Thursday, September 24, 2009


"There is great meaning in life for those who are willing to journey."
Jessica recently went on a ten day voyage aboard 'The Spirit of Adventure'. It turned out to be one of those "life-changing experiences" and so I'll hand over to her, to tell you all about it!

Jess here! Like mum said...I went away on the 'Spirit of New Zealand' for a 10 day voyage and it was AMAZING. The longest 10 days of my life and I had such a good time!
The picture above is some of my "watch group" (we were put into four) - Starboard A. On board were about 36 teenagers between 15-18 years old; both boys and girls, and by the end of the trip everyone knew each other and I made some really good friends.

I met people from all over New Zealand, as well as some teenagers from Germany and Denmark which was really interesting.

This is where I lived for 10 days!
The beds weren't the comfiest I've ever slept on (a roll of canvas you tucked away during the day and pulled out at night) but they weren't half as bad as I thought they'd be.
During the voyage I: learnt about sailing (we did lots of rope pulling and moving of masts etc.), did heaps of scrubbing of the deck and hosing down sails, had to wake up at 6:30 am every morning to leap into the sea (wake up call!), went tramping in Great Barrier, had a barbeque on an we just did heaps!

The dynamics of a ship are more complicated than I thought, and especially on the first few days it was a pretty big challenge figuring everything out- what rope pulled what, and if you untied this, would that fall down?
We had some pretty diverse weather as well (if you noticed the first picture) with REALLY rolling seas and rain and freezing wind on the first couple of days.
Some of the trainees (what we we were called) got quite seasick, but I was ok.
The sun came out though, and it was hot enough for all 36+ teenagers to fall asleep all over the deck one afternoon.
It probably looked pretty funny to the crew (there were 8 of them and they were FANTASTIC).

I also (cliched as it sounds) learnt a lot about myself and other people during my time away.
One other thing I did, which was really intense (for me), was to climb all the way up to the white part on the front mast of the ship...if you can see it then I touched that!
Anyway, enough about my adventure and back to mum...but I had the time of my life on board the Spirit of New Zealand and thank you so very much, mum and dad for making it possible (cheesy but true) =)

Monday, September 7, 2009


The SPCA (the equivalent of our RSPCA) have an annual event "Cupcake Day for the SPCA" and Sophia & her friends joined in this year.
They got out their aprons and cookbooks, went shopping for ingredients and spent a weekend baking hundreds of cupcakes!

Then they got permission to sell them at school for $2 and it was a huge hit! They raised nearly a $1000 overall !

There were moccachino, chocolate, caramel, strawberry and vanilla cupcakes AND 'Mega Muffins' (what we would call a Giant Cupcake) one was sold and one raffled.

Being New Zealand they also had competitions - Most Extreme Cupcake Eating and Most Artistic - to put on display in a Museum in Wellington! People were bungy jumping with cupcakes and diving (a bit soggy) with them..and some people even dressed up, as cupcakes, to eat cupcakes on the beach!

The City Cake Company and Celebration Cakes were two companies who gave us cupcakes - professionally done - for our Cupcake Day. Thanks to them!!

Once they had the cheque for all the money they raised they went to the SPCA Village for a tour and to receive their badges (in the shape of paw prints!) There were rabbits, pigs, chickens, horses, sheep of course,pups & dogs & cats...the girls wanted to bring all of them home!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


On Sunday & we tramped up volcanoes and went to Sky City to celebrate Fathers' Day for Greg.

He chose one of the many volcanic cones to work up an appetite for lunch.

This is an aerial view of the volcano we climbed! There are over 50 in Auckland, this one is a scoria volcano called Mt Mangere.

Here it is from the side - good views from the top !

Half-way up..remember that this is not an extinct volcanic field..there is a region of hot rock known as a hot spot or plume located about 100km beneath the city. It simply gathers molten rock until there is enough to erupt..

Here are the girls at the top celebrating after the ridge walk..the peak is 107 metres above sea level, making it one of the largest volcanic cones here.

The dots at the bottom are a herd of black cows who are kept here by the local iwi. The lava dome you can see in the centre is a unique feature, compared to all the other volcanoes in Auckland.

The last eruption was 600 years ago..we saw lots of lava bombs in the crater ( they look very similar to cow pats - you have to be careful!)

Also, signs of Maori occupation with pits dug into the sides of the crater. It used to be the site of a major pa.

Quite a view from the edges of the crater rim..
Then we went and had a six course lunch up Sky Tower!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Since our seasons in reverse, today was the first day of Spring. It was beautiful!
It has been pretty wet and wild recently, so it was a lovely surprise!

The magnolias (and they are giant!) are in full bloom and the daffodils have sprung up out of nowhere. There are countless lambs jumping in the fields.

The Farmer's Markets and jazz festivals are set to start and we can leave the log pile for another year!