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March 2008

 

Week One:

From Wanaka we traveled to the West Coast, our next stop being a B & B almost at the foot of Fox Glacier. It was a beautiful location, and had the weather cooperated we would have had some "awesome" views! We booked a helicopter flight in the hope that the clouds, rain and fog would clear but it was not to be. We did manage to walk to the foot of the glacier so all was not lost. Without further ado we continued our journey.

Next stop was Hokitika...our only experience in a backpackers lodge nestled in the bush. We spent two nights there and took a day trip up to Pancake Rocks, geologically very interesting. We stopped at the site of an old gold mining town (Shantytown) to finish the day. Unfortunately, at Pancake Rocks Andrew left our backpack (at the cafe). We didn't realize it was missing until later that evening back at the lodge.....needless to say, panic set in (there were some expensive and important items inside). We couldn't remember the name of the cafe and after much discussion we decided to go back the following morning and see if it had been handed in. Aaaah relief! The cafe had all the goodies including coffee and cookies!

Relieved and happy we continued on our merry way stopping at the Buller Gorge and also a little town called Reefton, ( another memorable few moments we had talking to some old miners in their reconstructed mining shack) then on to Mapua, just outside the Abel Tasman National Park. We took a wonderful cruise along the picturesque bays there. Lapped up the sun in Kaiteriteri, then back to Mapua for another fish & chip dinner (very naughty but oh so nice!). Our visit to the South Island complete, we took the ferry again in Picton and arrived in Wellington for an evening of strolling along the waterfront and dinner out! A quick tour of Wellington the following morning and we were back on the road to New Plymouth and firmly on the homeward stretch. No chance to see the town but Mount Egmont (aka Mt. Taranaki) was a real joy to see on our way to the hotel.

The final day saw us in Hamilton for a barbeque lunch on the river, and then it was on to Auckland and the flight home.

 

 

What a great time we had!

View of Fox Glacier from our b&b.

Rainforest mushroom (toadstool). Fairyland-such colour!

A gnome in the rainforest.

Pancake rocks.

More of Pancake rocks.

Vanessa on the beach in Mapua.

Wellington as seen from the top of the cable car.

Vanessa walking over Buller Gorge on the longest swing bridge in NZ.

Jan flying over the gorge!

Mapua wharf

Split Apple rock in Abel Tasman Park.

Mount Egmont/Mt. Taranaki

Week Two:

Not much time this week. Hannah picked us up at the airport at midnight on Saturday and dropped us home. A quick welcome/farewell and see you tomorrow for dinner was all we said to each other. Mathew and his girlfriend, Christine, were there to welcome us home. He's doing a great job at looking after the house. He even cooked us dinner and bought all sorts of breakfast goodies. Didn't sleep too well due to all the time changes. Sunday was spent running errands, doing taxes and washing clothes. We met Hannah and Bobby for dinner at a local restaurant. This was their treat to us, for Andrew's upcoming birthday (or so we thought). Well......it came time to open his gifts and out came two bibs, "I love my grandpa and I love my grandma". What a shock! She's pregnant! Well if that wasn't enough....there was a final gift, a large piggy bank that said in bold letters on the back "Please support our college fund".  Yes, they're having twins. Great joy and utter amazement.

Monday and Tuesday were spent in a fog. Wednesday we flew back to the boat. Now preparing to leave on Saturday morning for points north. Getting ready for the Bahamas.

No time for many pics this week.

 

Andrew on hearing the news

Vanessa in tears on hearing the news

Tally Ho being launched.

 

Week Three:

We got into Marathon in the evening after stopping at Walmart for provisions.  Thursday morning was spent visiting our friends and neighbors  at the Dockside Marina and checking in with our Bahamas bound buddy boats (Sigi VII and Reflection). On Friday Tally Ho was dunked.  We  left on our next adventure bright and early Saturday. We had a very pleasant sail oceanside to Rodriguez Cay where we spent a peaceful night. Our buddy boats were taking the ICW and kept in contact via radio. We met another sailboat (Hielan' Lass) at Rodriguez and we spent the following day with them, sailing up to Miami. We found a very pretty stowaway shortly after departing, (a warbler maybe?) who stayed aboard for the duration, until spying the big ships in Govt. Cut! Alas, during the sail we found some problems with the autopilot motor and compass! (We'll check this out later!)  We went to a favourite anchorage just north of Government Cut, Lake Sunset, and the following day our friends, Pat & Ray, Joe & Sigi and our new friends John & Honey, joined us for cocktails.

