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December 1, 2001 ~ December 31, 2001

December 31, 2001

Happy New Year's Eve!!!

We had an appointment at David's Bridal at 10:30am and David came with us to make the final decision between about six different dresses! He made the decision....and we bought her dress!!! It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! But then again Julie would look good in a flour sack!!!

We spent an exciting New Year's Eve at home watching "National Lampoon's Christmas" which is still very funny! We were very content...since it was very cold, grey and snowing outside!

December 30, 2001

David and I finished writing our Christmas letter, so that we could copy them at Office Max after our appointment to try on more gowns at noon! We already had copies of the pictures, so we all sat down after dinner and had the Christmas cards all stuffed, addressed and sealed, ready to mail in the morning. Afterwards, we looked at more invitations.

December 29, 2001

Julie had an appointment to try on dresses at David's Bridal....of course, none of the $99 gowns were acceptable!! She tried on many, but still more!!! It is hard work, so they will only allow about an hour! This was really really fun...a special mother-daughter bonding time...definitely not to be missed!!

We looked at two different places for tuxes for the guys and poured over invitation books that evening!Lots of decisions to make...with so little time!

December 28, 2001

We discussed with Julie and Chris the possibility of a definite wedding date...David decided that it should be next summer because we knew that we would be in Fiji! So....we started planning....

December 27, 2001

We walked around campus after lunch and saw Chris's work....he is involved with the computers all over campus. We were very impressed. Many changes since we were there! The heart of the all the campus computers is contained in machines on several shelves, as compared to a building containing huge IBM tape drive computers.

December 26, 2001

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Dad Ernisse in Naples, Florida!!! We hope that you celebrated with lots of cake and ice cream!

I spent some time organizing the room and looking through the mail...just to make sure that there were no big surprises...like from the IRS or something!!! We went to Costco for a few things and had a quiet dinner alone, because Julie and Chris had tickets to see "The Nutcracker" in Denver.

December 25, 2001

MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! to all.....What a blessed holiday and we have our whole family together including Chris, our son-in-law! I am truly thankful!

We were all so tired that we slept until 9am (Julia's bed is VERY comfortable! Thank you for sharing, Julia!). Poor Julie was up early, cleaned the birdies, and had the turkey stuffed (Julia's Christmas gift from her employer, The Marriott) and in the oven!

I spent the morning wrapping presents, then talked with my Dad in Cincinnati and Aunt Betty and my cousin, Sally in Portland, Maine. We enjoyed an absolutely delicious turkey dinner with Julia (Chris's sister) and Bill (his Dad) and then we opened all our presents! What a very special day!!!! Thank you! We do hope that yours was just a special! We do continue to hope and pray for "Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Men!"

December 24, 2001 United States

Happy Christmas Eve Day!!!

We arrived at LAX at 11:45 am and made it through customs with no problem!...Most of us watched some of the four movies which they showed :"Shrek" "Pay back Forward" and I can't remember the other two! We were all rather tired, but very excited to be back home in the United States and to be spending Christmas with our family in Boulder.

We were lucky and were able to get on the 2:30 pm United Flight #1154, which arrived into Denver at 5:45pm, where Julie, Chris, Josh, and Julia were waiting for us with two cars!! David and I were on the earlier flight, so the agent in Auckland had sent all our bags on that flight. We were going to wait for the later flight if the boys couldn't get on it....but we were not happy about the prospect of arriving in Denver at 11:30pm!!! So we were very pleased to get on the earlier flight.

We were able to see Manu and Sammie (our African Grey parrots....they even remembered us!!!:) and meet our special black lab "grand-dogger", Nalu, when we arrived back at Julie and Chris's apartment (we woke up the birdies!). We had a bite to eat....and crashed!!!!

December 24, 2001 New Zealand

We had light showers all day, but we finalized our packing (remember it is very difficult to find a place to put suitcases, since we either need to sit at the settee to eat or sleep in our beds and not enough floor space, but we are learning how to cope and to be very flexible!!), finalized the boat (turn off all the electric, etc.) (*Daydreamer*, *Ice Bear*, and *Lazy Jack* will check periodically for us and everyone at the marina keeps a watchful eye out for problems! She is very safe here!), took showers and left about noon, stopping at McDonalds for lunch. (New Zealand has the largest McDonalds' that I have ever seen!) We arrived at the airport about 4pm and parked the car at Sky Park and were all ready for a 8:45pm departure on United 842 to Los Angeles (11 hour flight).

