Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Auckland, Big City Visit

We decided to head into downtown Auckland for some city visit time. We anchored just across from the downtown, or as the Kiwis call it the CBD (Central Business District). We anchored outside the main channel at Bayswater, Waitamata Harbour (36*49.7S, 174* 45.7E). Took the dinghy into Basywater Marina and then jumped on the 10 minute ferry to the CBD.
First stop was to get some documents copied that we needed notarized. This entailed heading to the US Consulate in Auckland with the documents in hand. We took the elevator up and it opened into a security area. After a polite search, Xray and magnetometer scan we were buzzed in through the security doors into the inner waiting area. This area has about 8 bank teller like windows with bullet proof glass. It is long and narrow, with enough width to handle four chairs across and an aisle. After we dropped off our papers we took a seat in this waiting area. The funny part was that at each end of the room were large TV screens. On the one in front of us was what seemed like a US travel video playing without sound. There were numerous pictures of women in religious headdress. On the screen at the other end the TV was playing what looked a like causal speech by Hillary Clinton. I was wondering if this consulate has not gotten the memo from the White House yet. A $100 later we had our documents notarized.
Then we headed off to the Art Museum to see the Maori portrait exhibit. Most of the art was by Gottfried Lindauer. This Chieftainess has the Maori lip tattoos that were common on women. Men tended to have entire face tattoos. The exhibit is definitely worth a visit.
We spent the following overcast day at the Auckland War Memorial Museum at the Auckland Domain. I just can’t give very many stars to this museum. The lighting and the placement of the identification plaques appeared like the people who created them never stood in front of them. To compensate for the low-light of the museum we stopped on the Viaduct by the water and had cider and green-lipped mussels. A hit.
Waitamata Harbour (the actual name of Auckland’s harbour, or harbor) gets busy every summer evening with sailboat races and yachties going out. They seemed to like passing close by us where we were anchored.
Kiwis are world renown for their sailing skills. They are hardcore sailors if nothing else. This is one of the older America Cup vessels that offer tourist rides from the Viaduct Marina. This hour glass in the spinnaker as they tried to raise it in a stiff breeze was not their finest hour.
After three days of the big city we headed out to Great Barrier Island on a windless day. These dolphins rushed to greet us as we passed between the island and the outer rocks.
A little playing on the bow wave and then they were off.


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