After our dinner meet-up with Jason and Lara, we had an invitation on the weekend to visit with our other recent crew member Paul. Paul came to crew with us in Tonga back down to New Zealand. He and his wife are from the Netherlands, but have lived the past 20 years in New Zealand. They have a beautiful home in the outskirts of Auckland and are situated in some hills nestled between trees and a nearby pasture. They have lovely views from their windows and very nice back deck.
We weren’t able to enjoy the outside very much while we were visiting due to the near-constant rain while we were there. But, we really enjoyed spending some time in a real home after two months living in our mini-van and in campgrounds. We even had a bedroom with our own restroom! Our hosts made us feel very comfortable in their home and we enjoyed talking with them about their lives in New Zealand. Paul and I met because of his work in simulation and many applications using Google Earth. So, we got to catch up some on Google Earth goings on. We really appreciated the chance to visit with Paul and his family.
Before leaving Auckland, Karen and I went to visit a small store called Martha’s Backyard. This store specializes in hard-to-find (in New Zealand) US products. I was able to get root beer for the first time since going home over the holidays, pop-tarts, and chip-a-hoy chocolate chip cookies! Karen got some of her favorite missing items as well.
We then turned our car NW and headed for Whangarei. I was really excited to be heading back to Tahina. Karen was more somber because all she could think about was that she would need to clean the boat of dust and mildew. But, after a 2.5 hour drive we were home. We borrowed someone’s dinghy to get to Tahina (which is out on pilings in the river), and then got our own dinghy down and got a load of luggage from the car. Then we went back and started checking systems on the boat. The insides smelled fine, but Karen found some small signs of mildew. We had a problem with the generator not starting which we determined to be the generators starter battery being a bit low. But, the main engines started fine. Everything else seemed just fine, and the boat didn’t even seem terribly dirty (probably due to the recent rains over the weekend). We had a very pleasant first night sleeping in our own bed!