I have created this blog with the hopes that you, my friend, will follow me as I sail around the world (figuratively or literally, not sure yet) with my parents on their Contest 48. Whereas I hope to keep you updated with exciting adventures of exotic ports and epic waves, keep in mind that cruising - that is, traveling by boat in a leisurely fashion - tends to be filled with days of intense boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Please keep this in mind as you read these entries, for this platform will be just as much an attempt for me to maintain my sanity (and connection to the California-based world), as entertainment and reassurance for you. And so, follow me as I sail the world.

P.S. All material on this blog, words and photos alike, are copyrighted by me. Copyright 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. If you decide that this material is worth re-publishing, please give me credit and lots and lots of money.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kiwis Are Sweet

Kiwis are maybe a little too sweet. The past few days have been a blur of road tripping, meeting and greeting, and celebrating in general. When the people who pulled into the slip next to us arrived, they jumped off the boat and kissed the dock. I guess they had an especially rough passage and felt like they cheated death by arriving here. Every time a new group of boats arrives at the docks there is a new wave of euphoria, which of course is accompanied by celebratory beers. That, mixed with obligatory time spent in the bars meeting the locals has made for some long - albeit fun - evenings.

I have been palling around with (my new best friend for the time being,) Kyle. He crewed for our friends on Sarah Jean from Tonga here and now he and I have been causing a ruckus. There is not much here in Opua where the boat is, so yesterday we hitched a ride from another yachtie kid who took us into Pahia. Pahia has a bit more to offer than Opua... which wouldn't have to be much but it is actually a cute little touristy summer town.

Unfortunately the weather yesterday was cold and rainy, and with limited options Kyle and I found ourselves drinking pints from 3 in the afternoon until well into the evening. It was kind of weird though. We went to the bars by the backpacking hostels hoping to find other travelers to chat with, but everything was totally dead. It wasn't until our fourth pub (and who knows how many pints later) that we found the pub where all the locals were hanging out. Bingo.

Kyle and I headed to the pool table and challenged two locals to a friendly game of pool. Pania and Karlier (girl and guy) turned out to be super cool people, who after many games of pool and many pints, invited us back to Pania's house for beers. It was getting a bit late by this time and Kyle and I had not figured out how we were going to get back to Opua - its about an 8 km walk. We were not looking to walk back too late so we politely declined, saying we need to get started home.

Pania would not accept no for an answer. After a few more beers she herds all of us in a taxi - including a Namibian guy and German girl we befriended - and off we went. After making a quick stop at the market for a few cases of beer that she paid for, we found ourselves at Pania's apartment partying until some awful hour in the morning. She insisted that Kyle and I sleep in her bed while she slept on the couch, and would not hear anything of our protests. She is a super cool girl - friendly and hospitable - but almost too much so.

We had known Pania for less than 12 hours before she is not only inviting us into her home and feeding us beer, but giving us her bed to sleep in. I do not think I have ever met anybody else like that. And (as far as I know) she had no ulterior motives for the evening. She is just a very kind and outgoing person who wanted to party with us and had no expectations except that we have a good time. We did, although the 8km hike back to the boat this morning was a bit treacherous.

This story might sound a little weird, and it most likely would have been under different circumstances. I probably would not accept an offer like that from somebody at a bar in the States. It just feels a bit different here. I don't know what it is, but people are so friendly and open that I do not have too much apprehension or anxiety about meeting and hanging out with new people. But don't worry - I will use good judgment when picking my friends.

Speaking of friends, tons of people we have met across the Pacific are filling into the marinas around here. It is like seeing long lost friends when they arrive. A few days ago we took a road trip with Bob from the sailboat Braveheart. It was cool to drive around the countryside and get my bearings a bit, but I am also beginning to realize how rural and low key New Zealand. The country has a striking resemblance to the Pacific Northwest - Oregon, Washington or British Columbia. This is cool, but I have developed quite an affinity for the tropics and am already pining for some warm blue water. And no - I have not surfed yet.

Ok, I will try not to complain about missing the tropics - especially since we are going into summer down here. I will also try to continue updating my blog regularly, but will only write if I have something to write about, which... well... let's just hope I come up on some epic surf adventures soon.

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