Sunday, November 5, 2017

Gore Bay & Paua Hunting

In the last week I have been moved from Kaikoura to a small beach town south of most of the road sites. A place called Gore Bay, with it's main town being Cheviot. Well, “main” may be a bit of a far stretch. Cheviot probably has 300 people living it at most. The switch in location was due to the way to work taking ages. Cheviot and Kaikoura are about the same distance to the job, but not passing through all the roadworks means we save a lot of time. What sometimes took two and a half hours now can be done in a consistent half an hour. The new place is really good, too.
Anyway, in Gore Bay I now had entire free day this weekend, after spending yesterday shopping in Christchurch for groceries and watching a movie. Managing to pry myself out of the comfy bed in the morning and after some breakfast and exercise I set of on a walk to explore the surrounding area. There is a track leading up in to the limestone hills surrounding Gore Bay (forgot the name of the trail) and I decided to have a bit of an explore. The sign pointing out the track mentioned that the walk would take two hours, so I had all the food and water with me for a lunch at the top. A lot of the trail seems to be in dire need for repairs, as some of the pathways close to the stream running through look to be in threat of collapsing in to the stream bed. But they held me so they can probably hold nearly anybody. Hiking along the bottom area of the track I came to a section which took me through the stream, but it had fanned out and created a kind of swampy area overgrown by high grass. Initial thought was that this could be a risky area to traverse, but then I reconsidered my instincts from Australia that there would be no such things as snakes in there (snakes love those conditions, perfect for hunting amphibians). Climbing up I got to the top in approx. half an hour. 
At the top with the view overlooking Gore Bay and the hills towards the inland I meet two Kiwis who were in Gore Bay for a short weekend vacation. Had a bit of a chat to them, mainly about the work going on on the roads and rails to Kaikoura. Not much later back down, which was a lot faster than going up. All in all the two hour return trail took about 45 min. Not satisfied yet, I headed to the beach and along that. Seeing as the tide was out about three dozen people were on and around the beach, clambering over rocks and out in the shallows with wetsuits on. Pretty obvious what they were after, the New Zealand renown paua. Gore bay seems to have pretty large specimens of them, according to all the ones on display throughout the beach town. Shoes and socks of I decided to try my luck, too, but at the end of it all (after clambering over rocks and kelp) my search was rewarded with a moderate sized shell of a paua. No food inside it, though, so I'll have to try another day.
Once the tide started coming back in again I was back to the house for a bit of a read and writing the blog.

Length: 6.5km

Time: 1 hour 45 min.  

Monday, October 30, 2017

Kaikoura Peninsula Walk

Well, today’s plan was another walk. This time I didn't want to send my poor car through the gruelling track to the bottom of Mt. Fyffe. To much of that and it won't have any shock absorbers left to carry on driving.
So today I decided to do the Kaikoura Peninsula walk. Last time I was here I also did that, but today promised to be much nicer weather (again). Setting off, it was actually a bit to hot for my liking, as I started sweating straight away. But, well, summer isn't like winter. If it's to hot you just have to suck it up, as there comes a point were you can just not take any clothes of any more (especially in public).
The walk to the start of the Peninsula track took me through a bit of the town, past some historical sites and a roadside shop selling cooked crayfish. Might have to try that at some point, never had crayfish before. The beginning of the actual walk is where a decent amount of seals come to laze around on the rocks in the sun, so on good days there are a lot of other people there taking pictures of them. As I've already seen a fair share of seals I skipped that part and carried on straight to the walking track. 
Up on the hills you walk along a mowed grass track taking you to different points explaining different things about the history and environment. Down bellow I could hear seals calling out and I think most of them would have been the young ones from what I know and could catch from the sounds. There are some tracks down closer to the colonies, but I decide to carry on and after an hours walk ended up in the South Bay of Kaikoura. The town has also expanded in to here and today it was especially busy, due to a horse race being on. With my unpredictable allergic reactions to horses (seems to only happen in spring around said animal) I stayed clear of that and went back up the hills to get to the town centre and the accommodation I have there. Quick two hour walk with a lunch break in between, a lot of black birds hanging around and not to many people.

Distance: 10.5km

Time: 2 hours

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Mount Fyffe, Kaikoura

Quite a bit has happened since the last blog update. So much for keeping things updated more regularly...
All throughout September we worked at the ski field, with not as many closed days as at the start of the season. Had some fun times on and of the field with most of the staff, be it skiing or hanging out.
Then came October, with the last week of the season being the holidays of New Zealand. Considering that the holidays were in full swing, the weather did not really cooperate. We had one really nice day on a Saturday and the rest of the week was a mess of cloud and rain, even a bit of snow at some points. The last day was one of the most interesting by far. Standard procedure every year at Porters is, that at the end of the last day all the staff help pack up the area. This means that all the fences, all the spring boxes of the Tow-bars and all the crash mats get tidied up. We finished all that at about six o'clock in the evening, after having closed down the lifts at about two PM. Mark and me had some of the best jobs, as we were on T2 and T3. The weather was absolutely horrific at the bottom and at the top it was blowing a snowstorm. So much in fact that the Tow-bars had to be closed to the public, so ski patrol could do avalanche work. Means Mark and me got a few free runs in on the safe stretches and it was really good snow. A nice finish for the end. Later whilst packing up the spring boxes at T3 one of the ski patrols released a small avalanche, which, had it carried on to far, might have gotten us whilst we were working.
The next day we had the end of season party. After the whole staff devoured and entire lamb on a spit we had a bit of a party at the Longframe (workers hut) up on the mountain.
A few days later the whole Benmore crew went for a last day in Christchurch. Thanks to Nicks organisation in Sheffield we ended up doing some climbing in a forest where they had set up routes through the trees. Doing that I noticed how unfit I have become. Either the ones in Pfronten are easier or I just haven't kept up my exercise (I reckon later). Concluding that we (after some heavy debating) went and had an all you can eat meal in one of the restaurants around the town, before heading out to Hanses parents place for a last few drinks. After the goodbyes, Mark and me returned to Benmore, and so ended a fun few months at Porters. 

A week later I got a call from Dean (my boss at a hay contracting job) if I was available (yes) and if I wanted to go work up near Kaikoura. The town had suffered a severe earthquake about a year ago, and the recovery works are still under way and will be so for a long time. As I am still saving up money to go sailing with Dad once he sets of, I agreed and later the next day saw me driving a tractor up to Kaikoura to help with transporting stuff in a trailer where trucks can't go. The first three weeks was pretty much just work and getting stuff sorted out (inductions, picking up my car from Sheffield, etc.) but today was the first day I actually managed to go out and do something.
Last time I had been to Kaikoura I'd done a walk up one of the mountains, called Mt. Fyffe. The weather was not the best that time and I was also battling a cold, but needed something to do.
So here I was again, this time felling healthy and a nice day out and about (also testing out a new calorie tracker). The drive there went across some gravel roads which I don't think my car enjoys to much and after having a fast change of clothes at the bottom in the car park I started walking up. Man, am I out of shape, but I still managed to get further than last time. I had lunch at a lookout point a fair way up and then continued further up for another 20 minutes to see the other side of the mountain. Going all the way up is slightly out of area of comfort right now, as the top turns in to rather alpine terrain. About three hours from the bottom there is a hut you can stay in and the top is about five hours from the bottom up. So after snapping a few pictures just after the lookout point I turned round and went back down. This is the part where I miss having a bike, but the gradient is rather step in the first half. Still, my legs noticed the downwards walk more than usual.

