Sunday, 31 March 2013

Around the Island

Easter weekend sees the round island race, head out of North Sound and turn right, keep going to East End then turn right again then go straight past South Sound to the finish line along 7 Mile Beach. Simple. Well, not quite. What an exciting couple of days out on the water. Blue Runner is a J37, the swells were 2.5-3 metres and the wind 24 gusting 26. Add a spinnaker. It was exciting.

Blue Runner in the fore ground and Java Knight
The photo was taken from East End in the place where two currents meet and chop and cross waves are fierce. The waves are breaking on the reef, that's quite a way off shore so the photographer, from Harbour House Marina, must have had an excellent zoom. Actually the photo really doesn't do the conditions justice.

We had a few issues in the tough conditions and came close to broaching a few times under spinnaker. Seven hours of being battered, wet and cold we arrived at the finish of the first day. Day two was only around four hours. Lots of lessons learnt, the main one for me not sit down wind of someone who gets seasick. Actually, even people who don't usually get sick did on this trip.

My poor rail mate was looking green so I suggested he retire to the back for a bit, I offered him my emergency zip lock bag. Then I felt a warmer wave, yes poor man had chucked all over me and the next person down the rail. We had to stay put as we needed the weight. He retired, I turned off my smell senses and waited for the next wave, grateful for the cold wash down. My cast iron belly held up, eating chips on the rail with fellow kiwi Aaron, waves washing over and making them a little soggy and adding salt.

It was funny, I had actually taken part in this race during my first weekend here. I got to race the second day, I was blissfully ignorant of the fact we were racing. The conditions on that day were very calm, thankfully. So still in one piece, body a little sore from the pounding and grinding, and nicely warmed up, I'm at home enjoying an evening chatting to the kids and friends. I love the Internet, how did we ever cope without it? 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Central Park

My first wander in Central Park was in gently falling snow. It was freezing and this hot house flower got the shivers. The snow settled on the trees and discretion and a hot coffee won the day. My second visit was to the zoo, the place where the movie Madagascar began.

I love wandering in zoos, I know that they are places where wild animals are kept caged and I should be horrified by this. But mostly I'm not as long as the animals are well cared for. The Central Park Zoo seemed to be an okay place for animals and smiling children were enjoying the early spring sunshine while wandering with their families. One of the reasons I enjoy zoos is that I am a people watcher. There was plenty of people watching potential in NYC.

Mums and dads with with kids, chatting and sharing the experience of the brightly coloured tropical birds, the snakes and the lemurs and my personal favourite the snow leopards. I could have watched them for hours, well one was fast asleep and twitching but the other was leaping after squirrels. Very entertaining. I got quite a few pics.

Who me?

Chillin in the sun

Beat my yoga move
After the zoo, more wandering in the park, the day being much warmer although there was snow on the ground. Central Park is a real asset to the city and there were heaps of people taking advantage of the pleasant day. That evening was dinner and jazz, excellent music in a lovely bar in the Village. Chris Noth of Sex in the City fame as well as another celeb I couldn't place joined us. He looked at me as though I should know him and only a celeb would dress in '70s style and get away with it so well, a blast from the past.

I really enjoyed New York and didn't get city fatigue as I often do. There was heaps to do and more stories will follow.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

More pics from NYC

Lost in thought

Grand Central Station clock

More from the Big Apple

I arrived late on Friday night, Saturday the walk to breakfast was in slow falling snow flakes. The snow continued all day, a bit of a treat for me and okay because I had layers of warm clothes on. My tour guide guided me through the subway and into the city. I now understand what Tim and Sarah were telling me about, looking up and seeing those massive skyscrapers. On Saturday they were in the clouds, looking up got me snow flakes in my eyes and there was plenty to see at ground level. Masses of people braving the snow for the parade.

People dressed in green with face paint and bits of skin showing. Tougher folks than me, I managed a green pashmina that matched my new purple jacket under my grey coat. Gloves, thanks Jane for those leather ones, and my hood up made it bearable. The St Paddy's day parade was amazing; the bands, the marching, the celebration so far from their homeland of these immigrants from famine ravaged Ireland to the land of plenty. The police were there in force, the mood celebratory and excited, the crowds polite and buzzing, the emotion something I didn't expect.

Rockafeller Centre

Military piper 69th Regiment

Pipes and more pipes

Sunday, 17 March 2013


And it's snowing! Really. I put out to the universe that I wanted snow and she obliged, in bucket loads and man it's freezing! I was all rugged up with one too few layers, I thought I might not need the icebreaker, wrong. The Paddy's day parade was a bit of a treat, pipes and marching bands and up close and personal encounters with the NYC police and army personnel. What a treat of a day. More later.

