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To Sail Or Not To Sail May 14, 2005 Español

Posted by Belle in : New Zeland

“Oh Yeah, the seas around New Zealand can get pretty rough. I’ve seen waves up to 15 meters high!” A waitress from New Zealand living in Tonga.

The chatter had begun. Terror had arrived. Dark skinned individuals wearing no name brands with long-messy hair in need of a good shower and shave were gathering in small groups around Tonga, whispering about the latest news from the weather gurus. They smoked hand rolled cigarettes and drank whatever alcohol they could find. They were outsiders, living on the fringes of society. Some by choice, others outcasts. Their disregard for convention and societal expectations no doubt made them dangerous individuals. They communicated in their tight circles so intensely, hanging on every word, knowing that the information that passed between their lips could save lives or destroy them.

When? From what direction? How big? How bad? Could they make it?

I could not escape the chatter. It was all around me. The stories of high seas, 50-0 knot winds, cold fronts, warm fronts, torn sails, wigged out automatic pilots, ruined ships, disastrous rescue attempts, marriages ripped apart, and yes, even lives taken. By what? Wind and water, the seas between Tonga and New Zealand. I realized there was only one thing a clueless mountain girl like me could do when faced with these outrageous conditions. Play the pregnancy card.

It seemed like a justifiable excuse to me. I had not been feeling well for over a month. Almost every morning I woke up running for the nearest sink or toilet. This pregnancy was much more difficult than my first one. Sympathetic women blamed it on living on the boat, but I knew better. Even when the boat was not moving, I was still sick. It was the pregnancy. When I was feeling sick I was absolutely worthless on the boat. I didn’t feel like doing anything. I stopped helping Sophia clean the salon. I ran outside when she cooked. I stopped making the bed. All I wanted to do was sleep and hope that when I woke up the feeling would be gone. But it always came back. I slept and whined and did little else. Occasionally being lifted by a beautiful sunset, an adorable Dio moment, a story told by Wence, or a hug by Sophia. How could I be of any help on the challenging passage between Tonga and New Zealand? If anything I thought it would be easier if Dio and I were not around. No, I would not be able to help with the watches, but Dio was awake for eleven hours a day and taking care of him was work that required energy and attention. It all seemed so simple. Dio and I would stay in a hotel in Tonga for a few days after Wence, Jorge (Wence’s friend from Argentina who had been persuaded to come help us), and Sophia left and then we would fly to Auckland and meet them there. Better for everyone.

Or so I thought. When I told Wence about my little plan, the sparkle left his eyes, the color left his cheeks, and then there was just silence. How that silence kills me. Worse than any words he could ever choose because leave it to me to imagine the worst words swimming around in his head. Of course Wences knows this. Smart little bugger. So of course I started to reconsider. I decided since our weather guru had been so spot on for our route from Bora Bora to Tonga, that if he said it would be ok, if he gave acceptable wave height (say up to 4 or 5 meters at the very most) and acceptable wind speed (up to 25-30 knots of wind tops) for a maximum of one or two days, and promised the wind would never be on the nose, I would go. But if even one of these stipulations was not met, I was on that plane. So I decided to wait until it was close to our departure time and then decide what I wanted to do. Meanwhile, time to enjoy Tonga.

We anchored out off of Panagaimotu island, a small resort that was very convenient for us as well as the twenty to thirty other boats gathered there, waiting. We were all waiting for the word from our weather gurus and how the crossing was going to be, and what they had heard from people already crossing was almost all we heard people talk about. For days the weather was bad. For days the weather gurus said wait. Would we miss our planes? Would we miss the window and not be able to sail at all? Suddenly anything seemed possible. Finally we got the word. And I decided to stay. Just as we were pulling up our anchor we got a conflicting report warning us not to leave from another sailor. Wence did a quick check with his guru and to all our surprise, our guru apologized and said that the other report was right, we should not leave that day. Talk about shattering our confidence in the man. Then I did not know what to think. The next day we got a more in depth report from our guru telling us if we left the next day we would probably have strong winds the first two days, then no winds for two or three, and then the winds would pick up again. As we got closer to Auckland, the wind would undoubtedly be on the nose, but that would most likely be for less than a day. I decided to go. At least now with Jorge they could handle the sailing without me and I take care of Dio with help from Sophia.

We were the only ones that left that day or the next. Everyone was so scared. Luckily our boat is faster than most, thus our reports were very different from their, but we found out later that we left at the best time. Most of the people who left after us ran into some seriously high seas. We met a nice Polish couple, Nico and Dagmara, in Tongatapu, and found out later that they were in such bad seas that they actually rolled over in their 28 foot boat, Hippocampus. They had five more days to go after that in the wet cold, with nothing working. The passage also took them over three weeks. I would have quit after an experience like that, but I am not a true sailor. Only an enthusiastic, warm weather passenger.


The passage to New Zealand was filled with all kinds of days, slow days without much wind or seas, rainy days, lots of wind and high seas, and then even more wind. Some of the sailors were sick from hours of rough watches. All of the days were cold. Going from the warm tropics to cold was a bit of a shock to all of us. Dio actually asked me to put socks on, which never happened before. We had been hoping to make it in seven days, but the days without wind stretched it out to eight.

The most memorable moment of the crossing for me and perhaps for all of us was the last night as we flew into New Zealand. We clocked the boat at 18.8 knots. It was unbelievable how well she did at that speed. We actually filmed it to be able to show anyone who might be interested in that sort of thing, how smooth the ride was considering how fast we were going. The wind was gusting up to 40 knots and the seas were up to four meters. We were riding waves and sometimes even catching a moment of air off of them as we skimmed over the top of the wave. As fast as we were going, I felt safe until the very end. More than safe. I was even enjoying the speed and proud of how our boat was managing. Dio was completely content when he was awake and slept soundly through the bumpy night. All in all we were happy knowing we would be in New Zealand soon.

The closer we got to New Zealand, the more we sailed into the wind, and the stronger the wind became. The last couple of hours were a bit much for me. It was the first time I thought we might flip over. Luckily Dio was fast asleep and oblivious so I just kept watching to make sure Wence had the harness on and was still on the boat. Eventually I managed to pass out.

When I woke up it was still dark. We were motoring easily, the wind had died, the waves were gone. I could hear Jorge and Wence yelling information at each other and within minutes we had stopped moving and were tied to a quarantine dock in Opua, Bay of Islands, New Zealand. We had made it.