Once back in the car and heading for Kaikoura I met James on the way (a work colleague) and had a wee chat.  

Monday, August 28, 2017

Craigieburn Skiing

Sitting down and thinking on it for a while I can think of a reason why most people, including me, seem to not be able to keep their blogs updated after a few months of travelling. As I have travelled for the last two and a half years, it has become a normal state for me now. I no longer have a constant place I live at or extraordinary things happening in the area I'm settled in, as I tend to travel and stay at those places that many take of work for to visit and spend a lot of their earnings on. For me this has all become semi-normal, so not something I would write in a blog which I reserve for special occasions.
Thinking about this, I will tray and get in to writing more often again, as in the years to come where ever I may settle down, I will most likely regret not writing about all the things I did whilst younger.
On to the happenings then...

A week ago my flatmate Mark said he wanted to go to Craigieburn for a ski. A bit of back-story on Craigieburn is in order I think. Most places in the world you here about skiing are giant ski fields, owned and operated by corporates that have a lot of money and tourism interest in their areas. Hidden away in the Southern Alps of New Zealand you'll occasionally find another type of field, the ski club fields. These are small, sometimes family run businesses that have not got large developed infrastructure or even good access roads, but they are what New Zealand skiers like and love. On busy days you'll find even these small fields won't have a lot going on. Craigieburn is somewhat famous from what I have heard. Our neighbour and work college, Luke, mentioned that he even heard stories about that club field as far as Canada. A quick video look on YouTube found some people saying it can be the poor man's heli-skiing. So being only a few kilometres from Porters we had to check it out at some point.

The day Mark and me picked to go was probably the worst day for weather, but it was the only day we had and we took it. Driving there we passed the Porters turn of and carried on through Castle Hill, a village rather popular with climbers due to the boulders placed around the area by glaciers that have now receded. Even to a non climber like me it still looked like one of those typical New Zealand pictures and I'll have to get back there with my camera some time in the next few months.
After passing the club fields of Cheeseman and Broken River we turned of at Craigieburn and took a drive up through the native forest underneath the club field. Something nearly all ski areas in New Zealand miss is forests. Not that this is necessary a bad thing, but my personal taste rather enjoys trees and woodlands to go down through. Most likely a preference from my years growing up in Nesselwang.
After leaving the car in it's designated place near a shed with a generator running for the accommodations and a tractor with a snow plough parked out the front, Mark and me went to get our tickets (at a slight discount due to working on another field) and then returned with our gear, all set and ready to go. The next stage at Craigieburn was to work out how rope tows work. Rope tows are the lifts most club fields use, they are cheaper to operate than T-bars and Chairlifts, but it requires more skill on side of the customer to use. Both of us were Newbies in that area, so we had a ski patrol/instructor show us how things are done. I won't explain the full workings behind the rope tows, as you can most likely find videos on the internet showing what they are. To round things up, it took me three tries to get going, but the experience of being challenged by a new lift after skiing for twenty years was refreshing. 
Finishing the lifts both of us where buffed by winds blowing through the rocky spires of the top, all alone on the ski field. Talking to the ski patrol lower down, we had found out that at that point we were the only people on the mountain, apart from staff. The first run down promised to be an interesting day, as the conditions were so bad and challenging that it was funny. Heavy snow that barely let you turn, an unknown ski terrain, strong and gusty winds and an ever changing weather pattern (sun, cloud, rain, fog, snow, etc. We had it all) ensured that the day was an interesting one. The stops in the upper lodge of the mountain were a must and a nice dry spot to get ready for another excursion out in the elements. Over the day we were joined by a few other people, but all in all the total amount of customers on the mountain could be counted on two hands. Later on in the day, after skiing through chutes and staying just above the rocks buried in the snow, conditions got even more interesting. The top 50 metres were awesome skiing, underneath that line the fall of heavy snow ensured that the slope turned to glue, stopping even the most die hard attempts at picking up speed downhill. Still, everyone was laughing and having a great time. Mark torpedoed the snow at one point and later on in the day we got close to being blown of the top. We didn't manage to walk where we intended to go, but waited things out, as the wind was so strong we could not go against it.
Once the late afternoon pulled in we called it quits, with a long last run down a chute on the side of the mountain to get us down back to the car. Whilst returning our gear we also had a quick drink at the bar and talked to some of the employees there. Most where Canadian and American, something which is in stark contrast to Australia. Most Northern Americans seem to prefer New Zealand (similar climate?).

After a drink it was back home to get all our gear dried out for work again, but I could feel the onset of a flue getting to me.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Porters Powder & Lake Ohau Skiing

Once again a long time without writing anything in my blog. The last few weeks have seen me working the most time, but also getting a lot of time off, as the ski field was often closed due to bad weather. Most of the time this was due to wind, but we have also had a lot of snow over the last few weeks which is pretty unusual for New Zealand, apparently. Working has been rather interesting, actually. It seems we liftys have on of the best jobs on the mountain, as we can see a lot of funny stuff happening to the customers and we are outside a lot. What some people walk away from is surprising (collision with a lift tower, face plant in to a wooden fence, etc.) but sometime things don't work out well. We've had a few helicopter calls going through, but that is the case with a ski field. There are a lot of people I try to stay well away from, and even as an employee the mountain can be an unsafe place. One lifty had a border slip down the lift and hit him in the side of his knee and today another one got his shoe sliced up by a renegade snowboard. Anyway, so far all of us have survived (for the most part, but that story has nothing to do with the operations on the mountain).

Last Tuesday we had a powder day and I fortunately had the day of, so I hired a pair of skies from the rentals which were built for powder skiing and went out for the day with Hans mostly, but also a quick ride with Nick, Logan (NMIT guy), Chris and Flo. The best run of the day I had was coming down Bluff Face, with an unbroken powder line, being the fifth one down. The unusual circumstances with the snow is that New Zealand doesn't normally have this much. Last year quite a few runs were closed the whole season, where as this year everything has been open on a nearly consistent rate. Still, even this amount of snow isn't really enough for me, I'll have to keep my eyes on Canada in a few years time. 
Yesterday was kind of a hard choice where to go. Nick, Hans and Celine (ticket office Kiwi) were heading for Queenstown, skiing in Ohau yesterday and heading for Cardrona today. I really wanted to get to Cardrona, just because of the size of it. But they weren’t heading there until today, on which I am working. In the morning I was still undecided if I should go to Porters for the day or head down to Ohau with them. The journey to Ohau is four hours long. So I'd be driving for four hours, skiing for four and the driving back again. In the morning it was raining here at Porters and the top T-Bars seemed closed in the morning (in the end they were closed the entire day) so I headed south for four hours with the others. We passed Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki before we got to Lake Ohau. The journey up to the ski field had to be done in Celines car, as mine is only two wheel drive and I have no chains. That's the interesting part about New Zealand, too. No ski field has a town at the base of it. All of the ski field have a track to drive up. Probably due to the snow line being so high up.
The first hour at Ohau was mediocre at best. The clouds clung to the mountains, so we had nearly no view what so ever. After the first hour of exploring in fog the clouds broke up and we ended up having a nice view down to Lake Ohau with the barren mountains of the Southern Alps around us. At one point they even opened the ridge line which we hiked up to, and had a stunning view of the surrounding area. Throughout the rest of the day we continued to explore the small family run mountain, which according to the staff was a fairly busy day. Compared to Porters there was next to nothing going on.

