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Christmas and New Year's in Auckland

Written by Cathy Siegismund
December 2001 & January 2002


We continued to get settled in Auckland, and get to know our new adopted home. We are happily settled into Auckland, with the boat set up with phone, Internet connection, TV, and power. We had also bought a car, a 1993 Honda (Acura in the US) Integra.

Our new car

We were delighted to have a visit by our friends Amy Kelleren and John Hawk. They had taken a cruise from Sydney to Auckland. The day they arrived in Auckland we spent the day with them. We wish they could have stayed longer; but enjoyed catching up over lunch, some tourist shopping and some sightseeing.

John and Amy

With only a couple of hours before their flight, we told John that they had opened up another classic New Zealand adrenaline ride. In December, they opened a "ride" where you can put on a harness attached to a wire and be "dropped" in a controlled fashion off the Auckland Sky Tower (Auckland's Space Needle.) John couldn't resist this and he made the jump. Ken, Amy and I safely watched from the landing zone.

By Christmas, we were completely settled in Bayswater Marina, in Auckland. Our friends on Layla, Green Ghost, Tauranga, and Velella were all in the Marina with us and we were looking forward to spending the holidays with friends in Auckland.

We had Jason and Tam aboard for dinner and a wished them a Merry Christmas, as they would be heading back to Seattle for the holidays and a month-long visit.

Although Auckland around the holidays seems to rain as often as a Seattle soggy spring only harder, we were treated to some wonderful warm long days with beautiful sunsets.

Breathtaking sunset we enjoyed from our marina slip

We had Felicity decorated inside with our tiny tree and outside with our lights. This year we could leave the lights on with abandon as we were on shore power as opposed to last year when we were at anchor in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. We were ready for our first Kiwi Christmas.

Our new Kiwi ornament on our very small Christmas tree

Felicity with the Auckland Sky Tower lit up in Christmas red and green

We started off the Christmas festivities with a great Christmas Eve party aboard Green Ghost.

Adrian (a Kiwi from Capistrano), Mark (Tauranga), Ed and Rachel (Horai, Boston)

Jen, Vernita, and Terry (Tauranga)

Lisa (Capistrano), Drew, and Garth

Ken and I enjoyed Christmas shopping in real malls in a real city so we overwhelmed our little Christmas tree a bit more than we did in Mexico last year.

Christmas Morning on Felicity

Jen on Green Ghost is a wonderful artist and has become renown in the cruising community for her wonderful hand-drawn cards. As luck would have it, we had yet to spend time with Nik and Jen on any of our birthdays so we hadn't received one of the coveted cards. We are now very privileged to have joined the distinguished group of recipients of a Green Ghost collector's piece. We got a drawing from Nik and Jen for Christmas commemorating our scooter tour on Moorea.

"Hog Day Afternoon", in classic Wallace and Grommet style

After opening presents, we headed over to Layla to exchange gifts and have Christmas breakfast with our good friends Drew and Vernita


Photo by Vernita Lytle

Christmas morning on Layla

Mark and Terry on Tauranga had rented a house near the marina as Mark was going to have his mother and daughter visit in December and January. Mark and Terry very generously invited quite of a few of us homeless cruisers for Christmas dinner.

Mark carving the turkey

Auckland 2001 Christmas Dinner Photo Gallery

We relaxed and enjoyed some sunny days between Christmas and New Year's. We were again treated to visit from some old Onyx friends. Mike Powell and his fiancé Samantha Koh. Mike and Sam both now live in Singapore; Mike is from Auckland so they were in town for the holidays.

Mike and Sam

Ken also found some time to work on his video game skills, Delta Force being the current favorite among the video game playing junkies.

Nik and Ken engrossed in an intense Delta Force match

Xen and Shelaine from Inatora had organized a New Year's eve day picnic at a beach on the west coast of New Zealand at a park about an hours drive from Auckland.

The short drive over to the west coast beach was lovely. Xen had selected a great spot. The day was sunny and warm and we enjoyed hanging out on a long black sand beach.

   

Black sand beach on the west coast of North Island

Kids playing in the soft black volcanic sand

Drew and Vernita


Photo by Vernita Lytle

The gang at the beach on New Year's Eve Day

After some fun on the beach, we moved to a nearby park for a late BBQ picnic and a little bocci ball

Terry, Rachel and Vernita handling the grill

   

New Year's Eve afternoon picnic and game of Bocci ball

After the picnic, we all headed back to Auckland. No one had big plans for New Year's Eve, other than plans to watch the fireworks to be set off from the Sky Tower at midnight.

Ken in our Kiwi car, while I was off taking pictures

We returned to the marina and settled in for a quiet New Year's Eve. We watched a new movie we had received for Christmas and were planning on watching the fireworks and then heading to bed. We however, got a call on the VHF from Vernita at 11:45pm that we should come over to Layla to watch the fireworks and join an impromptu continuation of our New Year's Eve celebration.

Rachel, Jen, Ed, and Mark in Layla's cockpit waiting for the fireworks to start

More Pictures in the Auckland New Year's Eve Party Photo Gallery

Sky Tower fireworks bring in 2002 in Auckland

We've enjoyed a wonderful holiday season in Auckland. Though we are away from North America, we now feel our homes are where our boats are and our family now includes the good friends we've made with whom we share this lifestyle

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