"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders
Ed. note: On February 10, 2011, Scott and Mary Flanders, on board their Nordhavn 46, Egret, arrived in the Canary Islands. In doing so, Egret became the eighth Nordhavn to circumnavigate the globe. It had been four years, five months since the couple departed Gran Canaria, intent on seeing as much of the earth as possible, although not necessarily with an end goal to circle the globe. Voyage of Egret documents the Flanders’ entire trip, an endless adventure that has put them in touch with the most fabulous places and interesting people. Much route planning and forecasting was required in order to get to some of their ports of call. But the days of detailed planning are over…for now. “Egret” is now back in Fort Lauderdale, the place the couple called home for so many years, and, ironically, the starting point of their world wide cruising escapade that began with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004. They currently travel hither and yon, sometimes by boat, sometimes not. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised.
January 31, 2012
Position: Somewhere in South Island, New Zealand
G’ Day mis amigos, at the last VofE we left you at a waterfall and the night’s anchorage. The next morning a farmer came and opened the gate next to the campervan then split with his sheep dogs in the back of his truck. During breakfast we heard some noise and here he came with a zillion sheep coming down the hill. The sheep were walking along the road with no help from the dogs until guess who popped out of the campervan to take a pic of all this. I stayed behind the front end with just my upper body in sight but that was enough to turn the jillions and they headed up the road past the gate. Whoops! So I retreated inside the van and the farmer turned the dogs loose. Finally they got turned around and all the while he was giving secret whistles to the dogs. They finally started by the van and as the jillions were passing by one separated itself from the crowd and stopped to look inside the camper to see what was whipping.
Obviously this sheep must be a long distance cruiser and separated itself from The Herd. The others are trudging along thinking to themselves ‘I’m really Super Sheep’ but in reality if you look at the picture the tale is told. One stands alone and the rest are herdsters following their feet. So when the big red truck comes and they are all loaded inside, including our cruiser, at least one has done something different. So this one who dared to be different will wonder less. Of course sheep aren’t people.
So then it was off down the road seeing this n that, then it was time for lunch. It wasn’t really time for lunch but we stopped anyway because after we crossed a high bridge we could see a winding road down to a beautius stream. So we turned around, went down the grade in 1st gear and forded a little stream and drove out onto the stream rocks next to the stream.
Later in the day stopped by another smaller stream while having a tea and biscuit break a 4WD truck pulled up and dropped off 4 kayakers who headed off downstream. Can you imagine what you would get to see in, let’s say, 20nm and had someone pick you up at the other end? It would be spectacular and with the current flow wouldn’t have to do much paddling, just keep the kayak straight.
We are heading north and the route took us near the beach once again. It was getting to be sorta late afternoon and the storm clouds were moving in. Still, we stopped at a place we have been before called Moeraki Boulders. These are perfectly round boulders set in a smooth, rock free beach. Ithappened to be low tide so all the rocks were exposed. There were perhaps 20 tourists taking pictures so we joined the lot. I set up a tripod to try some trick stuff using a couple filters to add drama to the scene and MZ snapped away hand held. There were two young Swiss ladies so we used them as models. In this photograph the girl had set up her camera on a small tripod and I snapped this photo as she was racing to get in position before her camera timer went off. Was she fast or what? And last, here is the dramatic photo I was trying to get by using the filters. It looked best as a black and white.
Then it was off to a marina for the night, long hot showers and wifi to fire the last VofE into space.
Today was a lazy, low k’s day sightseeing, stopping by a couple streams and tonight are anchored in a pine forest not far from a stream. And MS got another bouquet today.
So the next day we took a couple busy roads until we got to the Hamner Springs turnoff. It was dark and rainy early in the morning heading into the mountains. This lone pine popped up with the misty light in the background so we stopped and fired off a couple snaps. Of course a hawk did a flyby making the snap a bit different. After fueling in Hamner we hit a single lane, two way rock road up into the mountains. Dropping down from the mountains we entered a long flat valley filled with scrub and tussock grass. Tomorrow we have to climb over the ridges at the far end of the valley and down to the NE area of South Island. For the most part it was a 1st and 2d gear deal just putzing along being super careful on the blind turns. There were a couple small streams to ford but not that big a deal. Tonight is in one of two camping areas in Molesworth Station. The station is now owned by the DOC (Dept of Conservation) but originally was the largest station in all New Zealand The station originally ran 95,000 sheep. The sheep denuded the sparse upland grass, erosion ran rampant and the owners finally abandoned the property. DOC stepped in and in partnership with a private concern brought in cattle and now the station supports quite a few cattle, has 5 full time hands, 75 working horses and 50 working dogs. Snow may fall any time of year. Last night for example, it rained and when we got up this morning all the high mountains had a dusting of snow and the highest were pure white. And this is high summer.
The camping area tonight is by the old Acheron Accommodation House. At the time in the mid 1800’s the Accommodation House charged 2 shillings per person for a room and a meal. The horse feed and lodging was a shilling and a six pence. A drover in those days earned 5 shillings a day. There were similar lodgings a days march along the way to the east coast markets. This photograph is of the Accommodation House kitchen. The Accommodation House is a cob built house. Here’s the cob built deal. First, deep pits were dug for the foundation and filled with river rock to keep the building walls dry. Trees were few and far between in the station and they were mainly beech and quite thin. So they used the beech trees for framing. The roof was thatched with tussock grass and the walls were cob built. Cob is a mixture of cow pies, clay, tussock grass and water. This was layered at just 50cm per day to allow it to dry and not shrink. When this deal was done it was plastered with a lime mixture. The lime mixture contained salt so every cob built house was surrounded by fencing to keep the livestock from licking the house down getting at the salt. It took the single ex British builder one year to build this house by himself.
Like always Dick’s campervan attracts a crowd. Tonight we had a Kiwi couple by for a touch of cheap but good enough white and a chat. He is a retired biologist specializing in weed control and has traveled extensively. His wife was a schoolteacher. Today they travel around in their 4WD campervan putzing and fishing. He is a serious fly fisherman. Next a Dutch couple stopped by because they own a Land Rover back home and wanted to see how the conversion was inside. So we had a nice chat as well.
I gotta go for now because MS just fixed a couple venison steaks and a giantus salad.