At the end of the day we headed back down and I said goodbye for now to the other three. They headed down to Queenstown and I drove back up to Springfield. Along the way I rang Grandma, Mum and Lesley to wish Grandma a Happy Birthday and to chat a bit of the drive away. Back at Springfield I popped in to the pub, were most of the Porter workers were having an evening drink to say hi before heading home to get some well earned sleep.  

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Skiing Mt. Hutt

The ski season is finally upon us and we had the staff training on the mountain at Porters the past weekend. All in all the entire experience was actually rather fun, considering that training is mostly boring in nearly ever job. But this one saw us meting pretty much the entire crew on the mountain and getting out on the mountain to have a look at how the lifts operate. At the end of the three days all of us had a good idea of what to expect and what is expected.
The next week saw us settling in to our house at Benmore station and meeting all the others that I'd be living with in that time, too. We have Mark, an English guy I have stayed with at the hostel before, Nick (American from California), Lena (German), Flo (German), Chris (German), Gershon (err, don't really know, lot's of places), Hans (Kiwi) and me. The house we are in is really good to. We had a fire and TV installed whilst we were there and the heat the fire puts out is just ridiculous. The owners are also friendly, all being farming kiwis and looks like we got a good deal here (plus we are on the way to the Porters ski field and don't need to use our own cars).

Between going to Christchurch rather regularly and buying shopping and other gear a few of us managed to get a bit of skiing in on the our neighbouring mountain of Mt. Hutt. Due to location reasons they already have enough snow to open, but not enough for all runs. Most of the others managed to go to the mountain fairly soon, but the day all of them went my ski gear had not yet arrived from Germany (thanks to mum for that). They arrived the day they were all gone, and after a few parties to meet up with our other colleagues and a Rugby game between the All Blacks (NZ) and The Lions (UK), Hans, Lena and me managed to get a ski in to Mt. Hutt.
Awesome day to start of with it, too. Most of the Canterbury Plains was covered in a thick layer of clouds and Mt Hutt was sticking out of it. So for the better part of the day we skied above the clouds. Well “skied”. I'm the only one of the group that skied that day, as Hans and Lena both snowboard. But after some awesome views and fun carving the day was coming to an end.

Back at the house most of the others left for a party again (bit to soon for me and I was knackered from skiing) and Nick and me were the only ones left at the place. Shortly after it was bed for me, but a brilliant first skiing in New Zealand.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Taylors Mistake

Another day, another walk. This time to the outer end of the mountain range I have been hiking on so far. Izzy left for a road trip by bus today. As it left from the airport early in the morning I offered to drive her. No bus ran to the airport at that time and as I do have a vehicle now it was no problem. Also the airport isn't to far away either.
After dropping her of and returning to the hostel I had some breakfast and then got a few things sorted out on the laptop. The weather had been predicted to lighten up in the afternoon. It wasn't raining, but the clouds were thick with little wind. Means that the temperatures were also higher then yesterday.
The clouds still hadn't lifted once I had finished lunch, so I packed a snack and set of towards Taylors Mistake. The small holiday town is situated at the inlet for the Lyttelton harbour, so it was a bit of a drive. In the end I had to cross a part of the small range near to the coast to get to the start of the hike on the other side. Driving up I noticed the rather heavy weight of my car, but it got me over no problem. At the top I had a pretty good view in to Christchurch, so I parked the car and set up my camera in a small park. After the time lapse had finished I packed up and carried on to Taylors Mistake. 
Once arrived in the town I set of along the coastline. To be honest, most of the track didn't feel very New Zealandish, it looked very much like Scotland. Probably the reason a lot of English settled here in the first place. The trail was nice, a well gravelled stretch and I didn't meet to many other people (Tuesday). Saw more sheep than other people. At the tip of the of the hill range a few fortifications had been set up in world war two to deter the Germans from getting close. No idea what interest they had in New Zealand nearly 80 years ago. Even if the Germans lost then, New Zealand (and by extension Australia) is/are now overrun by young Germans anyway.
Walked around the hill and got back on to Summit road which runs all along the top. On all the walk I have done so far, I've had to cross it. Once I reached the Taylors Mistake again I had to go back down to the beach to get to my car. A bit of a steep walk, but nothing to bad. Some surfers were trying their best in the waves washing on to the black beach of the town and a few did manage to catch some waves.

Back at the car I headed of towards the hostel again, but stopped along the way for another time lapse and some photo shots of the sunset lighting up the sky.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Witch Hill

Last night when I came back, Shane and me had a new room mate. Izzy, a young woman from England. We got talking a bit and found out that both of us had nothing planned for today, so we decided to do a hike together. Most of the others in the hostel had to work as it was Monday, so in the morning after breakfast and making some sandwiches for lunch, the both of us headed out towards the mountains on the other side of Christchurch.
I've sort of come to not liking Christchurch that much. I'm sure it is an interesting city for people who like bar crawls and history of earth quake stricken city's, but for one as me that enjoys the rural areas more, it just isn't my sort of thing. A few days to view a couple of things, but not weeks. So the past few days have seen me increasingly driving to the foothills and beaches to get away from the town. Today was no different and once the car had been parked Izzy and me set of up through a valley to the top of one of the hills. The valley turned out to be a lot nicer than I had anticipated. Before leaving I'd done a short look at the semi-planned route from a satellite picture which showed no features what so ever, just shrubs and rocks. At the bottom of the valley we encountered an older women on a bike clearing the path from a tree that had fallen over and gave her a hand until the bulk of it had been taken of the track. Walking up we got our shoes and trousers muddy, as the rain and cold of the past few days had not helped in keeping/getting the track dry. To both our advantage it meant that the track was closed for mountain bikers, as that took a bit of the watchfulness out of walking. Still, paying attention was a must, as the same reason it was closed for the bikers meant that we were slipping and sliding across the tracks at occasions.
Further up we were meet by some sheep (what were we to expect, it is NZ after all) and saw some fellow hikers and bikers on the tarmac road running along the top of the ridge. The same one I had traversed the day prior. Once we reached that it was a short walk further before we got of the road again to hike up a hill known as Witch Hill. Getting up was a short but exhausting experience. I thought that Izzy was up behind me the entire way as I couldn't hear her huffing as much as I was, but it turned out (rather funnily) that she was thinking the exact same thing. Reached the top and had a brilliant view of the Canterbury Plains, Christchurch underneath us and the Southern Alps in the distance.
Short note: It is really weird for me to say that any other mountain range in the world is the Alps, coming from the original, but that's what they are called.
Once pictures had been taken and warm clothes put on, back down it went. The day was a lot better than the previous one, with not a cloud in site and the wind had slightly died down, but the air was still chilly. Had a quick stop for lunch once we got in to a wind sheltered area along the Summit Road again and then proceeded to walk down a bike track back in to the valley. Looking at some of the trails there, I had to think how much skill you need to come down there. Some of the tracks I would not touch with my mountain bike, but then again it's probably built more for downhill biking. Going down on foot was interesting enough, as the wet earth and pine needles were a challenge to manoeuvre. We reached a walk able track once we got down in to the valleys again and carried on until we got back in to town. Then it was only about half an hours walk to the car. On the way we got ambushed by a cat that wanted some cuddles, weird behaviour for a feline.

