Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tying the Knot

Ribbons on packages are being tied as folks ready for Christmas...but on December 23, 2014, a very special knot was tied. Our dear friends Sandy and Rankin from the sailing catamaran "Gypsea Heart" got married in Whangarei – surprising everyone. Especially us as we were the witnesses! They had carefully planned the secret. Rankin invited us to join them for a very nice dinner out thanks to their Kiwi friend who gifted them with a gift certificate. He did say it was a fancier place so collared shirts and nicer attire was required. They had borrowed a car for the day and suggested we get together at 3 pm and then go touring a bit before dinner. Sounded like a great plan! At 3 pm, we met at the marina office and took off. Rankin said he had to stop by the Whangarei District Court building – with us joking that he already got a speeding ticket. He said he needed to pick up the Visa extension papers. I (Barbara) was going to wait in the car – but Rankin insisted we all come in as it was an interesting building. So we traipsed into the courthouse to notice Sandy wearing a beautiful white suit and very high heels. She looked gorgeous – but Sandy always does! Something seemed up and Micheal joked that they were going to get married. Sure enough, they had a 3:30 pm appointment to do just that! And we would be honored as their witnesses. The ceremony was held in a small conference room and the couple exchanged the rings that they've had aboard for years! It was lovely – they got their New Zealand wedding certificate and were now officially married.
We headed to a small boutique resort that they were booked into for the night and enjoyed some bubbly on the deck of this beautiful old building. Then off to a great dinner at a fine restaurant. Congratulations to our dear friends and we are honored you asked us to be part of your special day.

The next morning (Christmas eve Day), our heads were a bit fuzzy from the event the day before. There was a potluck at the marina that evening and we still had some cookies to deliver. Barbara baked nine varieties of Christmas cookies aboard Astarte and we had been making cookie deliveries to friends aboard and onshore over the last few days. We also made some chocolate covered strawberries for the newly weds! Last minute shopping for a few Christmas dinner items was an adventure as the stores were crazy...packed with folks.
The potluck was well attended – it seems lots of folks are still hanging about Whangarei. It was the first potluck we've ever been to where there was lots and lots of food left over. Everyone brought lots to share and there was a great variety of snacks, main courses, salads and desserts. Met lots of nice folks as well and enjoyed an evening of Christmas spirit.
Today, Christmas is the southern hemisphere, we will have a nice dinner aboard Astarte with Sandy and Rankin and then perhaps head to the nearby park for a little game of boule. It looks like it will be a nice day weatherwise. The roast beef will get in the oven shortly.

Merry Christmas to all and thanks for being part of our cruising life by reading our log!

Ho, Ho, Ho

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Work. Work. Work.

S35 Degrees 43.57 Minutes
E174 Degrees 19.79 Minutes

Another new experience (not work)...mooring the boat to pile moorings. This is sort of like parallel parking your sailboat. There are three straight, long rows of wooden pilings spaced apart 12-16 meters or so in each row. We are located in the center row about ten pilings from the back. You bring your vessel to the pilings and snug between two – one on the bow and one on the stern of the boat. We have less than a meter on each end and you tie lines to a ring that is around each piling. This ring floats up and down with the tides (which can be as high as three meters.) It is like a parking lot of floating boats. We use the dinghy to get to shore and put the dinghy and outboard up on the boat each night as there isn't a lot of room between rows to leave it in the water.

The work has begun. One week here and we have already gotten lots of projects underway. At least we have made lots and lots of calls to vendors for services. This is the busy season in New Zealand – so woodworkers, mechanics, sailmakers etc. are all swamped with projects. We've had three folks come and look at the cockpit floor project – now waiting for prices and timetables. The mainsail is off and at Doyles' Sail loft for a re-cut (under warranty). A mechanic should be here on Thursday to look at the Perkins starting issue. We have connected with phone, internet and banking. More "boat" cards are being printed and we're in search of a used bicycle. We've bought some warmer clothes as its mighty chilly here – even in New Zealand summer. Luckily all the stores have big sales on winter clothes! Plus we get the daily routine stuff done – grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and laundry! Not bad for one week's efforts!

Besides the non-stop work effort, we have had some fun reconnecting with old friends that we hadn't seen for awhile. We went to a great Thai restaurant for Thanksgiving with some friends from NZ and Oz., We've taken some long walks – the walking trails around Whangarei are really nice – there is a long loop that crosses three bridges and is really nice.

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