Opua to Auckland

Friday morning the weather appeared benign despite the storm warnings in place – then suddenly the sky turned black, the heavens opened and the wind picked up. So we just did some more boat jobs and had a movie night onboard.

Saturday was another showery and windy day so we continued pottering around and, when the weather improved later, we headed to the Opua Cruising Club and bumped into a couple from California that we had met last year. So we had a lovely evening with them catching up.

Sunday morning and it was time to get Morphie ready to go to sea. So we stowed items down below and cleaned her up, filled up the water tanks (as the watermaker remains pickled for now) and whilst I was up in the laundry Richard did the last engine checks. We then had another movie night on board.

Monday morning we bid our farewells and paid our bills, again. We had breakfast in the Marina Cafe and left our slip around 11 am.

We headed out into the bay to find a huge cruise ship anchored in the channel but we skirted around him and then, when we were in open water clear of hazards, we did the sea commissioning of the autopilot. Final job done.

We then ran down towards Omakiki Cove, our chosen anchorage, and thoroughly enjoyed sailing in 20 knots of breeze. Was absolutely amazing….

As we neared Omakiki Cove we realised that the stronger than expected winds coupled with a shift in direction meant that this was no longer such a good overnight option. So we changed course and headed to Otaio Bay on Urupukapuka Island instead. We dropped the anchor and got a good set straight away – yay – very happy.

Sadly we had to anchor a bit further out than we would have liked but a huge motorboat was there – so we were rolling about a bit as the swell came around the headland. Surprisingly, at about 5pm, the motorboat picked up his anchor and left so we quickly weighed anchor too and moved further into the bay to get more protection. It was more comfortable and we enjoyed a nice evening in the cockpit watching the birds fishing before finally roosting in the trees for the night. Meanwhile I cooked two meals – one for the overnight passage to Auckland – as well as the evening’s dinner.

Overnight we didn’t move an inch and we both had a reasonable night’s sleep. At 9am on Tuesday morning we picked up our anchor and motored out the channel.

We headed, on quite a gloomy grey day, towards the Hole in the Rock at Cape Brett (a huge tourist attraction in the Bay of Islands as you can see by the ferries) and enjoyed the sight although it was a bit swelly as we rounded the Cape.

The weather improved and the gloom lifted and we were sailing in a light breeze coming from behind us, so we poled out the genoa. This was the first time we had used the new system and it was much easier than it was previously, so it was definitely worth spending the cash on it.

The swells continued throughout the day and, at one point, we were briefly joined by a pod of dolphins. We enjoyed watching the birds fishing en masse in the ocean too.

There wasn’t much traffic and we enjoyed being at sea and looking at the islands and rocks as we went south.

By the time we went into our night shifts the wind had shifted 180 degrees on the nose and was only 2-3 knots – no good for sailing – so we reluctantly furled the genoa, returned the whisker pole to the mast, and continued under motor alone. I really enjoyed the sunset at sea.

During the evening the shipping traffic increased and we were passed by cruise ships (in both directions) and numerous cargo ships. There was one yacht keeping pace with us for a while but he disappeared into one of the east coves along the way. We were very impressed by the new navigation equipment – it took much less power, it handled the autohelm much smoother than before, and the plotter was great. The new AIS system kept us informed and I particularly liked the way it showed the closest point of approach in both distance and time. Very happy sailors!

Wednesday morning and we were on the approach into Auckland. Auckland is a commercial harbour with a narrow channel so we stayed just outside of it where there was adequate depth of 20 feet below the keel. There were cruise ships, ferries, dredgers, fishermen and even a NZ Navy ship Canterbury underway – and, of course, let’s not forget those pesky power boaters who do insist on crossing our bow at speed, causing us to bob around in their wake.

They call Auckland the City of Sails and check out the AIS signals on the plotter to see just how much boat traffic there is here. Oh yes, and those waypoints were indicative, we didn’t follow that route across the channel, honest!

We enjoyed our first sight of the Sky Tower and were very excited to have finally arrived safely after our first overnight passage in a very long time.

We followed the channel towards our marina – which is virtually opposite the Sky Tower on the opposite side of the bay – and called them on the radio looking for assistance on the dock. And of course they ignored us, as usual, so we continued. We had already had our slip allocated and had downloaded a plan so we knew where to go. We headed into our slip with the wind blowing quite strongly behind us….only to find no cleats but just metal loops….and no middle dock cleat or loop for the brest line either. Damn!!! We managed to get in and tied up but it wasn’t pretty… Not particularly helped either by our neighbour storing their dinghy on the pier between us which we could barely get by.

Anyway….never mind….we have arrived! Woo hoo! We got cleaned up and went to the marina office and found out where all the facilities are – the showers, the loos, the cruisers lounge and the washing machines. And that is all there is here. But the main reason we chose it as our base was because of the ferry dock running a regular schedule over to the City. The marina is a bit tatty at the edges but it will do and it’s nice and quiet.