OK, so the next morning Pete and Clair (the Kiwis) stopped by for a spot of tea after Pete’s morning fishing and Clair and Mary’s gathering gooseberries. Clair told MS how to boil the gooseberries and add sugar to make a chutney, a jam or whatever. Later, the ride up the valley and thru the low mountains was something special. The fields are full of red’s, yellows and greens from the spring and summer flowers. The streams in the valley floor have to be filled with giantus trout that have rarely been fished, at least in the difficult to get to places. Later we stopped for a hike high up to a lookout and met another Kiwi couple and had a nice chat with them as well. So tonight we are anchored close by the second station cob built house along the track. After another tough day and anchoring for the night we be enjoying a touch of Vino Tinto de la Boxe, 2011. 2011 was a special year for this region that consistently produces such a smooth red with an excellent bouquet and just a hint of sophistication. Not bad for $16Kiwi for 3 liters, eh?
Today was perhaps the best day yet. The drive from the second station thru the various valleys was really something. This photo is a typical valley scene taken from the Accommodation House looking south. Here you can see the sparse landscape and a few trees near a stream. For the most part it is a sparse mountainous area covered with wildflowers in reds, yellows, purples and blues along with red tussock. The areas near the streams were lined with various low bushy trees and a few poplar trees. Another good thing was the lack of traffic. We were only passed a couple times and had but a few oncoming cars. One car was kinda cool. We had pulled over to snap a pic and in the distance we saw a dust cloud heading our way so I got back into the campervan to move more out of the way. When the cloud got closer and we could separate the car from the dust we saw a spry couple in an ol’ tyme 1928 Dodge* touring car rocketing along with the top down. Of course MS did the deal and got this great shot.
*We really don’t know much about old cars. Mary took a snap as the car passed and the spare tire cover said in Big Letters – 1928 DODGE. So there you go.
Then it was up to Picton on the NE coast of South Island and the harbor nearby where Egret anchored for 3 days waiting for weather before heading down to Stewart Island for the winter. It was Dick’s first trip aboard Egret. I remember leaving at O dark 30, it was blacker n’ black and the tide was going both north and south at the same time (south down the main channel from Cook’s Strait into the anchorage and north up the exit to the Strait. The confluence between the two tides at the base of a miles long narrow island dividing the tide flow was a bit exciting. Anyhow we walked around the harbor and sorta felt home again. We spotted a N55 and stopped by but no one was home. I commented to MS that she even walks differently around cruising boats. She stands taller and walks like she belongs there. She does of course.
There is a windy road that goes north up the peninsula north of Picton, across the middle and down the Pacific coast so we gave that a go. Well, it is a second gear deal all the way, most of it is paved and some not. It is Very narrow with switchbacks every little bit. So we took our time, pulled over when we could to let the few cars pass and now are anchored in a no anchoring zone above high tide at a beach. There is barely any traffic and after dark in just a bit there will be no traffic so here we sit being naughty. So what? And we broke out the 2011 vintage Tinto & Blanco. So life is good.
Later. A local dirtbag wandered over and asked what time in the evening we were leaving. We told him we weren’t and would leave in the morning. It’s a long story but to make things easier we just left and found another place even nicer just up the road a bit. &%##&
In the morning we finished the twisty peninsula deal, re entered the vineyards in the Blenheim region, then back into the mountains once again and on to Nelson then Richmond.
So now we are back at D Doo’s house in Richmond. The campervan was cleaned from top to bottom, is full of fuel and ready to go again. We’ll stay here until Auntie Suzie shows up on Saturday.
The last photo is of a poplar tree typically used in windbreaks between paddocks, mainly in the southern part of the island. In particularly windy areas the trees are planted 2 – 3 deep. The lone tree and unusual clouds caught my imagination and I snapped this pic. It is distinctive as shot because the sky was deep blue and clouds fluffy white. However, a simple post processing turned the image into this soft rendition.
One observation we’ll pass along. Obviously we have been to a number of islands. Even though some were largish you still feel like you are on a rock and sotra isolated. South Island is Not a rock. At times it feels like Big Sky, stealing a bit of Montana’s thunder. SI is diverse from snow covered mountains year around to dry landscapes, sub tropical forests full of ferns including tree ferns and everything in between. At times drastic topography is just a couple hour’s drive away.
So that’s it for now. Ciao.
January 25, 2012
Position: Somewhere in South Island, New Zealand
G’ Day mis amigos, earlier today we fired the latest VofE into space. I felt a bit guilty at the time and would like to clear something up that should be understood and perhaps it isn’t. First, when I write something I rarely go back and edit it. It was my feelings at the time so we let it be. This way you get real life stuff and not a PC, homogenized, vanillaized and boring version. Second, when I climb up on The Box (soapbox) and start carrying on about The Life, etc, it is in a fit of enthusiasm at the time we want to share with you and nothing more. So please understand this and let me drone on then eventually we’ll get back to the subject at hand. However, if in the interim a little soaks in, that’s our goal.
So today after we sent the VofE into space we read our e-mails. One was from a cruising buddy asking if we were going to join a group of N’s heading to the Bahamas and on to the Exuma group in the spring. We hadn’t heard about it so first we went to the N Owners site (Yahoo Groups) and found an active forum and plenty of folks going. Then we checked the N Dreamers site and found the info there as well and it appears not only a group of N’s are going but other powerboaters are joining as well. We aren’t going with the group because of timing (Egret will be there later) but if you are U.S. east coast boaters and particularly if you haven’t made the crossing before it would be great fun and you will meet a number of like minded cruisers. Once these folks work their way south and spend some time in Georgetown, Exumas (our favorite Bahamas Island chain – G Town is at the bottom of the 100nm N/S chain) they can head just 25nm east of Long Island to Conception Island and its anchorage in the lee of the SE trades. Dinghy exploring and fishing in Conception is first class. On the trek to Conception there is a worthwhile anchorage at the northern tip of Long Island, not far from Georgetown. For those who have never been in the trade winds this is a short version with respite just a few hours away.
Tonight’s anchorage is off an inland valley road between the mountains– Birchwood Road, Ahuriri River Valley – that is a conservation park within a sheep farming area. This is a somewhat rare inland wetlands area (90% of NZ’s wetlands are gone). The anchorage is off an oxbow in a meandering stream.Just before the anchorage, Mary snapped this interesting photo as a storm was moving across. We stopped to photograph the dramatic high wind clouds. The field and hay rolls were still lit by the sun. If you look you will see a series of triangles merging here and there by color or by leading lines. Pretty cool, eh? Along the way we passed shallow ponds full of wild ducks and a couple black swans. Later. MS just said she likes the fact the wind is puffing strong from the west and we don’t have to stand anchor watch.