I went home to Cambridge for two weeks to see my family. We had a great Thanksgiving and it was great to be home and catch up with everyone. Then I joined Wences in Chile for a week. Wences had business meetings during the mornings and then we would go look at different areas outside of Santiago to see if we could find an area we liked to settle after sailing. We had nice visits with some great friends, then went off to Puerto Madryn in Patagonia to visit Wences’s sister Azul and meet her fiancé in their new home. We flew from there to Buenos Aires to spend Christmas with Wences’s family and Dennis, my father, where we also got to congratulate his sister Maria and her husband Gustavo on their first child (born December 10th) Jeronimo. Maria was recovering nicely, being taken care of by Mei and Charlie, Wences’s mother and father, and Gustavo spent most of his time with Maria and Jeronimo, giving Maria the support she needed and being cozy in general. They looked happy, adjusting well to the huge transition of becoming a FAMILY overnight. It was great showing my father Buenos Aires and catching up with him. He was so proud of his grandson, showing him off in the stroller, telling everyone he was Dio’s grandfather.


On our way back to New Zealand, we met up with Cristian Austin and his family in the airport in Santiago, our future New Zealand Family Vacation companions. Cristian and his wife Paula have three kids: Tommy (4 years) , Joaquin (2 and a half), and India (5 months). I had been dreading the trip back to new Zealand as the trip with Dio to Cambridge had been monumentally terrible, but as I walked by the Austin family, trying to get settled in their tiny airplane seats I thought MY GOD. HOW THE HELL ARE THEY GOING TO DO THIS? WILL THEY MAKE IT WITHOUT KILLING EACH OTHER OR BEING KILLED BY ANOTHER PASSENGER?

Luckily the flight left at 10:30 at night so the kids were already in sleep mode. I slipped Dio some Tylenol cold Nightime medicine, suggested by the pediatrician in Cambridge to induce soundless slumber, and he quickly passed out. Of course when Wence was around, everything is much easier.

We arrived at some ungodly hour in the morning, waited in the airport for an hour and then caught a shuttle bus to the camper van company. After what seemed an extremely excessive amount of time waiting in that overflowing lobby packed with all kinds of families waiting for their vans, we finally took off in ours. First stop, Simpatica.

It was nice to see the boat again. She looked a little empty and sad, but good. Dio immediately recognized the boat and tried to sneak into the forbidden navigation table. Just like old times. How to drive Papa crazy 101-play with all HIS toys and change all the settings on the wind instruments. When he was done with that he ran out on the trampoline and bounced away, happy as can be, singing to himself happily. It was nice to see how happy he was being in his home. Had he started running away and screaming when he saw the boat, it might have been a bit of a crisis for us.

We picked up a few things, checked in with the marina and then went to try to find our friends Lloyd and Fiona who were staying in the marina in Aukland. By the time we got there it was getting late and pouring rain so we decided to spend the night there and start our voyage the next day.

Rain again. All day. We had a nice lunch with Lloyd and Fiona on their boat Deep Blue. Turns out they have broken up, but seem to still be best friends. How does that work? I have always admired people who can do that. Seems like they will both be staying in the Acukland area for a while so we will get to see much more of them. We are even thinking of switching marinas because Gulf Harbor is so far away from everything. It would be nice to be only 15 minute walk from Auckland.

We took the Austins to the tower in Auckland where there is a great view of the city and the surrounding harbours and marinas…when it is not raining. But it was pouring. Then we drove for a bit and spent our first night in a nearby camping spot.

The next day we drove to Waitomo. Wences and I could not believe how beautiful the scenery was only miles outside of Auckland. Everything is so green, with rolling hills, beautiful trees, dairy cows and sheep all over the place. It’s just beautiful. We got to our camping site in Waitomo in the early afternoon. What a nice spot! There was a pool, a Jacuzzi, a good play area for kids, a bunny, an old golden retriever, what more could you ask for? And the best part was that since the nearby caves were closed for New Year’s Eve I’ve personally never understood the allure of caves. Unless they have some prehistoric drawings illustrating the existence of UFOs or something, who cares. Dark, damp, rocky, cold, bats, bat pee and poo poo, spiders yuckie. So instead, we got to go to a nearby petting zoo.

I could not have imagined a better place to spend the afternoon with our families. All kinds of beautiful birds in cages plus peacocks, turkeys, geese, ducks, and swans running at your feet, practically chasing you in the hopes that you might drop them a crumb of the provided food, goats, deer, cows, miniature horses, horses, steers, llamas, bunnies, guinea pigs, puppies, lizards, owls, pigs, pony rides. I was in heaven. The farm was beautiful and unlike many petting zoos where the animals seem crammed into lots too small to live a somewhat normal animal life, these animals had space, beautiful grassy hills and valleys. My highlight of the day, possibly the year really, was running with a baby deer. I noticed that she would follow me if I stood next to her for a while and then started walking away quickly. She did not like to be touched so much, but she liked following people around. So I started running. Five months pregnant, belly bulging, hair flying, I galloped down hills and up valleys eventually getting that deer to follow me everywhere. All my childhood deer were favorite animals but I had never had an encounter like this. I never could have imagined having such a special moment with a deer before. The Austin family no doubt thought I had lost my mind as they watched me stumble towards the fence, out of breath, about to faint, tailed by Bambi. I guess on trips like this one we all get to know each other a bit better, perhaps more than we would have liked! Gringa Loca!

We spent new Year’s Eve at our little campground inWaitomo, no fireworks, no Dick Clark, just a nice quiet talk over a bottle of sparkling white wine. I think we even missed THE MOMENT and realized five minutes later.

On New Years day it rained almost nonstop. So we left our spot and moved on to Palmerstown North. Even through the rain, the beauty of New Zealand was unbelievable. I had been prepared to fall in love with the land in the south island, having seen so many beautiful pictures of the south island, but the north island was beautiful too.

The next morning we caught the ferry from Wellington in the north island to Picton in the south. When I hear the word ferry I imagine an old, kind of rickety boat that can hold a few cars and a handful of people, like the ferries from the Cape to Nantucket or from New London to Long Island. Not this ferry. I felt like we were on the Love Boat. The thing was humongous. When we pulled away from the port in Wellington, you could not even feel the movement. Although they had motion sickness bags all over the place, I could not imagine anyone getting sick on this thing, it was like a city. We found a spot near a bug window on the main deck and camped out among other American tourists, Kiwi families going on holiday, Swedish families and Danish families. The ferry was three hours. Enough time for Dio to thoroughly explore every single corner of the ship, twice, and have a snack while Wence and I took turns following our little adventurer.

