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December 2002

Dear Friends:

It is at this time of the year we especially appreciate having a home base in a cove that offers all round protection (in fact the moorings in front of our yard are hurricane proof) and is within an easy days sail of Auckland.


New Zealand is a real crossroads for cruising sailors. We last saw Maurice and Katie Cloughley in Panama in 1972. They are still cruising on their 32-foot cutter.

This makes it easy for friends from Auckland, plus voyagers inbound from the Pacific to join us for weekends full of, sailing, eating, hiking across this rugged island to the magnificent beaches on the far side 9 three kilometers away, pool playing and bowls. Thanksgiving day we once again hosted dinner for north American friends and their Kiwi mates, with five crews sailing in, and another seven folks coming across from the mainland on our newest addition, the 25 year old, 14 foot run about powered by a 20 year old, huge (to us) 50 horsepower motor. Visitors began arriving a day before the event, and stayed a day after to partake of a pancake brunch. All together 27 people devoured three-12 pound turkeys, plus a massive pan of candied sweet potatoes (kumara was substituted, a local veg that is even better than sweet potatoes) mashed potatoes, green peas and three salads, bowls of fresh strawberries, etc. etc. Larry played host at his pool table downstairs, when he wasn't out sailing our 8-foot dinghy with other guests. A couple that cruised in here three years ago from the U.S., Catherine and Christopher Miller bought a home in our cove. He then signed on to Team New Zealand as their resident computer whiz. They came up to the island to join us and on the morning, other cruisers sailed in to visit them. "Invite them along too," Larry said and Tom and Pam Howell anchored their Farr 58 Imagine, to join in with the fun.

Jacques, an American sailor who settled here in New Zealand 10 years ago, took over all the seafood cooking for a recent Mahurangi Cruising Club get together. For the equivalent of $5.00 each we had all the fresh quick sautéed scallops we could eat.

The previous weekend had been highlighted with a meeting of circumnavigators at the Auckland Maritime Museum where we met 30 other couples from New Zealand who have voyaged around the world. Each had a different story to share. There we were delighted to catch up with AB and Adrienne couple. We last saw them just after they launched their boat in 1990 and brought it to this island to celebrate completing what had been a 14-year building project. It was only a month ago that we had asked several friends, What ever happened to AB and Adrienne? Answer, just home from 8 years of voyaging.

Unfortunately smoke from his fire, combined with the sausage grill, set off the fire alarms in the old homestead at the local park. The fire crew finally took off their kit and joined in the feed.


We spent the day before the circumnavigators dinner walking around the Viaduct and enjoying the fun atmosphere that is created by the Americas Cup buzz. Every café is full, musicians and jugglers roam the wide walkways surrounding the viaduct basin. Parking is impossible, prices are crazy, but the young people are still beautiful, you can get a ringside seat at an outdoor table in one of fifty locations and we can almost guarantee you'll meet someone you know from somewhere. We met dozens of friends from near and far, cruisers, racers, or just New Zealand sailing friends down for a walk around the harbor.

Back here at Mickey Mouse Marine we do seem to have a few too many boats. Larry is standing in Cheeky 3, our sailing dinghy. The orange beast is BJ, the yard work boat that we have now traded on, and of course there is Jonquil, the boat we maintain and race for its owner when we are in New Zealand.

Back here at Mickey Mouse Marine, we are finishing up the repair work on Jonquil and getting her ready for three regattas starting New Years Day. Also have to rebuild the barge we use for hauling supplies out to our island. And I am doing up a few articles, plus getting charts ready for our return to Taleisin in February, learning a bit more about gardening, always reminding myself that anything I plant has to take care of itself for two or three years at a time because we have some grand sailing plans coming up.

Larry seems to make more shavings than ten men when he is doing boat repair work. He pauses here for a cold ginger beer.


Yesterday I was down at the shop bringing Larry a cool drink when a 46-foot yacht sailed in to anchor close by. Someone yelled, "Hey Lin. It's me." I couldn't figure out who was shouting until Amanda and John Neal came ashore. No surprise when I realized Amanda has taken up serious running and remolded her body after dropping 52 pounds (yes 52). She looks great. They are having a grand time with their ocean crossing charters. We had dinner aboard and met their 7 guests, then all came in for a walk around our homestead. Last time we saw John and Amanda was in San Diego, 1997. As usual, it is grand to share sailing stories with people who have been to our favorite places, and even better to learn of some new islands to visit on the route we plan to cover next.

But, the results please our customers. Here he has replaced a damaged binnacle mount, using some of the teak we brought over from Hong Kong several years ago.

Our holiday greetings to everyone. Hope you have time to enjoy your families, good health, and good memories to savor as the year moves quickly toward its end.

Sincerely

Lin and Larry

This is the view from our front porch (verandah). The boat alongside the shed is the one he is working on.






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