Back on board and we decided, despite being tired from doing our overnight shifts, that we had to go into Auckland for a beer to celebrate. So we hopped on the ferry, enjoyed the view of the marina and watching the Americas Cup yacht out in the bay, and arrived in the city 10 minutes later. We purchased return tickets and also got ourselves some Oyster-equivalent cards for future bus/ferry use.

We got off the ferry and wandered around and found the information centre – we loaded up on brochures / leaflets on just about everything you could think of, and headed for a walk down the waterfront. We ended up in the Viaduct Marina area and quickly realised why they laughed at our enquiry about staying there…..hmmmm…….think we might have just been too little LOL.

We found an elevated bar called Dr Rudi’s with views over the marina and enjoyed a single very expensive glass of freezing cold draught lager which went down a treat. Both of us, by now, were feeling a bit land sick but that was probably tiredness as much as anything.

We headed off to another bar, this time by the cruise ship dock, and people watched as they were all rushing back to the ships. Feels a bit weird to think that we will be joining those people very soon!

By now we were thinking of having something to eat (and didn’t want pizza or fine dining) so we ended up in a lovely little fish bistro near the ferry wharf and had some happy hour Sauvignon with some smoked herring pate and fish sliders. And very good it was too…. We then headed back to Bayswater Marina via the ferry and so to bed.

This morning, Thursday, and we have decided to have a lazy day and stay onboard so I’m blogging while Richard is reading all the brochures we picked up yesterday. Oh yes and Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Tomorrow, Friday, we are going to explore the City.

Bye for now

Jan

Back in the Marina

Friday afternoon we enjoyed being at anchor for the first time since we left Tonga in October 2017. We bobbed around, enjoyed watching the huge boats racing in the Millenium Cup and decided to stay put for the night.

We had picked a nice spot between a catamaran and a monohull, with plenty of swinging room, and lo and behold at 5pm a big steel ketch comes in and drops his anchor only about two boat lengths away….which was very annoying as this is a huge bay with lots of room….oh well. We enjoyed a nice dinner sitting in the cockpit in the evening watching the stars, although it was definitely a bit chilly once the sun went down. Thankfully the conditions remained benign and there were no bumps in the night.

Saturday morning and we launched our new dink into the water and secured the outboard to his transom. Richard then tried to start the engine…to no avail! This was a very frustrating development as we had this running before we left the marina. He took the carburettor apart; cleaned the spark plugs; and generally worked his way through the troubleshooting manual. But it refused to start. Damn! So it looks like we will not be going ashore again.

So we settled down to another night on board and downloaded the latest weather only to see some rough stuff coming through overnight and we are in an area which is not noted for its good holding. So we picked up anchor and got covered in very gloopy mud…and moved further into the bay. We settled in, got to grips with our new anchor alarm system, and the heavens opened. So we got dink back up onto the davits and had a quiet evening in the rain. We were much happier in our new position as there was much more sea room if the wind kicked in as expected.

During the night it rained cats and dogs and the wind picked up. Then suddenly, at 8am on Sunday morning, our anchor alarm went off and we were dragging. Quickly we picked up and reset the hook – yuck, mud everywhere again! Thankfully the rain was lighter at this point. Looking around we realised that a number of boats had also re-anchored during the night. Literally half an hour later the wind picked up and, yes, we dragged again – what fun, NOT! So we selected another spot further into the bay and, this time, thankfully we were more sheltered and stayed put.

We then sat back with a cup of tea and discussed our options about the outboard. The tidal currents here are pretty strong to be rowing against so the lack of an engine really curtailed our plans of rock hopping and exploring new places. There were a few other bits and pieces that didn’t work quite as expected either so we decided to return to Opua. So, in 25 knots of breeze out in the bay, we headed back into the shelter of the marina. We were not particularly happy but that’s the way it goes sometimes with boating!

Apparently this weather is supposed to clear on Monday evening but return with a vengeance overnight on Wednesday and into the following weekend with both gale and surf warnings. So we’ll have to consider our options again later in the week. The rest of the day was spent relaxing.

Monday morning we were up early and took our outboard to Seapower. Well, the rain was horrendous, so we holed up in the marina cafe and had bacon sandwiches to cheer ourselves up. We downloaded the weather again and the updated gribs were not favourable at all to be running south along the east coast of North Island as easterlies create huge seas and a lee shore (with many of the coves along the way being untenable in those conditions) and southerlies will be on the nose. Looks like it is going to be a wait and see situation. Check out these gribs.

We have some wriggle room with our schedule, thankfully. The last thing we need for our shakedown cruise is particularly taxing conditions although we will probably make a straight overnight shot at getting to Auckland now.

Monday afternoon Seapower managed to get the outboard running again albeit it was a bit lumpy. So they did a few adjustments and, eventually, the outboard was running great in the workshop….but not for us when we tested it back on board. What?!? So we eliminated all the variables and found the connector between our fuel line and the input valve on the outboard was faulty. The fuel line was showing some signs of wear too so we used up our spare and ordered another for the bilges. We swapped it out and everything was great. Only took a few hours to work it out LOL.

