We told him he could just stay in NZ and work from the boat! The first couple of days of Pat’s visit was a bust as far as working on the engine as Denny came back with some strong Stomach bug or food poisoning. It was bad enough to make Pat and I very  worried. You all know the moldy things that Denny can eat and his stomach accepts it all usually with no ill effects. While Denny was puking his guts out Pat and I were outside having BBQs with our friends Ernst and Inge. We felt bad but Denny didn’t want us near him.

DSC_7531DSC_7578

 We did do a couple of road trips with Pat. The weather while Pat was here was spectacular so we of course visited a couple of the beautiful beaches including Ocean Beach and the white sand beach in Pahia. We took Pat to Opua to say hello to friends but took the scenic, twisty, snaking road to Russell and then the Ferry to Opua. All our visiting friends naturally get a tour of Auckland and get their iconic picture taken on Mount Eden. We stayed a night at John’s house in Auckland. Dennis had met John in Chile. John cooked a great meal on the BBQ while we sat there and enjoyed their beautiful backyard while sipping on some good wine. 

 

 

DSC_7547DSC_7540

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided to do a little road trip before Pat had to go back to Minneapolis. After 4 hours driving our first stop was Rotorua to take Pat to the Waimangu Thermal walk which we also did with Bill and Ella. DSC_7661 DSC_5416-1This time around some of the thermal pools were dried up so it wasn’t as spectacular but we did do the boat trip at the end which was just a relaxing experience. Well maybe a little boring for Dennis.  The dining escapades in Rotorua were unimpressive. At one point we were sitting in a restaurant for quite some time waiting to get served when a waitress came by and told us that the chef had closed the kitchen for any new orders for the next hour or so. We thought that was an odd thing to do?

From there it was on to Taupo with a stop at McDonalds for ice cream sundaes. Taupo is a touristy little town on the shores of the largest lake in NZ. A few interesting facts about Lake Taupo; largest fresh water lake in the Southern hemisphere, roughly size of Singapore, crater of one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the last 5000 years, 159 meters deep and a surface area of 616 square km. And we did not get one single picture there. I guess it didn’t seem like much after being on Lake Superior.

Our last stop was Auckland Airport where we said good-bye to Pat. I think we may have convinced him to be a regular, yearly visitor but next time it will have to be a little longer than 2 weeks!