So let’s talk about the mechanics of freedom camping (anchoring) in NZ. Dick’s campervan has a propane fridge. This we must keep level in an anchorage for maximum efficiency. We do this with 4 wood blocks under whatever tires they need to go. This evening we have 2 blocks under each front tire raising the bow. There is a single 4d battery for the house. All that runs off this is the small inverter for the laptop or charging the camera batteries and whatever fluorescent lights we use at night. There are 4 small solar panels on the roof. The camper has 100 liters of fresh water, more than 25 U.S. gallons, and a 120 liter grey water tank. For a toilet we have a Theford cassette type with treated flushing water in the top half (the cassett splits into the top tank and bottom tank) and the black water basin in the bottom. When we need to empty the black water there are a number of places to do that and it isn’t an issue. Last night for example, after the afternoon’s hike we used the DOC (Department of Conservation) black water septic tank to empty the toilet as well as the grey water. In real life usage, serious black water on board is a rarity and we use local town’s public restrooms. They are always spotless here in NZ. Today when getting fuel we asked if we could fill the water tank while fueling and it was not and issue nor has been any other time we asked. Mary filled the water and I pumped fuel. Propane is available at most Caltex gas stations so the day before yesterday for example, when fueling we also filled the propane. Showers are by using a solar shower and it is cool most of the time so we aren’t taking 2 showers a day like in the tropics. Shower water usually comes from the crystal clear streams. So bottom line, it’s pretty easy.
While driving around spending more time in Dick’s campervan we have been fine tuning what would be a perfect vehicle for land touring not only New Zealand, but other places as well. Two immediate spots that come to mind are Namibia in conjunction with South Africa as well as Argentina. We saw a number of campervans in both African countries and as long as you stay in safe areas you will be safe. Two women yachties we met crossing the Indian Ocean and spent time with in Richard’s Bay, South Africa did just that. They toured all over by campervan for months with no issues and loved it. Their only regret was spending just 10 days in Namibia. Argentina has a road (Routa Quarenta - Route 40) that follows the Chilean Andes from north of Buenos Aires to Ushuaia at the southern tip. Part is paved and part is gravel. Of course that drive would be spectacular. And then there is Chile. And the Atacama Desert. It is also safe. So if we take Egret to Patagonia again, what a great mix that would be, eh?
The parameters we need are somewhat simple but again not. The vehicle must be able to fit into a container. It must be self contained, have long range fuel tanks and of course be a four wheel drive diesel. It must be super tough and repairable anywhere. Right now what we feel would be perfect would be a Toyota Land Cruiser, not the SUV, but the workhorse deal* found here in NZ and Oz, and a Trayon camper (trayon.com) fitted to a tray on the back of a single or double cab truck. Of course in addition to those big pieces we would have to do some customizing to get things perfecto for us, just like a boat.
*Its sorta like the difference between an offshore capable powerboat and a coastal weenie.
I’m thinking out loud here but for us it is a big financial commitment to use something like this for 3 months a year in addition to cruising. Or on the flip side, would we more enjoy spending the entire winter in the Bahamas for example, if we are on the U.S. east coast? One of two places we are looking at for next year would surely require leaving Egret for well more than 3 months. The other may involve an extended winter cruise but in the end, who knows what happens more than a year from now? In any case we don’t have to make a decision anytime soon so we’ll see. We’re sure Toyota and Trayon, if that the way we decide to go, will still be here down the road.
Next day. Today was a typical day poking around and not piling on the k’s. First it was a missed turn so we took it to the end of the road anyway to see what was whipping. The road quickly went to gravel then it narrowed, narrowed some more and finally ended in a clearing with a tin building from yesteryear next to a stream. So we swamp trotted a bit and got turned around and went inside to check it out. This is typical Egret crew exploring whether aboard or wherever. So let’s bring this building to life. By the late 1800’s Benmore Station (ranch) was something around 200,000 acres. During shearing time Benmore Station employed 25 shearers plus support folks. The wool traveled by wagon pulled by bullocks for the trip to the east coast. Maximum speed for the wagons on flat ground was a little over 1nm/hour (3 k’s). The shepherds supporting Benmore Station got paid $10 per month for working long days in hellish conditions. Later. We read in the paper today the winning shearer in a local competition sheared a sheep in 20.4 seconds. Pretty amazing, eh?
In the early 1920’s Benmore Station was broken up into smaller runs. This woolshed was built in the early 1920’s and is a smaller version of the Benmore Station’s woolshed. This woolshed has 8 shearer stations. So here’s the typical woolshed deal. The sheep are herded into holding pens next to the shed. Inside the shed are pens holding soon to be sheared sheep. The shearers shear the sheep along this hallway and the wool is pulled by helpers to the small area in the foreground of this picture. If you look you can see a burlap cloth door leading to a ramp to a holding pen outside for the newly shorn sheep. This photo shows the holding pen for the newly short sheep and you can see the burlap doors from the outside. From here the sheep are put into a larger paddock and ultimately put back out to pasture looking much smaller and whiter.
So after the woolshed deal we backtracked and found the road we meant to take. We were sent here by the Ozzie we met a few days before. It too wandered a bit, passed a lake so strangely aqua colored it appears to be Photoshopped. Here it was lunch in the pines and off again west. The road soon went to gravel, narrowed and rose high above the lake. We kept seeing flat spots near the edge of the lake so when the road finally got down near lake level we spotted a 4WD road heading back the way we came along the lake. So we followed it to a large flat spot and set up for the evening. There isn’t a person within miles. And NO bugs.
The only thing that keeps NZ from being an absolute paradise are their notorious sand flies. Flying teeth they are. The Maori called them Te Namu Namu. Not only do they bite but they must have venom of some type in addition to an anticoagulant they pump into the bite so Your Blood won’t coagulate in their system. I’m on a simple blood thinner these days so I am Hopeful and Prayful any that bit me and didn’t get squishted died a horrible slow agonizing painful death of the bloody wretched runs. You get the picture. A single bite is about a 3 day itch. Wrists and ankles are the worst. So this evening with the wind puffing a steady 20+ these ^$##@&* teeth can’t lift off. Fortunately they aren’t in all areas and that is why we haven’t been whining before.
More to follow.
OK, we made a major route decision. Instead of meandering north we decided to head south and make a 10 day swing back to Richmond to Dick’s house. So we backtracked and along the way stopped by a Toyota dealer where we window shopped the Sunday before. We talked to the salesman the Monday following the window shopping and met him in person. He was typical small town, forthright and no pressure type of guy. He spent a lot of time with us and answered our questions. We were straight up with him, told him our time frame if we decided to proceed and also told him we would spec the same vehicle with a couple other dealers to keep him honest. He understood and because of the type of vehicle, almost every one is worked to death so used models are few and far between. He said their dealership gets a trade in about every 6 months and are well used. The usual buyers are farmers and mining operations that buy and keep them. So we learned some more but we are no closer to a decision to do this deal or not.
