Category Archives: nonBoat

Road trip to America: California Part II

It’s family time!  I love visiting California as I get to see my beautiful sister, family, and friends!  A trip to America is not a trip without stopping in Southern California.  And she was showing off its beauty with gorgeous sunny days and clear skies. But it was chilly coming in at 12-14 C!  We also had some amazing sunsets.

This is the Hermosa Beach pier and boardwalk or strand.

Cameron was home from Colorado University and he had a collegiate volleyball tournament where they made it to the Gold bracket but ended up losing to the team who won the entire tournament!   It was a nail biting, yet truly exciting weekend!

I was blessed to be able to visit with several friends during my stay.  This is my good friend Deborah.  She used to work with Matt many, many moons ago and now I’ve stolen her from him.

My dear friend Ed whom I’ve know for over 30 years!   The top right photo is a statue near the Manhattan Beach pier and the lower photo is a view from my sister’s house toward Hermosa beach.

Squeezed in a few more friends.  Paul (aka Wild Man) is top center), Troy and Paul (top left), Deborah and I, middle, Gian Marco, Jennifer, and Mateo (bottom photos).

Kimberly managed to get sick, then shared it with me so we ended up spending almost 9 days inside recovering.  The day before I left we made it out for a little sister time.

I even had a chance to visit with my family even though I was not feeling great.  Easter Sunday service then brunch at the Cheesecake Factory with my aunt Diana, uncle Mark and uncle Matthew.

And breakfast with my uncle Joe and my dad’s wife Kelly.

Kimberly and I enjoying some Gelato before I left.  It was such a disappointment to be so sick for so long, but at least I got to be home with my sister.

Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual live events.  This blog post occurred during mid-March to mid-April 2024.  Did you catch Part I of Road trip to America: Texas?

Jamie, Christine, Michelle

Road Trip to America: Texas

It’s that time of year again where I make my way to America.  As we get further and further west it becomes a little more challenging to get back to the states.

Matt and I were in Whangaroa enjoying the beautiful bays when we realized we had to head back so I could catch my flights.  We sailed about 6 hours to Bay of Islands where I caught a city bus to Whangarei (3 hours).


While in Whangarei, I visited with my friend Kara and her friend Emma.  I was able to get a quick mani / pedi and my hair done by my favorite stylist Jordyn.  I would really love to go back to my dark brown hair, but without access to a hair stylist I just can’t deal with the grays!  Yes, this is a HUGE luxury for me.  Normally I go years without any beautification treatments so this is a special treat!

The next day, Kara takes me to the airport where I catch a small puddle jumper to Auckland at oh-dark-thirty (1.5 hours).  From there it is a 14 hour flight with a screaming mother and child during a very turbulent flight.  Truly one of the worst flights I’ve ever had. But, I make it to America, Dallas safe and sound.


I spend a few days with my good friend Wayne in Dallas.  He was kind enough to let me store some of our “stuff” in his closet and it was time for me to go through it to see what I could discard.  Originally when I placed these items in his closet we thought we would only be gone for 3 years.  Well, we are going on almost 8 years now and surely I don’t need half of this stuff.

I tried on every single piece of clothing.  Items that did not fit (size 0 and 2) were put in a donate pile, items that were expired or documents that were older than 7 years all got shredded.  It was a great cleansing experience and fun walking down memory lane.

We had a lovely dinner with our friend’s kids, Sydney and Dylan (and Corey).  It had been several years since I had seen them so it was great catching up on their lives.  Top photo: Wayne, me, Dylan, Sydney and Corey.

San Antonio

Wayne and I drove to San Antonio (Boerne) to visit with Shawn and Sharron (4hr drive).  It always warms my heart to be around them!  They just fill my soul with lots of love.  Mason was home and made his famous brisket.  He is doing so well teaching high school students history, government, and economics.  All three kids are just doing spectacular!

After our glorious weekend, Wayne takes me to Austin (2.5 hour drive) to get my rental car and then he continues back to Dallas. 


It is spring time and the flowers are blooming.  This is my absolute favorite time of the year and I am so happy that I get to witness the natural beauty of Texas!

The Bluebonnets (purple) and Indian Paint Brushes (red flowers) are all over the highways, roads, and yards.  We also stop at Buc-ees which is a true Texas establishment with over 120 fuel pumps and over 100 toilets!  Only in America can a gas station with 100’s of toilets be a destination!

My dear friend Jamie flew in from Oklahoma and we both stayed at our best friend’s house, Michelle.  She is hostess with the mostest! These two women feed my heart and soul.  I am so blessed to have them in my life.

Jamie, Christine, Michelle

Jamie, Christine, Michelle

I was swamped with doctor appointments, but one night they took me out to meet our friends Jennifer and Heather at a beautiful place called Wild Flower.

Medical Appointments Galore!

Once a year I return to Texas to visit my oncologist and take care of a few medical things.  This year, I’ve been experiencing numbness in both arms and hands along with upper neck pain which was concerning to her.  So, along with the standard complete blood panel, she ordered an x-ray, bone density, and a bone scan.  So, I spent several days in and out of doctor offices trying to get it all done while I was in town.

The Good News:  I am in my 9th year of being cancer free and have one more year to go before I stop taking my chemo medicine (anastrozole).  After my 10th year I no longer have to come in once a year for blood work or doctor visits either as I will be considered in complete remission (applause).  

The bone scan did not show any metastasis which is fantastic news! 

The other good news is that my bone density showed that I am still in Osteopenia despite my bones getting worse, they have not crossed over to Osteoporosis.  

