A day on the water

Trip Start Nov 21, 2009
Trip End Jan 18, 2010

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hello again family and friends. Thanks for your many notes and good wishes.

First to get all of your "potty" questions out of the way:  that “blue thing” hanging off the back of our van is not a WC but an extension that we put into place for sleeping. With the van's tailgate up we add a “sleeping platform” and then the blue tarp covers the whole thing and is anchored with bungee cords . Someone has given it a lot of thought.  As we are not “big” people – as Grandma used to say - we use the extension to feel a wee bit less claustrophobic and to get some air circulation. Mac, there are no “facilities” in the van. Helen, the van is a modified Toyota  – like our van at home.  All but three seats are removed (obviously the front two and one back seat). The rest is a large platform with solid cushions for sleeping. Sheet, pillows and duvet are supplied. Under the platform are an electric fridge, a large kitchen storage compartment and, at the back, a locked luggage storage area. The campgrounds here are very well equipped and have full kitchens and lounges to use so we do most of our cooking there or eat out.

One of the interesting parts about travelling to new places is meeting people along the way. As you all know, Mike is a very shy and retiring person so you can imagine our success in getting the locals to chat. Kidding, as Caitlin would say. Last night our camping neighbours, a lovely older couple – Sally and Don – invited us along to the RSA for dinner. Without giving any consideration as to what kind of place we were being invited to, Mike responded enthusiastically and off we went. Turns out that the RSAs (ReturningServicemens’ Association) is NZ’s equivalent of our Legions. We had a good time with these folks and had a fine and reasonably priced meal. We can actually get a temporary membership for the RSA for our time here so we can access less expensive beer and wine and some good, affordable meals all across NZ. We will likely also get to meet a few locals. Sally’s brother is the grandfather of Jessica Watson the 16 year old Aussie who is currently making an attempt to set the record as the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop, around the world. If you check her website it is quite interesting.

We decided to have our own sailing adventure today and hired a couple (Rick and Robin) with a 45 foot sailboat to take us into the Bay of Islands. It was a gusty and overcast day but the sea was reasonably calm. We had a terrific day out with them, had fun helping them sail this beautiful boat and heard much of the local gossip. ( the guy with the tall ship actually registered it as a charitable company to avoid giving it to his X, etc, etc etc).... Small towns are the same the world over, me thinks. Will try to post a few pics of us at the helm!

Tomorrow is a driving day as we must get some distance south or we may see very little. Much love Heather/ Mom

PS Dear Caitlin, why you never write to your mother, eh?? Sharon hope you’re back safely from Mexico. Kibben we have not heard from you so I expect that means that the house is still standing.
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Maureen and Ray on

We are really enjoying your blog. Please keep sending it to us. Sounds like you are having a great time. As people who over time have camped quite a lot, I have never seen a kitchen like that in any campground we have stayed in!!. Keep safe and have fun. Maureen

fionalogan on

Looks wonderful!
Are there any BBQs? ( Jiggs wants to know)

heatherandmike on

Hi Fiona, There are BBQs at each of the campsites.

Alun on

Sounds great. Two comments. The photo showing Mike scambling against t eh incoming water looks so much like the quad track along th eSmoky River that Jigs took us along. The photo of the camp kitchen reminds me very much of th ecommunal facilities I have seen in one of our new prisons!!
Enjoy and take care on the roads. Alun

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