Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Quick Visit to Whangarei in the North Island

Last week, Mark and I borrowed Axel’s spacious car to visit friends two hours north of Auckland. For the occasion, the car was turned into our closet, kitchen, lunch counter and internet cafĂ©, while we visited boating friends. Due to a cold front, the weather was very chilly and rainy, but the company of our fellow cruisers made up for the discomfort. After two nights on SV Amandla in Gulf Harbor, hanging out with Fabio and Lisa, we continued north to Whangarei, taking a somewhat scenic road, and stopping a few times along the way.

It was fantastic to see the SV Iona family again after a year! Cute Leili had grown a bit, Dylan more than a bit. For the next two nights, we stayed on their cozy boat, while Chris cooked for us and Katie was a gracious host. We combined some work in the local library (good WiFi), with being part of their lovely family, and enjoyed the warmth of their home and personalities. One afternoon, we all drove out to Whangarei Heads for a beach walk and picnic. The scenery was spectacular and the faint sun very welcome!

On the day we left, back south to appreciate the hospitality of our friends Fabio and Lisa once more, Mark and I tried to organize our imminent accommodation and transportation needs for a few hours and had just enough time left to check out Whangarei Falls. This was an easy and beautiful detour, so we decided to walk the trail to the Kauri forest, instead of driving there. Some fresh air was just what we needed and the exercise was very welcome. Along the boardwalk in the forest, we gazed at the tropical vegetation – I love those “fern trees” – and the ancient Kauri trees, which are hundreds of years old. Ah, to be in nature again…

After a last night on the Amandla boat in Gulf Harbor, it was back to Auckland, for a change of pace and lifestyle! :-)

Whangarei Marina lies along the river. The red boat is "Guppy", Laura Dekker's ketch she sailed around the world as youngest circumnavigator

Upon arrival in this boating mecca, we ran into Chris, who showed us the way to SV Iona

Mark and Leili, cute as ever...

It was so great to see mother and daughter again!

Tall teenager Dylan, 2 days before his cast came back off

Family outing to the beach at Whangarei Heads - just like in the "old" Marquesas days!

Tall and sturdy pine trees

The beach - Where shall we eat our picnic?

Trying to find a spot out of the wind - The sun feels good!

Climbing the sand dune - We will have lunch on the top

Picnic spot with a view (and "waves" of extra sand) - Crunchy sandwiches!

Looking left...

... and looking right.

Dylan, Katie, Liesbet, Leili and Mark on a NZ beach!

Choppy anchorage - We are glad to be on land

The longest food bridge in the Southern hemisphere

Whangarei Falls

Nice walk to the AH Reed Memorial Park

Crossing one of the rivers without getting our feet wet

Kauri forest

A majestic and ancient Kauri tree

Looking down onto a "fern tree" from the canopy walk in AH Reed Memorial Park

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