By the time we got back onto the camper van, Dio and I were completely exhausted. We passed out in the back as Wence drove on. When I woke up, I could not believe how beautiful the scenery was. Instead of hills, we were now surrounded by gorgeous, green mountains. Wence pulled over after a bit and decided he needed a nap. I decided to take Dio for a walk to let Wence sleep so we took the stroller out and set out along the highway. The climate reminds me of Colorado. Dry, warm and even hot in the sun, cool in the shadows and cold at night. Dio and I found some pretty cows, must be dairy cows cause regular cows are always so ugly, and Dio got to practice his cow speak. They taught him a few tricks and then followed us until the wire fence would not allow them to anymore. Friendly cows! WOW. A first for me.

Our favorite place in the South Island, and the only place where we had a bit of sun since it rained almost non stop the entire trip, was Akaroa. Akaroa used to be a French settlement and it shows. All of the names of the streets are in French, the houses and rose gardens have a French feel to them and half of the restaurtants are French. Aside from that fun fact, it is placed in the most beautiful peninsula. Surrounded by rolling hills and water, it was so beautiful. No matter where you were you had a beautiful view of something. We could have stayed longer in Akaroa, but had to start heading back or the Austins would miss their plane.

We made a stop off at Napier on the way back, New Zealand’s Art Deco capital. A pretty seaside town with some nice Art Deco buildings. We cooked up some meat on our little stoves and had lunch in a parking lot overlooking the water. I took Dio on a stroll and we did a quick grocery shop. Off again, into more rain.

The next memorable stop was around Rotorua. We read about a campground that had hot springs. The thought of soaking in warm water was so appealing since we had been slushing through cold rain for close to two weeks. As soon as got situated, we were off to the springs. There were three different pools, all different temperatures. We stayed as long as could without turning into prunes.

The next day we made it back to Auckland, wet and weary. We sailed Simpatica from Gulf Harbor marina, which is about a 40 minute drive north of Auckland to Westhaven marina which is right in Auckland. We had originally thought we would stay in Gulf Harbor, but decided it would be more fun to be in Auckland. It was a beautiful sail, sunny, gentle wind, the nicest weather we had seen since we had left Chile.

It was so fun to watch Dio with the kids. He worshipped them, learned from them, watched them, and always had fun with them. We had a wonderful visit with the Austin family and only wish we could have given them better weather.


Having my sister with us for almost two weeks was such a treat. Unfortunately we did not get to sail. Seems that some engine parts were lost in the mail. So they said. But we managed to have fun and keep busy anyway. The weather was hot and humid, making it hard for me to forget I was pregnant. Theo was great, very flexible with us. When Wence was off doing errands and I was watching Dio nap, she would go off and explore Auckland. By the time she left, she new the city much better then either I or Wence.

We spent a day in on the island of Waiheke. We went there by ferry with our car. We love Waiheke. Theo had found out about a sculpture exhibit called SCULPTURE ON THE GULF. It was so fun. Over twenty different pieces were spread out over about a mile of beautiful land overlooking the gulf. A stairway to heaven, the sound of rippling water magnified, a huge lawn chair, we had fun. Walking back to the car in the heat of the day almost killed me, but I came back to life after an ice cream bar. Theo treated us to a yummy lunch overlooking the water after a long drive around the island. I think we all would have liked to stay a bit longer, but we had to catch the ferry back to Auckland.

One of the last nights she was here, we went to see Cirque du Soleil. What an experience. How can you describe something that is so bizarre and beautiful at the same time? I can’t. After years of trying to see them without luck, Wences surprised us with the tickets. It was very special.

Some of my favorite memories are of Theo and Dio playing together. Theo has always been the silly one among the three of us siblings. Her sense of humor and ability to laugh at herself has always lifted our spirits. But it brought Dio to a whole new level of playful silliness. Before breakfast he would go knock on her door to wake her up. They would jump on her bed for a bit and then come to breakfast. After yogurt and fruit breakfast, they would go jump on the trampoline or color with the new crayons and coloring books she had given him. As I watched him sit on her lap, both of them coloring away, just the way she used to do when she was little, I was flooded with so much joy as if I was able to appreciate or recognize the sense of family in a new way. At the same time, as I stood there looking down and my sister and my son, coloring in their coloring books with similar expressions on their faces, I was already missing her. It can be hard being so far away from your family. Especially when so much is going on in your life that you want to share. I’m sure the pregnancy hormones bring all of these feelings to a deeper level. Let’s just say no eyes were dry when Theo left. Because I was saying goodbye not just to my sister, but to my best girlfriend.

Nicholas was scheduled to arrive at 7:30 AM. We left the boat at 7AM, leaving just enough time to get there as he stepped out of customs. But when we got to the car, a tire was flat. When Wences looked for the tools to fix the tire, there was no wrench. Luckily his workshop on the boat has every tool known to mankind that could possibly fit in a four by 6 feet square. Then we hit traffic. I was expecting to arrive to a slightly pissed off brother. Not a nice way to start off a visit. Especially when he traveled 20 hours in the air to get here. But no! We got there just in time! Yipee!
In the morning we sailed off for Great Barrier Island. It was a beautiful day. Sailing out of Auckland is so nice. There are dozens of beautiful islands some with rolling green hills, others with lots of trees and small volcanoes, others with quaint little houses. I always want to go explore each one. Seemed like all the boats were out and about. Took us about 8 hours to get there. We could see the island off in the distance. Lots of trees, mountains, no houses. Dio and I took a nap for the last two hours. We were heading into the wind and that always makes me feel a little sick. Even Dio, who usually is fine, was lying down on the floor and putting his head down. Wences woke us up when we were arriving because it was so beautiful. A narrow passage brought us inland to Port Fitzroy, past little islands, beautiful rock towers carved from years of wind and water. We arrived at a sheltered anchorage and dropped our anchor some what close to three other boats.

We spent two nights in Port Fitzroy. The weather was great. Too much wind for snorkeling, but sunny and warm. We went for a walk on land. Only 45 inhabitants. Nice wooden houses kept nicely with gardens and lawns. They all have their own generator and well.

Our next stop was Whangaparapara. Slightly larger. Beautiful little bay for our anchorage. More cruisers here, enjoying the great weather and peaceful beauty of Great Barrier Island. We went for walks on the very well maintained National Forest walks. We met two nice girls from the south island on holiday camping out by the water. We walked to the top of the hill by the beach and saw some really nice houses tucked in between big trees. Some of them looked like tree houses so entrenched in the branches and leaves. We did not see too many people and the ones we saw zoomed off in their trucks or landcruisers on whatever errand they happened to be running. Nicholas and Wences bought more vegetables and meat at the hotel/general store. We explored the area in the dinghy until there seemed to be more water in the dinghy than outside then we set off for our next stop.

