Day 413, Year 1: Visiting with Friends
Date: Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Weather: Cloudy, Windy Morning, Clearing in the Afternoon
Location: Whangarei, New Zealand

Today was supposed to be sunny and warm, but it didn’t start out that way. It was cloudy, windy, and very cool in the early morning. Mark worked all morning making new lazy jack lines. These are lines that hang on either side of the main sail. When the main is lowered, the lazy jack lines guide it into the sail cover and keep it from falling over on the deck. Our current lazy jack lines are made of a very thin line and have broken twice during the past couple of months. Mark made the new ones out of thicker line and hopes this will solve the problem. While Mark did this, I started going through all of the things that we plan to bring home with us. We have loads of memorabilia, lots of gifts we bought in the islands, and just stuff that is on the boat that we now know we don’t need here. I know we are going to exceed our weight limit on bags, so I am trying to sort through things and eliminate as much as possible.

Before we knew it, it was afternoon and time to get ready for our friends Randy and Sheri of Procyon to arrive. They were driving up from Gulf Harbor Marina with Rick and Robin of Endangered Species. They arrived shortly after 1:00 and we headed to downtown Whangarei for lunch at Shiraz. This is an Indian restaurant that we had heard serves great lunches, and that they did. After lunch we walked through the downtown shopping area and found some really great shopping spots. One was a kitchen store that had the best array of kitchen gear that any of us has ever seen. We went to Arthur’s Emporium which we were told is a must stop for sailors. It is hard to describe, but I will say that it has a greater variety of buttons and wrapping paper than anyplace I can imagine. It also had paint and paint supplies, sand paper, rope, and tools at “dollar store” prices. Rick, Robin, Randy, and Sheri love Auckland, but they found Whangarei to be a great little town with some wonderful shops. It’s much, much smaller than Auckland, but has a lot to offer. They also got us excited about touring in Auckland when we return here in February.

After exploring downtown, we headed to the waterfront. We went to Stanley’s Marine, a used marine supply store. It has a great variety of things at reduced prices. The guys and Robin then drove south to see a new marina that is being built about 40 kilometers south of Whangarei while Sheri and I went to the Plastic Box store to do a little shopping. We came back to Reva’s to wait for the gang. Reva’s is the restaurant on the waterfront that has a cruiser’s happy hour on Tuesday nights with $10 dinners. But the highlight is not the food, but the crowd of people. Procyon and Endangered Species are down at Gulf Harbor Marina with a thousand boats–but most are locals and not cruisers. They were amazed at the gathering of international cruisers at Reva’s. Rick and Robin visited with Bill and Yvonne of Windsong, friends they first met in Trinidad. We saw Idunne and Runae of Blue Marlin (Norway), Ute and George of Miami (Switzerland), our German friends from Pleite, Felix and Monica of Makani (Germany), and Cynthia and Tim of Arctic Fox (West Coast, USA). Felix and Monica are leaving in two days for Germany and Idunne and Runae and their twins will be flying home to Norway before next week’s happy hour. We said tentative farewells to all as we are leaving next Thursday and might not see them again until next March. We realized tonight just how many wonderful friends we have made from all over the world and we cherish each of those new friendships. That’s what makes cruising such a wonderful way of life. It’s all about the people.

061205 Day 413 New Zealand–Friends Come to Visit
Day 414, Year 1: Almost Summer
Day 412, Year 1: Sails and Rigging Day