Monday, October 27, 2008

Coastal Classic 2008

Well that was a cold wet and windy one! According to the official website there were only 83 yachts out of 229 entrants that finished.

Slogging into the wind all the way it took us on Peppermint Planet (a Young 11) nearly 31 hours to do the 120 miles from Auckland to Russell. I would say that 28 of those were between damp and soaked-to-the-skin. It can get cold and uncomfortable in the early hours of the morning - but somehow you can sleep, lying on sail bags, leaning back against the cabin because your weight is needed on the rail, hell I could have slept on a flange if I had to. At the height of the wind we tore the main, but not enough to withdraw. So there it was. The promise of mussel fritters for dinner was all we needed to keep going. (They were good too - in Whangarei at Riva a restaurant on the marina).

Looking forward to next year, and a better strategy to beat the lack of wind at night from Tutukaka to Cape Brett - you go down to sleep and when you wake up, you are in the same place - a kind of a coastal classic nightmare.

Melbourne Shopping

Sales, sales, sales! Were there sales? Yes. Such variety that a poor Kiwi bloke could actually enjoy the shopping experience. Breakfast sales, lunch sales, and dinner sales featured as well as clothes sales. Staying in the heart of the city in Little Bourke Street was a great idea with everything a short walk or tram ride away - and walking was not hard.

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Be sure to buy a MetCard so you can make use of the excellent trams service.

We had some great eating experiences including Pellegrinis in Bourke Street which was really good Italian food in a unique atmosphere - like being in their home for dinner; and the 100 Mile Cafe which sourced all its food from within 100 miles of the restaurant - neat concept; and of course Degraves Street for coffee and raisin toast for breakfast (poached eggs on toast was good too).

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Candyland and back

Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end - and so it is with journeys. They start at the front door, they lead to many places - some exotic, mysterious, challenging, frightening - and some familiar, reliable, mundane. Then they return, and you sit in your favourite chair and wonder if it really happened.

Bilbo it was who said "You step out on the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to". Mind you he didn't have a motorbike - now if he had... he would have zoomed past the forest elves, been to the Lonely Mountain, seen off Smaug the dragon, and then gone to Candyland and filled his saddlebags with fine sweets and toffees.

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Actually Hobbiton isn't that far from Gordonton and in fact according to Google Maps its 77.1 km – about 1 hour 25 mins. They also didn't use a motorbike to measure that duration, I'm picking.