Back at the car, back to the hostel with a quick stop for some shopping and then to put the legs up. A really nice walk with some good scenery on a day just made for being outside.  

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Christchurch has been a rather dreary, but nonetheless an, experience. First of my primary reason to travel to the “capital” of the South Island was to have an interview with a prospective job at one of the ski fields. So far the only one that has offered me such, two others wrote back in that time saying they were unfortunately fully staffed already (sort of surprising, since I had written to them in February).
On the way to Christchurch I passed some of the iconic scenes of the South Island of New Zealand. No use what so ever, as the complete days travel we had a heavy fog. The bus drivers talked of the grand view over Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo to the mountain range in which Mount Cook is located. Didn't see a thing.
Once in Christchurch I got to the hostel I had booked in and I reckon I got a fairly good choice. Not a raving party hostel, as my money is slowly going down and I want to be able to sleep at night, but close enough to the city centre. The only down side is that the nearest cheap supermarket is about 30 minutes walk away. Bit more exercise then.
The day of the interview came and I thought I had stuffed it up completely. The boss interviewing me is from exactly the same place in Germany I am from. Füssen to be precise and he knows my ski instructor boss at home (Hanse) personally (or did a few years ago). Half the interview was about the actual job and half was about how things are at home.
Shortly after the interview I got an email asking if I wanted the job and that I could have it. Without much mucking around I accepted and am looking forwards to working on the snow fields for four months. 
After getting the job situation sorted out I was a bit more relaxed about my financial situation, but one thing I was sorely missing was a car. Spending a couple of months in Australia with one showed me what sort of freedom you can get with only an own vehicle. Expenses, too, mind you. A rough calculation of my old car in Oz got me to a five digit sum over the course of the entire time I had spent there. But I wouldn't have traded what sort of things I managed to do with it. So the week after the interview I had a look around cars. In the beginning I just went to dealers, but after viewing a few cars that backpackers had I expanded in to that seller field, too. Turned out it was good that I did, as a lot of backpackers are currently fleeing the cold and winter of the South Island to go back home in to summer in the Northern Hemisphere or the tropics. Absolute buyers market at the moment, which reflected in the prices. Also I had driven a few cars of dealers and the last one I looked at was a piece of garbage. Mind you, he only wanted 1700$ for it, but that probably reflects the condition of the thing. In the end I purchased a Honda Odyssey 2003 Model from two German backpackers. All is already set up for camping and I can sleep the nights away in the back. Once purchased I got a check on it done and only needed to repair things worth 200$. 
Once those days had passed I wanted to get out and explore the surrounding are of Christchurch a bit more. I was getting sick of the interior city and needed to see a bit more. Unfortunately the days following saw a lot of rain and cold weather come in, not the ideal conditions for hiking. The Southern Lights were showing up again, too, but no luck with the clouds hanging above. Once a day with a bit of sunshine arrived I took a quick drive to the beach and had a walk there. The next day I popped by a lake south of Christchurch, Lake Ellesmere. The weather was biting cold and the wind was pushing the car around, so after a very short walk I hopped back in and drove back to Christchurch and the warm hostel.
The next day I was starting to get fed up, so I packed all the warm clothes I could fit in to my bag and headed of to the gondola on the other side of Christchurch. Didn't take that, but walked up next to it, safe in the knowledge that should it start to pour down I had a fast way of getting down. The weather held, but it was still freezing in the wind. The Southern Alps are covered in snow, which is hopefully a good indication of the season to come, and even the hills near to Christchurch that I was walking around on had a light covering of snow. After getting to cold I walked back down, hopped in to the car and decided to finally update the blog again.

Currently in a nice warm room in the hostel felling good at having gotten some exercise done.  

Friday, May 5, 2017

Queenstown Hill

Over the past couple of days I have started getting a bit nervous. My bank card hadn't shown up yet and I'm leaving the hostel on Sunday to travel to Christchurch for a job interview on one of the potential sky field. Having the post chase me around is not what I had in mind with something as sensitive as a bank card.
But today all got good. I found the awaited letter in the letter box of the hostel and contained was my bank card. Got all the first steps sorted out and found out that my first superannuation payment has come through from Australia. The sky was blue, the day was warm and so far I had only had good news. So in the afternoon I decided to do the Queenstown Hill, the hill I had to stop at last time due to my cold.
Set of after having a lunch of fried vegetables and walked up the hill for a good one hour. The closest thing I can compare it to is the walk to the middle station of the Alspitze, both length and gradient wise. The were a lot of other people on the way up and down as well, so I wasn't the only one using the blue sky of the day to take a walk. The first part of the walk is to actually get to the start of the walk at the top of Queenstown. Queenstown is a city built on the side of a mountain/hill leading down to the water and I had to reach to top of the town first. That was the shortest part, after that the longest one goes through a pine forest with a few deciduous trees in their autumn colours here and there. After the walk through the forest you reach the top of the tree line, which seems to happen rather sudden here in NZ. Then it's more shrubs and rocks everywhere, but the scenery just gets better and better. Underneath one, Queenstown is nestled in the gorges with Lake Wakatipu stretching out in the deeper parts of the valley. At the top you are treated with a stunning view of the Remarkables (a mountain range with a sky field in them) stretching along the other side of the lake. The pictures I've put on here hopefully serve it justice. 
Spent a short while at the top having a drink and just enjoying the scenery of snow capped mountains and blue lakes in the valley before heading back down again. On the way I had a chat to a guy from Hong Kong who was flying his drone around (a Mavic Pro, one I have been looking at) and then raced down at a fast walk through the dark pine forest.