Now let’s talk about Your Deal. (Yea, we are climbing back up on The Box) As you can imagine major purchases worldwide are slow. Of course if we were Australians we would buy two of everything because their economy is so strong. But the rest of the world we know personally, isn’t. However, let’s look at the bright spot. The U.S. economy seems to be healthier and the market reflects this. There is an enormous pent up demand for everything and things are starting to move. Europe is in a wait and see mode but of course there will be ups and downs but they too will survive. However, there is something waaaay more important than just having more than enough. It is Time. No matter what the market does or doesn’t, no matter how much we have or may not have, we simply can’t buy Time. So if you are in your middle 50’s or north you should really be paying attention to these words. Its sorta like having children. If you marry young, don’t have much and wait until you can afford children there is a chance you won’t have any. This boating deal is somewhat the same. We all want more (pesos) but when the clock is ticking and there places you want to see from the deck of your own little white fiberglass ship, each year that goes by leaves that hope a little farther away. Soon, all you can do is read drivel* like this from someone who did take the chance and are and have had the time of their lives. So you sit and wonder and fester and blame the world and who is really to blame? Ain’t me baby, we’re doing our best.
*It would be a sad day if VofE became your entertainment instead of inspiration and anticipation.
So now let’s talk about the realities of today’s market. Because new builds are slow there are deals to be had. Understand, these deals are slim because in reality a boat manufacturer’s net – net is slim to begin with. However, because it is a big ticket item whatever percentage you may get off is a substantial amount of money. (If a marginal manufacturer quotes a deal that seems too good to be true, beware. Watch your progress payments closely).
When we were building boats our single biggest asset was our crew. We had the product and knew sales would come. There were times we were sold out forever and other times, not. So when it was slow we built boats out of pocket because to let crew flow in and out like the tide with the economy we would loose more training new crew than biting the bullet and keeping them employed. Plus we felt a strong moral responsibility because they weren’t just numbers to us but people. Our boat company was unusual in that fact. Most builders were not like this. However, their product reflected this hiring and firing policy. Our’s did not. So what we are saying is, a responsible builder is doing everything they can to keep their trained crew together even if it means giving away the majority of their profit.
Bottom line. Now is a very good time to end the pain, make The Call and change your lives. We can’t say it any more clearly. And the clock is ticking. Tick. Tick. Tick.
OK, we’re off The Box and onto today. Today was mainly spent at the Hillary Alpine Center at Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. There is heaps of memorabilia from Ed (Sir Edmund) Hillary (the first person to climb Mt Everest) including one of the Ferguson tractors used in his lesser known motorized trek to the South Pole setting another record. We watched 3 movies and spent half the day there. Sir Edmund climbed one of these shingle peaks as his first. This picture was taken in the rain and why it is hazy.
Coming and going there was more beauty than you can imagine and by now you are probably getting tired of hearing that same old song. So let’s throw a real life drama into what happened earlier this afternoon. It has been super windy in the afternoons. REALLY windy. I mean, you wouldn’t want to be at sea windy. Dick’s campervan has dual rear wheels and is more stable than the white box rental campervans with their skinny tires, long wheelbases and high tops. However, it still moves around a bit in the gusts so it is a two hands on the wheel deal when the puffing starts. When NZ road signs show a wind sock, AND it is windy it is best to beware. So coming down a mountain there were several wind sock signs, it was puffing, the campervan was doing the Bo Jangles and at the bottom of the mountain there was a narrow bridge spanning a valley stream. Well, the mountain ended just before the bridge, I could see ahead and knew it was going to be a tense few seconds because the wind would be whipping down the valley. And there was lotsa oncoming traffic for some reason. When we hit the bridge so did violent gusts. I had the drivers window down a bit on the windward side (you drive on the left here and the steering is on the right) and in a nanosecond the 180 degree curtain that is on a track in front of the side mounted toilet came unsnapped and wrapped around my upper body including my head like a form fitted sack. I could barely see thru the material and shouted a few naughty words asking MS to get this ^$##@& thing off my face. So we were getting slammed by the wind, on a narrow bridge, with oncoming stacked up traffic, and as I said, I can barely see thru the material. Talk about concentration trying to steer straight!!!!! Obviously MS got it unwrapped, we made it and it was a miracle we didn’t swipe the bridge or oncoming traffic, or both.
It didn’t help after the fact The Wench started giggling after the unveiling. Even though we nearly came to grief she didn’t experience the deal and all she could remember was this curtain whipped around my body “like in a cartoon”. I didn’t think it was funny, particularly at the time. Grrrrr.
So things calmed down and later we pulled into an anchorage next to a lake. We are surrounded by old growth trees and after a touch of rhum, life is good. This photo was the anchorage.
More to follow.
Early the next morning while MS was enjoying her first cuppa in bed a rental van pulled up next to the lake and two ladies got out. The first immediately hit the water and swam out a ways and back to the beach taking an icy bath of sorts. Then the next lady appeared and this one had long whitish hair that looked great. (She was no kid) She was a bit more timid and I snapped this photo as she was holding head in pain and screeching when she waded a bit deeper into the icy water. Then she gave up and did the deal but not for long. They dressed and split soon after.
Once we got going it was was a lazy day and we spent most of the day in Te Anau, on the east side of Fiordland (SW coast). Te Anau is a lake front tourist area so we wandered among the galleries and putzed for hours at the local cinema and wifi hotspot and café’ trying to reconstruct last VofE’s pictures. I mistakenly sent the ones from the time before a second time and had to wander thru about a zillion photo’s trying to find the proper ones I included in the script. So that is why the last VofE was days late. Anyway we did that deal and now are anchored in a spot without a view of the water for the first time since anchoring on this trip. However, there is water just out of sight so all is well.
And today was a day spent in the extreme south of the island. The winds here are extreme and the land is mainly short grasses and a few wind blasted trees. It is sheep country for the most part. Farmers in NZ are thrifty so when they outgrow the original homestead they build another nearby and keep the old one in tact. This one was used for hay storage. Along the route we came across an unusual home set in a wedge of windbreak trees. Mary snapped this picture thru the passenger door with a long telephoto. When we passed the house was hidden from view but the sign said The Turrets. After leaving farm country it was a drive to several beachside lookouts and every time were glad we Were Not Out There. So we poked around and explored then drove to Bluff, the southern most town on the NZ mainland. Bluff is a port town with a nasty bar at the narrow entrance. Nevertheless there is a ship in the harbor that obviously negotiated the entrance. Yachtie friends on Lindisfarn and N57 Ice Dancer II both got killerated in Bluff’s marina of sticks. Lindisfarn even had lines snap, of course during the night, so it was one of Those nights.