The weather forecast was not good for continuing our journey North so we stayed put.... the winds were blowing hard. Later that night around 10:00pm (in the dark) we started to drag anchor so we moved the boat and an irate homeowner started screaming at us. He said he'd put a spotlight on us all night if we anchored in front of his "mega million $$$$" property. Well........he did just that. We were in distress, trying to anchor in heavy winds and now we had this "expletive...expletive" to deal with. Today we told the Miami water Police  about our encounter and , what d'ya know, this man has a reputation for doing this. We'll see what happens tonight. It's stilling blowing and we are not upping anchor! Not a peep out of him for the next two nights.

It's now Good Friday, although so far it ain't been too good for us! Our friends have all gone and we are still sitting wondering how to solve our technical troubles. Andrew left early in the dink and got a cab out to a marine electronics store to get a new fluxgate compass $$$. He got back and we installed the new unit. Still the same problem. (Haylp, come rescue me Mike, someone, anyone) He is not a happy sailor! The weather looks good for an outside jaunt tomorrow so we shall head up to Fort Lauderdale and try to get a technician on board. More $$$$. Perhaps next week will be better!

With all that's been going on we have reluctantly decided that the Bahamas trip will have to wait until next year. Boat problems, weather conditions and time constraints all came into play. So we shall slowly move up the coast to hopefully arrive back in MD in early June, in plenty of time for the new arrivals to the family. Oooh, such excitement! On that note I had better get back to knitting.......ha, ha, had you fooled for a minute! I will learn though.

Captain at helm leaving marathon.

Admiral at helm somewhere in the Hawk Channel.

Time for a swim.

Whoops! trouble with the autopilot motor.

Sunrise at Rodriguez Cay.

Our stowaway for 50 miles. Abandoned ship in Miami!

Government Cut, Miami.

Sunset from our anchorage in Lake Sunset.

Pat & Ray enjoying lunch on the Lincoln Road.

A local "noisy" parrot.

Breadfruit tree.

Holocaust Memorial in Miami.

Lilies around the memorial.

The everlasting flame.

One of the many haunting sculptures at the memorial site.

 

Week Four:

This has not been the greatest of weeks for us. We managed to get out of Lake Sunset and sail on the  outside up to Lake Sylvia in Fort Lauderdale. The anchorage was crowded (it was Easter weekend). On Easter Sunday we awoke to find that the Easter bunny had stopped by and left us some treats. How lovely!

Our buddy boats were now on their way to Lake Worth and had stopped for a couple of nights at a marina along the way. They had done some research and found a place for us to get the autopilot checked, at the marina. So we left Sylvia and the crowds and went to join our friends. The marina is on the ICW and there was a very strong cross current as we approached. To keep it short.....the dock was facing the ICW and we came in and hit a fancy looking sportsfishing boat in the neighboring dock. Damage done to both vessels and needless to say we were choked!! (for our American friends that means very upset). We naturally had plenty of spectators there (isn't that always the case) and that made us feel ten times worse. Still the damages can be fixed, nobody was physically hurt, and with all the other problems we have - what's one more! We had to give a police report. I think the Florida police know us quite well now.  Under no circumstances were we going to attempt to dock again so we continued slogging north. We traveled for 5 hours in constant torrential rain (3 inches fell that afternoon), and guess what - our bimini is no longer waterproof. The weather forecast included a possible tornado, in the direction we were headed obviously! At 5:30pm soaked, bedraggled, miserable and getting cold, we pulled over into Pelican Harbor  near Delray Beach. This was well protected and we had a quiet night, feeling very sorry for ourselves and contemplating our next move.

The following day we went to North Palm Beach and anchored in a very protected spot, knowing that we were in for several more days of 20-25 knot winds out of the north. Sigi VII and Reflection joined us later that night. We spent three nights there and then parted ways. Our heading was north to Peck Lake. Unfortunately the anchorage there was a problem for us and we just couldn't get the anchor to hold. It was a little crowded also, so we ventured on to Faber Cove, Fort Pierce. Along the way we were hailed by a tiny speedboat, and to our surprise Fran & Larry "Kallista" were aboard. It was great to see them. We arranged to see them at Vero Beach the next day. They drove over by car and took us out to lunch. It was good to catch up on what they'd been doing all winter. A very nice beginning to our work (and I mean work) week/or two in Vero. 

The Easter Bunny found its way onto the boat on Easter Sunday.

Damage to the Sports fisherman boat that we hit.

Our stanchions bent.

Our dodger has been ripped.

Our dodger frame has been bent

Good friends Joe and Sigi still smiling after Joe took a dunking - Tooooo much vodka.

Fran and Larry catch up with us and treat us to lunch in Vero Beach.