Well here we are at the beginning of March and still in Nelson! Time whizzes by just pottering on the boat, spending time with friends and trying to catch up with Maya. It’s great to be back on board Distant Drummer, life on a boat is so much simpler; no mail, no bills, no TV. A landline phone would be nice but we’ve finally got around to using Skype after spending several small fortunes on the mobile phone. I’ve got back in to yoga and have found a class which is informal and fun. Maya and her friend Amy often come with me and we have even managed to get Neil along to a class, just once! He has been playing golf, doing a bit of painting and also teaching keyboards once in a while.
Nelson is a good place to be, it comes alive in the summer as it’s a popular spot for tourists. There’s been lots of concerts and festivals, the market is buzzing and the streets are full of buskers, jugglers and other street entertainers – great fun. This weekend the National Mountain Bike Championships are being held here and a plague of lycra has invaded the tracks and trails around about. Unfortunately the weather yesterday was appalling so the dayglo has probably have turned to a muddy brown. As usual it doesn’t last long and today is bright and sunny again, maybe we’ll go for a bike ride!
We have been out exploring the coastline of Tasman Bay. At the end of January we spent ten days up at D’Urville Island on the eastern side of the bay, just a days sail from here. The coast is indented with deep fractures which give excellent shelter in almost any wind conditions. We spent several days sailing between Croisilles Habour and Greville Harbour before anchoring in Port Hardy at the top of the island. The weather was fabulous, we had some lovely walks and found freshwater swimming holes in the streams for the occasional bath! In the warm shallow water at the head of the inlet we saw numerous big black rays. We enjoyed going out fishing in the dinghy (not always with much success) but we picked mussels from the rocks and even managed to catch blue cod from the back deck!
It’s suprising how many European explorers passed through New Zealand in the early days but didn’t claim in for themselves. As you can tell from the names the Dutch and the French got here before Cap’n Cook but didn’t settle, maybe the Maoris scared them off! Anyway we’re enjoying getting out and doing a bit of exploring ourselves. We have just got back from a trip up to the Abel Tasman National Park on the west side of Tasman Bay. We enjoyed a week doing much the same sort of stuff as above but had a rough sail back in a nasty NE swell. We are hopeing to head over to the North Island in the next week or so, our first crossing of the Cook Strait – eeek!
The latest news is we’re heading over to Perth on Thursday. Shirley (Neil’s Mum) is not well and is in hospital. We will probably be in Perth for a month or two to help out where we can. In the longer term we’re still not sure of our plans. Like everybody else we have suffered with the deterioration of the financial world. We are looking at returning to work again but the job market has also suffered and there is not much out there. So we’ll see what turns up and if all else fails – we’ll go sailing!
Cheers for now.
Suzy and Neil