THE THIRD PLACE had a nice beach with a little park nearby. We went there after Dio’s nap. Aside from the strange little gray biting beasties in the shallow water, it was the perfect beach. Luckily Dio did not seemed bothered by the beasties. I think they only got you when you stopped moving and Dio was running around, throwing sand, destroying sand castles and picking up shells and dropping them. Whenever he sees something he likes, he says, COOL! It kills me every time. We had to drag him back into the dinghy, kicking and screaming.

When we got back to Auckland, Wences talked Nicholas into some crazy Kiwi reverse bungy jump in the middle of Auckland that catapults three to four people higher than most of the surrounding buildings within seconds and then throws them back towards the pavement. I have never heard my brother scream like that. And for so long. I was filming them from the street, but his scream made me laugh so hard that the footage is pretty worthless. And he just kept screaming. It was so funny. When Nicholas, Wences, and the other victim, Lloyd settled back down to earth, I could see that all of them had been taken by surprise at the speed, the height, and the fear they had experienced in seconds. Nico and I could only laugh and be grateful that we had done this before dinner and not afterwards. Otherwise there is no doubt in my mind I would have been wearing my brother’s dinner.

We took Nicholas to the Auckland domain where we explored the gardens and winter garden/ green houses. I learned about the Victoria Lilly from the Amazon. It opens its white flower and a particular kind of beatle crawls into its petals. Slowly the petals close around the beatle who spends the night trapped in the flower only to be let out the next morning after the flower has been pollinated. When the flower opens the next day, its petals are no longer white, but pink. Nicholas went to the museum to see the maori exhibit. We tried but Dio was not in a museum mood. We released him onto the vast green known as the Auckland domain. He found a tree perfect for climbing and spent the rest of his time hanging on his new friend. We also went to Kelly Tartan’s Antarctic aquarium which had penguins, sharks, all kinds of fish and an exhibit on the early Artic explorers. Whenever I think life on the boat is tough, I think of those explorers and marvel at the extreme conditions they lived in and of course some of them died in. In general the last two generations have become creatures of comfort. We are so used to being able to manipulate our environment with a flick of a button we have forgotten what we are capable of.

We had a great visit with Nicholas. Dio knows him as Coco and still asks for him every once in a while.


The day Willy arrived, he and Wences went on a bike ride throughout Auckland and then raced on the Sail New Zealand (last America’s Cup boats) with Nico and some other guys. We tried to go to dinner at our favorite Japanese spot, Rikka, but since we were one more than we had originally told them, they could not seat us. So we went next door to what looked like a nice Spanish restaurant but what turned out to be bad food and worse service. Too bad.

The next day was Easter Sunday. We drove up to Wanganui (two hours north of Auckland) to join Wences’s cousin, Cristina, her family and some of their friends for Easter. We had such a nice time. They had hid chocolate eggs in the trees for the kids, the older kids were nice enough to leave some for Dio. He was so fascinated, he spent the rest of the day searching for chocolate eggs in every tree we came across. We went to a nearby beach which was pretty packed. Dio went swimming with Cristina and his new girlfriend, Sophia, and would have stayed in the freezing water for hours. When he started turning blue I took him out, kicking and screaming, and took him to a little cottage nearby where we stayed the night with Willy. We took a long hot shower and then took a nap. I needed the nap as much as he did. Some days I just feel like dropping wherever I am and sleeping for an hour or so.

Janeel and David invited us over to their house for a yummy barbecue. It was so nice to feel so welcome by people we were just meeting. Their son was born the same day as Diogenes, but he is four years older. Dio of course worships the older kids and is always following them around, laughing and screaming with excitement and they usually want to play some big boy game that Dio comes along and ruins immediately. We adults try to stay out of it as much as possible and let them figure it out. I was just happy to see Dio so happy.

The next day we went to different beach that was so beautiful. It was really everything that you imagine when you think of a great beach. Pretty dunes, a wide beach with plenty of space, waves big enough to do some good body surfing, clean, warm. Marcus drove his car up on the beach and we went a bit away from where the other groups of people were scattered here and there among the dunes. It really felt like we had our own private beach. It was great. Instead of dragging Dio off for naptime, Cris tried to get him to sleep under an umbrella on the beach. When that did not work, we took him for a walk in the stroller on the beach and within five minutes he was out. We left him under an umbrella on the other side of the car so he could not here the other kids. Wence tried a bit of kite surfing but the conditions were not favorable. He almost got dragged out to Australia. I knew it was bad when he actually abandoned his kite and started swimming back to shore without the board or the kite. But some how, I knew he would be OK. Because he always is. Everyone else was very worried about him, but I just knew he would be OK. I could see that he not caught in a rip tide, he was making good progress swimming back. Moments after he made it back to shore a small fishing boat came by and brought the kite back to Wences. Very lucky. But Wences seems to have good luck in general. That was the only boat we saw all day.

The next day we sailed with Willy for Coromandel Peninsula. Since it was a bit late we decided to spend the night at nearby Waiheke. Waiheke is a beautiful island not for from Auckland, about a 40 minute ferry ride, that has beautiful mountains, vineyards, bays, and some very cool modern houses. We went there with my Theo for the day to see a great sculpture exhibit that was strewn across the hillside overlooking a beautiful bay. We had so much fun wences and I knew we wanted to go back. When we left it was a beautiful day. Unfortunately the wind was right on the nose so we had to motor the whole way. We got there in time for sunset.

The next day Wences made reservations at a wonderful vineyard that had a restaurant. I always worry a bit about taking Dio to restaurants because all he wants to do is run around, scream, possibly throw a rock or two, but this restaurant turned out to be perfect. It was a cool cylindrical building on a hill. The restaurant was on the top floor, overlooking the vineyard and the bay. It was beautiful. It must have also served as somebody’s house as the there was a trampoline on the bottom floor and some kids’ rooms. Wences and I took turns eating and jumping with Dio. Dio behaved well and ate very well. I love that he will try anything and that he likes all kinds of things that many kids his age don’t. Wences has been good at making sure I don’t shy away from feeding Dio all kinds of foods and making sure I don’t let him get away with not eating the main course and then giving him dessert. Sometimes, like at restaurants the temptation to just give him whatever it will take to keep him quiet is pretty high. We are lucky that most of the time Dio will eat whatever we give him. He loves Thai food, for example.

The next morning we left for Coromandel Peninsula. We had to motor again because of the wind direction, but it was still a nice day. Coromandel is beautiful. There are lots of big mountains, inlets, trees, cows. Wences and Willy biked into town while Dio and I fed the fish under the boat cheese crackers. There were so many little fish it was so fun for Dio. He loves fish so much. He talks to them, calls out to them when he can’t see them. Basically, they are his best friends. Watching Nemo only enforces that. As soon as anyone turns the TV screen on, he screams FISHY FISHY FISHY, sits in his little chair, and waits for Nemo. I can’t for him to be able to go snorkeling. We’re going to have to tie him to the boat or while he’s snorkeling or we might lose him to a school of dolphins or something.

