16 Nov Auckland, New Zealand – Wednesday, 24 October to 16 November 2001
Starr was in Auckland, the “City of Sails” from October 24 to April 10, 2002. On the trip South from Russell, we stopped briefly at the Great Barrier Islands. They remind us of Northern California with tree ferns and a lot more rain. We thought that we would get back to this gorgeous and sparsely populated island group in March to do some more cruising, but unfortunately, life in a shipyard is “hell” and the boat simply didn’t get finished soon enough to go cruising. .In October and November Starr lived at Orams Shipyard, stripped down, waiting to be hauled out of the water to be painted. Rob and Donna left the boat on November 1, bought a van and are went touring about New Zealand.
Auckland is a great place to visit. Orams is about a block away from America’s Cup Village and we checked out the activity there during our daily walks. We had Brian and Jennifer Ledbetter with their children, Eric and Holly, over to Starr for dinner (before we tore it apart in the shipyard) and learned about One World Challenge and about the family’s impressions of New Zealand. Brian invited us to a “family night” at the OWC compound, but we were too busy at the shipyard to accept the invitation and had to take a “rain check”.
We really enjoyed Auckland which reminded me of Seattle when I was growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s. I grew up in Ballard and Auckland is a city of many charming neighborhoods. There are few “big box” stores and neighborhoods are made up of streets lined with small “mom & pop” shops with a mix of meat markets, fruits & veggies, flowers, cellular phone stores, book shops, travel agencies, restaurants, banks, clothing stores, etc. It felt like Seattle 20 or 30 years ago, with the very contemporary exception of the Starbucks on many corners, which felt like Seattle today. Life in Auckland is much slower-paced and Kiwis are friendly and helpful. Auckland feels, at the same time, somewhat provincial and very sophisticated. There are many great restaurants, from ethnic to fine dining, within walking distance of the shipyard. During these months, Auckland was just beginning its summer and like Seattle, it was rainy and blowy but much warmer. We flew back home where I couldn’t seem to get warm. I guess that I was thoroughly “tropicized”. We were happy to be “home” in Medina, but looked forward to returning “home” to Starr in Auckland in January, 2002.