It's been 4 nights of sleeping in a bed in a house with a real flushing toilet and as much hot water for showers as we want. Aaaah. John and Annette Carr joined us in the Bay of Islands and took the two day sail from there down to Kawau Island where we were met by other friends, Bill and Noelene Brown in their power boat tooting their horn and escorting us in to the moorings at their yacht club. We ate burgers and chips in the club and were joined by a "special guest". A well lubricated local decided we were his new best friends and plopped his drink onto our table and his body into John's chair and made himself at home during our whole meal.
After the night in Kawau, we motored the hour and a half past a few islands and around a headland up into the Mahurangi Harbour (note the British spelling) and onto E38 mooring buoy, Nomad's home for the next few months, while we're home.
John and Annette have arranged innumerable details for our stay on the buoy and our visit here. She organized Thanksgiving dinner (I made apple pie and cornbread stuffing), has made countless phone calls about supplies we need for Nomad, and driven me to buy bottom paint for our haulout this coming Thursday (she scheduled that for us, also). John has taken Brian with him to work for the past three days and is paying him! We are truly grateful for these kind friends who are fun to be with and incredibly generous.
There's more work before we leave. We have to pack the sails and external gear into the inside of the boat, empty the fridge, get the anchor chain galvanized, take a surf trip to Raglan on the west coast, off load a few items to John and Annette's garage for storage, pack everything we need to take home, fill the fuel tanks, clean out the water tanks and plumbing, etc.
Arriving in New Zealand feels a bit like graduating from college. I remember it had been a goal for so long and then as it approached, I wanted to backpeddle. Life after graduation seemed like a no-man's land. So much energy and focus had been spent on finishing school that I hadn't thought much for what would happen afterwards. Arriving in New Zealand has been our goal for about four years and now here we are. It's a satisfying, relieving feeling but is leaving me wondering, "What's our next 5-year goal?" I've decided not to worry about it but to focus on the things we know we have to do right now and trust that God has plans ahead that he'll reveal as needed.