January 15 – 19, 2014
As we backed into our assigned slip in the Viaduct Harbour, we breathed a sigh of relief for having a newly instated insurance policy. There was a smaller racing sailboat with a carbon-fiber bowsprit just to our starboard side as we backed into our corner slot. We never touched a single part of the race boat, but we held our breath until we were safely tied off. Whew! Once we were squared away in the marina office, we all took off for lunch at a nearby pub and a walk to explore the area.
Here is a little tidbit about myself when I step foot in a big city after being remote for such a long time, and I have spoken with other sailors who experience the same thing. Cruising in remote areas is generally quiet and peaceful. Our minds become accustomed to a certain level of solitude, but we are still tuned in to noises that alert us of potential trouble or dangers, such as the weather or different boat sounds. Suddenly, throw us into a big, bustling city, and our senses become overwhelmingly overloaded.
My brain was keenly aware of every sound my ears heard as I walked up an Auckland sidewalk with Wil. My eyes couldn’t move fast enough to take in every sight. Cars zooming up the street. People brushing by on the sidewalk. Horns honking. Music booming. Sirens blaring. Traffic lights flashing. Doors opening and closing. The list goes on. It doesn’t take long before I can’t even function. I can’t make a decision. I can’t focus on us and what we’re doing. I become panicked and just want to get away from all of it.
Over the years, I’ve learned how to deal with this sensory overload. Breathe and temporarily remove myself to a quieter spot in order to get a grip. On our first day in Auckland, I had to do just that. We saw a Katmandu store just ahead of us, and having been in one in Whangarei, I knew it would be familiar to me. Grabbing Wil’s arm, we ducked into the store. Almost immediately, my muscles began to relax as I focused on browsing through the clothing racks. There were only muffled sounds of other shoppers, and I could not hear or see anything going on outside. Once I was re-focused, we returned to the outside world and continued on our way.
It wasn’t long before we were able to be reunited with our s/v Sueño buddies. They had dropped Nathalie’s parents at the airport, and they were free to stop by for dinner. As always, it was great to hang out with them again!
For the next few days, not only did we enjoy the sights of Auckland, but we also cherished the last moments of my parents’ visit.
Friends Pete and Rae (s/v Saliander) had left their boat in Hawaii while they returned home to Auckland for the holidays. They were our own private tour guides for a day, providing us with one of their “tiki” tours of Auckland and its surrounding areas, as well as a little bit of family history.
One day was spent walking and souvenir shopping in Auckland with my mom. It had been over a year since we’d done the “girl” thing together, so it was a special time.
Many unique structures and buildings add to the beauty of Auckland.
My parents were scheduled to fly out of Auckland early on the Sunday morning. To our surprise, Ironman Auckland was commencing on the exact same morning. There were notices of numerous street closures, and the swim portion of the event would take place right past our boat! Finding an exit plan for my parents was tricky, but we settled on walking them to a point where they could pick up a prearranged taxi cab.
At 4 a.m. on the morning of my parents’ departure, crowds were gathered by the water’s edge. We woke to the hum of their voices and cheers. We all got to watch the swimmers kick off the event before we needed to rush my parents to their cab. The event was exciting to see, but we were sad to see my parents go. It was all over far too quickly.
Once my parents were gone, and the Ironman swimmers were done, we exited the Viaduct Harbour for our next adventure. Cyclone June was due to hit the area the following day, and we needed to be ready for her. Never a dull moment for the Full Monty crew!