The Neutral News:  The x-ray showed that my C4-C6 has degenerated further and that surgery is in my future (at some time as I refuse to do it now).  This is causing the neck pain and most likely causing the numbness.  I can stretch my neck hanging from a doorway (except we don’t have any doorways on the boat).  So, I will search for other exercises to help minimize the pain.

Medical Care outside of America

For those of you who are wondering, we do receive medical care outside of America.  Matt and I visit the dentist, optometrist, dermatologist, general practitioners and a few others when the need arises.  We pay cash out of pocket, just like we do in the U.S. as we don’t have health insurance.  We have received excellent care all over the place including Panama, Chile, Costa Rica, French Polynesia, Fiji, and New Zealand!

Celebrating with Friends

To celebrate we gather a few friends for happy hour.  My friend Diana organized everything and it was fabulous!  Thank you for everyone who showed up!

It had been years since I had seen some of these beautiful faces!  Top: me, Erica, Missy and John, me and Jason.  Bottom; Jeff, me, Tracey, and Diana and next pic is John, me and Missy.

Oscar and John, Josh and Tiffany also came in for special Christine hugs!

My time has come to leave Texas and head to California.  I am so very grateful for all of the love and generosity my friends showered upon me, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Stay tuned for the second part of my trip to America in California.  Coming up next.

Our blog posts runs 10-12 hours behind live events.  My trip to America occurred mid-March to mid-April 2024.  In our last blog post I summarize our sailing locations around the North Island.

Nounou at the helm, our captain

Maupiti Fishing with Marlin Star

One of the locals, Nounou, offered to take Matt and I offshore fishing. We were told that the locals harpoon mahi, and catch wahoo, tuna, and marlin between Maupiti and Bora Bora.   We met Nounou a few weeks ago, got his number, and scheduled our outing.  Nounou catches a lot of mahi – check out his Marlin Star Facebook page.

Nounou and his mate picked us up at 0900 with our packed lunch, beverages, and smiles.  He did not waste anytime putting the pedal to the metal.  We sped across the lagoon covering the 2.5 miles in 7-8 minutes.  Gesh this is a rocket on water!

We said a prayer before leaving the pass.  I prayed for safety and no sea sickness but I am sure the boys prayed for fish.  It is a fishing trip after all.  We exited the pass at 30-35kts with little effort – ridiculous.  Then we started the bash toward Bora Bora.

The Boat

Nounou came to pick us up in his superfast 35’ speed boat called Lady Kea.  He has one turbo diesel engine with 340 horse power and a top speed of 40kts!  He fishes daily during the week in this boat and takes his family out on this “faster” boat on the weekends.  Lady Kea is a beautiful orange and yellow boat with logos on the side.

Lady Kea

Lady Kea

The Captain

The captain / driver sits inside a well and moves a metal pipe or pvc tube right and left to steer.  The throttle is where is right hand is and his left hand is on the steering mechanism.

Nounou at the helm, our captain

Nounou at the helm, our captain

Shots of our fearless captain, Nounou.

Nounou, our fearless captain

Nounou, our fearless captain

The Equipment

The boat is outfitted with (2) fishing rods each with 130 reels.  These reels are monstrous.  To put it into perspective, we have a 50 reel on our boat and that is huge for us.

There is a large assortment of lures on either side of the boat.  They put the port line out really far and the starboard line closer.

To catch Mahi Mahi they search out the birds.  We found several flocks of birds during the course of our trip.  Our captain and crew would spot the birds several miles out and we would race toward them.  Nounou would circle the mahi which swim near the surface while feeding. Then he would expertly throw the harpoon at the Mahi hoping for a catch.  We unfortunately only had one opportunity to do this and he got away.  Photo of harpoon.

Mahi harpoon

Mahi harpoon

Heading out to sea

We zoomed out about 18-29 miles toward Bora Bora which was into the wind, waves, and sea.  Not a pleasant experience.  Going 35-40kts, top speed, bashing hard while trying to hold on was difficult.  I literally had a volcan death grip with both hands and both feet wedged wherever I could stick them.  After about an hour of holding on we turned and went side to the waves.  Slightly better.

The little bonito (tuna)

The first fish to catch our lure was a small bonito tuna.  It was a relief to catch him as we had been trolling for over an hour and a half with nothing.  He’s small, but will be tasty.

Fishing: Bonito tuna

Fishing: Bonito tuna

We would switch between looking for mahi and fishing for marlin and wahoo.  They used the lures for the marlin and wahoo.  They used the harpoon for the mahi.

The Marlin

After another several hours we landed a beautiful, fat marlin!  With two people, a fast boat, and the perfect execution, they reeled in a 60 kilo (135lb) marlin!

Nounou will clean and cut the fish and give it to the local school to feed the kids!  This baby will feed lots of kids for awhile.

Marlin! Now that is fishing

Marlin! Now that is fishing

We headed back to the boat around 1500. 6 hours later.  Every inch of my body ached.  Holding on, clenching every muscle, falling a time or two and being tossed around the fiberglass boat did a number to my body.  With several bruises, bumps, scrapes and blisters we climbed back onto Sugar Shack.

A quick rinse in the lagoon to get the 20 layers of salt off us and then a fresh water rinse.  Matt cleaned the bonito which Nounou graciously gifted us.  We called it a day, took some advil, made a drink and crashed on the bean bags.

By the way, we never took a sip of our drinks or a nibble of food.  We were too busy holding on, fishing, and looking for fish.

This fishing excursion happened on 31 August.  Our blog posts run 6/8 weeks behind our adventures.