Saturday, October 24, 2009

Land Life in New Zealand

Hi everyone!
Sorry that it's been so long since my last blog, but we've been busy getting settled here in New Zealand! We are already in a house in one of the suburbs near the main town/port here, Whangarei. It's so's green everywhere with lots of cows and sheep. 
About two weeks ago, when we sailed into New Zealand, it was morning, and we pulled into a marina called Marsden Cove. As soon as we tied up to the dock, customs and immigration people came on board to check us in. After about an hour of official stuff, we were ready to go to the 'Town Basin', which is where we would sit until Zen was pulled out of the water. The Town Basin is a very protected harbor that is at the end of a river that goes into Whangarei. Thanks to our new friend Ian, we were at a dock right next to town. The town is really cool, and after being away from real civilization for 18 months, this is pretty cool. So anyways, we were at the town basin for about 4 days while we looked for a house to rent while Zen was getting worked on. Finally, we found a home only a few minutes away from town. Then, a few days ago, Zen was pulled out of the water by a crane. I wasn't there, but I saw pictures and it looked pretty cool. There were two straps that were attached to the crane and were hanging in the water. Mommy and Daddy then drove Zen into the straps so that she was floating directly over them. Then, once everything was secure, the crane pulled upwards and Zen came out of the water. She is now sitting in a shed, getting prepped for the work that needs to be done. She'll be painted, the sails and canvas work will be changed and we are working on finding some new material for the inside cushions and chairs. 
Anyways, right now Daddy and I are sitting at our dining room table enjoying high speed Internet while Cole finishes up school. We plan on going to a zip-lining/outdoor adventure place later today once Cole is done. It sounds really cool! Tomorrow I have ballet class at a new studio that I just joined last week. I'm having a great time and the kids and teachers there are really nice. Also on Monday, Cole has his second karate class in New Zealand which he is enjoying too. Then, on Wednesday we go to Sydney, Australia to visit friends, and explore the big city for a few days. We'll only be there for 4 days, but our schedule is already packed with something to do everyday. It should be fun! Once we get back from Australia, we'll only have 2 more weeks until the Barkmans come to visit us for 10 days! While they're here, we are going to rent two campers and drive around the South Island (or Southland as it is known down here). It will be quite interesting driving on the wrong side of the rode, sitting on the wrong side of the car, and shifting with the wrong hand (am I doing what I think I'm doing?)! Then, after the Barkmans leave, we'll stay in a hotel for two days before we fly out to India where we will visit our family. Then on December 10th, 11th, 12th, or 13th (not sure which), we leave India and live on a plane for two days.........................until we arrive back in RI!! Yup, we're pretty excited for all this traveling. The only problem is that we will have to cram in as much school as possible before all of this excitement starts so that we will finish before September of 2010! Well, I think that I'm going to go enjoy high speed Internet...bye! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Zealand Here We Come!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, so today is the two-days-before-arrival-to-New Zealand mark! I can't believe that we are so close...I guess that after knowing that this is where we wanted to get eventually for my entire life, it's a little exciting, overwhelming, but still sad. It's exciting because we're finally gonna get there and NZ is supposed to be amazing. Also, it is the first first-world country that Cole, Daddy or I have been to for 8 months. It's overwhelming because, as I said, I've known, for my whole life, that our family dream was to sail here..and now we're here. I don’t really know how to explain it. Last, it's sad because it is the end point of our sailing life in the Pacific. Anyways, when we get to NZ (in  2 days!!!), we'll move into an apartment in the middle of Whangarei so that the boat can be hauled out of the water, painted and have some other jobs done (such as re-doing the interior cushions, and moving fuel and water tanks around). After settling in, Cole and I hope to find a karate dojo and ballet studio where we can take classes for the two months that we will be in NZ. I've found a studio already, but I don't know much about it. Well, right now we are going about 7.5-8 knots with a full jib and a reefed main (reefed means that we haven't put up the whole sail because there is strong winds...don't worry, we often reef and conditions right now are good). The waves are a bit big...8-10 feet, but since we have been on passage for about 4 days, we are used to them now. Lately, I've been learning a lot about meteorology (the study of weather and its patterns) because of the unusual weather between NZ, Tonga and Australia. It can sometimes be tricky to find a nice, long 'weather window' (or period of time when there is good weather to make a passage), and you could get stuck in high winds. Lucky for us, we are in the correct month for good weather, are a fast cruising boat and have a good meteorologist on board (Daddy). We found a good weather window that suits our speeds and carries us to the exact place we need to go. Also, we communicate with Commanders Weather, which is a company in the States that predicts weather for cruising boats like us. They are very helpful and have pointed us in the right direction many times. Another thing that we had hoped for and gotten, was to have a few other boats sailing with us. Right now we have about 5 other boats on our same path with whom we talk with on the radio every day to check in and see how everyone is doing. Well, other than that, now that we are going south to where winter is still going on, the climate has gotten colder. It's about 69 degrees inside the boat now, but outside it's a bit colder because of the wind. At least we will be more prepared for the New England winter that we will throw ourselves into this upcoming Christmas!