We were taken aside and all our luggage was opened and searched before going through x-ray. I had not wrapped any of our Christmas presents because I had been warned. I did have a box of kava bowls and other souvenirs, which she opened and peaked in, plus a mailing tube with my three tapa cloths, which she just accepted. It is amazing how when items are removed like that....it never goes back together quite the same!!! We were actually lucky, since the luggage was not really crammed in. We had alot of time before our fliight, so we visited with Mark and Dorothy *Dirty Dottie* who were on the same flight!!! We had not seen them since they left Bora Bora heading to Roratonga last August!!! We were an hour late leaving, because the flight comes from Australia and everyone had to remove their shoes before boarding! We were inspected, etc. etc. but didn't have to remove our shoes!

December 23, 2001

Happy Birthday, Paula!!! We hope that you had a special day on Maui!

I did three loads of wash and met Vickie and Tom on *Sunstone* who are planning to leave here in March and head north to Hawaii. We spent the rest of the day, packing, cleaning and defrosted the freezer and refrigerator, in preparation to leave tomorrow.

Unfortunately, that was the day of the "Foot Bomber" on the American Flight from Paris to Miami. We saw it on the news (no picture of him) and David said that he was not going....but I am ready to go home for Christmas!!!

December 22, 2001

We continued to have difficulty with the emails, so we called Julie and Rod on the telephone. We obtained a letter from Tony here at the marina indicating that we did, in fact, have our boat here in New Zealand. Lucinda on *Abel Tasman* and the girls had a terrible time with Air New Zealand in Los Angeles on their return from Canada. They did not have all the boat papers with them, just the temporary import permit in Al's name, so they had to race up to the ticket counter and buy a ticket to Australia. It was refunded to them by Customs; however, it was scarey to have to deal with all that right before the plane was scheduled to take off. So, we brought all our boat documentation, etc.and hopefully, we won't have the same problem.

We met Karen and Tim on *Ice Bear* which is a brand-new power catamaran built here in Tauranga for them. They were just launched and are in the slip next to us. They are from Minnesota and will take it back (the wrong way) through the Pacific, the Canal, and up into Lake Superior.

December 21, 2001

A very pretty sunny day for Ron and Anna to head to Wellington, to spend Christmas with his brother, Richard and his wife, Claire and THE baby, Elizabeth. They stopped over to say "Merry Christmas" and we exchanged gifts and sent little gifts to Elizabeth.

Jason worked on his metal polishing while I continued to pack us all for our trip. David and Eric continued with their boat projects, hoping to complete as many as possible before we leave and also to have people working on projects while we are away, so that they will be finished upon our return (somehow, it doesn't ever work that way though!).

December 20, 2001

*Lazy Jack* was hauled out today and put on the hard for their repair work to begin. The guys helped them with their ropes, etc. *Abel Tasman* with Al, Lucinda and the girls arrived in the marina. It was great fun to see them again! There are lots of children in the marina now....they have such a wonderful time together! They are always busy doing something! What a wonderful way to grow up....what a life experience! They are also away from all the drugs, gangs, violence, etc that seems to be plaguing the schools of the world!

I spent the morning writing updates to email to all of you, but apparently most did not arrive! This email system is so frustrating...most of the time it works great, and then....when you want the email to arrive...it does not!

We finished our Christmas shopping and for dinner I made chicken/stuffing casserole with yams, cranberries and cabbage with ice cream for dessert....like a post Thanksgiving/pre-Christmas dinner! (and it used up many cans!!!)

I finished reading "Adrift" which I probably should NOT be reading!!! Quite a fantastic story of a fellow who survives 80 days at sea in a life raft!!! Excellent reading!

December 19, 2001

Our prayers and love are with the friends and family of my Uncle Dick Hoag, who passed on this day in Lincoln City, Oregon! A very special soul and he will be greatly missed by many!

I worked on my address labels, so that Eric could print them out to take back to the US so that I could send out Christmas cards with pictures to all of you! Another rainy day for Christmas shopping and boat part buying!

Ron and Anna stopped over to visit and brought Christmas tarts for us!!! I haven't really done anything for Christmas, except put up our few decorations! So, I have no Christmas cookies made to share with them!

December 18, 2001

David and I did errands and food shopping in the pouring rain, while the guys worked on the boat, working down the list (which always grows...larger never smaller!). We went to see Kristy at Harvey World Travel in Mount Manganui to pick up our tickets!!!! What a job she did!!! We stopped at Bayfair Mall and purchased a few Christmas presents! We returned home for our last dinner of fish!!!!:(

December 17, 2001

Another day with the guys working on the charger problem with Mike and I continued on my quest for tickets! We had dinner at Shiraz, a middle eastern restaurant, with Ron and Anna. We are enjoying trying all these different cultural dishes....and the price is right! It cost $72NZ for four of us, including drinks and dessert, and there is no tipping here! We arrived home just before it started to rain...again!

