The second half of 2019 went on and seemed to do so quite quickly. We still went on our adventures, but it started to become just 3 of us, Christian, Taj and myself. Nina found her friends and she was at the age that she wanted to stay home. And Ellamae was back in the USA with her Papa. The term “Windy Welly” started to make its name very apparent in our area. Most days had at least 18kt blows, and if it was calm it was so only until mid morning. We continued to venture about, but the cold wind was already started to wear on us, especially living on the water in the winter and spring. With the camper “Sharkie” however, we still found warmer ways to get out and see New Zealand.
Most of our cold and dreary days between school hours were spent either at the library or at the huge indoor pool/aquatic center. The days when the weather was nice, we went out in nature. Taj loves his animals and his birdwatching from the hides. We also spent many hours at the skatepark.
Our other entertainment: the new dinghy, named “Bunghole” after one of Russel’s (the founder of OCTenders) original videos describing the amazing light weight hard tender. In his video he describes the importance of having a bunghole and having the bung in the bunghole. The kids always referred to the OCtender dinghy as “bunghole” ever since watching that video in 2015. So when we finally got one we named her “Bunghole”.
Our new tender was so much faster and more efficient than our 10ft Montgomery sailing dinghy. With Mana Island about 10km away, we were able to snip out there on a calm day without a hitch. What a beautiful place!
Nina getting all dressed up and pretty. She had her first “Formal” (known in America as “Prom”).
5 more months of Playcentre for Taj before he started into TeRa Waldorf school.
A little morning outing just out of Mana Marina and a bit north.
For the October school break we took a shorter jaunt to the Wairarapa coast. Nina stayed back with friends as we searched for waves with friends .
From the south coast of the Wairarapa, we wandered up to Castle Point. A long trek in ol’ Sharkie with strong winds and windy roads, but worth it!
Just a few boat life pictures: Taj sewed his own tooth fairy pillow. He also learned to make is own eggs. And as always, just being goofy with dad.
Halloween in New Zealand is trying to become a thing. There were only a few houses that participated. Was fun nonetheless.
In September and November of 2019, I had to fly to the United States for work related things like keeping up my nursing license and continuing education hours. I was very fortunate to see my parents, my “sister from another mister” Rachael, and few other friends.
There were a few weekends in November that I had off, but Christian had to work. So I took Taj on some adventures! This one was just up the coast from Wellington to hit up some mountain bike trails and some hiking trails. This trip we just took the car and car camped. We kept in minimal and had a blast. We stumbled upon the Atene Skyline Track in the Whanganui National Park. What a gem! At the top, we discover the Kiwi Guardian program, which encourages kids to get out in nature by planting these posts along the trail with a password on them. Once you have the password you go online, input the password and a cool wooden medallion is sent to you! Taj was hooked! We also met this group of women along the path that were in a hiking group out of Wellington. They just loved how into the hike Taj was, so they asked to take a photo with them. On the way back we stopped by a sushi place. Done a little differently in New Zealand, they pre-make the sushi and have them displayed to pick and choose. We also stopped by the historic windmill in Foxton.
On our next little November Mom and son adventure, we went to Putangirua Pinnacles (above) and (below) the southern most tip of the North Island called Matakitakiakupe (aka Cape Palliser).
And the same adventure continued to a MTB park, a hike up to an awesome viewpoint and quiet camping near Mt. Holdsworth . This was the Tararua Forest Park of the Wairarapa side. Loving this #camperlife !
Nina’s 17th birthday! We kept it pretty simple with a mermaid birthday cupcake breakfast and dinner at Mama Brown’s with her friend Zoe.
Christmas time in New Zealand, means warmer weather and summer holidays off of school. Although school doesn’t end until closer to Christmas Day itself, we enjoyed plenty of warm weather activities. That being said, we found it hard to get into the Christmas Spirit with it being summer, because we had been accustomed to cold weather Christmas… winter, white, fireplaces, hot cocoa, etc.
Nina signed up for the Coast to Coast endurance race with her school! She was the biker of the girls team. The other two members kayaked or ran. She trained a bit with some longer rides, but nothing that would be like the actual ride. The race is a yearly event that starts with a bike course on the West Coast of the South Island, transitions to a running section up the steep and rugged terrain over Arthur’s Pass, and finishes with a down river race kayak section. Both girl and boy teams did great! The girl’s won first in their devision.
We volunteered driving our 7 seater wagon with Nina’s bike on top. The drive consisted of our first ferry ride over to the South Island, a drive down near the base of Arthur’s Pass, a drive over the Pass and back for the event and lastly down to Christchurch.
While we were in Christchurch we made a special stop to see fellow kid boat cruising friends that we met sailing in Mexico. SV Sangvind had sailed to New Zealand as well and were living on their boat in Christchurch. It had been about 3 years since we had last seen them in Mexico. (Sadly I did not get a photo of Sylvia and myself.)
That’s a wrap for 2019 in New Zealand for “A Family Afloat”. I’m sure I’m missing so much, but this gives a good insight to what we were up to. The next post we’ll be covering the first half of 2020. You’ll get to see more on the South Island when Mom Katie and Brother Phill come to visit, bringing Ellamae back with them. Also expect more adventures in Sharkie, and what it was like during the start of COVID in New Zealand.