“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Steve and Holly's wedding!

I love weddings: the guests from out-of-town (and, in this case, -country), everyone dressed up nice, beautiful flowers, cake, and the expressions of love in front of the assembled family and friends. The first wedding I have attended in New Zealand occurred the first weekend of February. Our fellow American expatriates, Holly and Steve, got married in Nelson, where they have recently moved. In fact, they are actually building a home on a large piece of land in Upper Moutere (map here).
Their wedding was wonderful; the weather was perfect, the food divine, lovely wine, smart, fun, and interesting guests. The wedding, entertainment, dinner, and dancing was followed the next day by a bus trip to Holly and Steve's property in Moutere for a terrific BBQ and walk around the developing land. The entertainment was the Twisty Twins, who are in fact twin sisters who perform outstanding feats of acrobatics.
Two days still wasn't enough, so I'm intending to return for another visit in a few months. There is so much to do in the area, and it's just beautiful.
Here's a photo of me, Darin (spouse), Eric (brother-in-law), and Barb (sister) at the wedding.
Darin and I stayed a couple of extra days so that we could do an overnight sailboat trip to the Abel Tasman park.  We went with Nelson Sailing Adventures, and had a great time. There were two bean bag chairs at the front of the boat, and the fresh ocean air is just wonderful. 
Again, we had terrific weather. The trip from Nelson to Abel Tasman was about 3.5 hours. We stopped at a few islands, hiked, swam, snorkeled, star gazed, relaxed, and drank numerous bottles of wine. Holly and Steve joined us on this trip, and they enjoyed the opportunity to relax.  Holly got to drive the sailboat.  Darin took me on a ride in the dingy around one of the small islands we visited.
Below is a shot from one of the islands we hiked on. I was impressed to see two kinds of birds that I have never seen before, the south island Robin and the Bellbird (check out their song here, amazing!) I believe this is Adele island, where pests are controlled so that the birds are protected.
The sailboat was a catamaran, and had 4 berths (bedrooms) and 2 bathrooms for the captain, two couples, and another woman, a young German woman who works at the Anchor Bar in Nelson harbor. Below is a photo of our boat at anchor at one of the small islands. 
The captain set up a BBQ grill at the back of the boat and cooked us steak and chicken for dinner, served with a beautiful salad and baby potatoes.
I think seeing the Abel Tasman Park this way gave us a unique perspective, because we went to the nearby islands without having to kayak or water taxi. We got lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking, in a real bed (not a tent), next to the island with all the birds, and in the morning wake up to their dawn chorus.  The stars- or  I should say galaxy, were the most impressive I have ever seen.  We had two days on the boat; we left at 9 am on Monday and returned to dock about 5 pm on Tuesday.
I am really looking forward to going back, spending more time exploring and visiting. It's a great getaway from Auckland, and only about 70 min on the plane.