New Zealand is really a naturalists's wonderland: from the twisted volcanic rock formations to the mixed up trees, whose roots appear to have gotten all confused as they grow above-ground, hanging from the tree branches. Hilarious, awkward sea birds with long, orange beaks and a silly goose-step walk along the beach and red gooey creatures (probably some kind of anemone) grow here like gumdrops on the rocks. Yesterday we saw penguins swimming around the boat as we rounded Cape Rodney. These birds are ridiculously cute, paddling all chubby and happy-looking on their tummies near the boat. Chesterton got it right about the miraculous in the world. In the folk tales there are golden apples and flying horses, but here, there are glowing wakes of phosphorescence and flying fish (still to be sighted :)
Last night was our first night sail. We took turns with night watch, waking each other up every three hours to look out for unusual lights or signs of other boats. We glided past a giant, eerie oil refinery, which uncle Kurt refers to in a deep gutteral tone as "Mordor." It sends up flares and mechanical groans and glows on the horizon all night long.
We sailed all night with the bright moon and then finally dropped anchor in the peaceful Taurikura Bay around 6 a.m. We're not far from the Customs Check-out point for ships, and the plan is to leave NZ for Niue (1400 nautical miles away) and then Tonga (1200 nautical miles away). Here's hoping for favorable winds!!
Pim and Josje
Learning the ropes...