HAPPY EASTER to all our Family and Friends!
This is also a note to wish you all a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year! If you would like a copy of our LONG Christmas Letter with TWO pictures via email (NO pictures) or snail mail, let us know and we can easily mail or email one to you from here in New Zealand.
We arrived in Opua, New Zealand on November 21, 2002 after a very safe crossing from Tonga spending two weeks waiting for weather in Minerva Reef, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We had much to be THANKFUL for on November 22 when we celebrated Thanksgiving with turkey and all the trimmings with 125 other cruisers from many different countries! Due to windy rainy weather, it took us about 8 days to travel the 200 miles between Opua and Tauranga; however, we were safely tied up on slip A7 in Tauranga Bridge Marina by noon on December 7. We are VERY comfortable here with a car, a cell phone (64-27-410-4923...international call), laundry and warm showers, and the WONDERFUL people of New Zealand! They are so helpful, friendly, and honest with an incredible work ethic! We are also able to receive mail here: S/V Peace and Aloha, Tauranga Bridge Marina, PO Box 4500, Mount Manganui, New Zealand.
We managed to complete some of our boat projects and we left Auckland Airport at 3:30pm December 24. Julie and Chris met us at Denver International Airport at 6:30pm on December 24, Christmas Eve! The flight from Auckland to Los Angeles was 12+ hours, our longest flight ever, four movies-worth! We had a wonderful Christmas with Julie and Chris, seeing our parrots: Sammie and Manu and meeting our two year old "grand-dogger", Nalu, their black lab. We were able to see friends, but after deciding that Chris and Julie would be married on July 27, 2002....we spent hours picking out an ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL gown for Julie, tuxes for all the men, invitations, flowers, and THE location! Unfortunately, we didn't finalize as much as I wanted, but Julie and Chris are continuing with all the planning and arrangements. Jason and Eric flew to Maui on January 8, 2002 to begin painting our condominium at Napili Point. David and Ellen left on January 9th to visit parents: David to Bonita Springs, Florida and Ellen to Cincinnati, Ohio. David's father seems to be settled into a home for Alzheimer's patients, while my Dad was moved to the nursing section of the Courtyard after falling shortly after I left. We had a chance to see a few friends while we were in Boulder, Cincinnati, and Maui but we never seem to have enough time to see everyone or do everything that we would like! We met in Chicago and flew to Maui on January 14. We extended our time on Maui by a week, but STILL didn't accomplish everything or see everyone! We did manage to finish painting the condo and place a deposit on a four acre parcel of land in Olowalu, because we STILL haven't found a better place to live than Maui!
We have been VERY busy with boat work since we returned. All of our sails have been repaired; our dinghy has been repaired with a solid bottom replacing the inflatable one (hopefully no more shark bites!); all our gel cel batteries have been replaced with golf cart batteries, we added four new solar panels and the wind generator has been repaired (hopefully, our battery problems are NOW solved! and we should go faster since these batteries weigh less!), generator, engine and water maker spare parts have been purchased, and we will be hauled out next week to paint our bottom! I have spent most of my time cleaning and washing (What fun!!!) and now we need to provision and inventory in preparation for our next passages. We have all had our medical check-ups (dermatology, female and male tests!), dental cleaning/check-ups plus updating our very extensive medical kit. We are now working on immunizations and malaria prophylactic for Vanuatu.
David's heart decided that February 12 would be an excellent time to try atrial fibrillation again, since it had almost been 3 years since his first episode in Camden, Maine. David was in Tauranga Hospital for almost two days, where they cardioverted him again. He was able to see a cardiologist here, who performed a treadmill test and an echocardiogram. Both tests showed no structural problems with his heart, so he is taking flecainide, which doesn't slow his heart rate down as much as the corguard did....so he has MORE energy! Dr. Nairn, the cardiologist, sees no reason why we shouldn't continue our adventure around the world!
We have also been touring New Zealand: Rotorua (Thermal Maori Village and the Agrodome...which we LOVED! We toured with Wayne and Anita Gray, whom we knew from our beach on Maui), Botanical/ Rose Gardens in Hamilton and Manu Beach (longest surf break in the world!) in Ragland, Hot Water Beach (dig your own spa in the sand!) and Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Penisula, and we will see Auckland when we travel to Gulf Harbour. Unfortunately, we will not make it to the South Island this year, so we might fly back from Australia next year. We know that we will return to New Zealand!
Our plan is to sail up to Opua, wait for a weather window and head north to Fiji sometime the beginning of May. We will leave the boat in a marina in Fiji and travel to Boulder for the wedding in July. We will then travel to Vanuatu, New Caledonia and spend next cyclone season (November 1-May 1) in Australia, where we will have more time to tour, since we won't have many boat projects there. Hopefully, we will have more visitors, since Lynn Jacobsen, Chuck and Debbie Paine, and Wayne and Anita are the only ones to venture south to see us here in New Zealand! Of course, all of this is subject to change at any time!
Unfortunately, we have had very sad news recently! A fellow cruiser, Barry Dobbs on S/V CHEROKEE passed away on February 9 from a massive heart attack. We had met Barry and his wife, Julie in Trinidad and had crossed the Pacific with them. We will be traveling to Gulf Harbour for his Memorial Service and scattering of ashes tomorrow, April 2. David's Uncle Bobbie, his Mother's younger brother passed away on February 20th in Rochester, New York while shopping at Home Depot. Paul Hudson, Chris and Julie's best friend (He was to be Best Man at their wedding), died in an accident while snowboarding with Chris last Sunday, March 24, at Keystone Ski Area in Colorado. Our hearts, prayers and love go out to all the families and friends of these three beautiful souls! We are thankful for having known them!
Please take care! Be safe! Be well! God Bless! Happy Easter! Please keep in touch....via this email at KH7JL@winlink.org. I am working on answering your emails and am planning to have the website completely updated when we leave. Check it out at peaceandaloha.com! Fair Winds and Smooth Sailing!
With all our Love, Peace and Aloha,
Ellen, David, Jason and Eric
March 31, 2002
Tauranga Bridge Marina
Tauranga, New Zealand