Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Break Away from Irie and the Sailing Life

About two weeks ago, Mark and I left the pretty reef anchorage in Moorea, to move Irie into Marina Vaiare, on the same side of the island. As always on boats, it was a tradeoff: we received unlimited water, pressurized showers and easy shore access in return for non-stop sweating, very high temperatures and lack of energy. The sun was beating on us and our boat, the most productive time of the day – to do work, run errands or achieve anything – was from 6am until 8am, and we couldn’t wait until the sun disappeared behind the mountains and the temperature became bearable again. Luckily, the feared mosquitoes at that time of the day were not too bad. We managed to clean and fix Irie up splendidly. And, our boat now lays perfectly flat in a well-protected, safe and affordable harbor, quite the difference with last year’s ordeal and disaster in Tahiti’s Taina Marina!

On April 7th, Mark and I took the ferry to Tahiti, where we met the crews of SV Kril and SV Yum Yum for a few hours. It was great to catch up with them, after many months, and in Kril’s case over a year! In the evening, we jumped on an Air New Zealand plane and – after about 5 hours – arrived in Auckland, where it was already 9:30 pm on April 8th. It does feel weird to have crossed the date line and communicate with our friends, family and most customers back in time!

The trip and arrival into the country went as smooth as could be, and our old time friend Axel (from SV Gudrun, but now living on land) picked us up at the airport and introduced us to the city’s Asian flair by treating us to some yummy dumplings. All our senses were in overdrive and we truly appreciated the comfortable and luxurious hotel room he put us in. Axel is awesome, by the way! :-)

Our first days in New Zealand were filled with friend visits, locating some gear needed during our stay, reading up on tourist info, researching our options to stay and move about during this visit, exploring Auckland a bit, and mostly acclimatizing. The city was truly a sensory overload and an incredible contrast with our lives in French Polynesia’s remote islands – stores with fancy gear everywhere, affordable eateries, constant traffic driving on the left side of the road, bus stops with accurate digital scheduling information and low fares, fast pacing pedestrians and people in suits, sky scrapers with mirror windows, and a chilly climate we can breathe in.

After a few days in a hotel room the size of two Iries, with a hot shower, comfortable king sized bed, our own fridge, kitchenette, and washing machine, decent internet and room for both of us to use our computers comfortably, it was time to move back to… a boat! Using Axel’s car, we are now visiting our friends Fabio and Lisa on SV Amadla and Chris, Katie, Dylan and Leili on SV Iona in the North Island. Catching up with cruising friends who we haven’t seen in a long time, is exactly what we need, and we are enjoying every bit of these fabulous social times. Soon, we need to head down to the South Island, though, because – unlike in the northern hemisphere – winter is upon us and we only have so many cold weather clothes!

Mark installing new hinges on our hatches - now they stay open without dog toys!

Getting water during a dry spell has never been so easy!

Irie in Vaiare Marina

On one side of the marina: Tahiti

On the other side: Moorea's dramatic interior

Meeting with Ursula and Michael (SY Kril) in Papeete, Tahiti

Axel meeting (and bringing) us in the airport of Auckland, New Zealand

Meet Arno, the hit of the household!

Mark and Arno are getting along splendidly

Old Kindergarten in Myers Park, Auckland

Dinner with Axel, Liz and Arno

Going to the grocery store - mirrors everywhere!

A big Asian influence prevails in Auckland

Lisa taking a photo in one of the fish markets

Auckland's skyline, seen from the big downtown marina

The Sky Tower is visible from "everywhere"

The origin for its name: Silo Park

Retro sailboats in Silo Park marina

Hungry fowl in Shakespear Park, Gulf Harbor

A female peacock is called a peahen

View of the bay from Gulf Harbor marina

Delicious pancake brunch with Fabio and Lisa on SV Amandla

Original picture frame in Shakespear Park - the rainbow is a bonus. Yes, it is frrrrreaking cold!

Pretty bay in Shakespear Park


Lisa Dorenfest said...

I love the pictures in the post, especially of Mark looking in the hatch, Ursula and Michael (miss them), and Alex greeting you at the airport.

But best of all was to be a part of this post and to get to see you and Mark on your visit to New Zealand! What a treat.

Looking forward to seeing you a few more times before you head off on your camper van adventure and we sail off into the sunset.


Lisa Dorenfest said...

PS - Thank you for the yummy soup. We just finished it off for lunch. Please come back and make more for us.

Liesbet said...

Thank you for your sweet comments, Lisa! We are happy you both enjoyed the soup (we did as well :-). And, I am sure we will see you soon again in the city!