For years Bluff fishermen have dredged oysters in the narrow channel, Forveau Strait, between South Island and Stewart Island. The Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea trade water between this narrow (15nm) channel filled with islands – further complicating things - and of course the wind is puffing more days than not. These fishermen are obviously very good at what they do.
We went to the town marina in Bluff instead of anchoring because we didn’t see any anchorages on the way into town. Well, we felt the charges were sorta-lotsa unreasonable so we declined and leaving town we spotted a small rental campervan in a somewhat unusual anchorage. It works for us even though it is a bit different. This photo taken thru the windshield tells the story. Tomorrow will be just up the road at Invercargill, home of The World’s Fastest Indian.
While fixing breakfast this morning MS snapped a photo of a large stag in a deer pasture next door. A few days ago we read where a stag sold for $53,000 at a local auction. Listed in the paper was its extensive pedigree as if it were a race horse. Interesting.
Today was another putzing low k’s day wandering around the southern and SE coast. We went to Hayes Hammer Hardware, home of the world’s fastest Indian (motorcycle), made famous by the movie of the same name. Hayes hardware is probably the most unusual hardware stores anywhere. Of course it has virtually every hardware item you can imagine to support the farmers and do it yourselfers, plus they have taken over the store next door and pretty much doubled their size to about a half a city block. Scattered among the stuff to buy are Mr Hayes motorcycle collection along with a few beautifully restored 50’s American cars. We spent over an hour in the store. It is the second time there and probably won’t be the last.
Later in the day. Some days you are lucky and some days you are good. It is always good to be lucky. Today we were lucky and took Another dead end road into the beach to see what was whipping. There was a sign saying petrified forest. Whoopdedoo. When we got there we say signs warning you from getting to close to the Very Rare yellow eyed penguins.
Going back to when we were here with Egret we paid blood, gallons of blood for a la did a camera lens that works better in low light than reasonably priced stuff. It was to take pictures of yellow eyed penguins when we got to Stewart Island. I might as well confess it all. At the same time we paid another gallon of blood for a very wide angle lens and a remote camera shutter to take a picture of a Kiwi without a flash. Kiwi’s come out at night and a flash would most likely damage their eyes so we bled so they could see. Some time after arriving in Stewart Island we did see a wild Kiwi, it did come within camera range checking out a lantern we set on the beach but the ^%##& remote didn’t work. Next, after 3 nights hiding in the woods until dark, freezing to death of course, no &^%^$#& yellow eyed penguins were to be seen on the beach where they were supposed to overnight.
Back to today. We were lucky. There were several molting yellow eye penguins up in the bushes beyond the beach and one taking care of it’s nearly grown fledgling. So we both laid on the rocks and scootched into the bushes for a shot and Finally we have photo’s of several yellow eye penguins. So today was a good day and to top it off we took another gravel road toward the beach to see a waterfall. It was pretty nice considering the smallish stream leading to it. Of course the parking area had nice facilities and there are no no camping signs to be seen so we are anchored here for the night.
Ok, so that’s it so far. We had to delete a few pictures and rewrite part of the posting because we are over the picture limit and there is so much we want to share. Plus this morning started off with something interesting best shown in a photograph as well as the lunch time setting. We are determined to give you the interest to bring your little white fiberglass ship to NZ so we’ll up the pace with NZ VofE’s.
January 17, 2012
Position: Somewhere in South Island, New Zealand
G’ Day mis amigos, the Egret crew is on the road again. First, we promised to give you the cruising information from the most popular NZ entrance ports of Opua or Whangarei at the top of North Island to Nelson, at the top of South Island . Leaving either you can be lucky or smart and catch the tide the entire way. Egret and N55 New Paige were lucky and rode the tide the entire distance. The route is up and over the top of North Island , then south down the west coast of North Island to the top of South Island . Leaving on the beginning of a big high keeps the spray off the glass. Egret and NP had none. Egret and NP ran within sight of each other averaging 7.5 knots sipping fuel for the 3 day trip. If you arrive in the wee hours as we did, the overnight anchorage about an hour or two away from Nelson is in Torrent Bay . Entrance to Torrent Bay using C Map charts and radar is straight forward. Holding is good in about 5-8 meters.
I stopped by Nelson City Marina today to see Marina Manager Chris Hawkes and get the contact info. Chris remembered Mary and I along with Roger, Joan and The Kid (Paige) from NP. We had a nice chat and they have space on the visitors dock for world cruisers. email@example.com +64 0274 431 234 mobile or +64 3 546 7768. For larger boats, NP paid to have 32 amp service run to their dock (outside on a T dock) so if you need the extra service (all docks have the usual NZ or European 16 amp service – all Egret needed including running reverse cycle heat.) make arrangements for that berth well before arrival. The marina has a brandy new shower block and head area along with a hang out section in Chris’s new marina office. The marina is an easy walk to town and around the corner to marine stores and boat stuff. While Marina Queens we walked to town most days and rarely took the car.
In the small world department, while in Nelson today I ran into Annie Hill, a yachtie we met in Nova Scotia . (Mary was back at D Doo’s house getting everything ready to head out tomorrow.) So we had a nice chat and found out Trevor from Iron Bark II (her partner in NS) got smacked a bit on his trip south from Newfoundland offshore to the Caribbean . Currently IB II is in the Grenadines on its way to Trinidad . Trevor is heading to Trinidad for a haulout and a resupply on rum. Perhaps we’ll meet IB II again this summer in Nova Scotia .
A couple days later. The family is gone and arrived today back in Bangkok . Oh, ho hum, Quantas overbooked and Quantas had to fly them business class on Emirates. Of course they got the use of the Emirates lounge in Christchurch and Sydney on the way back and didn’t have to sit in cattle seats like commoners.
So MS and I are a couple days into a couple months touring South Island in Dick’s 4WD, Land Rover based campervan*. There is a lot more to this deal than driving around in one of the world’s best areas of scenic beauty.
*Dick’s campervan is completely self contained including grey and black water. There are dump stations all over the island just a few hours apart at the farthest.
So let’s look at the Big Picture.
Our goal in VofE is to get you on the water and if you choose long distance cruising, all the better. And to STAY on the water.