Time: aprox. 1.5 hours.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

First Week Queenstown

You'd think that being in a new country for a week would have seen me post things regularly on new and exciting experienced I did in that time. Unfortunately, this last week was not the norm in that regard. For starters, I got sick. Badly. A cold which a few others in the hostel also caught. The first day with it, I had committed two others taking a walk with me up a hill behind Queenstown to have a look down. A short way up I had to stop, as I noticed that the exercise was not doing me any favours what so ever. From that point on Emma (Aussie) and Adam (UK) carried on alone and I just wanted to walk back and get in to bed. Unfortunately that would have meant I would have been out of food, which is probably not the best thing to be when sick in bed. Swung by the supermarket and bought a few things before getting back to the hostel and bed. I slept for a good portion of the day, but as a result my jet lag (still I reckon) came in to play and I couldn't sleep the rest of the night.
Due to bad luck I had to take an hour bus trip to the next town the following day, reason being to open a bank account. Now, opening a bank account seemed like such a simple thing. At least it was in Australia. On my second day here I walked off all the banks in Queenstown and the results weren't promising. Westpac had declined straight away. Company policy dictated that I couldn't open a bank account before having a job (along that line) and, well, it's extraordinary difficult to get a job without a bank account. Ergo, problem?! The next largest bank, the ANZ, didn't have a spot free to open an account until three weeks later, which is a very long time to go with pulling funds from over seas. The other bank, a bit smaller, Kiwibank couldn't give me an appointment for a similar long time. In the end I organised an appointment in the next town in Cromwell, where I could go and get everything done four days later. The bank problem seems to be a Queenstown exclusive, as stories I've heard from backpackers in Auckland say that they got in when they walked in to the banks.
Anyways, in the end I went to Cromwell with a cold to open a bank account. There are two buses, one in the morning going there and one in the evening coming back. End of line. Brilliant for when one is not felling to well (sarcasm). What was nice about the journey, though, was that we had a funny and talkative bus driver, which in my situation was really a relief. Also the scenery along the route was stunning. We passed wine fields and bungee drops over clear rivers where rafting and kajaking is possible. All surrounded by the South Islands mountains. I can't wait to travel in an own vehicle again. 
In Cromwell I actually managed to get a bit more than the bank account done. As if to make up for all the bad felling from being ill, I got a lot of good new that day. I'd found out I could get a bit more money from Oz than originally anticipated, due to superannuation I was never going to need. I got my tax file number sorted out, which was made a lot easier with me just having been in the bank and I re-read a job interview invitation I have for a ski field I applied for. Once back I then just dropped in to bed again.
The next few days saw me recuperating and generally not doing a lot past sleeping, reading and watching videos. Most of my survival in that time was in tea, honey and raw lemons, but as of today I feel a lot better.

The past days have been cooling off and just today we have had the first bit of snow on the mountains. Here is to hope to a good season, and quite a few other backpackers are also getting a bit hyped up due to the snow. A lot of people are itching to get on to the snow fields.  

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Flight to New Zealand

The first blog from New Zealand for me. After an agonising long time.
First the background check of what has been going on these past couple of days and what it has taken to get here. About five months ago I had decided to go to New Zealand after my time in Australia. After all they are close together. First of visa, that took a while to do. As people from the UK are allowed to stay two years, I wanted to take my British citizenship and apply to NZ same as in Australia. Unfortunately I don't qualify as a UK citizen, as I have been living in Germany. So after a lot of scrambling around with the German embassy and getting passports sorted out internationally, I got to go to NZ as a German.
Next thing was flight and I reckon I got a really good deal with that one. Due to me knowing pretty sure four months before that I wanted to go to NZ I booked a flight fast and had it go via China (to visit Rhiannon) and Germany (to visit everyone else). In the end I paid 1200€ all together, not bad in my books, considering it was Quantas and British Airways I was flying with, too.
After a 35 hour long travel of which 26 were spent in the plane I got my first eye on New Zealand, the South Island more precise as I was flying in to Queenstown. My body was fed up with planes, me being tall not helping at all. My stomach had had enough of plane food, too. Nothing against what they served, it was very nice, but in the end I wanted something which I could spread out more. Airports just served very pricey things.
The first things I saw coming down in the plane were the tall mountains, which we actually ended up flying through to get to the airport of Queenstown. The top of these mountains is not covered in trees, but only in what looks to be grasses. Lower down the trees start showing up with roads and small towns in them. 
Upon touchdown my neighbouring passenger seemed relived, he didn't seem to like the landing much. Can't say the same for myself, as I have flown so many times now throughout my live I'm desensitise to a lot of the quirks of flying. On the plus side we had a nice sunny day, too, so the views on to the surrounding and the planes reactions were superb.
Upon disembarking the plane we passengers walked along the tar to the terminal to pick up our luggage. I myself was relieved to see my backpack come, as the last time I had seen it was Munich, on the other side of the planet. Picked it up and proceeded through the document check system. For some reason I had the jitters a bit, but there was no reason for that, as everything I had done and supplied was correct and accounted for. Due to that I had no issues what so ever passing through, the only thing I couldn't answer positively was that I had a job or knew someone. That didn't seem to matter to much, so a short while later I stood in the main terminal. I was surprised a bit by the sheer amount of police present for such a small airport, but then again, a lot of people were around that day. Grabbed some money from an ATM machine to pay for any bus or taxi feeds and then outside the airport I had a quick ring around a couple of Queenstown hostels.
A week prior to my flight I started looking at accommodations, which was probably not the best thing I did. Due to an extreme lack of misfortune, everything had been booked out in Queenstown. Everything in my price range at least. I chatted with my Lesley about it (my aunt), who had been to Queenstown before, and she found an accommodation which was the cheapest of the pricey ones. In the end I booked one night in Wanaka, a town an hour and a half’s drive from Queenstown, just in case I found nothing on my arrival or the authorities wanted some proof I had where I was going. In the end though, I got an accommodation in Queenstown, as someone had backed out. Pretty much exactly what I had been aiming for. Also Queenstown probably has the advantage that it is the bigger of the two towns, so to set up things like banks accounts and such it may be a bit better.
Caught a bus, on which I had my fist taste of Kiwi English in Kiwi-land. A guy I had worked with before was and spoke like a guy from New Zealand, but with this bus driver I really noticed. Got dropped of at the hostel I booked in and arranged my room and all. After getting to my bed, I pretty much just lay in it and slept. Waking up two hours later to get my clothes of whilst everyone else went out for some drinks. I myself was just to knackered from 35 hours of travelling.

