Back in Auckland

Day one in Auckland I’m writing this on the ‘friends and family blog’ page because it is a bit social and rambling but here goes. First of all I have to say using my miles to upgrade on Air New Zealand was SO worth it. 

After dinner and some nice glasses of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, I was all curled up in my comfy seat with the 15’ movie going and I was sound asleep.  A nice flight attendant woke me up and asked if I would like my “bed made”?  Sounded interesting.   You step out of your little cabin and the seats do this transformer thing where they come up and flip over and the bed is completely flat. They put out a mattress pad and a down blanket that they call a ‘travel rug’ and a couple of pillows and it is time to go to sleep.  I had a window so when I woke up I could look out the window at the stars.  It was like being on a really comfy boat.  I slept for about 6 hours before landing early at 4:20am local.

I’m staying at Alison (America 3) Hamilton’s apartment in Davenport, just across the harbor from Auckland and was able to see the sun rise over the salt flats.  I then walked down to town and had a couple of cups of coffee – ‘Flat Whites’ – essentially a milky cappuccino but really really good.   A quick ferry ride across the harbor brought us in past Princess Warf where I first docked in 1989 during the Whitbread and sailed around off and on for another 15 years with Whitbreads and America’s Cups.

As soon as I got off of the ferry at the foot of Queens street in Auckland I ran into – Bubs and Nikki (grinder and wife from K-challenge)  Bubs is sailing with Prada and Nikki is having a baby!  They seemed really happy.  A few minutes later,  Jensi our logistics manager from Spain wandered by said hello and got on the ferry to Waiheke Island.  Jensi still manages to have the laid back Spanish attitude 10,000 miles from home.  As I was leaving the area Stephanie and Stephane jumped out of a taxi on their way to the island too.  Me – I had to go and get a cell phone and get settled in.  I managed to save over $100 from what the Vodafone people wanted me to spend and as I was walking towards the Viaduct I ran into Peter Stoneberg and his friend Sue. They would have joined me for lunch but Sue had her eye on some New Zealand designers – and I’m not talking boats here ?

After a lunch of to-die –for-sushi I walked around where America True used to be and it is now a hotel and condos. I ran into a journalist from the French wire service and connected with Lisa Jouris (aka “Perky Lisa”) from America True days.  We are going to go out on the town tonight for as long as my jet lag will allow.  It will be fun to see who else we run into. I think there are more sailing types wandering around this week than when the cup was here.

Finally,  I have to say that overall I am impressed with how crowded and vibrant the area is. After the America’s Cup left, the city of Auckland certainly put the infrastructure to good use.