Saturday, 28 February 2015

Time to blog about Waiheke and Rangitoto Islands. 

We were able to speak to most all the kids and wish them a Happy Valentine's Day on Saturday the 14th.  It is always a little strange living in two different hemispheres.  We have a holiday and then the rest of the family has it the next day.

Monday, January 26th was Auckland Days so the Area Office was closed.  We went with Elder and Sister Winters and Elder and Sister Aland and headed to Waiheke Island.  We took the ferry from Devonport to Waiheke that took 25 minutes.  The weather was perfect.  We took a two hour hike around one part of the Island to enjoy art walk.  All along the trail were different art sculptures that were for sale.  Wow!  They were all thousands of dollars.  The van driver that took us to the start of the walk said they called this area Billionaire Cove because so many billionaires lived there.   There were some pretty fantastic homes with great views and a vineyard along the walk.

 Above is Elder and Sister Aland and Nada on the top deck of Fuller's Ferry.  The sky was a little overcast and the breeze coming off the water was cool  By the time we arrived on Waiheke, the clouds were gone and it was a beautiful day.  To the right is the beautiful bay we get to see every time we cross the bridge and it never grows old.  There seems to always be at least once sailboat out sailing.
 As we came into the dock at Waiheke you can see this peace of art as part of the sculpture walk.
 Here in New Zealand they really try to protect their forests and parks.  They have you spray some kind of solution on the bottom of your shoes in some places so you don't bring any harmful critters into the environment.  Here they had the solution on wet mats they everyone had to walk across to start the sculpture walk.
Nada standing in front of one of the first sculptures we came upon.  It was arrows and a target us along the trail.

 Reed and Nada along the trail with the ocean below us.  Beautiful views of the ocean and island all along the walk.
 This sculptures was a giant top.  They were just at different places all along this trail.  You would just come upon them and they had price tags on them.

One of the homes along the walk.  What a view!

Nada, Sister Aland, Sister Winters, Elder Winters and Elder Aland.  They needed a break.  The first sculpture we saw from the bay is in the back ground.  We could not understand what all of them were about.

Below Sean Connery taking a selfie.

 This dome was one of Nada's favourite.  It was flowers and it had an opening that you could go inside and was painted red on the inside.  It would be fun to sleep in at night and look up at the starts.
 This mirror sculpture was the most interesting.  We took a lot of different shot angles here.  People enjoyed this was the most and stayed here the longest.

 As we finished the walk we just enjoyed the view looking down into bay at Waiheke with the ferry terminal and dock.  This island is the third most populated of the New Zealand Islands and has surpassed Martha's Vineyard as the highest income population.

 These Maori carvings were on the beach as we came off the hill and headed back to the ferry terminal.

We then bought a $10.00 off and on bus pass and headed into Oneroa and had lunch.  We ate at a Thai Restaurant.  There is a lot of Thai food here.  It was nice sitting on the verandah and enjoying good food and good company.  We then hopped back on the bus and headed to Onetangai to enjoy the ocean and beach.  We only had a half of an hour to play in the water and walk on the beach.  Reed of course snorkelled while the rest of us got our feet wet and enjoyed the beach.  We only had about 25 minutes there because we had to catch the bus and catch the 4:p.m. ferry to get back to Devonport.We will definitely have to go back and spend more time on the beaches now we know how to get around.

 Elder & Sister Aland, Sister and Elder Spencer and Elder and Sister Winters enjoying the sun and beach.
As we arrived back to Devonport there was an old wooden classic sailboat in the harbour.  Gorgeous.  As we pulled into the dock people were jumping off and swimming there in the bay.

Saturday, January 31, 2015 we headed to the Matakana Market.  It is a small town about an hour drive north of Auckland.  It was a great market with lots of different kinds of cheese, breads, oils, fruits, vegetables and other kinds of foods to purchase.  They also had some interesting shells and items for sale.  We went to the Kauri forest and then to a wood carvers home.  This man is from Bethelehem and does a lot of carving out of olive wood.  He gave us a tour of his shop where he works and the shop where they sale his carvings.  Very nice people and most of the senior missionaries go there for their nativities and wood carving items.

 This is the wood carver's shop.
 This is the wood carver's home.  They had quite a large peace of land with sheep, a shop, their home and a display shop where they sold his carvings.
 He carves a lot of ornaments.

We then drove to the Waitakere Forrest and went through the visitor center.  We ran out of time so we will need to go back and do some of the hikes around there.  There are some waterfalls and places we want to explore another day.
We just love these fern trees.  They are so beautiful here.

On Wednesday, January 28th we met with the entire Area Presidency, President Pearson, President Haleck and President Nielsen, the DTA (Director of Temporal Affairs) Brent Buckner, Dean, Reed and Nada.  We were a little nervous when we walked into the room and all of them were waiting there.  We presented the information we have created for the Education Initiative.  They were very complimentary and excited about it.  They wanted us to reword a couple of sentences and then they were going to present it to all the Area Seventies on Saturday.  We were suppose to only meet for 15 minutes and ended up being in there for 40 minutes because they wanted to hear more.  We were so excited when we left the third floor.  What a thrill to know all our hard work was exactly what they wanted.  We are so grateful that we have listened to the Spirit and worked so hard.  Reed made the comment that this was one of the best days of his life.  To meet with the entire Area Presidency who are men called of God and to know we were on the right track of why our Heavenly Father wanted us to come here and serve!

On Saturday, February 7th we caught the ferry again and went to a different island by the name of Rangitoto.  It is the newest island in New Zealand formed by a volcano that erupted 600 years ago.  There is no running water or electricity on the island.  All the water is from rain and they use propane for cooking and heating.  The cottages on the island were built in the early 1900s and can only be passed on to family members.  They cannot be sold.  There were originally 140 of them but now there are only around 30.  People still live in them but mostly like summer cabins.

Nada walking down the pier from the ferry to Rangitoto Island.  Elder and sister Whidden in the forefront.

 Nada and Reed as they stepped off the pier and onto Rangitoto Island.
 Reed hiking to the top of the volcano.
 The volcanic rock here looked like mud clumps.  Very different than on some of the other islands.  It is interesting how plants just find a way to grow through anything.
 Nada and Reed on the top of the volcano.  It was about an hour hike.  Mostly a walk until the last twenty minutes.  Beautiful view.  You can see Auckland in the back ground.
 We went through some lava tubes.  They do not have running water but when it rains it collects in the bottom and keeps it a little damp.  We needed the flashlights because the lava was rough and you didn't want to put your foot in the wrong place.

Hiking back down the trail.  Nada, Sister and Elder Winters and Sister and Elder Whidden.
 By the pier there was this old rock gate.  It used to be the men's latrine for the convicts.
 This is one of the cottages.  They call them Bach's like in bachelor pad because they are small and humbles dwellings.  No luxuries.

Nada walking along the trail back to the pier.  We will have to come another day and hike to the lighthouse and the other side of the island.  We caught the ferry back to Devonport which was about a twenty minute ride. It was another glorious day.

We feel so blessed to be able to serve the Lord in such a beautiful area.  There is so much to see.  We try to explore something new as often as we can on Saturdays or holidays. May the Lord watch over and bless all of you.  We love you and hope you enjoy seeing the beautiful things New Zealand has to offer.  Bye for now.  Elder and Sister Spencer!


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