Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do you know the way to Whangarei.....?

Whangarei (fawn grr ay) rhymes with San Jose, is located 14 miles up the river where it's wide enough to accommodate a marina. Jay and the girls sailed the boat up last Sunday and I drove the car, my 3 1/2 hour trip was much shorter than their 12 1/2 hour one, but they made great time and had a fabulous sail.
Just before Laura left, our long time friend Dave Gale sailed into Auckland for a visit. Dave joined Laura, Jay Sr., Jay and Cheryl on their South Pacific voyage back in 1982. It was fun to catch up with an old friend.
Dave has a young fellow on board who he is teaching how to sail. Joe has a sweet little border collie pup named Diva from whom we all got our doggie fix. We miss Diesel very much.

We've been really busy lately, what else is new. Laura flew home last Saturday and we spent Sunday moving the boat. The girls and I spent Saturday afternoon at the Auckland Museum which was awesome, glad we didn't miss out on that one, but three hours was not enough time to see everything. The building was constructed as a memorial to New Zealands fallen soldiers and stands prominently atop a hill in the Auckland Domain, one of the city's largest parks.
The Museum is made up of three floors covering everything from Mauri history, including all of the Polynesian islands that we visited, natural history, including everything from dinosaurs and meteors to shorebirds, insects and trees. The crowning glory is the remarkable war memorial on the top floor which includes a moving tribute to the holocaust survivors.

Beautiful stained glass in the war memorial
Hat and shoe collection at the museum
Beautiful Maori carving
The ancient Maori's would bug out their eyes and stick out their tongues to make themselves look fierce in order to frighten their enemies. Here the girls practice this ancient skill in front of a replica of an ancient Maori meeting house.
One of our favorite exhibits was the t-rex, where we got to see a full scale skeleton and test out how this great creature moved its arms and saw through its eyes.
Here in Whangarei, we're tied to the dock right in the centre of town. It's kind of fun to have everything close by and we often have people stopping by to say hello. It's a very friendly town.
The girls and I have visited the Annie Rose gallery where they make glass beads and teach classes. We loved to watch Vicky at her craft, she makes it look very easy and we could watch her all day. Here are some samples of the beads she made while we were there.
The other day, we all went on a mini hike to Whangarei Falls, a beautiful 26 metre drop followed by a lovely riverside walk.
We have also visited the Kiwi House and had a chance to watch a live kiwi up close and personal - excellent! They are such funny birds. Near the Kiwi house, we visited the Bird Recovery Centre when staff and volunteers care for injured birds and educate the public. It was here that we got to see the kiwi skeleton with an egg inside. The kiwis don't have a breast bone so their insides are very vulnerable and the egg dominates most of the protected area. We also got to see a couple of Pukeko's - one of my favorite birds, some doves and even a talking Tui bird named Woof Woof. Now this bird is not like any parrot you've ever heard talk, it actually sounds like an old man on a scratchy radio and he says things like "do you like oranges?", "it's cold" and even "Merry Christmas" it was really strange. There is another Tui in a nearby aviary whom Woof Woof is teaching.



Kiwi Skeleton with egg inside

View from the Bird Recovery Centre

The smallest church in NZ - built in the 1800's

The girls with an old Rugby Mascot. Rugby is the national sport here in NZ and they are very patriotic about their All Blacks.
Jay spent the first three days here in Whangarei taking out the generator and doing a major repair - doesn't he look happy about it?

We used the main halyard to hoist the generator out of the engine room and transformed the starboard settee into a workbench for this task.

The generator is all back in place and ready to fire.