The next day saw me getting up earlier than everybody else. Most likely due to my screwed up biological clock and partly probably because of them all having been out the night before. I must have been one of the only backpackers awake at that time, as after having some breakfast provided by the hostel (jam sandwich) I went out for a bit of a walk. Sometime throughout the night I developed a headache, probably thanks to not hydrating enough the day before. Drank a lot and had a walk in fresh air. Looking at the scenery again I was reminded of Johannas words, that Queenstown very much looks like Nesselwang. I can happily agree to that, as I really like mountains and snow. The snow part is still missing, but the mountains and forests are more than making up for it for now.
Walked along the shore of Lake Wakatipu for a very short while, as I had to be back at the hostel for checkout. Checked around the town a bit, too, to see where most of the important things are located. Back at the hostel checked out and then walked to the hostel I was staying in for a week. Check in at that hostel was at 3PM, so I was way to early. But in the meantime I left my bags there and went shopping for some food. Had a bit more of a look around the town at the same time, too. From what I can gather of the people there are a lot of tourist here at the moment, as I saw a lot of Asian looking people and heard a bit of Dutch (I think) and German. If the stories of past people I have met in Australia are true, then NZ is full of Germans anyway (again). Did a bit of light shopping nearly had a heart attack looking at the prices, but later on other backpackers told me that it's just Queenstown which is this pricey.

Back at the hostel I just had to wait a short while and then got my room allocated. Fist thing I did was have a shower to clean of nearly two days of travelling before sitting down to write the blog.  

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 14: Cuscica Bay – Biograd Marina

The last day and I tried to have a bit of a sleep in. For some reason I was felling a bit under the weather again. But at one point dad asked quietly if I was awake, with a positive answer, so I got up and helped him bring up the anchor. Daniel must have heard the call, too, as pretty much when I got up he was out of bed, too. Once we got under way not much happened to me, personally. Due to being lethargic I spent most of the last day lying in my cot with a book at hand. I wasn't the only one felling a bit under, as most of everyone else also didn't do to much. Later on in the day I was called up to the deck, as Rhiannon went higher up the mast than before. Whilst helping her up another boat passed us and the skipper jokingly asked if we were searching for bananas. Once up I left to get back in to bed, but was called out later as a small school of dolphins passed by. These were a lot more active than all the previous ones we had seen, probably because there were more of them. A couple of tail slaps on the water later we carried on, me back in bed until we nearly reached Biograd. Rhiannon had been doing most of the last stretch and I got to go in to the marina.
What a chaos. We had to dodge multiple boats hanging around the exit of the marina. One backed in to the marina at hight speed from a couple of hundred metres outside the marina walls. Once we managed to get close to the entrance a catamaran came out backwards. Don't know what was going on there, but everybody seemed to like the reverse gear. Once in another came boat came screaming from the left, backwards of course and we nearly had a collision.
Pretty happy once we got in to the bay we had allocated to us. Once all things had been checked, electricity, fuel, water and the cars still being there we had a bit of free time before we all went out in the evening to dinner. After eating in a nice pizzeria with large pizzas we returned back to the boat for the last night. Took a while to get there as the city was celebrating Easter, and a lot of residence were walking from the church to somewhere.
Back a the boat a comfortable sleep before getting up early in the morning and heading home with Daniel and Annalena on a ten hour trip. After being in Oz for so long, ten hours doesn't seem like to much, though.
Track at GPSies.

Weather sailing: Nice day with a bit of sailing and motoring.

Weather driving: Rainy most of the way.  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 13: Jezera Marina – Cuscica Bay

Two more days of sailing to go, before we head back in to Biograd an the end of the holiday. Due to the “accident” yesterday we got away a bit later than planned, as the marina tried and managed to contact the owner of our neighbouring boat a bit later in the morning. Seems to be no big issues, so we set of at around midday. The wind was not up to the game, as it was yesterday, so we had an easy time motoring out of the marina. Unfortunately this also meant that sailing proved rather difficult. We still passed the start of a small regatta, which were using all the wind that they could catch in the sails.
Out in open there was a bit of a breeze, but not to much. Still, whilst dad sailed across a lot of the open water stretch towards Zut Island, all the rest of us played a game of Phase 10. At one point we heard a loud engine sound and in the distance a coastguard vehicle could be seen approaching. Got a few pictures of it passing and caught the tail wave of it a few moments after it passed close by.
Once we reached the shores of Zut we had two ways of going around the island, west or east. The east was open towards all the rest of Croaita with a few boats around (former mentioned military boat still making a noise) and the west was a small path between two island. We choose the west way. Along the way we had to switch the engine on at one point, too, and as the wind left us shortly after we motored up all the way to the bay we stayed in. Along the way Daniel got it in his head again that he wanted to have some water contact. So as we travelled along we let the back down and he could stick his head and feet in.
Arriving at the island we were in debate if you could anchor or not. One out of three of our maps said no, but there was no sign to tell us not to. Also someone else was there already, but one should never rely on that. Dropped the anchor in four metres of water the first time, but after we had let out the correct length of chain for that depth (5x) I saw us being to close to the rocks on the side of the bay. So the anchor came back up again and we dropped it in six metres, which left a bit more space to the edge.
Shortly after all of us except dad went ashore to explore the area a bit. Dad stayed in case the boat got free. Walking was an interesting thing, as the land is treacherous. Most of the time we walked across thin sheets of stones that stuck up, due to the way the mountains go in to the water. But we had some stunning views down the route we came up with the boat. A few small remote farms with stone walls splitting up the island. I guess that the farmers bring their stock out here in summer, when the temperatures are milder. Reminded me of Scotland and Dad said it bought up memories of the Falkland Island.
Once we arrived back at the boat, Annalena and Dad cocked up some tea, pasta again. But after a nice filling meal and some desert we went to bed after playing a game of Phase 10.
Track at GPSies.

Weather: Sunny with a few wisps of cloud, light wind in the morning, no wind in the afternoon.  

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 12: Zirje Island – Jezera Marina

Dad and Daniel were once again the first ones awake, whilst I just laid in bed reading a book. The evening before we had agreed that we would lie in a bit, so the motor was started up somewhere closer to nine o'clock than the usual one hour earlier than that. Whilst we motored out I had gotten everything on and was up on deck with the other two boys. Just outside the bay the wind picked up considerably and the sails went up shortly later. Annalena woke up due to that (maybe) and Rhiannon got up a while later, too. Due to the winds Daniel was surfing along the water at six knots later on, to much for breakfast, so we waited until the wind went down a bit after the next tack and had something to eat then.
Our general aim was to head towards the marina on Murter, but due to the strong winds and early start we had loads of time left. The wind died down shortly after, too, so we stopped at a lagoon on Kaprje. Dad and Rhiannon walked around the island a bit whilst Daniel went for a swim in my wetsuit. Annalena and me watched him from deck.
Once the two island explorers had returned I got on the wet wetsuit (juck) and hopped in. Fortunately Dad and Rhiannon had bought me a stone, just enough for me to be able to dive a bit. First time going down I had to hold back from breathing, as the last times I went down in my wetsuit I had a tank on the back. Dived under the boat a few times and had a look at the anchor.
Back on the boat Rhiannon had a go with swimming, too, and eventually saw that the water wasn't to cold in a wetsuit.
After we got her on board and dried Annalena pulled up the anchor and we set of toward the marina. And what a speed we had. Racing along Rhiannon eventually reached seven knots on the GPS, a speed we hadn't reached previously. Quite a few others were around, too, most of them with reefed sails, but we had a short bit of fun next to another boat doing the same as we were.
Getting closer to the marina dad took over the helm and probably good he did to. The wind was less than ideal coming in and following the (misguided) advice of one of the employees we ended up scraping alongside another boat. No to large damage done in the end and whilst the rest went shopping I looked after the boat.
Once they came back we set of for some dinner at a local restaurant. Back at the boat more computer stuff whilst Daniel was watching football.
Track at GPSies.

