Tag Archives: Emma

Visitors from Home–The Turnballs are in town (Pt 2)

Fiona, Emma and the kids caught the ferry back to Musket Cove, raided the hotel of their things and returned to us the following day. We had a lovely three days exploring the reefs close to the boat.

Vistors from HomeHi Fiona

It was a delight having smalls on board again, particularly those that think cleaning and tidying up is fun. Evie took a little more time to get the hang of a big pair of binos! Our thanks to the excellent Evie for all her help.

The ladies and Henry went on a snorkel with the resort at the Sandbar, the closest dive site to Musket Cove on the inside of the reef, which they said was pretty good. Fiona had had to point out to the management that advertising free activities and then trying to charge for them wasn’t on. It didn’t take her long to having them backing down!

 Hi FionaHi Fiona

Visitors from Home

Henry, Emma, Louise and I went out to explore the Sunflower Reef at the atoll pass entrance to Malolo which was excellent. In somewhat rougher conditions a couple of days later with Skylark unable to anchor, Emma and I tried a dive there on the way back in to Port Denarau which was average at best until we came upon a turtle resting on the bottom. We sat and watched each other for a couple of minutes before it effortlessly swam off. Just beautiful. Sadly, for once I hadn’t taken my Gopro so no photographic evidence.

The local paper had announced that the Nadi Rgby Club were to host a match against a team from Suva and we headed back to Nadi excitedly to watch it.   Henry and I were a little surprised and a bit annoyed to find the stadium filled with teenage marching bands, a Miss Nadi competition in full swing and a wonderfully colourful Hari Krishna group going great guns at one end of the park.

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The match had been switched to Suva so the local Bula Festival, a week long event, could be held in the grounds. We went to the fair ground to make up for it and the kids went on dangerous looking rides that UK H&S people would have fits about and ate lots of sugary mess instead.

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With the imminent arrival of Natalia and kids, we took Fiona and Emma back to the hotel they had occasionally utilised. We spent their last couple of days with us around Nadi. There was an expedition down to the sand dunes at the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park where boogie boards were deployed to surf the dunes. We splashed out and got the hotel transport down to it for $180 return for all of us. It took about an hour and a half to get there and it was well worth it for the fun the kids had. Some were more successful than others in sliding down the slope. Dips in the sea were required to remove sand from the unmentionables.

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Henry had an assignment to have a photo of himself reading a book at an exotic location. We thought that sitting on the back deck of the $45m, 150’ long super yacht “Skade”, rather fitted the bill and wouldn’t be beaten by anyone else in his class!

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For our final meal with Fiona and Emma, we went had a run ashore at the Rhum Ba and rather took over the place with Be and Be, Fata Morgana, Invictus, Natalia and the kids and the Sangvind kids all joining in for a great night.  The pizza went down well as did the caffeine laced cocktails so loved by Peta and Geoff. We managed to have a good chat with Tobi about our next destination the Yasawa Islands and Vanuatu. Sadly we wouldn’t be seeing Invictus for the great kids get together planned later in the month as they would be heading to Vanuatu. 

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It had been great fun to catch up and to be able so show Fiona and Emma that our lifestyle is rather good fun.  We will miss especially the smalls of Stella (pint sized smiley trouble!) and Evie (The Skippers’s little helper/limpet) but we are looking forward to catching up with everyone, including our new friends, Emma and Evie back in the UK. Won’t be long!

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The Sell family of Blenheim

It was nice to know that there was a bed waiting for us when we left the ferry at dark o’clock. We had been invited to stay with Emma and Paul Sell, both ex UK Army, who had emigrated to NZ some four years ago. Emma had been a term above Lou at RMAS and they were on the Regimental Administrative Officers’ Course together in 2002. Before leaving the UK, Paul had retrained as an osteopath. He bought a going concern, moved it to a better location, expanded and is going great guns and is the only multiple practitioner practise in the local area. Emma now runs a massage therapist business from home. They took a long view before emigrating, using a seven year plan to take them to where they are now, the town of Blenheim, the town which records the highest amount of sun in NZ annually. They have a lovely daughter, Chloe who is nine. We think they have achieved an excellent work/lifestyle balance. Certainly, I’m a little jealous!

The trip across the Cook Strait was quite pleasant. We got on the ferry and the girls found out that the cinema was playing Moana, the new Disney film. $5 each and off they went leaving Lou and I to watch the seas from one of the seated areas. Lou would have happily joined the girls watching Moana but there were only two seats and there would have been a mutiny had she taken one! We had following waves and wind which in a yacht might have been a bit cheeky but in the ferry, gave us an easy crossing.

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We stayed with the Sells for three nights and two full days. It was very kind of them to give up the equivalent of a Bank Holiday to look after us the first day. It was great too, to be back in a proper double bed, the comfiest we have slept in since we left the UK. In a lovely dark room and very quiet at the back of the house, it was wonderfully soporific! It was so comfortable that we slept through a 5.5 earthquake, an aftershock of the Kiakoura earthquake. Maybe we were just tired…..

With rain in the air and being overcast, day one was a trip to one of the local vineyards. Yealands Estates is an interesting place. Established by Peter Yealands, a man who believes there is always a way around a problem, it gave us a fascinating insight to his goal of making wine in a more sustainable way. Rather than have tractors to keep the grass and weeds down between the rows of vines, Peter decided to employ mini sheep. They aren’t big enough to damage the vines and work a treat. There are now 1500 around the vineyards, markedly reducing the businesses diesel emissions. There are a range of complimentary plants and flowers grown around the blocks, which gives the vines protection from a variety of bugs and ailments. Just smart, novel solutions. The wine was excellent too!

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Day Two was clear and we headed up to the Wither Hills, a park on the edge of town from where we were able to look over the whole of the town in the valley underneath us. Like all NZ towns we have visited, the majority of buildings are single storey and spread out. Emma and Paul’s house was lovely. I wish we could transport it back to the UK but I fear it would be well out of our budget anywhere in England.

The afternoon activity was the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, and that, we decided, deserved a blog all to itself.  Check it out.

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After yet another lovely evening meal, we spent the last night getting some great steers from Emma and Paul for our travels in the South Island. We headed off early on the morning of the 5th Jan to head down towards Hanmer Springs where we were to regroup with Gill and Alasdair.  Our sincere thanks to Emma and Paul for all their hospitality. It was great seeing them again.

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