Boating, and particular world cruising gave us abilities to more enjoy this freedom of inland touring. This statement needs to be explained.
As an American, we as a group may think of ourselves as individuals when in reality we are herdsters. Conformists all. Probably the most programmed mass in the world. I’ll give you an example. How many of you would feel comfortable driving an early 90’s Mitsubishi that cost $700 USP as your only car even though it would get you from home to work and back without any issues? Probably none. We did for 9 months in NZ and didn’t care. However, years before we wouldn’t either. We had a series of Dodge mini vans for myself and a couple Mercedes for Mary and a few others. Normal . Predictable. Programmed. The difference in cost for both cars vs a couple beaters represents a healthy cruising budget for a year. Would we like to have left a year earlier? You betcha and you would as well.
Long distance cruising gave us a different life. It IS different, exciting, adventurous and what any other adjective you may want to add. We have rules, but again we don’t. Rules are for the masses herded by nannies. Our rules, other than moral were primarily governed by weather and time of year than written. We went where we wanted, when we wanted. We had no Schedule other than weather. Of course we had to abide by different countries customs and immigration policies but that was about it. So we got used to having it Our Way. Can you imagine having this freedom yourselves? Of course you can but it comes at a price. The price you pay is breaking away from The Herd, not being normal, predictable and of course boring.
Now let’s wander a bit and put this paragraph under the heading Staying on the Water. It is fact many folks are in and out of boating in 3 years. A couple years later most will admit those were some the most fulfilling times of their lives. However, they are out and back to boring dirt dwelling. Why? I believe it is because they didn’t become comfortable with boating. If they didn’t learn the basics and thought they knew it all by reading Passagemaker and regularly spending time on boating forums, that doesn’t work by itself, it just helps. Bottom line was they just never became comfortable handling the boat. If you work at learning to be a Real Boater in baby steps and stick with it your comfort level keeps rising. In our case, by the end of the second year of full time liveaboard and moving regularly we were ready for a lot more than after the first year. Our comfort level the second year was as steep a curve as the first year learning curve. Let’s repeat that sentence so it really sinks in. Our comfort level the second year was as steep a curve as the first year learning curve. Two years and nine months after taking delivery, Egret crossed her first ocean. We were ready. We still had a lot to learn and over time built on that. That brings us to where we started this discussion.
Because of the past 10 years aboard, in Mary’s words we have become spoiled. We can’t just sit at the dock and be happy putzing simply putting in time for time’s sake before the next boating adventure. We have seen so much and want to see more and don’t want it to ever end. But the clock is ticking. Reality says the two of us have just so many more years to do the harder stuff so we must make the most of the time we have. This doesn’t include putzing at the dock or Gasp, heaven forbid, living a boring dirt dwelling life like the sheep across the fence from tonight’s anchorage near the top of a mountain in Purple Valley . So we are taking that same spirit of adventure and land touring in NZ as wide eyed as always.
Now I’ll make a controversial comment that may seem confusing at first but isn’t. We don’t know of a single long term boater who successfully transitioned to motor homing. Motor homing, at least in the majority of the U.S. has Rules. Lotsa Rules. Don’ts fill pages. Your freedom is gone. Hanging out at night in Wal Mart parking lots at night just isn’t us. Herdsters and conformists are packed in campgrounds full of campers in giantus boxes with swoopy paint schemes, push outs and all the comforts of Home. Boring. All Real Boaters we know packed it in in less than a year of anticipation then doing.
So where does that leave us? NZ of course. Sure, NZ has campgrounds full of typical campers (at least reasonable size* campers with all the amenities because the roads are narrow and twisty and up and down and steep in places that would leave the giantus boxes wanting). NZ also has tons of places to pull over and you are left alone in safe, peaceful surrounds. This is much like anchoring vs a marina. A number of pull over places are marked in a campervan touring guide. Other places like tonight are just common sense. People leave you alone. You are free to explore and discover and climb and tramp in surrounds that take your breath away. Today Mary and I are anchored in a spot very near the top of a mountain in an area called Purple Valley . Clouds come and go thru and over the area. This morning we hiked above the clouds. Here you can see the view from about half the way to the top. Above this the clouds obscured the view. It was spectacular. We went from shirt sleeves to layers to having the jacket hoods pulled up and back to shirt sleeves. Looking down at the village of Akaroa * was pretty special. We have been here two nights. Tomorrow we’ll go into town for a bit then off to the next spot.
*We visited Akaroa twice in Egret waiting to make a daylight arrival farther south and waiting on the tide on the way north. Akaroa is a beautiful natural harbor on the south side of the Banks Peninsula , a thumb like projection about 1/3 of the way down the east coast of South Island. Some years ago in the early 1840’s a British warship arrived three weeks before a French ship showed up to start a colony. Later, Akaroa did become a French colony but just as a town, not the colonization ofNZ the French hoped for. Today Akaroa is a tourist town touting its French heritage. Wandering thru Akaroa we snapped a few pics. This one of a newly budding flower is pretty. The town is full of flowers. Nearly every resident has an extensive flower garden. Of course we have a dozen or more flower shots but we’ll just show this one.
Yea I know I’m rambling but you can put it together. In addition to NZ we’re selling the Spirit of Adventure. Boating has given us that Sprit and the desire for more and more as it will you if you stick with it. So we’ll pass it along and try and make NZ a definite destination for you when it is Your Time, your baby steps are over and its time to head Out.
OK, we’re off the box and on to what you can do as well. Today we spent the day in Akaroa wandering, snacking and later having lunch in our favorite French bakery. Akaroa is great. We met a few locals and chatted a bit as well as meeting an interesting Irishman touring South Island then North Island and on to Oz in a 4 month tour. It was time to leave so we headed for a marina (with showers) at a rivermouth to the Pacific. Well we didn’t make it. Taking an inland route we crossed a bridge and saw a few campers set up near a stream. It is so beautiful we couldn’t pass it up. So here we are anchored under a couple trees next to the river all by ourselves (the other campers are on the other side of the bridge). It is wonderful. Peace and quiet. The only noise is the wind in the trees. Of course we are having a touch of rhum n’ coke. So what did you do last night?
More to follow.
Well today we are at a marina. It turns out to be a poor choice. We were attracted to it because a river meets the Pacific close to the marina. It isn’t much. However, it cost just $12K (Kiwi) – about $9.60 USP. The showers are worth that as well as dumping the tanks and refilling with water. So tonight we’ll lay off the rhum – The Wench overserved me last night – and be good. My head was not quite right in the morning. We’ll leave early in the morning for something more adventurous.
