It's been a busy couple of months. We've launched Island Prism, moved out of our house, sold or given away just about everything, packed and repacked the boat. I've written reports, packed up a classroom and even attempted to do some teaching. I'd also been working on a very special gift. No wonder I'm sleeping well!
We're cruising New Zealand until late April, when we'll start on our journey across the Pacific to Canada. The journey will get my husband home, and will be the longest voyage I've done so far. I'm very excited, a bit nervous, and sad to be leaving behind my friends of the last 12 years.
The staff at St Heliers School sent me off in style with bubbles, reminicences, singing and dancing. I was presented with lei from the lovely Loretta and Robyn, my colleagues gave me a gorgeous leather traveller's notebook filled with beautiful papers for drawing and painting, and my class gave me a voucher for the local art store, which has since turned into sable brushes and tubes of watercolour.
I shared my goodbye with two friends, Robin and Amanda, who are also setting off on their next great adventures. We knew we wanted to present the staff with something special, and decided to create a painting with the Maori proverb 'He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata'- what is the most important thing in the world? It's people, it's people, it's people.
As well as symbolising voyagers, whales are special to our school as we give a carved bone whale tail to the Year 8 students as part of their graduation. The mountain is Rangitoto, the island which dominates the Waitemata Harbour and can be seen from the school. I used masking fluid to keep the letters white and added patterns to each whale in metallic gel pen- Maori designs on the humpback for Kiwi Amanda, a raven inspired by Pacific North Western art for Canadian Robin, and Celtic knotwork for me.
There were tears and laughter, and the same in my class on the final day. I know I'm leaving somewhere very special, but also know that I am very lucky in the wonderful adventures to come. I'll post more about the start of our sailing soon, but want to leave this here with a goodbye and a heartfelt thank you to all the wonderful people who make the community of St Heliers School such a special one0 my New Zealand whanau.
An Artist Afloat- Painting the world one anchorage at a time.