Friday, 22 March 2013

Panamania

We traversed the Panama Canal yesterday. It took us about 12 hours and we are now anchored off Panama City. In the duopoly of Canals I have voyaged through the Panama canal is infinitely more interesting that the ridiculous Suez canal.

For starters my friends the Dolphins turned up for an impromptue party as we came into our anchorage on the northern side.


The Canal itself is bordered by rich looking jungle. In parts it looked when I would expect the Amazon to look like. I did not see any tribes or jaguars.


We came upon a loch at about 2:30pm. At this point we were connected to a series of four small diesel locomotives which held us in place whilst the water was dramatically lowered,


We are now in the Pacific Ocean and that is comforting. The skyline of Panama city is very impressive.


Workwise we took on about 200 kilos of equipment which will need to be installed before our next trip. Luckily a threee man calvary is arriving today. I have briefed the crew on how much happier I am when I have geeks about. I think they are in a surprise.

Our next journey promises to an exceptional one. With our destination being a very famous place where an Aquarian came up with an earth shattering theory. Thats a pretty good clue. But I didn't say where we were going. Did I?

Friday, 15 March 2013

Rocks, Hard places, Frying pans and Fires.

Hurrah I made it. I passed go, didn't end up in Jail and returned to gainful employment. My journey was savage. I flew across the Pacific to Los Angeles and had to rest in a torturous bolt hole called the Hilton LAX. This puzzling hotel does not have mini bars. I was too tired to complain. It is probably just as well as my flight out of Los Angeles was late and I had to console myself in an Airport lounge.

Some bar

United Airlines are doing it tough because the *food* on offer was abysmal. Luckily the alcohol was not and I completed a scenario of Civilization 5 I started in New Zealand. I punished Germany. I then flew to Newark. Little old me thought Newark was New York pronounced funny. It is not. Sadly because of my late flight I had quite a long layover in Newark, which smells funny.

Leaving LA

I again made home in an Airport lounge. This one was a bit more interesting because of the 70's themed decor and I was about the only traveller in the airport. I made my connecting flight to Puerto Rico and was in a strange vegetative state when I was collected at the Airport by my immediate boss. I recognized him. I made it back to my boat in one piece. I did not recognize my rotation partner. I ate dinner very slowly and began slowly put myself into a working frame of mine.

It has taken me a long arduous week to get back into fighting shape. My rotation partner wisely did not touch the previously functioning entertainment system and worked on things that were broken. It turns out our entertainment system is self aware, requires constant attention and did not like being left alone for six weeks. There were many hurdles trying to get the boat guest ready before our current charter.

I have also been stricken with sleeping problems. Last night was my first night of normal sleep since I have returned. I had been staying awake until 3am and sleeping for about 4 hours each night. This is not my normal routine. I was doing some incredible sleeping in New Zealand. I firmly believe that regular deep sleeping is about the best thing you can do to prolong your life.

Things are looking up though. We have a very intense period coming up as we rip out and replace a guest entertainment area. This area will become the template for the rest of the vessel. There is a lot riding on it. But now that I am sleeping anything is possible.

We will be making a voyage to a very exciting part of the world. We will end up in another part of the world I have never seen at the end of my rotation.

Life. It's better when you sleep.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

A Weekend Up North

When I had a job which involved travelling around New Zealand I always used to tell people I was from up north. Up north describes a great deal of New Zealand but the real up north is actually found in Northland.

For my last weekend we drove up to my in-laws to stay in at their new place and attached bed and breakfast. The first thing you realise when you take the drive up north is how desolate and natural the landscapes are. There are pockets of civilization but largely the dotted houses feel only a few years away from being enveloped by the numerous stands of bush.

It was in such a spot that we finally stopped in beautiful Kaikohe. My wife had prepared me as best she should but I was very impressed with what we found.


This is about as good as it gets


Trees

 Sunshine


and an old favourite

We were lucky enough to stay in an attached Bed and Breakfast that I can not flail limbs enthusiastically enough about. I hope that the marketing campaign has a web presence soon enough so I can link it.

The next day we were lucky enough to attend a once in a life time event the Rawene races. Having not been to any horse races before this was surely the best possible event in the universe.

It is a largely organic, freewheeling wild west event. With a lively announcer who took time out from announcing to win an over 50's race





 Race. Saddles optional.



There was fantastic food.


We had a cheeky drink on our way home and enjoyed the mighty Hokianga.



There was some excellent art going down in Kaikohe town in an effort to make it more awesome than it already is.

 It was great to reacquaint myself with the pack of dogs.


Some old



and some new.

I had an entirely fabulous time up north and I look forward to being up north very soon.