Time 4 hours 30 min.

Weather: Sunny day with lots of wind.  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 11: Drvenik Island – Zirje Island

For some reason I was pretty knackered again waking up in the morning. Might be due to the anchor warning going of again three times in the night, due to lost GPS signal. Can not be because of the anchor dragging, as when I checked it the night before going to bed I had a clear view of the chain lying on the ground with the full moon light illuminating it.
Daniel and Dad were awake before everyone else, so when they started getting the boat ready for leaving I managed to get out of bed. Daniel drove us out of the bay and nearly immediately we had decent wind. Annalena and Rhiannon had woken up by then, too, so we were all enjoying breakfast. Due to that reason the sails didn't go up until the meal had finished. But when they did we had the good wind the whole time. With a wind coming from behind we shot past the church/lighthouse island we had passed on our way south and Primosten was left behind fast, too. Along the way it was discussed if we should go to a marina again, or camp out in a bay. As Daniel wanted to go to Zrce we headed that way. A few hours before arriving he realised that there are two named like that. It's written differently, but sound the same. So we carried on on our way to Zirje. As we had only bought the food to survive until to the next marina in Hvar, we had to go shopping on the way. I offered Kaprje, as Dads navigation book said it's got a supermarket there. Shortly before arriving Daniel red in the book again, that it can be difficult to get in there with larger boats. So our grocery aim turned to Muna, on Zirje island.
Getting in was a bit hairy, as the wind wasn't in our favour but we managed to land directly in front of the supermarket. Which was just being filled up. I managed to charge my laptop to last another day and we got food for the night. Dad and I spent some time on the boat whilst the rest walked around the town. Once they came back we got ready to leave. We had a play full cat having a go at the end of the lines. The cat had tagged along with the others and was rather friendly.
Left the harbour and whilst four of us enjoyed a game of Skipo, Dad steered us around the island to another anchorage. We set speed records of 0.3 knots coming around there and when Dad later had a game with them and I steered that dropped down to zero. Motor on and we carried on around the island to our anchor place.
Second time anchoring on a boy and once again they are different. These ones you take the rope through a loop at the top and there are two you secure yourself on. Did that and whilst Rhiannon and Dad chilled on the boat, Annalena, Daniel and me went exploring in a cave in the side of the cliffs we had moored to.
Later on a good dinner prepared by Daniel and Annaena. Spaghetti with a sharp salami sauce.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 9 hours

Weather: Sunny blue sky day with ideal half wind. Enabled a constant four to five knot speed.  

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 10: Palmizana Marina – Drvenik Island

Bit of a later morning. Stayed up until half past twelve, working on pictures, time lapses, blogs and tracks. So in the morning we left a bit late, with no breakfast, heading to Hvar. Just before leaving, though, we refilled the water tank and charged a couple of things in the last minutes.
Hvar was the target again, as Daniel and Annalena hadn't seen any city on the journey so far. Got to Hvar under motor, as the wind was nearly non-existent. In the city we backed in to a spot again, as the harbour seemed a bit empty at ten in the morning. Power on (again) and then we had a coffee and tea at a small cafe. Later on whilst the new two were exploring the city and went up to the fortress, us other three took a walk to the other side of the hill and got a picture across the city. Back down at the harbour we got some breakfast at the local bakery which was consumed back on the boat. Then some shopping in the local supermarket, aptly named “Konzum”. My plan for the evening was to cook some pasta carbonara, but non of the supermarket sell the pre-finished sauce. A quick Google in the local WiFi and I had the receipt for the sauce.
Back on the boat Annalena manoeuvred us out and then later on we put up the sails on her watch, too. The first mile of driving straight took some getting used to, as the boat reacts in a certain way, but she is getting better and better.
Shortly later we sailed along at just under three knots on our way to Drvenik. The next hours were spent just lazing around in the sun. Dad and me steered most of the time whilst the other three played Skipo. Later on Rhiannon wiped up a fruit salad which was consumed just as we passed through a narrow gap in between two island. Out behind the island we could already see our anchor point and Daniel spotted a super yacht anchored in there. We managed to squeeze past it and whilst Daniel and me stood at the helm, Dad and Rhiannon dropped the anchor.
Once secured I got ready to cook up dinner and Daniel rowed both girls over to the island for them to have a look around. Dad was content with staying on the boat and taking pictures of the rising moon.
Dinner ready the others came back and we had a full stomach after a while with the super yacht taking, what seemed like, pictures toward our boat.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 7 hours

Weather. Sunny blue sky day with a little wind.  

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 9: Brac Island - Palmizana Marina

Up early in the morning. First time I was the first one up. Thought I'd best get up and let someone else know that if they get up we can leave. A few second later I heard Dad get up so I rowed out and released the lines before the both of us motored out. Just before starting the engine it gives a small “beep” and when that went of today I just heard Daniel say “now”. Annalena had asked when we are going to start the engine so he had his answer ready.
Motored out and set of towards the other side of Hvar, the island we had just come around the other day. Originally we had wanted to stay in a marina, but ended up staying in the town a few days prior (no mistake on that part) but we wanted a nice warm shower with a lot of space for once.
Whilst we were driving along we once again had breakfast before getting to some serious stuff. When Daniel and Annalena showed up the day before they commented on how warm and clear the water looked, so I took Daniel up on that offer for a swim. I knew it was freezing, but someone needed to go along with him, otherwise he would have never gone in. Stopped the boat and jumped in for a VERY short stay. Tried to get some video of the bottom of the boat to see what it looks like, but don't think it resulted in anything good.
Back on the boat a short while to dry and then the next idea popped up, to get someone to go up the mast. So Daniel got rigged up with the help of Dad and Rhiannon and later on I winched him up to get some GoPro footage from halfway up the mast. Whilst he was up we had to dodge a windsurfer school. Once he was back down again Rhiannon wanted to have a go, so up she went, this time with the help of Daniel and myself. Once she was up she got a video and pictures on the GoPro and we set the sails while she was still up. Hope she got some good footage from it. 
Back down we explained the sailing aspect to Daniel and Rhiannon and the next few hours saw us getting cooked in the sun, eating fruit salad (curtsey of Dad), having some biscuits and generally relaxing. Nearing the western tip of Hvar we ran out of wind so the last hour was spent motoring around the tip and trying to sail the last bit to Palmizana. The wind gave up on us shortly after, so sails in and motor fully on. Coming around the corner in to the marina things looked rather empty and Dad hadn't been able to reach them on the radio or phone. But there was an official looking person waiting for us. A short while later we moored on to the side of the pier and had warm showers, electricity, wifi and a secure place to stay.
In the evening we went to go and eat, but the restaurant was “closed”. We were lucky enough and dad looked hungry enough and they ended up letting us in if we were alright to eat what they eat. No problem, we would have been happy with pasta. Instead we got a five course meal with the best cooked beef I have ever had.
With a full stomach back to the boat to work on the blog and pictures.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 10 hours

Weather: Sunny day with decent wind.  

