Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Actual and the Virtual Family

I had a busy and fun filled week in New Zealand, firstly driving south with my sister to visit one of my daughters with her 10 day old baby, my granddaughter Kanoa. I learned of her birth via sailmail message when I was  sailing south of Fiji somewhere, and was really looking forward to meeting her. Of course, she was adorable.

Mount Tongariro
The beauty of the New Zealand countryside was breathtaking as we went further south through the middle of the North Island past Lake Taupo and Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro to visit my other sister. She has a sort of Hobby Farm with a big vegetable garden, calves and sheep and chooks and two super friendly big Poodles. We also visited  a niece  I hadn’t seen for a couple of decades, and learned in a former life she had lived on a yacht and sailed right round New Zealand! Now she lives on a farm and they milk several hundred cows twice a day seven days a week. Bloody hard work!

Our road trip then headed back up to Whangarei where I have two friends called Hilton, one of whom Ive mentioned here before – we are old school friends. The other Hilton and his wife Melva run the Riverbank B&B, near Whangarei, having been live-aboards for years before that, sailing all over the Pacific. We met when Sapphire was in Tutukaka in 2010 and because their yacht Spindrift was so like Sapphire in size age and design, they have been able to teach me an enormous amount- Thanks guys! I also met Gary, a man who has been following my Blog for a while and making the occasional Comment. He and his wife invited me to their place for dinner where I learned that Gary is an architect, yacht designer and remarkable sailor whose adventurous life included among many astonishing things a circumnavigation in "Alice" a lovely timber yacht with no motor that he designed and built himself. Garys current project is “Mason Bay” a venerable and classic old timber fishing boat that he has been restoring and transforming into a beautiful and practical launch, a process I have been following on his Blog, and which is close to completion.  He gave me a guided tour the following morning and I was left in awe of not only his engineering and boatbuilding skill, but also his appreciation of beauty, and his imagination and enthusiasm for life.

Mason Bay approaches Whangamumu
Mason Bay at Great Barrier Island
Later I reflected on how unaware I had been when I decided to learn to sail that I was about to stumble into an amazing community of remarkably talented and fascinating people,  the community of men and women who love sailing and the sea. I also reflected on the fact that without the Internet and Blogging I would never have met most of the people who have helped and encouraged and supported me, or been able to learn much of what I have managed to learn that got me out there.  Its been amazing. Ive been so lucky and I am glad to be living in the Internet Age.However, to quote a T-Shirt I saw yesterday
 "No, I am not on F*#%*ing FaceBook"