Styczeń 22nd, 2009

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GREAT BARRIER ISLAND (4/1/09-7/1/09)

czwartek, Styczeń 22nd, 2009

Beautiful island, wonderful scenery and views, sparse population, gravel roads and lots of hills – rather good for our training purposes. Brian and Alison have a house on the island set in 93 acres with their own three mountain tops (NZ seems like Wales – anything over 1,000 feet is a mountain).

 They also maintain ye olde British colonial custom of “Sundowners”; up to the top of one of these mountains to enjoy a drink while watching the sunset. What a life! And if had been better organised we could have further enhanced our Sundowner experience by drinking a glass of wine from the Walkers own vineyard.

AUCKLAND (Sat, 3/1/09)

czwartek, Styczeń 22nd, 2009

We’ve made it! After 5 months of discussion and planning Ola and I have finally arrived in New Zealand. After leaving UK on New Year’s Day with temperatures zero or worse we arrived Auckland mid Saturday morning in temperatures around 22C. We were met at the airport by Ken and Lynette (rellies of Brian and Alison) and given a quick tour of downtown Auckland and a hill with monument overlooking the city reminiscent of Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh.

Next day after breakfast we caught the ferry to Waihiki Island.

We were met by Andrew and Andre, skipper and assistent respectively of Flying Carpet. This is a catamaran with a free-standing biplane rig with a pair of masts ass high as a set of rugby posts – rather appropriate for NZ!

(Those interesting in the technical aspects can find more information at

www.flyingcarpet.co.nz).

Then followed a very pleasant and leisurely nine hour sail across Hauraki Gulf to Great Barrier Island during which we took full advantage to recover from jetlag by dozing on deck.
Highlight was a 10 minute spell while we were accompanied by a shoal of dolphins ducking, diving and weaving around the boat.

As the sunset we were ferried ashore in the skiff a bicycle at a time to meet our hosts Brian and Alison (Brian and Alison are a couple from NZ who Ola and I first met on Baltic Cycle 2007 Brussels to Istambul and who I met again last year on BC2008 on the Silk Road to China).