As I said in my last article we have thoroughly enjoyed our stay here in Havelock and on the last day here things got even better. In fact….I can say without a doubt it is my best day ever!
First of all, it was my 40th….oh okay….my 53rd Birthday. We stuck around a couple of extra days because of the Annual Havelock Mussel Festival. I kept trying convince everyone that they were holding it on Saturday in honor of my special day. Of course no one bought my story but it didn’t matter. I knew it was going to be an incredible day either way. What I didn’t know was just how incredible it would turn out to be.
They had asked us to change slips after the first two nights and put us on this slip on the H dock that was right at the gangway next to the rocky shore. We draw 1.8 meters and were assured there was enough water there. Well, they were half right. During high tide we had plenty but at low tide Dazzler rested gently on the bottom stuck firmly in the mud.
After having grounded on the way into the marina it was not a pleasant feeling to be sitting on the bottom but Dan assured me it would be fine. We weren’t listing at all, just sitting flat in the mud for a short time each day when the tide went out. So, during our time in Havelock Dazzler ended up sitting in the mud not just the one time on the way in but another 5 times at dock as the tides fell twice each day.
On Saturday morning, my birthday, Dan let me sleep in a bit. After I awoke we sat in the salon and enjoyed our coffee time. Dan had a beautiful, very romantic birthday card waiting for me as well as a wonderfully delicious salted caramel dark chocolate candy bar. He knows my weaknesses to be sure. Around 1130 we were expecting Lutz & Gabi to come over so we could all walk up to the Mussel Festival. What happened next was a first for me.
The Birthday Serenade
I was below finishing getting ready when I heard them out on the dock. Dan called me up to the cockpit. I look over my shoulder and there stood Lutz & Gabi all decked out in their red and black SuAn shirts and hats. Lutz is holding his guitar and they begin signing and playing Happy Birthday. If you’ve never heard the birthday song sung with a German accent then you’ve seriously missed out. Their kind and loving serenade literally brought tears to my eyes as I know them and know they had been practicing for this very moment.
When they finished singing I leaped from the boat to the dock to give them both huge hugs for the wonderful gift. They are so thoughtful and such truly special friends and family. And, they were’t done….they also brought me a bottle of vodka and some lovely pearl earrings. Gabi referred to them as our “sister earrings” as she wears pearls exactly like them. Now Lutz & Dan have their matching “brothers shirts” we got them in Fiji and we have pearls. Seems my birthday was beginning to shape up quite nicely and it wasn’t even noon!
On To The Mussel Festival
It’s a stunning day today with the sun bright and warm, just a few clouds overhead and a light fog on the water that is fighting with the sun to hang around just a little longer. We walked along the pretty waterfront from our dock to theirs so Lutz could put his guitar away and then walked directly across the parking lot into the Mussel Festival. One of the many bonuses of a small town is that everything is quite convenient.
The tickets were not cheap…$40 NZD per person but the proceeds go to a local charity and it was a cute little festival. It came complete with the obligatory face painting booths, children’s play areas, craft stalls, live bands and food vendors. Near the stage people had brought in chairs and blankets and were sitting around enjoying the music, company of friends and the wonderful food. This is the first festival they’ve had since the pandemic started a year ago so you could see how happy everyone was to get back to “life”.
And, people come from all over to this festival each year. There’s a small RV park in front of the marina that was literally jam packed with RVs. It was quite easy to spot the tourists from the locals as we all had our cameras out taking photos of every green mussel statue or sign we could find.
Of course all of the food at the festival was seafood related. You could get everything from clam croquettes to salmon tacos to mussels to oysters to teriyaki King Salmon sandwiches and so much more. If it can be made with muscles, oysters, clams or salmon, they were cooking it up. We walked the festival, listened to the live music, had a few beers and sampled some of this fabulous food. My favorite….the clam croquettes and teriyaki salmon! They were both absolutely delicious!
After a few hours at the festival Lutz & Gabi decided they wanted to hike to the top of Mount Takorika. It’s a really steep hike and not anything I could ever do. And, it sounded like a whole lot of work for a gal to do on her birthday so we told them to go ahead and we’d meet for dinner.
Dan and I took a walk through town to the cute red roofed church that stands upon the hill. I love little churches in towns like this. I must have a few hundred church photos by now. Then we walked back to the grocery store, picked up a few additional provisions and headed back to Dazzler for a lazy afternoon.
Our Best Day Ever
For dinner we headed back to, you guessed it, The Captain’s Daughter. When you find a great restaurant in a place like this you just have to keep going there. Also, their manager, Sam, is one delightful lady. We spent a great deal of time chatting with her the second time we stopped in. Hard to believe when you watch her that she’d only been working there for two weeks. We’d have thought she’d been there her entire life.
We arrived just ahead of Lutz & Gabi. They both looked a bit worn out from their hike but also eager to continue celebrating with me. The waitress brought our beers and we chatted away. All of the sudden Dan, sitting to my left, reaches across the table and sets something in front of me. I looked down at the square, burgundy box then looked back at him.
“What’s this?” I query.
“It’s your birthday gift.” he replies with a sly little grin on his handsome face. I’m staring at it and the wheels in my head are turning. This can’t be what I think it is….it’s not possible. It takes me a few moments to begin processing what is happening.
He starts growing a little impatient and says, “Well, open it!”
I do and inside I find the most lovely white gold and diamond band. It is exactly what I’ve been eyeing for a long, long time. My guy knows what I like. My heart is literally pounding out of my chest as I look at him at ask, “What is this?”
“What do you think it is?” he says with a smirk.
“I’m not sure. What is it? I ask again.
“It’s a will you marry me ring?” He says with a cheeky grin.
I look at him with tears filling my eyes and ask, “Are you serious? Are you sure?”
He starts laughing and assures me he is on both accounts. It’s now that I throw my arms around him, tears streaming down my cheeks and my heart so full of happiness I can barely breathe. I have dreamed of this day for a long time and here it is…it’s finally here. I’m trying desperately to keep my composure but mostly to take in the moment. I want to remember every single second for the rest of my life.
Lutz and Gabi are as stunned as I am by the proposal. Apparently Dan has kept this all to himself. Not a single other soul in the world knew his plan. Turns out he’s very, very good at keeping secrets.
Our friends congratulate us and Lutz takes several photos. It’s such a special thing to have happen only to be made more special by being able to share it with two people we love so much. Needless to say the smile that lit my face and my twinkling eyes so filled with love continued to shine throughout the entire evening. We laughed and talked about other things but my mind never stopped thinking about the fact that Dan, a man whose love means more to me than anything in the world, has made me the absolute most happy woman in the entire universe!
After dinner we walked back to Dazzler for an after dinner drink and then our friends left us. The entire day from start to finish is one that will live on in my mind forever as the single most special day of my life!!!
Until next time,
Jilly (The Future Mrs. Dazzler)