Friday 27 September 2013

Gateway to the North

We are back in Tauranga once again after a lovely, if somewhat wet, visit to Whangarei. The weather was not great with torrential rain, high winds & some flooding further south but it wasn't that much of a worry for us as we were there to spend some time with my sister & her husband parked up beside their lovely home.

We had a couple of lazy days which suited us fine after our full on days at the show & especially for me, standing on my feet for long periods of time. We had a lovely dinner one evening at Killer Prawn followed by a night cap at McMorrisseys Irish Pub where a weekly "Trad Night" was happening, (traditional Irish music). This brought back great memories of our visit to Doolin, County Clare; the traditional music capital of Ireland & where many famous Irish musicians have cut their teeth including Enya & Clannad (her family band).

The day before we'd driven around the harbour to see the spectacular new bridge which has recently opened, a fantastic piece of sculpture resembling a waka prow or Maori fish-hook. The distinctive fishhook-shaped counterweights allow the bridge to open to let yachts & large boats through to the Town Basin. The bridge was designed by English architect Martin Knight whose previous bridges include the Forth Replacement Bridge, that spans the Forth Estuary in Scotland, the Middle Rhine bridge in Germany and the 2.4km long Mersey Gateway in Northern England.

Named Te Matau a Pohe – translated as 'The fishhook of Pohe' the Maori chief who
 welcomed the first English settlers to Whangarei.

On the way home from dinner we did a little detour past the bridge again so we could see it lit up, what a fabulous sight. Unfortunately I only had my cell phone to take a photo with but at least you'll get the idea.

The next morning we said our good byes, packed up the van & shipped out, squeezing through the gate once again with not so many manoeuvres this time.

One thing we hadn't bargained on parked under the lovely weeping willows was the sticky nectar from the willow flowers that has coated the van & ute, they are both in need of a good clean. Originally we were going to stop off at Ardmore again, about half way, & continue on to Tauranga the next day but once on the road and making good time we decided we'd drive all the way through then we'd have a full day to recover before continuing to pack up the house. We were also both coming down with a heavy cold & feeling miserable, travelling helped keep us focused elsewhere. Then there was THAT race, the final one. We could watch it at home on the big screen.

When we left Tauranga 12 days ago after watching that morning's round of the America's Cup Final little did we know that we'd still be watching it when we got back here! There was the early euphoria of winning race after race which was then replaced with disbelief followed by agony & despair as each day moved us closer & closer to defeat. We watched it in Tauranga, we watched it in Miranda, Ardmore was a rest day, next we watched the first race of the day at Remuera & the second travelling in the car to the showgrounds, we watched quite a few more parked up at the Rally in Alexandra Park where every one of them was going to be the one, the winner. We watched someone's big screen on the stand next door at the Covi show (& were forced to listened to all the "experts" who knew better) & then we watched more agonising races in Whangarei.

Then with one final race to sail, we watched it back in Tauranga. Sadly it was not to be. It was not for the want of trying or the lack of support, Emirates Team New Zealand had the backing of a nation behind them, a grandstand of four & half million cheering them on. Team New Zealand can hold their heads high, they might not have brought home the Cup but they rallied a nation & made us proud to be Kiwis. We salute  you Team New Zealand.

This cartoon just about summed up yesterday's race-

But these were my favourites- 


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