I know we spent three days in Coromandel Peninsula, but if you ask me what we did, well, I can’t really remember. Relaxed mostly, I guess. Willy and Dio got in the habit of having an early morning soccer session on the trampoline. Dio’s latest thing is to say MONG MONG and flick his wrist at you. At first I thought he was speaking Chinese and trying to do some flamenco. I finally realized it was his interpretation of COME ON. Every morning Dio would come to Willy, whether Willy had eaten or not, and say MON MON and then run off to the trampoline. I think the first couple of times Willy went to be nice, because Willy is so nice. But by the last couple of days, I think Willy was enjoying their soccer sessions while flying through the air, as much as Dio. I admit, I spied on them. Twice. And took pictures. It’s just so nice to see Dio so happy and to see that Willy was appreciating his joy and silly sense of humor. We went on some exploration dinghy rides. That is always fun. Especially since Wences always takes a back up tank of gas so I know we will never be gasless, like in Moorea. We had a picnic on top of the hill in front of us on the last night. I thought I was going to give birth while climbing up that hill, but I made it. We sat on a big yellow quilt, mooing to some nearby cows, and ate cheese and crackers, nuts, fruit and had some wonderful wine that Willy brought from Argentina. It was so beautiful from up there. I took a million pictures of cows, us with cows, the boat with cows….you get the picture.

The next day we left very early. Again we had to motor most of the way with the wind on the nose. We got back early and Wence and Willy went off to do some more exploring of Auckland while Dio and I took naps. The next day we went to the zoo. So fun. Dio loved everything. He watched the lemurs as if he was watching some Keystone Cop routine. Every time one of them would jump to a tree or chase another one, he would laugh so hard. Scream is really more like it. Kiwis tend to be a bit reserved, but even the most reserved Kiwi had to break down and giggle at Dio who was just so excited and silly, his laughter was contagious. He also loved, of course, the aquarium. WE actually had to drag him out of there. I could not help but notice that he was as interested in other kids, if not more interested many times and would run off with any group of boys or girls that came along. Our friend Lloyd from Deep Blue invited us over for a barbecue later that night. We had a nice time, great food, nice night. When Diogenes started rearranging the kitchen I decided it was time for me to put him to bed.

The next day Willy left while Dio was sleeping. Dio’s name for Willy was WEETIE. He asked for Weetie and I told him Weetie had gone back home. I don’t think he gets that one yet. The next day I was folding laundry and Dio saw a bright orange shirt, almost the same color as one of Weetie’s, and he said, WEETIE! It was so cute. So amazing the way kids brains works. Associating with color, who thought a 21 month year old would be doing that. I feel like I am learning so much just by being around Diogenes, by watching him learn and enjoy life. He helps bring back that sense of wonder we all had when we were children. Anyway, he missed Weetie. But in a good way. He smiles when I show him a picture of Willy. And then he asks me to go jump with him on the trampoline.


Two weeks after Theodore was born we were lucky enough to receive a visit from Martin and his wife Mercedes. When we still lived in Miami Martin had moved from Argentina to Miami and stayed in our previous boat, Poca Coza for a while. The boat was kept right outside our apartment so we saw Martin all the time. It was nice to have so much time to get to know Martin. He came with the hopes of getting into a dental school in Ft. Lauderdale. There were two really difficult tests he had to pass, however, in order to even apply. We were a little worried he might not pass because shortly after Martin came to Miami, he was sucked up into the world of water sports. Having a natural athletic ability, he learned how to kite surf so well that within months he was actually teaching lessons. Luckily he passed with flying colors. Then he just started to hang out at the school he wanted to attend. Showed up at classes, talked to the professors. I was very impressed by his determination. After months of getting to know everyone in the school, Martin was accepted. If he had not been in school, we would have asked Martin to come with us on the trip. He is the perfect companion, kind, gentle, good sense of humor, willing to do whatever you ask him, and a team player. Oh yes, and there was that marriage thing. A few months before we left Miami Martin told us not only had he gotten back together with his exgirlfriend, but they had decided to get married. WOW. We were suprised and happy for him. That’s why it was so great they came to see us. We had a chance to catch up with Martin and get to know his wife. They seem very happy together. After Martin finishes school next year they are planning on moving to Seattle where Martin already has a job lined up. COOL. A good excuse to visit Seattle.

It was a little hectic when they were here. We were sorry we did not have more time just to be with them. But they were great about it. They accompanied wence on his errands, helped with Diogenes, etc. Wence took Martin and Marcos to an All Blacks game. They beat Fiji by something ridiculous like 80 points. I guess the All Blacks are pretty good. If I said that out loud I might be smacked. They take their All Blacks very seriously here. We were able to sail near Cristina and Marcos’ house north of Auckland. We invited them over for a barbecue. Even though it was a little on the chilly side, we all bundled up and had a great time. Marcos’ brother in law, who has just moved to New Zealand in the hopes of finding a job and bringing his family over, came as well. He is a great joke teller so between Wence, Marcos, and Wence we had entertainment for hours. Marcos decided to make it even more interesting however, and almost set fire to the boat. But it was for the barbecue and those Argentines take their barbecues pretty seriously. Having them all over made me realize my spanish was getting a little rusty, but that’s OK. I am used to only understanding half of what is said when I am in situations like this. Sometimes I get what everyone is saying and sometimes I think I understand, only to find out later that they were talking about something entirely different. Fire aside, the barbecue was great. Dio and Sophie had so much fun together, they both cried when they had to leave.

Martin and Mercedes’ visit went by so quickly we could not believe when it was time for them to go. We’ll have to come visit them soon in Seattle.


On July 8th my parents arrived. I was so happy to see them. I don’t know if Dio remembered them, but moments after seeing them again he had them doing the march from The Jungle Book all around the house. Mom was the best marcher and Dad was the professional elephant screamer. We had such a nice time. Every time they would leave for the day, Dio would cry. They were his new best friends. We did not do much when my parents were here. We walked around the city, went to see a movie at the Auckland film festival (HIDDEN with Juliette Binoche, very French, leaves you completely clueless), had a lot of nice dinners out, one disgusting dinner out, thanks to me, a lot of cozy nights in, taking care of the sick boys. My favorite day was when we took Dio to the zoo. He loves animals so much and is learning all their names. I think he could stay at the zoo for months and be fine. His favorite animals are the elephants, obviously,monkeys, lemurs, fish, turtles, and lion.

