Purpose Statement

Exploration -> Experience -> Feeling -> Transformation -> Understanding

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kia Ora

New Zealand is absolutely lovely. Beautiful, green country. The people are shockingly polite and friendly and helpful. I'm told that the weather is lovely, though it has been cold and rainy since I arrived.

I did my best to sleep on the flight, but it was mostly an eyes-closed 13 hour contortion. Who designs airline chairs? There is no possible position where the body is adequately supported and comfortable enough to sleep. So I arrived very tired and sore. They served us breakfast 2 hours out from Auckland, so I watched the movie Gravity at the end of the flight. Great movie. I love the George Clooney character - confident, not-attached, very present in the here and now, observant and appreciative of this present moment. It was a good reminder at the start of my adventure.

On arrival, I caught a city bus to downtown Auckland, waited 2 hours, then boarded a bus to Tauranga. It was raining pretty good and the bus' windshield wipers stopped working, so we were delayed quite a bit stopping in each little town to try and get the wipers repaired. There was a soggy German fellow that boarded the bus with a bicycle in one of the little towns that sat next to me. Every winter, he takes 6 weeks off from work (as an architect in Germany) and solo rides a bicycle in a foreign country, this year New Zealand, last year Cuba, the year before that Thailand. I admire his spirit and wish him drier weather for the remainder of his holiday.

We finally arrived Tauranga in a downpour, so I put on my foulies (foul weather clothing for sailing) and walked a mile or two through the rain to arrive at Dwight's boat, Catnip. It is quite remarkable how easy it was to rendezvous with Dwight on minimal information. Dwight had sent me an email not much more elaborate than "walk to the water front, turn left, go over the bridge, I'm in slip F43" and after traveling halfway around the earth, I walked directly to his boat. The marina is very nice, much nicer than the marinas in Hawaii, and the marina restaurant is apparently owned by the drummer for AC/DC.

So I arrived soggy and cold and exhausted and my priority was to eat a hot meal, take a hot shower, and go to sleep flat on my back. Dwight steamed some broccoli and cauliflower for me, the showers in the marina were plenty hot, and I slept like a stone for 9 or 10 hours.

What day is it, anyway? I think it is Thursday as I write this, though it is Wednesday in the US. Crossing the international date line is a difficult thing to get your head around. We spent Thursday AM doing projects on Catnip - cleaning, sanding, painting, caulking - and we have a few more projects to make Catnip shipshape. We studied the wind forecast and it looks like Monday is the day to depart and head north, so we will provision up tomorrow, Friday, and maybe run around and catch a few local sites. Apparently Hobbiton is nearby. The water temperature is 65 degrees and it is still overcast, though it is no longer raining, so it is too cold for swimming, surfing, even paddle-boarding, though there are plenty of surfers out.

The plan is to disembark on Monday, sail north up the east coast of New Zealand, around the north cape, and then head for Brisbane and the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. We'll make Brisbane in 2 weeks or so and re-provision, then head out into the Great Barrier Reef.

I am charging batteries as I type, so I'll start taking and posting photos. I'll lose internet for a few weeks on Monday when we set sail, so I'll get some pics posted before then.

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