A Kiwi couple's cruising adventures on America's Great Loop and around the coast of New Zealand

Monday, 9 April 2012

Anniversaries and Milestones

It was a year ago last Saturday that we joined the AGLCA and planning for our Great Loop adventure got underway. At the time it seemed such a long time before we would begin, but it is now only 64 days and still so much to do.

This year is also the 150th Anniversary of the “Albertlanders” arrival in New Zealand and celebrations were held over the Easter break. "Albertlanders" was the name was given to a group of colonists who settled at Port Albert, on the Kaipara Harbour, north of Auckland during 1862/1863. At the time the provincial government in Auckland was offering Special Settlement Schemes to encourage development in the north. This particular proposed settlement was named "Albertland" in honour of Queen Victoria's consort who had died the previous year. You can find out more if you are interested on  www.albertland.co.nz My lot came aboard the first ship, the “Matilda Wattenbach” in 1862, and began farming at Wharehine (whare = house, hine = woman…..figure it out for yourself!) where we have been ever since. This is also where my sister, Woody’s aunty Lyn, lives and where she will look after him while we are looping. Remember Woody? He’s our Swedish Vallhund and hasn’t had a mention for some time, so here's a pic:

On Sunday there was a regatta at Port Albert and while we were there we were approached by a lady who asked how old our “Val” was. It is unusual for people to immediately recognize a Val as they are usually mistaken for Corgis cross-bred with “all-sorts-of-guesses”. But, of course, it turned out she owned one. She was local to the area and promised to bring her “Sal” (the Val !!??!!) to visit Woody at the farm while we are away. We got to see a pic of Sal on her cellphone – she is just a shorter version of Woody, as most of them are. Then we then went to the Port Albert Domain for the country fair, and Lo and behold a bloke came up and asked if our dog was a Val!. Turned out he had one too, although his was black and white, which is not considered a “true” colour for Vals and, even though he is pure blooded, he would not be permitted to breed or show. (they’re kind of fussy about that!) Still, it’s unusual to come across a Val owner at any time, but 2 within an hour… at Port Albert!!!!! Unprecidented!

My Grandfather was an amateur photographer as well as a farmer at the beginning of the last century and the majority of the photos you will find of the area during the early pioneer days were taken by him. Here is one of his photos (scanned off a calendar) that shows the farmhouse, which he built over 100 years ago, on Christmas day 1919. This house is still standing and is where Aunty Lyn now lives and where Woody is going to stay while we are away. My Mum, who died at the age of 95 nearly 4 years ago, and who was born in this house, will be one of the little tykes somewhere in the pic - she would have just turned 7 at the time.

On 31st march I closed down my import/distribution Company and in doing so, became unemployed for the first time in 45 years. There is still some tidying up to do but the phone just gets answered, “Hello, this is Phil” now. Carolyn’s Kindy is on the market and last week she took her staff out to celebrate the 19th anniversary of its opening on the 5th April 1993, with the same staff she had employed back then. On top that she ran the kindy from our house in Massey for the 14 years before then, so she will be retiring after 33 years in that business – which freaks her out a little. 

I have prepared as best I can for our arrival in the USA, but there are still a lot of unknowns that we will encounter on arrival. We still have no idea what is actually on the boat and what we will have to buy when we get there, but we can sort that out in the shakedown/provisioning phase before the Loop. The baggage allowance of 23kg (50lb) each on the airplanes is somewhat of a limiting factor, so we need to be careful what we bring with us. In the meantime we have things to sell, store, give away or dump as anyone who has prepared for this adventure will understand, and the list of things to do seems to get more additions to it than things crossed off as they are done.

Still, the countdown is on and on the 13th June it will be like the catch-cry in the old children's game of hide and seek….”coming, ready or not”. 

1 comment:

  1. It will all come together. We look forward to following your blog as you loop. We met you last September in Chicago as we were in the middle of our loop. It is a wonderful trip, take your time and ENJOY!