David's PSA test came in at a low number...the best in years and he did NOT take a month's supply of heavy duty antibiotic, which the US doctors have suggested that he do for the past 3-4 years!!! YEA!!!!

December 16, 2001

For some reason we were exhausted....so we slept in until 8am!!!I spent all day working on our tickets....The sun came out in the afternoon....it was warm and beautiful!!! Ron and Anna came over for our final movie: "Cookies Fortune" which had an excellent storyline, but fell rather flat! I was relieved that we had made it through all these videos, since I had sooooo much to do, really didn't need to be watching a movie EVERY night!

December 15, 2001

Eric and David worked on wiring and figuring out this new charger while I worked on different possibilities for our travel back to the States. Also, worked on emails....I continue to apologize to all of you! I am beginning to wonder if I will ever be caught up in both areas - emails and this website! Please do continue to stay in touch!

Tauranga Bridge Marina had quite a Christmas Party for us....lots of food and drink! The Kiwis definitely do enjoy their beer! Many cruisers were there! What an enjoyable evening! The Kiwis are such geniune giving people!!! After we returned home at about 8pm, we turned on the tv and were completely mesmerized by Charlotte Church with Josh Groban in concert in Australia. She is a "singing angel!" Absolutely beautiful!!!(We purchased both of their cds...a definite recommendation from *Peace and Aloha*.

December 14, 2001

David went to the lab for his blood test. Afterwards, he and Eric worked on charger problems all morning. I got out all our clothes and our luggage, and then restowed many of the warm weather clothes...keeping out what we would need here in New Zealand and for our trip back to the US for the next five months or so..

David and I talked with Bob Darvill about cheaper insurance for the boat, especially since she will be laid up for 6 months! He had a really cheap rate for us until we headed north in May, and then his quote was equal to our present insurance with Blue Water Insurance. We also found out that we would receive very little refund if we cancelled now. So we decided to continue our policy with Blue Water and receive a refund in May after we informed him of how long we were laid up in a marina and on the hard for repairs. Don Spinks indicated a return of premium at that time for lay-up time!!!

Anna and Ron came over for "Sex, Lies and Videotape" which is a Cannes Film Festival award winner....

Unfortunately, for Jason and Eric, Barrett on *Someday is Here* flew back to Texas today to spend Christmas with his Mom and return to school. He had been with his dad and Wendy since he arrived in Papeete in June, on the flight with Julie! Eric went surfing with him many times, and they all liked to go out on the town together!

December 13, 2001

David had his yearly exam and PSA test with Dr. Thomas (originally from Wales). After his appointment, we changed the registration on the car and went shopping at the marine store. Eric worked on the windlass, and then Eric and David went to purchase boat parts, while I put up our Christmas decorations....trying desperately to get into the Christmas spirit!!!

Our friends, Diane and John, *Daydreamer* arrived in the marina at slack water about 5pm, so we went to their dock and helped them in with ropes before we went over to take our showers. We take showers at the marina, since we do not have hot water...just too cold around here, not to have a hot shower!

December 12, 2001

I spent a busy day, washing the boy's sheets, pads, and blankets while the guys took our dinghy to the fellow here who fixes inflatables...we were told that he is slightly "dinghy" himself (too much glue sniffing), but does excellent work! He is going to make us a hard floor also. I also spent time pulling out needed supplies, since we are also trying to eat up everything we have aboard, before we reprovision in preparation for heading off in the spring! We do still have some cans of tuna!!! Mike arrived with the charger this afternoon in between lots of rain as a front went through. (We are wondering where summer is?)

Ron and Anna came over to watch "Lolita"....was all right, but not a movie that I would really recommend to anyone. I remember the book being so very scandalous my first year at Elmira....about 1963!.

December 11, 2001

Another busy busy day....I got all my wash ready...six large loads and had planned to go to the laundramat in town, until she said that I could only have two washers and it was more expensive than at the marina.....so I spent all morning in the laundry room at the marina, but I had a chance to meet alot of new people.

That afternoon the guys took off the anchor chain so that we could have it re-galvanized This is quite an undertaking since we have 400 feet of 3/8 inch chain....very HEAVY in order to attach to our 180 lb Bruce anchor. That heavy anchor and chain has given us many nights of restful sleep in heavy winds! We are really glad that we insisted on this size rather than taking Kanter's advice for a much smaller one!!!

We watched "Mystery Men" by ourselves, while Ron and Anna were busy elsewhere. Another good movie!