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 8: Tucepi Marina - Brac Island

Short day today, to compensate for the night before. I got up at about 11.30 AM and Rhiannon came up later on when all of us were enjoying lunch. Farinas and Dad had gone of to have a coffee and leave us to rest.
In the marina Dad and me helped some French people park in their boat and shortly later Daniel and Annalena showed up after a 13 hours drive from Nesselwang. Shopping was on the list (again) after we got all their belongings on to the boat. Whilst we young ones were gone the rest got their things packed on the boat and loaded in to the car. We met a Croatian in the shop who heard us speak German and asked where in Germany we were from. He knew of Kempten.
Back at the boat we said our goodbyes to Farinas who took Daniel and Annalenas car back to Biograd and swapped it for theirs. 
Back on the boat we left shortly later and motored towards Brac. Most of the way was spent like that, as the wind didn't really pick up that much on the short journey there. On the last stretch to the protected bay of Rasotica we managed to sail a bit, but shortly later the sails had to be put back down as the bay wasn't that wide. Motored in to the bay and saw that we couldn't really use an anchor to stay there effectively, so the next hour saw Daniel rowing me around the place fixing lines on steel ring in the rocks and securing lines around rocks to hold the boat. After all that had been completed and the boat tidied up Rhiannon got to cocking us some dinner (spaghetti with tomato sauce) and I rowed ashore for a time lapse video. Had a quick walk around the place and found a few houses behind the trees. Back on the boat we had dinner and then (half) a game of phase ten.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Weather: Sunny with clouds coming over the mountains. Little wind.  

Friday, April 7, 2017

Sailing CroatiaDay 7: Korcula Island - Tucepi Marina

Long, long, long day today. Daniel and Annalena are coming down to take over for Farinas who have to leave us tomorrow. Some miscalculations saw us being ways a way from a suitable pick up place. We didn't want both of them to have to drive through another country and the only way to get to our area was to pass through Bosnia & Herzegovina. The aim was to get as far as possible, but the wind wasn't really in our favour. Stefano and me pulled up the anchor early in the morning and we started chugging around Korcula Island. The rest started appearing rather fast after the engine was started.
Whilst motoring along we had breakfast and later in the morning we sailed/motored around the east tip of Korcula. The channel funnelled some Northwest wind down against us and on one side of the channel was an old monastery and a Venetian City. Dad did a weather check and the wind predictions for the night were more favourable to out cause of getting to … and picking up our next two guest. So instead of sailing we moored in the harbour of the city of Korcula to have some lunch. Luckily someone was there to help us, as we couldn't see the usual front lines on which to hold us. We backed in ready to get the ropes secured but he yelled “ancherus” at us. The revelation what to do was pretty obvious, so Stefano motored out a bit, we dropped the anchor and then back in again properly. Off the boat we then explored the quaint little city for a bit before having some lunch in a restaurant. For myself and some of the others the floor was moving backwards and sideways, but no one got “land sick”. Lunch was interesting, as Rhiannon thought that she had ordered some baby squid to eat on and instead got half a kilo of the adult one. Swapped that for Caros macaroni and everybody enjoyed lunch. 
After that Dad went back to the boat, Stefano tagged along a while later, I took a walk around the city (which was over in 15 minutes) and the girls both went shopping. A short while later we were ready to go and left Korcula. The wind was blowing pretty strong and after getting all the sails out we ended up reefing the main to it's lowest possible one. Once that was completed we zigzagged up the channel, passing some windsurfers on the way. About halfway up the channel it was getting very obvious that we would be sailing until to the morning, so I went down and tried to get some shut eye for later in the night. Sailing hard on the wind was interesting trying to sleep, as when you jibe it throws you to the other side of the bed. Managed to get a bit of sleep here and there and in the end I ended up going up at about midnight (after five hours sleep) to take over from Dad.
Rhiannon joined me shortly later and we sailed until the early morning. Best thing about night shifts, no one sees you eat the biscuits. About an two hours before arriving in … we had to take the sails in and switch the motor on as no wind was showing up any more. About 15 minutes before reaching … Rhiannon went down to wake up Dad, but as it was to early in the morning we carried on to the next marina, Tucepi. Just before the daylight started showing up Rhiannon navigated us in to the harbour and after tying up we all (Rhiannon, Dad and me) dissapeared in to bed pretty fast.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 20 hours.

Weather: No/little wind in the morning, strong wind in the channel and sunshine with clouds.  

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sailing Croatia Day 6: Hvar Harbour - Korcula Island

The morning saw Dad get up, give Rhiannon one warning to bring her stuff to wash, being ignored, Rhiannon realising he was gone and getting up in a rush and calling him.
I myself was a bit more relaxed about getting up and later on in the morning I passed up on my usual porridge food and had a bread breakfast with the rest. After breakfast Caro and Dad went shopping whilst Stefano and me got the boat ready. Just as the two shoppers came back I started up the engine and the boat left a few minutes later with Rhiannon at the helm. Going out the harbour our place was taken up immediately.
Outside we were later followed by a couple more sailing boats and whilst Dad and Stefano were discussing the predicted wind conditions I yelled down that we had seven knots of wind. Sails went up immediately. For the rest of the morning we were accompanied by a drizzle of rain and aft wind. New experience for 3/5 of the boat crew who had been sailing against the wind for most of the time. I commented to Dad how “boring” downwind sailing can be after having to go against the wind for four days. Short time later the music was turned up and Rhiannon was the DJ.
Later on once a few musics went through the mood calmed down a bit as the rain was still holding up. Everybody got rather sleepy and relaxed. On the horizon a lot of the boats from Hvar were in a regatta but we only met one which seemed to have come of course a bit closer to our track.
We took the sails in in the end, as the wind had come down to about four knots. The first spot we had aimed to get to was reached at about three o'clock, with nine knots of wind. I was felling a bit tired and hungry and was looking forward to anchoring. As the wind had picked up Dad suggested to carry on to the next anchorage, so I made myself some food and then went to have a nap.
When I woke up again we were just of the anchorage point, so whilst Stefano was anchoring I set my anchor monitoring app. 

The bay we sought shelter in from the predicted 20 knot winds at night is a really nice area. Clear water down to twelve metres with sandy and grassy ground. After anchoring Caro started cooking and Stefano was tiding up his fishing road (which had twists in it from a malfunction). And low and behold, whilst dragging the rope back through the water he caught a Sepia (type of squid). Meal for the night was guaranteed. After that a nice meal consisting of pasta, pork and Sepia.
Then bed.
Track at GPSies.

Time: 9 hours

Weather: Drizzly rain, later on sunny with wind.