|View of Coramandel Peninsula on our approach to Auckland ...!|
Our first view of NZ were of Poor Knights Islands peeking out of the clouds just east of Northland... and our first Kiwis to great us were some beautiful dolphins! I had just taken over watch (Bill had been on watch all night and even did a jibe to get us around and into Colville Passage which then leads into Hauraki Gulf and finally Auckland Harbour.). As I was doing my scan of the horizon for other vessels and then scrutinize the surrounding waters for anything we might potentially collide with I saw some very unusual splashes (not like the usual dancing splashes that some waves produce). Sure enough we were being escorted into New Zealand waters by a school of dolphins!! They seemed so full of joy as in groups of 3 and 4 they swam furiously within inches of our bow hull and then with a burst of unparalleled energy leap through the air and madly swing off only to come back and do it all again! I was enraptured... and then just felt I had to wake Bill up to enjoy with me those wonderful creatures. Thank you, King Neptune, for sending us that wonderful welcome... and perhaps as a parting gift to us at the end of our successful trip over the ocean.
|Our 'official' Kiwi greeting committee - dolphins just off Great Barrier Island, N.Z.|
|What fun they were having!|
After being welcomed into Auckland Harbour by VHF radio from Auckland
Harbour Authority and NZ Customs, both of whom had been expecting us
for a few days and were a bit worried about us. We were buzzed by one
of the NZ helicopters from the Harbour Authority (the fellow that came
to our boat from NZ Immigration said that they like to do that to
welcome incoming world cruisers!!). We were escorted in through the
last bit of the harbour by a huge tugboat which was on it's way out
to greet and help move in a container ship right behind us. They took
a bit of time to come over to us and talk a wee bit on the VHF making
sure that we knew which slip to go to for our customs check-in.
Typical Kiwi greeting! (Although we're thinking that the huge container ship that was on our tail and coming up on us really fast may have had something to do with the tug captain wanting us to get the heck out of its way!!).
The Immigration, Customs and Bio-Security people met us at the little quarantine dock and came aboard for the official paperwork etc. So nice and very quick... we then headed back
out of the harbour to motor across to Gulf Harbour Marina where ourlittle slip was waiting for us. By dinner time we were all tied up and having a couple of brews in a little pub, which promises to be a favourite haunt of ours, and then a wonderful dinner of gourmet burger for me (fish) and fish and chips
for Bill. YES!!!
We are arranging to have Terrwyn put "on the hard" for a year and store our sails and bits and pieces and then ... the ocean adventure will continue.
Meanwhile we are eager to explore Northland as that is one area of New Zealand that I did not get to know when living here. Yes, indeed, we are looking forward to that... as we speak Bill is
getting our rental car so that we can begin our land adventure for the next 3 weeks!
IMPORTANT NOTE TO BB:
Over the last five months of this blog there has been a faithful, hard working friend behind the scenes making sure that our words were very quickly posted as soon as he received them through Sailmail. He did this faithfully, even when he was on holidays!! I'm talking about our lovely BB (i.e. Blog Boy) AKA Gord Choate... friend and fellow world adventurer. We owe you, Gordo, big time... and these words are for you from us:
Thank you, my friend, for being there, sharing in our journey as someone who really knows
what adventures are all about. Your participation in this voyage has made it possible for others to share in it as we went along. There are not enough words of thanks from us to properly let you know how we feel about you and your support for us. We love you!
Now, here we are - back on dry land and looking for more adventures!
Cath and Bill