The last night they were here Dio had a terrible night. He kept waking up every half hour screaming. I wasn’t sure what it was, but thought maybe it was a side effect of the larium. He sounded so desperate in his cries that I could not leave him alone. I tried to get him to sleep in our bed, but he wouldn’t sleep there. Then back in the crib, then on the floor. He felt hot so I gave him some Tylenol. A few moments later he started shaking. I looked at his face and his eyes were in the back of his head. I totally freaked out. Picked him up, threw him over my shoulder and went to find my phone. Of course I never know where my phone is and for the first time in years I saw the utility of a land line. When I found my phone I called my parents who luckily were staying in an apartment only two floors down. I put Dio down on a rug near the door and turned on a light. I was beginning to wonder if we were going to have to cancel the trip. He was taking the only anti malaria pill kids and breast feeding mothers can take, larium. The side effects can be seizures, depression, anxiety, hallucinations, bad dreams. Poor Dio. How could I make him go through this on a regular basis! He looked terrible. Suddenly I noticed tons of fluid coming out of his ear. AHHH. An ear infection. As painful as it must have been,( the pressure in his ear actually tore a little hole in his membrane which is where the puss was coming from, an infection in his throat) I was happy it was an ear infection and not a reaction to the larium. Moments later my parents came and kept me company. They could see that Dio was going to be OK. His fever was not very high at all and they had the tranquility that comes with taking care of sick kids hundreds of times. Something I admired and was grateful to have near me because I was far from calm. They stayed up with me until Liz got back from her weekend off then they jumped in a cab and were off to catch their plane back to Massachusetts. It was a bit sad saying goodbye because we’re not sure when we will see each other again. Dio is still asking for them, especially when I won’t do the Elephant march.


During the seven months we stayed in New Zealand, we were able to get to know some great people. We thank them for their generosity and hope we meet again, maybe in some marina some where unexpectedly!

We met Nico and Dagmara in Tongatapu. They are a couple from Poland who have been sailing for two years now. They were also planning on sailing to New Zealand with the rest of the cruisers waiting in Tongatapu. We knew it would take us around 8 to 10 days. For Dagmara and Nico it would be a much longer journey. They knew they were in for three weeks. We had a nice afternoon with them on Simpatica. Dagmara loves Spain and learned to speak Spanish while living in Poland. She went to live in Spain for a bit afterwards so her Spanish is really good. The first time we met them Dagmara did most of the talking. Nico seemed a bit shy and reserved, but blamed it on his inability to speak Spanish. RIGHT!

After we got back from our camper tour of the North and South islands of New Zealand, Nico and Dagmara found us in the West Haven Marina in Auckland. Although all of the boats we saw in Tonga spend the hurricane season in New Zealand, they all went to different marinas and towns, so we did not see many of them again. We began to spend more and more time with Nico and Dagmara and soon saw them on a regular basis. It wasn’t our idea at first, but Diogenes insisted. Diogenes is a ham. He likes all kinds of people, but he does not trust everyone. He will perform for anyone, but he does not grab people’s hands and lead them off to play very often. Nor does he cry when we say goodbye to people we barely know. But the second time we saw Nico and Daga, Diogenes was dragging them around like they were his new pets and when we took the pets away, he cried. I knew I liked Nico and Dagmara before, but when I saw that, I knew they were wonderful people. Dio has good taste.

We learned a lot from Nico and Daga. We spent hours talking about the lives they led in Poland, fascinated to learn that most people lived better day to day under the communist regime. Nico and Daga left Poland because they did not want to live there anymore. If you live there you have to choose to be a part of the corruption or not. If you choose not to be, you suffer. Wences speaks similarly of Argentina. For this and many other reasons Wence and Nico understand each other very well. They both love to talk too. God. Dagmara and I just watch the two of them, back and forth, back and forth. Talking is a sport for them. We loved going over to their small, cozy boat early in the morning, to wake them up and see them wipe the sleep from their eyes, knowing they would invite us in for coffee or tea no matter what time we came over. They drink tea all day those Poles. We would call them the crazy Ukrainians or the cracked Krakozians (see The Terminal with Tom Hanks) just to annoy them. Seems like everyone mistakes Poles for something else. And this was how our friendship was, comfortable and fun. When Wences left to go to his sister Azul’s wedding and some business meetings near the end of my pregnancy, Dagmara had also gone home to be with her family and friends for a while. So Nico and I would take walks to a nearby park with Dio or up to Ponsonby. I knew that if something happened, Nico would do whatever he could to help me. Nico’s English is perfect. I don’t feel like I’m talking to a crazy Ukrainian. I forget that English is not his first language and we talk about all kids of things: art, religion, food, different cultures, etc. Dagmara speaks English but is more comfortable speaking Spanish. When we were still living in the marina and spending time with them I think my Spanish improved a lot from talking to Dagmara. Dagmara is beautiful. She has long, thick blonde hair and soft dreamy blue eyes. She is very warm and giving with a great sense of humor. And she is incredibly strong too. She knows what she wants and what she doesn’t and she does not settle for less. She’s quite a woman.

When Wence told Nico that he was going to miss them when we left, Nico said, “No you won’t.” Wence, who is not one to say personal, borderline mushy things like this said, “Yes, Nico, I really am going to miss you.” Nico looked at him with his wonderful smile and said, “No you won’t. There are tons of Nicos in Greece!” We hope to visit them one day in Poland, if they go back. And they are always invited to spend time with us.


Wences’s second cousin, Cristina Casares and her husband Marcos have been living in New Zealand with their two kids Marquitos and Sophie for three years now. Wence looked her up after we had been here for a while. Diogenes fell in love with Sophie the moment he laid eyes on her. He’s always liked older women, and he was so close to Sophia that it seemed to make perfect sense that his first crush would be on a 3 year old named Sophie. Luckily for his sake, Sophia felt the same way. Even though most boys Marquitos’ age (6) would be too cool to play with a baby, Marquitos was so sweet with Dio. Always helping him, hugging him, and taking care of him. Spending time with them made me realize that Dio needed to be around kids on a more frequent basis.