December 10, 2001

We had a big morning! We picked up our car and returned the rental car. We are now the proud new owners of a 1995/1999NZ Ford (actually a Japanese Mazda) Laser FX, with fuel injection, ABS brakes, auto twin cam, power steering, stereo, spoilers, air conditioning, electric windows and locks with an odometer reading of 51,000 kilometers!!! for only $9000NZ!!! Japan sends all their extra cars to New Zealand, so there are many to chose from at all different prices. Many of our friends went to the car auctions and purchased cars for $500-1000NZ....and many were in the shop in a few days or simply died along the road....but they just returned to the auction and bought another!!! This little car was one of the nicest that we have ever owned! We are trying to figure out how to ship it to Maui!!!???

We went back to the travel agent and did more errands that afternoon in the rain and ate dinner early in preparation for Ron and Anna to return for the second movie...."What Women Want"...excellent! Yesterday the guys went to United video to rent ONE movie for the evening....they returned with SIX....since they were 6 videos for $11NZ!!! Remember the exchange rate is $ .4125NZ to $1US!!!

December 9, 2001

I tried to work out the best way to travel back to Boulder, Maui, Florida and Cinti and spent hours pouring over different ideas, plus calling the airlines. Eric managed to do some surfing (even though the water was cold!) over at Mount Manganui with Barett on *Someday is Here*.

We had Ron and Anna over for ice cream and watched "Bedazzled"....another for our special *Peace and Aloha* Recommendation List!

December 8, 2001

What a very COLD and wet morning!!!! Just wanted to stay in bed!!! We tried to use our two Walmart heaters which we had used while we were hitched to shore power way back in Camden, Maine, when we were on the hard in October 1999....but unfortunately, they about blew out the batteries....so they were immediately re-stowed! Eric did manage to install the tv and vcr, so I had the job of cleaning up all the saw dust which seemed to be every-where!!! We went out that afternoon to purchase a few items for the boat and did manage to get a small little bathroom heater (everyone looked at us like we were CRAZY....this is SUMMMER!!!! who needs a heater???) and a few bits of food shopping and of course some ice cream for dessert....then we just sat and "vegged" out in front of the new tv for about four hours after dinner!!!

December 7, 2001

We were experiencing some absolutely terrible weather with 45 knot winds and rain!!! This is summmer???? Eric and David had to spend time working on the ropes and installing new chafing gear because the winds were so high and strong and it can wear through rope in a very short period of time. (In hind sight, this storm was excellent preparation for having the boat absolutely secure before we left to return to the USA for five weeks!)

David and Eric went into town and purchased a new TV and VCR, which is multi-regional, since we have not been able to get tv since we left parts of the Caribbean, because they are on a different system....this should give us world-wide coverage! They returned in all this terrible wind and rain...I stayed aboard all day and cleaned!

December 6, 2001

My Mom's Graduation Day three years....we still miss her lots and know that she is here sharing all this with us! We also wish to send our prayers of love and healing to the family and friends of Jane Foley, who passed on very peacefully today in Cincinnati. The two Janes (and Als, too) lived next door to each other on Miami Bluff Drive in Mariemont for so very many years and were such close friends! Now, only my Dad (Al Brooks) is living. We miss them all, but remember them in our hearts.

Another very busy day with phone calls and a visit to Kristy, our travel agent in Mount Manganui in the morning. After lunch we visited with Tamera, went to Mount Manganaui again to walk on the beach and unfortunately had to take Tamera to the bus station at 4pm for her trip back to Auckland, where she was catching a plane to return to San Diego tomorrow evening. It was great to have some female companionship aboard *Peace and Aloha.* She is such a sweetheart, too....hope she will return some day!

December 5, 2001

We were up early to continue to listen to the nets to discover where all our friends were...We drove Ron and Anna to rent a car at Rent-a-Dent and we had plans to follow them to used car dealers; however, we lost them! It is very difficult to concentrate on driving and following another car when you are driving on the WRONG side of the road and the steering wheel is on the WRONG side of the car! We looked at several cars, checked into AA insurance, opened a bank account at Bank of New Zealand and purchased a cellular prepaid phone: Number 64 (country code) 027 (remove 0 if calling from outside New Zealand) ....027-410-4923.

We had lunch on the boat and then returned with Eric for another test drive in the white Ford Laser at Trevor Lee Auto Dealers. We decided to purchase this car and made a deposit, indicating that we would have the money wired to our new account and would probably have it by Monday.

