Day 405, Year 1: At Home in New Zealand
Date: Monday, November 27, 2006
Weather: Blue Skies, Sunny, Temperature in the 60’s Again
Location: Whangarei, New Zealand

Unbelievable. We have traveled almost half way around the world, and when we got into Riverside Marina today, we knew way more than half of the people here. We haven’t known these fellow cruisers for long, but I found it strange to feel so much at home when we are so far away from the United States. World cruisers are an interesting group of people, and once you have met, you feel like close friends. Marie and Paul of Ranger are here. We first met them on a LeTruck bus in Papeete, Tahiti, when Mark’s sister and brother-in-law, Lee and Mary Ellen were with us. Paul was actually on the dock ready to take our lines when we arrived. Our next door neighbor is the boat Camdeboo. Jennifer and Campbell are the people we met in Minerva Reef that took us out in their dinghy to the reef. Bob and Diane of White Swan are here as well as Joe and Cindy on Maggie Drum, both from the West Coast of the US. There are others that we know, but I won’t list them all here. We are not in our final docking space, but for now we are in a space reserved for Eagle’s Wings. That is a boat owned by Beth and Ken, the couple we met in Bonaire who helped us with our little creature problem. The owner of the marina, Ray Roberts, told us that Eagle’s Wings is still in Fiji, so we might not see them before we fly back to the States, but I’m sure we will see them when we return. So coming into our home for the next few months was like “Old Home Week”.

It took us almost three hours to come the 13 miles up the Whangarei River from our last night’s anchorage. The upper part of the river is very industrial, so the banks are not picturesque, but not as bad as we had expected. After being in such beautiful anchorages for a year, the thought of coming into a city dock in an industrial area didn’t sound very inviting. Actually, however, it is not bad. As soon as we got the boat secured, we walked the 15 minutes into town just to see it. On the way, there is one marina business after another. Mark was like a kid in a candy shop. Just before we crossed the bridge into town, we passed Town Basin Marina. We saw our friends Hanoah from Brunswick, Maine, in a slip there, and we also saw Fatty Goodlander’s boat, Wildcard. Some of you might know him from his articles that he has published in sailing magazines. He crossed to New Zealand from Fiji at the same time we crossed from Tonga, so we were on the same net each morning. His articles are very funny. We also saw the boat Miami at Dockside, but we didn’t see George or Ute. I’m sure we will catch up later. Crossing the bridge into town was like going through a time machine. All of a sudden, we were in a city with big trucks, fast moving cars, lots of stop lights, and stores for as far as you could see. The population of Whangarei is only 50,000, but it seemed like a much larger city to us today. We went into the closest grocery store and almost got lost. We couldn’t find the dairy section, and when we asked, we were shown into a whole room that was refrigerated. It was surreal. I guess we have been away from civilization just a little too long, or maybe we have really never seen anything like this before.

Tomorrow we start getting the boat ready to leave for a couple of months. Mark has a worklist that is about two pages long, so I’d say we’ll be pretty busy from now until we fly home for Christmas!

061127 Day 405 New Zealand–Whangarei Waterfront Tour
Day 406, Year 1: Happy Hour at Town Dock
Day 404, Year 1: At Anchor in the Whangarei River