Letters From Stardust – December

December 1–4 (Wednesday – Saturday)

Dang, the rain is back!! We were going to leave today to go touring with Len and Ellen for three days, but now it is a no go!! The really tough part was that I fed a crowd last night so that I could clean out the fridge and now I have to go shopping…..if it will stop raining long enough to row to shore.

On Wednesday afternoon it cleared enough that Ellen and I were able to go run around and get all her work permit stuff ready to mail. Golly what a process, I think maybe I will just stay retired!!! We got back to the boat just as the rain started again.

And then it didn’t quit!! The rain that is!! We got soaked just stepping back and forth between our boats. We managed a trip to go grocery shopping and then we just hibernated. Ellen and I worked on our craft stuff, she quilted and I cross-stitched. The boys napped, read, bailed the dinghies out, and napped some more.  And of course we all ate and gabbed!!!

December 5, 2004 (Sunday)

The weather finally cleared enough that we decided a day trip would be safe. With skies still threatening the four of us took off and drove to the northern most tip of NZ to Cape Rienga. Wow, spectacular view, as long as you don’t blow off!!! We even took the car down onto 90 Mile Beach, which is considered a highway here. The bus tours go right down on the beach and drive for miles. We didn’t do that because our car is not coated underneath to protect it from the saltwater. We didn’t stay long because it was cold and WINDY!!!

On our way north we stopped in Opua to check on Solstice. They had been at sea pounding their way here during this last big storm system. They had arrived just an hour before. When we couldn’t raise them by knocking on their boat we figured they were sleeping. But it turned out that Mag Mell had gotten there just as they came in and they had taken them to Pahia to shop and then out for a little sightseeing.

We stopped back in Opua on our way home and found Doug and Angela aboard so we took them out to dinner at the yacht club. It was great to see them. They had a rough trip, but not as rough as the poor boats that are still out there slogging along. Doug and Angela are the last of the ‘puddle jumpers’ to make it to NZ. They had spent ten days waiting for weather at Minirva Reef. We are glad they are here and safe! We made it back to Whangarei about 10:30 p.m. Tomorrow we are going to do another day trip!

December 6, 2004 (Monday)

Touring again. This time we went to Dargaville to a museum that talks about the history of this area. It wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting if we hadn’t had our own personal guide. This older gentleman greeted us at the door and took us under his wing. He is very active in doing the recovery work on ship wrecks off the west coast of NZ. There are over a hundred and fifty that they are actively working on right now!! Wow!! What a wealth of information he had to share with us and great stories!! He seemed to know the history of every piece in the museum.

The next museum we went to was the Kauri Museum in Matatokehe. This is the same museum we visited with the kids during the last trip but it has tripled in size. We really enjoyed them both, but I am museumed out. We are sorry that we didn’t have time to get to go see the giant Kauris. Will have to do that at a later time.

After we got back we picked up Mai and went out to a Thai restaurant. It would have been expensive except on our walk down there I found a $20 bill on the sidewalk. I threw that in the pot and we divide the rest. The food was good and actually had spice in it. NZer’s  are English in the way they cook….often very bland. But we have noticed a real improvement overall since the last time we were here.

December 7-9, 2004 (Tuesday – Thursday)

If you were flying home for a month what would you be doing? Well, that is what we are doing!! Len and Ellen are going to drive us to Auckland on Thursday and we are going to do some last minute shopping before getting on the plane for the twelve hour flight home. We are flying into LA and will rent a car there and then drive to Palm Springs to see Bob’s folks and my brother Gary and his wife Joanne. Then we will drive home. We will be based, at Gordy and Lisa’s and will try to do our best to get to see everyone!! Take care, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year!!! More in 2005!!!