Days 415 and 416, Year 1: Doug and Sylvie of Windcastle Visit
Date: Thursday and Friday, December 7 and 8, 2006
Weather: Warm, Sunny Spring Days; Cool, Rainy Weather On The Way
Location: Whangarei, New Zealand

Yesterday we completed the cleaning and drying of sails that are stored under the v-berth, polished more stainless on the boat, and got ready for Doug and Sylvie of Windcastle to arrive. They got here around 1:30 pm and we spent the remainder of the day exploring Whangarei together. We had dinner in town and got back to Windbird in the evening. We stopped at the New World supermarket on the way home and bought vanilla bean ice cream, fresh strawberries, and Belgian chocolate dessert sauce. We fixed these incredibly delicious ice cream sundaes when we got home and then decided to watch a DVD. As a bon voyage gift, our daughter Heather had given us a new copy of Fiddler on the Roof, one of our very favorite movies of all time, so we watched that one last night. Or at least we attempted to watch it. We got half way through and it was 11:30. That’s later than any of had stayed up in ages, so we decided to stop there and go to bed. I didn’t get a chance to write my daily log, so I am combining yesterday and today’s log in one.

We started this morning with a big breakfast and then Doug and Sylvie took us over to Town Basin to see George and Barbara of Gdansk. They arrived in Whangarei last night, so Doug and Sylvie wanted to see them before heading to Auckland. We found them on the town dock and we all said our farewells. We have become close friends with Doug and Sylvie and we will miss them. Doug will return to New Zealand in February, but Sylvie is not sure when she will be returning. George and Barbara have decided to stay here through most of January and then they will return home to British Columbia and then on to Poland to visit with family. At this point, they don’t think they will return until next September or October. We will see them here before we leave, but after that we are not sure when we will see them again. After the farewells, Mark and I walked into town to the Plastic Box Store. We have been measuring spaces where we need plastic box storage and we bought those today. On the way home, Mark stopped by a boat in Town Basin to get a quote on making new cushions for our v-berth. A woman named Fiona on the boat Waimarie was recommended to us and after this initial contact, she came to Windbird this afternoon to measure and give us an estimate. Fiona didn’t have an exact match for the Ultrasuede covering that we have in the main cabin, but she and I are both going to look around town this weekend and see what we can find. While Fiona and I were discussing upholstery, Mark decided to rent a car for this afternoon and tomorrow to do some necessary shopping for our trip home and for running around to check on prices of rental vans and camper vans for our tour of the South Island in March. He got the car, and we did the shopping this afternoon. In the process, we think we found a match for the v-berth cushions. We’ll run that by Fiona tomorrow morning and then go on to do the rental pricing.

Cool and rainy weather has been forecast for the weekend and it began today. The weather change started with howling winds and this evening it has started raining. If it rains tomorrow, that won’t keep us from doing our running around in the rental car, and if it continues to rain on Sunday, we will use the time to do some sewing projects that have been on hold waiting for a rainy day.

Just before we left the boat this afternoon, Mark was up in the cockpit checking email. While he was online, he got a Skype phone call from our daughter Heather. She and Jed are having a holiday party this weekend and she needed our family recipe for Spinach Balls. Sometime before we left Boston, she had called wanting that recipe so I had typed it up and sent it to her via email. This evening when she looked for the recipe, it was nowhere to be found and she was bummed because she was sure she wouldn’t be able to reach me half a world away. But she turned on the computer, just in case we might be online, and there we were. I was able to send the recipe to her via email and she received it while we were still talking. Certain recipes are a holiday tradition in our family, and Spinach Balls is one of those. “Tradition . . . Tradition . . . without tradition our lives would be as shaky as a Fiddler on the Roof.”