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Summer in Auckland

Written by Cathy Siegismund
February 2003

While the weather was not cooperating for America's Cup racing, we found lot of other things to do. Most of these involved socializing with Jason and Tam and Ed and Rachel, who were visiting, and other social events including a cruiser potluck at the marina. There were also a few boys day's out that included go cart racing and blow karting.

Rachel, Marc, Jason, Tam, Ed, Wendy & Garth at a very cozy party aboard Felicity

Marina cat, Kimma, visiting us during an evening cocktail party aboard Felicity

Ken and I also had found a local A & P show we attended about a 45 minute drive from Auckland. An A &P show is an Agricultural and Pastoral show, akin to a US county fair. We had been told this was a great place to experience a slice of Kiwi farm life without having it spiffed and polished for tourists. We had a great time and would agree with this recommendation.

Sheep dog trials

For more pictures see the A&P Show Photo Gallery

After spending most of the day at the Helensville A & P show, Ken wanted to drive out to the west coast to check out a potential blow kart beach. We knew that Muriwai, on west coast, was not very far from Helensville, so we assumed this other section of the west coast beach wouldn't be too far either. As we were driving along a rather unpopulated section of the road, we saw what looked like an older beagle sitting by the side of the road on a rather tight turn. The dog didn't budge as we slowed and drove by. Concerned that the dog may be lost and would be hit, we stopped. As soon as we did this, the dog ran up to the car. She had a blue eye, we weren't sure if she may be blind in one eye. She had a collar, but no tag. We now were worried she may have been dumped. We decided to pick her up and drive around checking for her owners at the few nearby houses we could find. As soon as we opened the car door, she leapt into the front seat with very little encouragement, and sat at Ken's feet. She was very cute. We drove up the side road where she had been sitting and only saw two houses. The first had a locked gate and didn't look occupied. We stopped at the second. A couple came out and said they had seen the dog a few times, but she wasn't theirs and didn't know where she belonged. They did suggest we try down across the road at the only other nearby house.

We drove down a long driveway and stopped in front of a house. I again knocked on the door and this time found the dog's owners. Sapphire, named for her blue and useful eye, was not known to wander, so they were rather surprised. They thanked us for hunting them down and returning Sapphire, and in typical Kiwi fashion asked us in for tea. We accepted. The Hills had a lovely home on several acres of land with a beautiful view of the west coast. They were probably in their 60's and were extremely interesting couple. We ended up staying and talking with them for 3 or 4 hours. Mr. Hill had climbed Mount Cook in the early 60's and Mrs. Hill was quite a talented artist who was currently working on a series of paintings for a local city counsel. Talk soon turned to the America's Cup, and Team New Zealand's chances with the team down 3-0. They said they should have some insight as one of their son's worked on Team New Zealand's rigging.

The following week Ken's step-sister Molly was in Auckland for a few days to visit us before she flew back to the States. She had spent six weeks in New Zealand in a university program finishing up her degree. She stayed on the boat and we spent a couple of days showing her around Auckland.

The America's Cup was still on hold for weather, but we took her down to the Viaduct Harbour and the syndicate's sheds.

Molly in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour

Molly giving Alinghi's bucking bow a try


Molly trying the grinders in the Telecom, a Team New Zealand sponsor, pavilion

Cath and Molly on Prince's Wharf in front of the Amerigo Vespucci


Cath and Molly trying out some very large lawn furniture at an art store in downtown Auckland

We also took Molly to Kelly Tarlton's a popular tourist attraction. It is a bit cheesy, but has quite a bit of information on Antarctic expedition, gives you the chance to see penguins King and Gentoo (the 2nd and 3rd largest species of penguins) quite close, and has a decent aquarium where you walk through an acrylic tunnel and view the sea life all around you.



Penguins at Kelly Tarlton's

Molly walking through the acrylic tunnel in the Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World

We also fit some shopping, dinners out, and a little pampering for Molly after her six week stint on south island camping and sleeping in huts.

We had arranged our flight to South Island to be on the same day and at about the same time she flew back to Seattle. We all shared a cab and we dropped her off at the international terminal before we went to catch our flight for our fourth trip to the South Island.

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