I’m not sure what happen to the blogging, or lack there of, while we spent life afloat in Aotearoa (New Zealand). Truth be told, I quickly lost touch with the romanticism of cruising life and lost motivation to write about what we were doing. I still, to this day, am not entirely sure what and how to write about our time in New Zealand. And the longer it gets the harder it is. It’s not that New Zealand lacks in amazing things to write about either, and we did do a lot of amazing things! So here I am, finally sitting down with some room to breath and ponder what to write about our time afloat in New Zealand from October 2018 to October 2021.
We arrived into New Zealand late October 2018 and Christian and Taj made their way down to Wellington (south end of the north island). See this part of the journey here in which I did actually write about.
I’ve somewhat already summarized 2019 in this post here, but I mostly just posted photos without explanations/captions. Now with a little more time to write, I’ll give you more words and many more photos.
January is summer time in New Zealand and school starts at the beginning of February. Nina was set to start “year 12 in College”at Aotea College, which is junior year of high school in American terms. The school was not but a 10 minute bike ride from Mana Marina. Ellamae started in “year 7” at Paremata School, which was 6th grade. Her school was even closer, a short walk away. And Taj was still homeschooled for a short time and enrolled at a local Playcentre, which is a child led play-based co-op type learning center. I had started work on January 14th, 2019 as nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Wellington City. (Please feel free to send me a message if you have questions about nursing in New Zealand.) Christian ended up connecting with a Mountain bike buddy who needed help at his shop @getfixedbicyclecafe with bike mechanics and e-bike conversions. Our lives quickly became back into “standard life” mode, but of course not really, because when do we Lauduccikins ever do “standard”?!
6.5 months (January- July) went by super quick. A half a year into school, work, and life in New Zealand! I accepted a permanent position at my job since we felt confident that Nina wanted to finish high school there and we were enjoying exploring New Zealand on our vacations (called holidays there) from work and school. One really cool thing about Kiwi working and living, they sure do value their vacations. Every 8-10 weeks, the schools take a 2 week “holiday” and then summer is about 6 weeks. My holiday pay accrued quite quickly, so I was able to take time off (at least part of the time) during those holidays and go on family adventures.
Soon July would roll around, and it would be time for Ellamae to fly back to spend time with her Papa in Florida. New Zealand schooling was ok with her swapping back to homeschool since we were already registered as US homeschoolers and weren’t NZ residents.
It was our first winter there that we had bought a camper, named Sharkie. We realised that it cost us >$50 /night to sleep in a tent on the cold and wet ground. With a camper we could do what they call “freedom camping” there. With a self contained certification, there are loads of designated sites where you can just pull up in your vehicle and camp for the night. Most places are limited to a certain number of nights, some have very limited spaced, some are in a busy parking lot, and some are remote gems overlooking the surf break. They also have a motor caravan association called NZMCA , which gets you discounts on the ferries across the the North and South Islands, more options for private camping areas, and a few other cool perks as well. Sharkie took us on some amazing adventures and it started with taking Ellamae up to Auckland airport!
The rest of this post will just be more photos and captions. Enjoy!
New sites to take in and new birds to discover!
One week into being liveaboards at Mana Marina we were Bbq’ing and camping with our new fellow liveaboards.
We were so excited to have visitors from outside of New Zealand come and see us! Always fun to be a tour guide.
Christian went up to Paihia to grab our new dinghy , the OCTender that we’ve been dreaming about since we started cruising!
Some more scenes around Mana Marina.
More photos of Taj’s school (Playcentre).
July 2019 came quickly and it was time to take Ellamae to Auckland Airport to fly back to the US to spend the next 6 months with her biological dad. We left at the beginning of the Winter break in our camper for the first real adventure in “Sharkie”. After Ellamae flew off, we continued north all the way up to see our friend’s Russell and Karin of OCtenders and then west and back down!
And that about sums it up for the first half of 2019 in Aotearoa (New Zealand). I’ll admit getting this ready to post took a lot more time than I expected, but I sure did enjoy rummaging through the photos that jogged many amazing memories. It’s a good way to journal and it feels more “real” than Instagram or Facebook, but I do wonder…. do people even read blogs anymore? Please leave a comment on your thoughts on the matter.