About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard Bravo, a Kelly Peterson 46 sailboat with homeport in Seattle, Washington. We headed south in 2010, destined for Mexico and beyond. Cheers, Adam and Cindi


"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Kiwi rambles.....a whirlwind tour

Well, life in En Zed isn't ALL boat projects.  It really is a fantastic country to travel and explore.  Several weeks ago, friends David and Diana flew down from Seattle, and we took a little over 2 weeks to travel together.  They rented their own car, and we saddled up "Dirt Bravo" and hit the road, heading toward Russell.




Joined by Kiwi mate Karin, our first stop was up in the Bay of Islands where we rented a gaggle of kayaks from a friend of Karin's.  He runs a kayak guide business up there, and so had some boats available, along with a trailer and even a van to tow it with (our vans had no hitch).  Sweet as!!!  The first day was pouring, torential rain.....had us a bit glum, but after a night with the 5 of us in 1 hotel room, the morning for our launch was perfectly clear!




We paddled out to Urupukapuka Island, an amazing park managed by the Dept of Conservation.  Spent a few days there, kayaking and hiking the island, camping on the beach.  Great trip!  The kayaking reminded us a lot of the Pacific NW of the USA, but the trails were like hiking on a golf course!!!  The sheep roaming the island keep the grass green and mowed.....did not suck at all!

Another rugged afternoon in camp








We weren't alone on the ferry!
Then, after a few days back in Whangarei for a bit more boat work, we headed south to Wellington, where we caught up with D&D, and hopped the ferry to the south island town of Picton.  They picked up their camper van there on the other side, saving big bucks (around $600 USD round trip) for the vehicle fare.
 






We covered over 3,000 km in the 2 weeks, so we did heaps of driving.  Distances in NZ aren't huge, but the roads aren't fast, and 400 km is usually a pretty long day on the road.  But we did some great hikes, a bit of paragliding, met some fun locals, found some good micro brews, and all in all had a great time.  Also a good recon for next season, when we return from the tropics to sit out another cyclone season, and will hopefully have more time to travel.

First stop was Abel Tasman National Park for a hike on the coast trail.  We caught a water taxi north in the park from Marahau to Awaroa and started hiking back south, after a couple of beers at the swanky Awaroa Lodge.  Lots of folks kayak the same route, and the water taxis support them as well as the hikers.  Pretty cool system, saves hiking or paddling out and back again.









Helluva way to start backpacking....pretty civilized!

D&D brought a tent, but we slept at one of the hikers huts on the trail.  The hut was ok, but with 14 people snoring and farting away in our room, with the same on the other side of the wall, we'd go the tent route next time!





Gannet fishing through school of tasty fish....they were definitely not making it easy to get a feed















All in all, we covered about 35 km as we hiked back to the vans.  The views from the trail are great, as you ramble along the coast with a few jaunts inland to break things up.  Really easy hiking on a great trail, but Cindi and I still managed to lose a couple of toe nails, from cramming our "luau feet" into our hiking boots.  Price you pay, living in flip flops for a few years!!!


Back in the vans, we headed north to Farewell Spit.  The beautiful beach was nearly deserted, except for some baby seals playing in a tide pool, and a few hikers enjoying the amazing caves and sand dunes.  This spit of land wraps around a bay, infamous for trapping and beaching whales each year who get disoriented in the tremendous tide flats.  Happily there were none when we arrived, though many had died there earlier this season.


Gratuitous New Zealand sheep shot






















































Bidding the spit Farewell, we headed south, down the west side of the south island, stopping for sightseeing along the way, and camping pretty much wherever we wanted in the self contained vans.  These are a great way to travel in NZ, and we'll store ours here when we take off for Fiji in several weeks, to continue our journey when we return next spring.


 








Might trade up to this bad boy found in a field.....negotiations continue!!!

Bar is open...."I'll have a beer with a DEET chaser"  The sand flies could be monsters!


Emptying the porta potties was always good entertainment!



Nothing handles like a rental!!!


"They don't mean us, do ya think???"
Apparently the critters can read in NZ...








Hiking up on the Fox glacier (with David Fox, of course.....)














Some wild weather approaching....."Auntie Em.....make room in the root cellar!!!"



WTF  ?????

Like the sigh says!



































Cue the Sound of Music soundtrack, as Cindi goes all Julie Andrews on us.....



another gratuitous kiwi sheep shot.....
















Damn jetboats....the kiwis love 'em, even in their national parks!






We visited Queenstown, famous as the birthplace of bungy jumping.  Still popular, bungy jumping has sown the seeds for all sorts of extreme and kinda whacky combo platters......"Hmmmmm....I'd like to bungy out of a helicopter....." No problema.  How about heli biking?  Pick your company, lot's to choose from.  How about heli biking into a kayak?  Didn't see it, but I'm sure if you ask, it'll happen.  The streets of the town are chockablock with guide services, all catering to adventure sports.

We decided to give paragliding a try, from the hills of a local ski area overlooking the valley.  None of us had ever tried it before.  We weighed in at their office, they write your weight on your hand with a sharpie, and up you go.  The jumps are tandem, you with a guide.  After getting all rigged up, they wait for the right thermal, and it's "RUN...RUN...RUN!!!" as you head for the edge of the ridge.  All of a sudden you're airborne, and it's a fantastic 15 minute ride to the valley floor below.  Fantastic!

The E ticket ride begins


Cindi looks a bit bored, don't you think???












We headed back north up the east coast, with time for one last hike along the coast in Kaikoura.

Classic view of Mt. Cook




























All in all, a great whirlwind tour of a terrific country.  We crammed a lot into a quick road trip, and really whet our appetites for more next summer when we return.  For now, it's back to the boatyard, where the projects continue.  Hopefully back together in around 3 weeks, as we're itching to join the fleet of boats leaving every day for the tropics.  It's getting damned cold around here as winter approaches !!!