Later. The marina Gestapo stopped by and asked to see our Electrical Warrant of Fitness. We don’t have one. I told him I was just going to run an extension cord in to run the laptop. He said HE could be fined $10,000 for allowing us to hook up. Imagine that? And this is in a country where you can kill somebody and get off in just a few years if you were a good little boy before you offed your victim and were a good little boy in jail. Of course it wasn’t your fault you offed someone. It was your Naughty Parents fault who didn’t raise you right and You were the victim. Geesh. In any case we even had to move away from the plug (we were not hooked up at the time). However we did get a refund because we didn’t use any shore power and the charges were $8NZ.
More to follow.
So the next night we went back on anchor next to a babbling brook full of wild flowers and without Gestapo Boy. With wild flowers at every stop MS always has a fresh bouquet. So that was nice.
And next it was off to a secondary road heading sorta west following a valley. About half the road was paved and the other half was gravel. We took it to the end to see what there was to see and it was spectacular as usual. We saw an interesting rock to climb so we parked next to a few trees and walked the DOC trail across a couple streams and up to the top. At the top we met a couple who we later found were father and daughter. It was a good hike up and the fellow didn’t seem to be a spring chicken. Later back at the campervan they were still there and we invited them for some cheap but good enough wine. Of course the wine came in a highly decorated box so we were big time instead of offering them wine from a plain box of generic white. They are Ozzies. He has been coming to NZ for 30 years, 3 months at a time. He retired at 54 and it is 30 years later. So he climbed this rock at 84 AND just 8 weeks after major prostate surgery. Later we found out he keeps this particular campervan in NZ and has another in Oz he plans to take out for 6 months when he gets back. This fellow is one tough Ozzie and no quitter. Our kinda guy.
So we spent the night there and today went south and then again west to a place at the end of the road called Mesopotamia . These days that is as close as I want to get to a region called Mesopotamia . This too is a valley with agriculture, sheep and cattle on the flats between the mountains and also with large herds of deer. (NZ is a major venison exporting country) I. Of course the scenery will knock your eyes out. Tonight we pulled off the road next to a fence. There are cattle on one side of a wide river basin and another inland valley full of a jillion sheep on the other side.
Speaking of sheep. Today we passed a truck parked next to the road that had a sign saying Stock in the middle of the road. We kept going then soon heard the baaaaaaing of sheep so we pulled over and waited. It wasn’t long before here came another jillion sheep walking up the road between the two fences. They were driven by a young feller idling along on a quad bike with his 3 sheep dogs. When the sheep got to the campervan they shied away to the other side of the road. INSERT PHOTO 3328 HERE. So a sea of sheep flowed past for more than a few minutes. Later today we met another farmer with a third jillion sheep waiting behind a fence. We asked him what was whipping and he said he was moving them up the road a bit. The youngsters had just been weaned and separated from their mommies.
More to follow.
OK, its been a couple more days of the same and NO internet access to fire this VofE into space. Last night’s anchorage next to a field full of sheep on a Very secondary road that included 5-6 water fords. The next night was another anchorage after spending the day in Omaru, a sandstone village built in the mid 1800’s that is like visiting a small European town. Omaru is like a small U.S. version of Williamsburg including early businesses with folks in period dress. The anchorage was on the east coast highway next to the Pacific with the stern toward the water. We listened to the surf all night. It was wonderful. Tonight we are anchored in the trees next to a man made lake and have turned back north.
There is a reason we have turned back north toward Nelson instead of heading south like we originally planned. You remember Auntie Suzie. We were pimping for both Suzie and Dickiedoo and Suzie is flying into Nelson on Feb 4th so we will be there with Dick when she arrives. I’m sure both of them will be as nervous as teenagers but it’s a start. Both are great folks, both are adventurers and we’re sure they will hit it off. So we are looking forward to that.
Yea OK, the anchorage next to the lake was great but when MS put the chops on the stove for dinner it didn’t play. Yup, no propane. This means no hot dinner and …….gasp…..no coffee in the morning. So we had a giantus salad.
We didn’t plan to revisit the tourist town of Wanaka but it was just 30k’s or so up the road and a bit westso we headed in that direction. After filling the propane we headed west for one of our last time favorites, Mt Aspiring valley. You can’t believe just how pretty it is. To make things better there was snow from a couple days ago covering the top of the mountains above 1600 meters. About half of the road to the end of the valley is paved and the rest is gravel. Toward the end are shallow fords, no biggie – anyone can do it, then you arrive at the car park. The car park is full of cars because from there are a few multiple day hikes up into the mountains. The hikers stay at DOC huts along the way. From what we see the majority of hikers are twenty something Kiwi’s and a large European contingent. We gave two young guys a ride this evening. One was French and the other Italian.
From the car park we tramped about 3 hours inland and about 2 hours on the return. This place is so photogenic it takes us a while to make any headway. This also causes a dilemma because it takes a few hours to sort and edit each day’s shooting once back at the campervan. Most days we look at the highlights and leave the entire mess until we get back to Dick[s house with unlimited electricity and time. By anchoring out with no internet it also difficult to put together a VofE and get it sent. So anyhow we’ll try again tomorrow.
So tonight’s anchorage is next to a trout stream among the cattle and sheep and cypress trees and wheat colored grass and snow covered mountains and a vertical cliff across the street. Soon after we parked the critters filed past heading west. First it was the cattle then the sheep.
We mentioned photographs. Because this VofE is droning on because of no internet it is becoming novelish. Our dilemma is we want to show photos to bring our words to life but where do we start? Each day could support many more photo’s than we send like this one for example. Mary took this shot of hay stored in blue plastic tubes to be used during the winter. Freshly rolled hay is still in the field. So we didn’t write anything about this and much more because how can you describe this in words? In any case we’ll do our best.
January 5, 2012
Position: South Island, New Zealand
G’ Day mis amigos, Happy New Year and may this year be Your Year. We have internet coverage again so we’ll begin selling New Zealand, and particularly South Island as a major destination on your to do list someday when it is Your Time. Prodded by a recent internet forum comment from N owner Milt Baker, I checked the list of N owners and their coming itineraries. (Yahoo Groups, Nordhavn Owners) This is not to be confused with Yahoo Groups – Nordhavn Dreamers, a recommended site anyone may join to glean information for the future or even if you are currently cruising. On the N Owners site there were several boats that planned to cross the Pacific and arrive in NZ during 2012.
