Living Aboard in Whangarei

We sailed from Fiji to New Zealand in early November. After checking in at Marsden Cove and completing the formalities, we moved up the river to the Whangarei Town Basin marina. Here’s what it was like spending almost two months living aboard in Whangarei.

About Whangarei

Whangarei is not pronounced how it looks. Unless you speak Maori. In that case you know that the WH is pronounced as F, so it’s pronounced Fang-Ah-Ray.

We enjoyed living aboard in Whangarei. It’s the biggest town in the Northland region of New Zealand, with all the amenities we’ve missed since Tahiti. Whangarei’s population is almost 57,000 and it is 155km north of Auckland, which is said to have almost 1.7mm people.

marina, town basin Whangarei
The marina and town basin in Whangarei

The Town Basin Marina is located on the Hatea river and is walkable to groceries, shops, restaurants and more.

The supermarket across the street is huge and overwhelmingly good. After being in Tonga, where you couldn’t get basic rice, and Fiji, with no cat food or kitty litter, we consider New Zealand the land of plenty. On our first visit to the supermarket, we were overjoyed upon seeing the varieties of lettuce, berries, and yogurt, and the glow hasn’t faded. It doesn’t hurt that we arrived in springtime.

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Anchored in Fatu Hiva

We spent a few weeks anchored in Fatu Hiva, French Polynesia, exploring, meeting locals, hanging with other cruisers, and enjoying the marine life. It’s a beautiful island, like all the Marquesas, which is why we plan to return during cyclone season.

Orientation

Marquesas Map
Fatu Hiva is the southernmost Marquesan island

Also known as Fatu Iva, it’s the southernmost island of The Marquesas archipelago. It’s a great place to start your entry to French Polynesia after the Pacific crossing, although you can’t check in there. Because we had to check into Nuku Hiva, we made it our final stop before The Tuamotus.

Bay of Virgins, Fatu Hiva
Approaching The Bay of Virgins, Fatu Hiva
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Top Sights in Villa De Leyva Colombia

An absolutely beautiful town, Villa de Leyva is just a couple hours from Bogota. After enjoying the best of Bogota, make the drive north and spend a few days enjoying the top sights in Villa de Leyva.

Villa de LLeyva region views
Villa de Lleyva region views

About Villa de Leyva

Villa de Leyva is a heritage town in Colombia with cobblestone streets leading to its massive square. With churches and government buildings dating back to the 17th century, the town is a National Monument of Colombia.

A popular weekend destination from Bogota, the top sights in Villa de Leyva draw tourists from outside the country too.

TIP: A top weekend getaway from Bogota, arrive in Villa de Leyva on Sunday or a weekday. You will have the place almost to yourself!

The Plaza Mayor

One of the most majestic town squares we’ve seen is in Villa de Leyva. It’s huge, especially for a small town. The buildings surrounding the square are impressive colonial style buildings dating back a few centuries. The square is a place where locals gather, children play, and everyone relaxes.

The square is home to numerous restaurants, bars, and a couple of breweries. Sometimes musicians play to the patrons of a cafe while everyone nearby can enjoy.

A local musician playing a popular Colombian song which we didn’t know but everyone else did!

We returned a few times to one local brewery where they shared samples and let us wander the square with our craft beers.

Villa de Leyva plaza mayor at dusk
The plaza mayor at dusk
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Grenada Favorites

As we move north up the Caribbean, it’s time to recap our Grenada favorites. This country has beautiful scenery, friendly people, good food and lots of social events, to say the least.

These are the top things you should see and do when you visit Grenada.

#1 Waterfalls

waterfall Grenada
One of the many beautiful waterfalls in Grenada
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Grenada Highlights: Nature and Outdoors

Grenada is a naturally beautiful island with friendly people and fun culture. We’ve been exploring since our arrival on the Spice Island. Here are our Grenada highlights of nature and the great outdoors.

Grenada Highlights Map
Grenada Highlights Map

Sculpture Park

Underwater art installations in the ocean near St. George’s create beautiful artificial reefs and one of the island’s most popular destinations for snorkeling or scuba diving.

The Moliniere underwater sculpture park attracts fish and people to this unique site on Grenada’s west coast. I think this park is a must visit, for the beautiful otherworldly pieces by artist Jason deCaires Taylor and the plentiful ocean life. Taylor is an environmentalist and artist with work is in Bahamas and around the world. The award winning Grenada site includes more than 65 sculptures, notably a ring of children, “The Lost Correspondent” of a man at a desk, and  “Nutmeg Princess” fitting for Grenada as a nutmeg producer.

Moliniere Sculpture Park
One of many sculptures underwater at the sculpture park in Grenada
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