January 29, 2002 - An Island Tour

Marine took me on a tour of the island, starting with their version of the recycling transfer station. They have trash pickup on the island, but Marine prefers to bring in her recyclables herself. They recycle just about everything including every type of plastic. They have bins for each type, with a separate bin for clear and colored of each type.

We then drove around the island and out to the last little settlement in the east end. While I was taking pictures from the pier, we saw a single blue penguin swim ashore, clumsily waddle around a bit and then swim away like a jet.

We also stopped at one of the small wineries on the way back, where they also had a cafe, with good coffee. It seems Waiheke is turning into a miniature Napa valley. They had about three vineyards when we were there in 1996, 16 last year and 33 this year. Most are pretty small, but they seem to have good reds, as opposed to the South Island vineyards, which are known for their whites.

Passage Rock Vineyard, the one we stopped at was pretty tiny, essentially one small vineyard and small barn/winery which must have had about 50 barrels total, if that many. Marine tried two vintages of a Bourdeaux style red and thought that they were quite good, particularly the 2000.

After the tour, we went over to the "aerodrome", basically a grass strip with a hangar, to wait for the arrival of a group of around-the-world travelers in a small plane. They were a little late, having had to clear customs in Auckland, but they did arrive to a festive welcome by the local Mauri and the Waiheke French Club. The plane was a little four seater single-engine Moody. They had just flown seven hours from Lord Howe Island. They started in Switzerland, traveled over Asia, down through Indonesia, over to Australia and then to Waiheke via Lord Howe Island (and Auckland Airport customs). It was a Swiss couple and a friend of theirs from Waiheke, who Marine knew. The two men were nuclear physicists. I guess they will be having an extended stay in Waiheke and then the Swiss couple will head off to Tonga as the next leg, trading in the fellow from Waiheke for extra fuel tanks.

After the arrival festivities, Marine and I picked up Mark at the ferry and I took them to dinner at a local Oneroa restaurant as thanks for letting me stay with them for so long.

Updated: 16 March 2002