We really enjoyed our time with Cristina and Marcos. Cristina is an animator and has a lot of interesting projects going on right now. She let me read a script that she is working on and shared a lot of her plans with me. It was fun. She has great ideas that are being well received. She has the creativity, discipline, and ambition to do what it takes to really make it. I know we will watch one of her projects on the big screen one day. She is also drop dead gorgeous which always helps in Hollywood! Marcos and Wences hit it off the first day they met. Aside from their shared love for speed, manifesting itself in highly competitive go cart races, which I believe Marcos won once and Wence won the second time, they have a similar sense of humor and a love for sharing stories, especially funny ones. They would invite us over for dinner and almost every time we would end up spending the night and leaving late the next day. That is my image of most Argentines. Extremely generous. They invite you to their homes and will do anything to make sure you have a nice time, and try to keep that nice time extending into the next day. When my parents were here Marcos and Cristina invited us to a beautiful vineyard for lunch. As a joke I said, “Hey, my parents and I were thinking how nice it would be to spend the night at your house tonight, maybe tomorrow, and talk for hours more.” Marco looked at me and without blinking an eye said, “That would be great!” I could not believe it. I laughed so hard. The image of me with the two boys and my parents splayed out all over their floor cracked me up. But it really would have been fine with them. We really enjoyed our weekends romping on the beach, searching for Easter eggs in their friends, Janeel and David’s back yard. When Wence went away towards the end of my pregnancy Marcos called me up and spoke very earnestly with me. He invited me and Dio to come stay with them until Wence got back. Since they live about an hour North of Auckland, and I was trying to find an apartment in Auckland for us to move into while Wence sailed to Bali, I had to say no. Marcos said, “Well, we’re family so I want you to call me for ANY problem you have. ANYTHING you call.” That made me feel great because I was a little worried about the baby coming while Wence was away. And I know that I could have called in the middle of the night and they would have been there for me. That is family, isn’t it.


We met Lloyd, captain of Deep Blue in the Tuamotos in French Polynesia. He and his former girlfriend and skipper, Fiona, dropped their anchor close to us one peaceful afternoon. At first we were annoyed. We had been enjoying being the only boat in that anchorage. Two days later it seemed like we were doing everything with Fiona and Lloyd. My favorite afternoon was when we went for a picnic on one of the many little islands. After some wine and cheese the men went out “hunting” and the ladies stayed behind, chatting and playing with Dio. A bit later Glen, Lloyd and Wence brought back a few coconut crabs they had caught. Wence told me that all the little holes in the ground were crab holes. I could not believe how many holes there were. We were standing on a virtual crab cake! Yummy! Wence and I went into the coconut forest and chased crabs for an hour or so. Telling Wence to walk slowly and quietly, not to scare the crabs back into their little holes, is like telling a ballerina to perform the Haka. Totally impossible. If you have no idea what I am talking about you have to watch New Zealand’s All Blacks, their rugby team, do their opening intimidation moves. No wonder they never lose a game! Anyway, we finally managed to catch one. He managed to flick it through the air with a stick towards me and I trapped it into the ground with a rock. I love bringing home dinner!

We saw Lloyd and Fiona again in Tahiti and later in the Westhaven Marina in Auckland. Unfortunately Fiona and Lloyd broke up shortly after they arrived in Auckland. The next time we saw Lloyd, he was a little down, understandably. It’s hard enough breaking up with a partner under normal circumstances. Imagine breaking up with someone right after you arrive in a new country where you hardly know anyone and have no easy way to meet people. I think it was hard for both of them. Dio seemed to sense this too. Since DEEP BLUE was right next to ours in the marina, Lloyd would come over sometimes for a beer or to watch a movie. Diogenes would cover him with kisses and hugs. Lloyd does not seem accustomed to having children around and was a bit uncomfortable. Which only made Dio kiss him more, the way cats always seek out the person who is allergic to them and coil up around their legs. Well, Lloyd may have had an allergic reaction to Dio. But he outgrew it in the end.

Fiona and Lloyd decided to stay in New Zealand, however, to work for a while and see where that leads them. Lloyd wants to continue sailing. Fiona thought about becoming a captain for charter boats, but realized that lifestyle would be difficult when she starts her own family. She eventually got a job in Christchurch, a beautiful town in the south island with about six ski mountains nearby. Lloyd got a job to the north of Auckland as a project manager for an engineering firm. Even though they aren’t together anymore, it seems like they are still best friends. We love them both and hope to see them again.


Like many of the Brit sailors we met along the way, Will and Kate decided to drop anchor in New Zealand for quite some time, possibly forever. Will used to be in marketing in the UK and apparently worked so hard he was barely home. They took two years to sail from the UK to New Zealand with their two boys, Tom(10) and Patrick (4). The first time we saw them they approached our boat in Tonga, thinking we were Traveler. Apparently they got to know Scott and Nancy very well while sailing in the Caribbean and the boys would love to come to Traveler and jump on the trampoline and watch some movies. When Will realized we were not Traveler, he tried his luck anyway and asked if his boys could “use the facilities.” What could be more fun for Dio than two wild boys to jump around with! So we became Travelers stand in.

Once they got to Auckland they decided to stay at a marina that was across the harbor. Will started his own company taking pictures of boats racing or just sailing. He manages to drive the dinghy with his toes while snapping shots of tourists sailing the Americas Cup boats. If you look at the pictures in the Tonga section on the website, you will see Will playing the maracas with his toes. Obviously the man has serious coordination. While he was starting up his business, Kate was starting work as a nurse in the children’s hospital. They both seem happy here. They say the quality of life available in New Zealand is much better than in England. People are more involved in the outdoors here. It is easier to make a living and raise a family, making sure that they really get to spend time with the kids. They plan on buying a house and starting over here. If New Zealand were not so far away from the rest of the world, we might consider it too!


Not long after we arrived back in Auckland after our trip in the camper vans with the Austins, we met David and Liz. I had been doing laundry in the marina and noticed a picture of a couple looking for work on a boat. Wences and I had been talking about hiring a couple to replace Sophia. With two babies on board, it seemed like we would need more help. The next day they showed up at our boat to introduce themselves. Apparently word had gotten around that we were looking for help. We liked them immediately, and after a series of meetings with them, to try to make sure we were all on the same page with what we were all looking for, we decided they would move onto the boat right before Wence went to his sisters wedding. At least if I went into labor when Wence was away, I would not have to worry about who was going to take care of Dio.

David and Liz are both from New Zealand. Liz is 27 and David is 32. They’ve been married for four years, working together the entire time on their sea kayaking business on Lake Taupo. They recently sold the business partly because they were tired of being wet, cold, and sick as Lake Taupo is on the chilly side apparently, but also because they wanted to travel and see the world. We were happy to find them. They’re good people.


