Rugby World Cup

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Where I stayed
Viaduct Harbour, Auckland

Flag of New Zealand  , Auckland,
Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Auckland for the Rugby World Cup Final

    A week after the event it all feels a bit like runny honey. The Good Guys Won! But only by a smidgen, a measly one point that they had to hold onto for dear life and fight for with all their might. It was a white knuckled screamer of a game.
    Mithrandir was tied up in the Viaduct Harbour in Aucklands Waterfront, right in the center of the action, only Eden Park was more central. We watched it on a big screen TV in  the luxurious salon of Espirito Santo, a 110 ft motor yacht run by our good friends Greg and Jane. It was a very civilized affair, not even Matt was jumping and screaming, instead  holding on tight to his glass of beer.
    I am still holding my breath while I am writing about it and we were absolutely exhausted by the end of the game. Somehow it was hard to grasp that we did it, we deserved it and all of New Zealand can breath a huge sigh of relief. They have done a marvellous job.
    I don’t know what would have happened if they had lost to the French. The whole country would have come undone. Trevor was mentioning riots, if it can happen in Vancouver it could happen in Auckland he reckoned and he wasn’t far off.
    People partied through the night while I lay awake listening. Maybe we should have joined the crowd but at the time it hadn’t sunk in.
    Richie McCaw must have been feeling a thousand feelings at once but mainly just relief. He is an impressive captain and my hat goes off to him especially but obviously to all of the guys who have risen to the occasion, got hailed as heros one day and crumbled under pressure the next, got insured and saw their future slip away. Dan Carter, we missed you, we needed you and wish you the best. Your sincere fans Rick and Elke

    It is a credit to the Sport of Rugby that the whole tournament was such a peaceful and family affair. I have heard only of a few incidences around the fan zone, some unruly drunks got taken to the station to sober up and emotions ran high in the bars.  The police handled it very gracefully mostly by looking the other way and let them sort it out.
    We joined the parade on Monday to see the guys but got nowhere near them, people had claimed their spots along Queen Street hours before it started and hooted and hollered the hole time just for something to do.
    The fans and the country have embraced this event for weeks, from school children to the folks in senior homes, they all sweated their team through thick and thin and now they got to see their heroes in real life, perched on the back of Yutes (pick-up trucks) waving to the crowd and it seemed like it just hit home for a lot of them.

    We moved on on Wednesday, out to Great Barrier Island (not Reef) 40 m NE of Auckland, a very peaceful place to do some fishing. We had a ton of fun in Auckland but it’s time to move on, regroup and chill out for a bit.
    Yesterday we motored across the Bay of Plenty, where the Rena has been dropping her containers into the sea. Surprisingly no one seems to have any information on their whereabouts. The sails stayed wrapped around their furlers for unobstructed view of the sea around us and we stood careful watches until the dark of the night made it impossible to see. Hoping they would show up on radar our eyes were glued to the screen and I still see red rings when I close them.
    We rounded East Cape this morning in flat calm ocean, raised our sails when the wind finally picked up and sailed down the coast. It is a beautiful coastline indeed, steep green hills with light colored cliffs dropping straight into the ocean. We have driven it two years ago when we were caught by a storm in Gisbourne for 10 days. It has a charm all it’s own, wild, isolated and forgotten.
    Next stop is Napier in Hawks Bay for a few days.
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