We went downtown along the Strand and watched the Bungie Jumping amusement ride....we think that the Kiwis attach a bungee cord to anything and everything and they must have a death-wish or something....this ride had a small round car to hold two occupants with a video camera to record and provide coverage to those on the ground below....attached by bungee cords to two poles.When it is stretched down to the limit and released, the car is shot back up into the air and down several times as it reaches the end of the limit of the bungee cord. We decided that it was not advisable to stand anywhere below, from the look of the expressions on these girls's faces...in between their screams!!! I guess I am just getting OLD...but seems rather stupid to pay $50NZ (approx. $25US) for a minute of pure TERROR!!! I do need to add that Tamera, Jason and Eric were NOT racing to go on this ride either!!! There appeared to be a group of girls on an outing....we never saw anyone else on it while we were in Tauranga!!!

We all really enjoyed dinner at Milan...an Indian restaurant. Tamera was very informative about what to order, etc. We then stopped at the supermarket for some icecream to enjoy at home on the boat. The younger crew went out for a night on the town, while Tamera was here!

December 4, 2001

We heard on the SSB that *Saoirse* (Gavin) had just arrived in Opua, New Zealand. Quite a trip...with his two charters to Pitcairn Island....from Tahiti and then all the way to New Zealand. Some amazing (or maybe crazy?) people out here!

We were so excited to be in our slip (A7) by about 10:30am at slack water (most of the marinas in New Zealand are in tidal areas...the current going through the marina can be as much as 2+ knots) with the expert assistance of Tony, the marina manager. David and I went immediately to the marina office where Tony had a battery charger scheduled to be delivered at 1pm and a rental car booked (he personally called about three different companies to get what he considered to be a fair rate!) for 2pm. We had a nice lunch, the battery charger arrived and at 2pm, Tony drove us to Rent-a-Dent for our car. Then David had to drive on the wrong side of the road in the car which had the wheel on the wrong side also...and get us safely back to the marina. He did it perfectly!!!

Tamera arrived about 5:30 pm to visit for a couple of days before she headed back to California. Tamera had left *Supernova* in Auckland after they arrived months ago it seemed, gone backpacking, and worked on two farms. *Maritime Express* and *Someday is Here* arrived in Tauranga. They were stuck in all that bad weather on Great Barrier Island.

December 3, 2001

Happy Happy Birthday, Ray on Maui! We wish that we were there to celebrate your day at the beach!
We also heard a May Day from *Queen Jane* (Jordan, Kate and their young son) in the Hauraki Gulf as they were on passage to Tauranga! That was very frightening! Jordan had been sending emails below and no one was on watch, so they ran into the freighter, *Southern Cross II*...somehow he managed to jury rig the damage to the sails and bow and they sailed to Tauranga. We heard that they were going to be cited, but we didn't hear anything more about it. They did have all the damage repaired in Tauranga. That is exactly why we always have someone on watch at all times even during daylight hours (this was about lpm) and we always move out of their way! They are just too big to tango with!!!

We were up at 5:30am and ON OUR WAY at 6:30am!!!!!:) We had a nice sail...quiet enough for me to finish "Desert Queen," a biography of Gertrude Bell, the British lady who actually drew many of the national boundaries between countries in the middle east many many years ago. Very interesting book and she was quite a woman!!! I highly recommend this book! Unfortunately, we arrived in the Tauranga Harbour about 5pm, about an hour too late to go into the marina. We anchored with *Lazy Jack* in the river outside the marina and swung with the tide. We were very very apprehensive about this place.....the water didn't look all that clean, looked very industrial with many freighters in the harbour, and David was sure that our slip was right between a bunch a large fishing boats! We were trying to figure out why this marina was so very highly recommended by all our friends???? And you must also remember, we had just spent eight days traveling here when we had really liked Opua.....we were beginning to think we had made a mistake and to question our sanity and the reliability of the rave recommendations of many of our friends!!!!?????

We caught two nice fish on our passage, so that was good....but then the refrigerator stopped, which was not!!! We discovered it was the impeller in the water pump and replaced it. We had tuna for dinner and went to sleep early...anxious to be in our marina slip tomorrow!

December 2, 2001

We were up at 5am, but after we heard the weather forecast of 30 knot winds with 3 meter seas, we went back to sleep until 8am!!!! Thankfully, a fishing boat *G Force* from Tauranga arrived in the anchorage during the afternoon and shared their catch of red snapper with us....Thank you very much! It was absolutely delicious!

December 1, 2001

Another quiet day aboard with rain and more wind to 27 knots....our big accomplishment of the day: haircuts for all!!! I made lunches for tomorrow....still hoping that we can leave for Tauranga tomorrow!