So let’s talk about New Zealand. Talk is sometimes cheap but notice South Island, New Zealand is the first place Mary and I returned to by air since leaving the U.S. in 2004, and the first time we have left Egret for more than a few weeks during the past 10+ years. NZ is That Good. South Island is larger than our home state of Florida and has fewer people than our home town of Ft Lauderdale and suburbs. Most of the South Island residents are concentrated in a few towns like Christchurch, Dunedin and so on. During our inland wanderings the last time here, there were days when you could count the cars we passed on one hand. You can drive from Atlantic coast to the Tasman Sea (W) coast in less than a day. Between the coasts you may see a hot, dry desert, primeval green subtropical forests and snow covered mountains. All in the same day. Folks are nice to you And to each other. NZ is First World. You can buy most anything, anywhere. Language is not an issue if you are a non native English speaker with a basic command of English. Yesterday we saw a French family with about much English as our French trying to see if there was room in a campground. In the end they worked it out just like we did when in France. So those of you non native English speakers trying to make sense of this drivel in English, not to worry.
We will briefly mention NZ’s crusing. North Island has better cruising for most. The Bay of Islands to the north and Great Barrier Island off Auckland are NZ’s most popular local cruising areas. Both are good with mostly clear water, good holding and inland tramping (hiking). For world cruisers, Great Barrier is more interesting and a little more challenging. However, for you intrepid folks, Stewart Island at the bottom of South Island is much like the upper parts of the Chilean Channels and offers great cruising and even better tramping. Some of our days there were as good as anything for the past 10 years. That is saying a Lot. It is 3 days running with no weather issues, from Nelson – yachtie central at the top of South Island – to Patterson Inlet, Stewart Island. Once in Stewart the longest run between anchorages is 18nm. We spent the majority of our 4 month winter cruise in Stewart and had many sunny clear days for tramping. We even hiked in the rain some days. It doesn’t matter if you wear foul weather gear and have the right attitude. It is best to have some form of heat if you do a winter cruise to Stewart. VofE from April to August, 2009 will have the details.
More to follow.
Mary and I picked our son, his wife (we call her the Movie Star) and LRP (Little Rice Picker, Kenny at the Christchurch airport for a 3 week holiday. Their route from Bangkok, Thailand (their home) was BKK, Sydney (OZ) Christchurch. We had Christmas dinner at Dick’s house (Dickiedoo – D Doo) along with his son and a local friend. Most of you did something similar so we won’t go into that but to say it was a Good Day. After a couple days resting from the flight and local trips here and there we left in D Doo’s campervan (motor home) for a loop around the top of South Island. First stop was French Pass where is a campground, crescent shaped beach and tons of mussels in our secret spot near the pass itself. This is the twisty, single lane – two way road into French Pass. Mary, the LRP and I walked up the hill to the DOC (Department of Conservation) trail to an observation deck to see the pass. The secret is to climb over the deck and sorta hang on to whatever and work your way down to the water. A slip here would be ugly. Mussel gathering is a low tide deal only. Of course it was low tide, a moon low no less, and there were at least a jillion giantus green lipped mussels* waiting for a home in The Bucket. So we picked a dinner full while The Kid did Kid stuff like climbing on rocks, exploring new critters, gathering interesting shells and splashing. Scenes like this are common along the French Pass road. Here are mussel farms located in the small bay. (More on this northern portion of the Marlborough Sounds in a coming VofE)
*Not Ordinary black or blue boring farm mussels dirtus dweller communus are destined to eat.
Of course what comes down must go up and it was a bit of a challenge with The Bucket, The Kid and MS. The Bucket could be replaced if it slipped but MS and the LRP can’t be replaced so we had to be super careful. In the end everyone made it including The Bucket. During the next week there were shallow rock bottom streams, green forest trails, hill climbing, and even a couple beaches on the Tasman Sea. The LRP saw it all including fur seals on the beach and sheep and cows up close and personal as we walked thru farmer’s gates. Dick’s take no prisoners 4WD campervandid the deal and took the group where touristas commonus don’t dare travel. This picture is of a rarely visited area by non locals. Here you can see the LRP doing boy stuff throwing rocks into the stream. Check out the size of the rock. His dad is in the background and behind him is Dick’s campervan. On the trip out it was a bit misty but we managed to get this shot of rare nikau palmsgrowing on a hillside next to a small farm. On the eastern portion of the loop we stopped by a stream and walked a trail to two waterfalls. You can’t have a few pictures of New Zealand without a waterfall so here is our first.
Leaving the hilly forested areas heading east we came into a large wine growing region near Benheim. This photo of the vines with dry mountains in the background is a common scene in these parts but what we found during our previous stay is the roses in the foreground are not decorative but the vineyard equivalent of a canary in a coal mine. Any attacking critters go for the roses first and forewarn the growers of a problem. This vineyard was along the road to the Omaka Air Museum. The top of South Island has two world class attractions. The first is the WOW Museum in Nelson. WOW is World of Wearable Arts, a display of human ingenuity. Do yourself a favor and click on this link. http://www.worldofwearablearts.com The second attraction is the Omaka Air Museum. Currently the display is of WWI planes, and they are working toward a WWII section. Most all of them fly and the created scenes are from the mind of Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings). Two of the scenes are shown here. One is of a British pilot who was going to crash from his plane being damaged from colliding with another aircraft. He found by standing outside the cockpit and shifting his weight he could somewhat control the decent. He barely cleared the front line trenches when he stepped off the plane just before it crashed, rolled a bit, got to his feet and asked for a beer. The second scene is a crash scene when a German pilot shot down a French plane that crashed into a tree. The German pilot landed and was greeted by his fellow German troops. Both scenes are with life size figures and planes. They look as real as if you stumbled onto the scene during the war. http://www.omaka.org.nz
Several areas we stopped were pretty primitive and isolated. Some nice person built this long drop for the few campers who make it to this remote area on the west coast. This next photo is a typical scene on the NW coast of South Island. Here we walked thru farmers gates, climbed over fences on special steps to get to a large cave and rock formations on the Tasman Sea. On this particular trip we got chased a bit by a territorial male fur seal and came within a few feet of a large female seal lying on the grass up a hill from the water. Once at the water the LRP got to see his first seal pups.
What is hard to describe is the physical beauty of NZ. We will do our best with a few photographs but NZ is something you really need to see for yourselves. We are busy with family stuff so we’ll fire this short VofE into space. In coming VofE’s when we have more time we’ll give you easiest route from your landfall in Opua at the top of North Island to Nelson at the top of South Island along with the docking information at Nelson City Marina. Along with this will be highlights of inland touring during the coming couple months.
Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.