Monday 9 May 2016

Meghan On Amelie-April 2016 (+NZ Adventures Video Posted)

Even though our land adventures were done, that doesn't mean all of our New Zealand adventures were done!  Our adventures from Auckland all the way back up here to Opua is what I am here to write about today so I hope you all enjoy my last New Zealand blog entry.

We stayed in the Half Moon Bay boatyard for about a month after we got back from our two month long camping trip.  We finished up boat work, took advantage of Auckland's huge malls and stores, and then splashed Amelie back in the water after four months of being landlubbers!  After a couple of days of cleaning up the boat, we sailed off to the island of Great Barrier.

Great Barrier Island
Even though it has nothing to do with the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, this island is still pretty awesome!  It is a very green and mountainous island with very kind and peaceful people living a pretty sweet life, in my opinion.  I'm really happy we went to Great Barrier at the time we did because locals told us that at Christmas time, there can be up to 1200 boats at the island!  In every bay we went to, there were no more than 10 boats, at most!

The first anchorage we stayed in was Port Fitzroy where we did several hikes during the days and enjoyed the still, peaceful evenings filled with morepork cries (FYI: moreporks are types of NZ owls that make a cooing cry that sounds like they are saying "more pork"!).  One day, we did a hike through the woods and got to have a picnic in a kauri tree, which are sacred trees to New Zealanders.

The next bay we went to was Smokehouse Bay which was probably my favourite anchorage on the island.  We didn't spend a lot of time there or even see anyone there but it was really cool.  First of all, there was a bathhouse there where the water was heated by burning wood!  We were really grateful for that because since we had left Auckland, we hadn't had a shower because we don't have hot water on our boat (and it is WAY too cold to have a cold shower).  I also personally loved the swings Smokehouse Bay had!  One swing was a half of a giant fender and the other was just cool because it let me swing down the hill really fast and right over top of the bathhouse roof!

Dad lighting the fire for the bathhouse

An old washing machine (a bit worn down!)

Sunset in Smokehouse Bay

Lastly, the third bay we went to was Whangaparapara (I'm finally starting to get a hang of these Maori names- this one is pronounced: fanga-para-para).  This bay wasn't quite as pretty as the other ones but we were able to walk to some nice hot springs.  These are geothermal like the ones we saw in Rotorua, (“geothermal” means that the heat comes from underground).  While in the bay, we also got to catch a cool dolphin show.  The dolphins were in a group and were at the surface every few minutes because they were feeding.

Some cormorants in their nest

Dolphins feeding!

Back in Opua: Goodbye New Zealand!
We left Great Barrier and did the our first over night crossing since we've been back in the water.  We are now back up in Port Opua, where we began our New Zealand adventure over 5 months ago!

So the big question: where to next?  First, we are heading off to Fiji.  As I said in my last post about my natural disaster report, Fiji recently got hit by a big cyclone.  After a disaster like a cyclone, the country sometimes asks people to come and help as "relief workers" so we are going to do that by bringing supplies from New Zealand and helping the people restore their villages.  We are actually registered with an organization called Sea Mercy, who has been organizing all the boats going to help.  We are leaving with the next fleet of Sea Mercy's boats who are heading straight off to the Lau Group of Fiji.  The Lau Group is the very, very remote part of Fiji and we will be spending about a month there, helping out.  If you wish to find out more about Sea Mercy and their purposes, you can visit their website:

So, we will spend about two months in all of Fiji.  After that, we will probably head out to some of the other South Pacific islands: Vanuatu and maybe New Caledonia.  Then... we don't really know.  We will probably either go up to Australia or back down here to New Zealand for cyclone season once again.  Personally, I'm kind of hoping we go to Australia because I don't remember my last visit (I was one years old!) and we have lots of Aussie friends we met cruising who are now back home.  Not to mention, Australia has quite a bit of a warmer climate than New Zealand!

Even though we are mostly getting ready to leave New Zealand, we have also been doing interesting things.  For instance, we took a weekend sail out to the Bay of Islands to an island called Paradise Bay.  We got together with some fellow cruisers and had dinner at a really great little restaurant.  We also did a really nice hike on that island as well.

Grass that folds around your body shape!

Also, one Sunday, we rented a car (we sold our van while we were back in Auckland) and drove on up to Whangarei for a big provisions run at the humongous "Pak n' Save" store.  I remember stocking up on goods in Panama when we rented a car there.  I'm pretty sure we filled 3 carts and it took two or three cashiers a good half hour to scan and pack everything!  Also, when we loaded everything in the car, I could not see Matthew who was two feet away from me because the middle back seat had a huge stack of boxes piled so high!  This shopping trip was not so different!  It may seem like a lot but we need to buy everything we will need for the next month because there are probably no stores at all in the Lau Group.  Today, we went to do the "fresh food run".  We can only pick up fresh produce a few days before leaving or else it will go bad.

Loading stuff into the back of the tiny rental car!

2 teenagers and 1 hungry captain + 2 months away from stores = 30 bags of chips!!!

Last grocery run at "New World" with a total of 4 filled carts!

Another exciting piece of news is our new dinghy!  The new dinghy is a foot longer than the last one but weighs much less!  It also has a bench and wheels that fold down so it is easier to bring up on the beach.  We decided that to make our dinghy unique, we should decorate the engine.  My dad and I spent an afternoon spray painting the engine cover and then sticking on some Canadian flag stickers so now!  Look out for the new Ferrari in the bay!  We haven't gotten many brand new and expensive things in the past two years so I found this very exciting!

You have now heard everything about our New Zealand experiences.  However, if you wish to see them, I have just recently posted a video on YouTube called "Amelie IV- NZ Adventures".  The link is:

In a few days, we are leaving the land of plenty and going to the land of basically nothing (except for adventure and beauty of course).  It may sound threatening but I'm actually really excited.  I mostly want to get back to the tropical warmth though!