Right near the apartment

That's dedication....a street shot!

Friday, 15 March 2013

2 more sleeps.....

Until I'm on a plane again. New York City here I come! I'm getting really excited about this trip. One thing I've discovered is that it's good to get off this lovely tropical island every few months and have an adventure. It's also easy with so many destinations not too far away. I'm planning to do a few weekend trips as I head towards the end of my contract.

I pick this up a day later, only one more sleep until I fly. My bag is packed, my camera gear is almost ready and I'm excited. I've got a packed itinerary in New York that includes all things musical, a truly cultural journey. Actually the opera is the main reason I'm going. I was talking to a friend about opera way back last November and we looked for an interesting one to go and see. La Traviata came up in New York, the tickets were bought, the trip planned, March seemed to be so far away. And now it's here.

So the plan includes all the tourist places like Ellis Island, Battery Park, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Staten Island ferry, Central Park etc plus the musical evenings. The opera, the San Francisco Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Village Vanguard Jazz and of course an Irish pub and St Paddies Day parade. There may even be time for some shopping, well I hope so because I have a woeful winter wardrobe that needs spicing up.

It seems I will need my winter clothes, it's freezing in NYC at this time of year with snow expected on Monday. Actually I'm quite excited about that. Freezing with snow makes the freezing all worthwhile. So I fly from the tropics, where incidentally it's a chilly 27C to a bit above freezing. Oh well. There will be stories and photos, the apartment I'm staying on the Upper Eastside has Internet.

Did I mention I'm excited?

Monday, 11 March 2013

New Zealandish explained

It happened to me again last night, at an awards dinner. The conversation usually goes like this:

Person meeting me: Nice to meet you, where's that accent from?  (They don't know me yet and are being polite hence the nice to meet you)

Me: Well.....

Them: I know, I know let me guess. South Africa or is it Australia? Say something again, I know I can get it.

Me: Mmmmm well......

Them: Yes! Got it! Australia or maybe South Africa.

Me: I'm flattered that you think I'm Australian (not!) but I'm a New Zealander and I speak New Zealandish, just like on Lord of the Rings. (For those of you who don't know, being called an Aussie is like a Canadian being called an American or the Irish being mistaken for a Scot. I have personal experience of both!)

Last night was great, we ended up having quite a discussion about the origin of our accents and the mix of cultures at the table. Other times have not been so interesting. The friend I'm off to New York with next week is seeking to understand New Zealandish and found this. I watched it this morning, enjoying the humour and idiosyncrasies that are from home. I actually got a little homesick.

So for all of you who suspect I may need subtitles, for all the kiwis out there in the world who have the same sort of conversations and for the people interested enough to take the time to learn about us, enjoy. There are 6 clips and I hope they come up here as they do on the website .


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Sunday, 3 March 2013

It's March.....

How did that happen? Only four posts for February, unheard of! I've been really busy this past month or so, lots going on during the week and on the weekends.

It's Noah's birthday today, he's already had it in New Zealand time, and I got to have a short skype with him. He was really excited and showed me his haul of presents. They were off to a bouncy castle party at the park and I'm sure photos will follow. Not quite the same as being there.

There's been plenty of sailing with last weekend's marathon Banks and Back sail outside the North Sound and into the open ocean. It was a lot less stressful that the last time I went outside the reef, a nice calm day with gentle seas. The racing was on, Blue Runner won both days. It was so good to spend some time just out on the water, not too much to do but relax and enjoy the view and the company. I needed a bit of thinking time. Things are changing here. More on that in another post soon.

I'm off to New York in a couple of weeks, I can't wait although I will need to pack a warm wardrobe. I've shaken the moths out of my winter clothes, they really are a drab collection except for my new red dress and skirt. I need to buy a few more things, a nice pair of closed in, non sandal heels to wear to the opera and some warm undergarments. Not easy when living on a tropical island. My tour guide has a packed itinerary for us, I may have to fit in a quick shop.

This morning we did some work down at the sail club cleaning and gardening to have it spick and span for the international regatta. The weather closed in and we decided to come back another day. It was amazing to watch the change to a nor'wester and see the sea kick up so quickly from a mill pond into whitecaps. A new person asked why we weren't out on the water, he took back his words about fair weather sailors when he watched the weather change so quickly.

So the cleaning crew is off out to dinner soon and I should really get organised and out there. I'm picking there will be more entries in March, more from New York. Did I mention I'm really, really excited about finally getting there?