Wence and I have been pretty lucky with the planning of both of our sons. When I was getting my masters degree, studying for 2 years, I wanted to have Dio during my summer vacation so that I could have time with him before getting back to school. Every one I mentioned this plan to laughed at me. “You can’t plan childbirth like that.” Well, Dio was born 5 days after my last exam, at the beginning of my summer vacation, two days after my mom and dad arrived to help out with the birth. Perfect planning. I had always told Wence that I wanted the kids 2 years apart (he, because he is a maniac and a man wanted them to be one year apart, RIGHT!). Anyone who knows Wences knows that when he wants to do something, there really is no stopping him so when Theodore was born two years and 2 days after Dio, well, a few friends had to swallow their laughter. Wence was actually upset that he was two days off the two year mark. The funny thing is if we had had Theo in the states, there would have only been a day difference between Dio and Theo. I could have had a joint birthday party every year!

Before we got to New Zealand, the birth of Theodore always seemed so far away. We had planned on having him here because I was told it was the best place in this neck of the woods to have a baby. Better than Australia. And Lord knows I did not want to have him in Tonga. As much as I love Tonga. No. New Zealand’s culture encourages the use of midwives. I liked that. I had such a great experience with Dio’s birth with Sheri, the midwife in Miami that I was hoping I could find something like that in New Zealand.

Yes and No. I found a great midwife, Justine Down. She is what they call an independent midwife. She is not confined to working with one particular hospital or birthing center, but can work at any hospital or birthing center and does home births as well. Although I had really enjoyed the home birth with Dio, home birth on the boat did not seem like such a good idea. The boat was entirely ripped apart for weeks around the birth, with all the work Wence was having done to it, and I also did not want Dio to see or hear the child birth. I heard about a great birthing center not far, actually around the corner from Cristina and Marcos’s house, but it was pretty far from the nearest hospital. Close to an hour. I chose a place called Parnell Birthcare in Auckland. It really feels like a nice version of a hospital, clean, organized, and sterile.

Justine came to see me on the boat, wherever it happened to be that week, every two weeks and then every week. Justine also sails which was nice because other midwives may not have been too psyched about working on a boat. I really enjoyed my visits with Justine. She has a calming presence that is kind and straight forward. Whatever fears I might be having she would assess and discuss with me and moments later I felt better. At the same time she was gentle. The midwife I had in Miami, as much as I love and respect her, is more like a coach for a football team. Which may have been what I needed for that birth.

For the most part my pregnancy with Theo went very well. I had felt pretty sick the first few months, but after that passed I felt great. Towards the end of the pregnancy, I was tired and a little nervous. All of the sudden I realized what having your baby in another country means. You cannot call your family and friends every day for support. They cannot come see you for a weekend when it takes a weekend to get here. When I had a little bit more than three weeks left to go, Wence had to go to his sister’s wedding in Argentina and to some business meetings in Costa Rica and Chile. I had not realized how much I relied on Wence until he was about to leave. I guess when you’re pregnant you feel a bit more vulnerable and you want your man nearby to protect you. Every woman I met told me their second child was as easy as pie. That part was great! I could handle a few less hours of child birth. But they also told me the second child was weeks early. Not so great since Wence would be away until a week before my due date. Every day I closed my eyes and told the baby to wait for his father to come back. And he did.

I have never been so happy to see Wences as the day we went to meet him at the airport. I felt like that baby could come that second and I would be fine. He told me to wait a few days so he could get over his jet lag. Fine. I said. Almost believing at this point that the baby would do as I asked. In those few days we moved into the apartment in Parnell with the help of Liz and David and did all those last minute things you do before the birth of a baby, buy diapers, oh ya, clothes too, and little booties.

Since Dio’s birthday was on a Friday, we decided to celebrate it on a Saturday (nobody tell him that please) so that we could celebrate with Cristina, Marcos, SOPHIE, and Marquitos as well as Nico and Dagmara. We didn’t plan anything big. Some pizza, streamers around the house, party hats, Cristina brought a cake, lots of ice cream. It was a nice day. Dio loves opening presents. Sometimes it’s just the opening of them. He doesn’t even look to see that is inside, but moves on to the next colorful box in the pile. After cake and presents we went to a nearby park and let the kids run around. Dio is so happy with Marquitos and Sophie. It’s the only time he really doesn’t care at all if I am around or not. As we watched them play I suddenly felt VERY heavy. The pressure of the baby all of the sudden was almost overbearing. I had to sit down. Marcos gave me a funny look and said, “You’re going to have the baby tonight.” “NO. I said. Not tonight.”

At 10 PM that night I told Wence he better read up on the HOW CAN I HELP MY WIFE WHILE SHE IS IN LABOR chapter of my pregnancy book. It was coming. These were contractions. The mild kind that just feels a little uncomfortable. But they kept coming. I ate some food and went to bed. Close to 1AM I woke up. The contractions were close together and getting stronger. We called Justine who told us to give her a bit of a head start since she lives a half hour outside of Auckland. Then we called Liz and David who were staying on the boat and asked them to come to the apartment. I put in a WEST WING DVD and tried not to think too much about anything except whether or not Toby’s wife will remarry him or not. He’s a great guy. She really should. By quarter to 2 Liz and David were in the apartment. Wence and I left. I could tell Wence was nervous. He actually pulled over and looked at a map instead of driving into oblivion. I wanted to get there. The contractions were coming faster and faster.

We arrived at birthing center at 2AM. It was dark and quiet. Justine brought me to a large room that had a big birthing pool in the center of the room. She suggested I try to walk around for a bit. I think I was only able to walk around for about fifteen minutes before I got into the pool. The warm water immediately helped my back feel better. Between contractions Justine gave me water with drops of rescue remedy, a homeopathic pain reliever. During contractions Wence massaged my lower back. Ten minutes to 4 AM I felt my body starting to push. Justine saw it was time and told me to go with it. It seemed to strange to me that I was already pushing even though my bag had not broken yet. Fifteen minutes later the bag broke and moments later Theo’s head was out. After the next push Theo was out of my tummy and in Wences’s arms. Good catch Wence! It’s such an amazing experience giving birth. Even though I’ve gone through the pregnancy, seen scans of the baby and have gone through the not so subtle experience of giving birth, the moment the moment Dio and Theo were born, I was overwhelmed with surprise. Almost shocked the moment I laid eyes on them, as if I cannot believe it is really true. Wence and I looked down at our new son, happily awed by the miracle of birth and life. I have never felt closer to him as I did on that morning. Alone together, in a distant land, we welcomed the newest addition to our family. Theodore Casares. Our little Kiwi!

After I had birthed the placenta and Theo was in my arms, Justine told me there had been a true knot in the cord and merconium in my amniotic fluid. If they had known this before, they would have taken me to a hospital. Some babies get infected lungs from being exposed to merconium. Their heart rate usually goes down during labor revealing a problem. Theodore’s heart rate was never a problem. Justine checked him for signs of infection and found none. We felt very lucky.

Dio was very sweet with Theo from the moment he saw