To prevent any further mishaps we decided to take advantage of the light airs to pull all our sails out and refurl them – we had loosened halyards when the riggers were on board – so wanted to double check that they were all good to go. We also spent quite a bit of time in doing some navigation planning and inputting waypoints to the new plotter. We also redid the dockside calibration of the new autopilot as it appeared to have lost the settings in our absence. We’ll do the seatrial calibration when we get into open water. We then had a quiet night on board with a nice glass of wine.

Tuesday morning we started on our remaining list of boat jobs which we had thought we would do once in Auckland. Richard sorted out the wheels on dink – which had got stuck in our absence; he removed and repaired the exhaust flapper; serviced the tie-down mechanisms that keep dink secure on the davits; sorted out the dinghy anchor; and fixed a gas strut under the bed. I got dink down and gave him a good clean to remove the boatyard dust followed by a protective coating of sunblock LOL.

Bill very kindly allowed us to use his car again so we headed over in the afternoon to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. On the way we came across the Wakas being launched from the beach. These are traditional long boats used as war canoes and are intricately carved, usually from one single tree. Lots of crew and really can’t believe the size of some of them! That was fun to see….

We arrived at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds to be met by the women from the Waitangi cultural group – doing their scary eye routine LOL.

We went see the Royal New Zealand Navy beat retreat, the ceremonial sunset at the flagstaff and the lowering of the flag. This is an annual event in advance of Waitangi Day and we were surprised by the number of dignitaries there, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ahern and her new baby.

We enjoyed watching the ceremony and headed back to the boat. The traffic was horrendous especially going across the single lane bridge which, eventually, was sorted out by a policeman despite the protestations of a very angry Maori guy behind us in the queue. By this time we were hungry so we headed to the Cruising Club for dinner out on the verandah.

Wednesday morning and it is Happy Waitangi Day and, despite the dire forecast for later, it was a very hot day with blue skies. Perfect! This Bank Holiday celebrates the signing of the treaty between the Maori people and the British 179 years ago. We left the marina and queued in constant traffic for almost an hour to the designated car park where we picked up a bus to take us to the grounds – the actual Treaty area was closed to traffic – and, along the way, cars were abandoned everywhere with people on foot. It was just total chaos. We had decided not to go to the dawn ceremony but wanted to catch the 21 gun salute from the warship out in the bay. We just made it in time and it was quite an impressive sight.

As we walked on the upper treaty grounds we came across a Maori group who had erected a temporary flagstaff in its original position and were praying and chanting. Afterwards we asked a friendly old guy, Owen Oto Simmonds what was going on. He is a member of the Maori Government of Aotearoa nu Tireni (The Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand) and they say that the Waitangi Treaty is a fake as the original one signed by the tribes was amended before the Waitangi signing. Very interesting chap and, if you check out his cap and lapel pin, he is a retired member of the SAS. We thoroughly enjoyed chatting with him for a while.

We then watched a Kapahaka group doing traditional Maori dancing and songs – and, of course, the guys manage to look very menacing doing their Haka. All good fun.

We then wandered down to the lower level and saw the Waka boats being lifted from the water but, sadly, never got to see them in action.

We had some lunch from one of the food vans and tried to get an ice cream but failed miserably. Funny that, on health grounds, alcohol and fizzy drinks were banned from the concessions but you can eat yourselves stupid on fried food!

There was very little shade so we ended up sitting under a tree near the smaller stage and watched some more Kapahaka. The singing is melodic and the show is impressive – not sure you would ever get bored of this.

Returning to the top level of the site feeling a bit frazzled in the heat we headed off to get the bus back to the car and return to the marina. When we got back onboard we rested up for the rest of the day.

Overnight the weather kicked in as promised and it is a cloudy, rainy and very windy Thursday here in Opua. We have provisioned up again and Bill is now heading back this way to pick up his car and move it. He is stuck in a small east coast marina waiting for the weather so that he can move further south. So a common theme here right now!

Bye for now

Jan

Leaving the marina behind…

Friday the riggers finished the job….yay….so we now have the whisker pole mounted on the mast. And very smart it looks too.

Friday night, as planned, we headed over to Bill’s Island Packet, SV Music, to enjoy a delicious chicken madras cooked by Peter (Bill’s crew member). Was a great evening and the wine flowed. Bill also confirmed that he wanted to purchase our old autopilot control head as his screen was failing….so we made plans to return in the morning.

Saturday morning we popped over to Bill and I did the dockside calibration of the control head for him….and wrote down instructions for the next step, the seatrial calibration. He seemed bemused by all this activity, but I was pleased to be able to prove to him that it was all working properly. We then left them to their final preparations to leave the dock and were pleased when Bill agreed to lend us his car whilst he was out cruising.

We returned to Morphie and Richard serviced the engine and swapped out the fuel and oil filters. He also replaced the impeller as it definitely had seen better days – check out the damaged blades!

I had a laundry day which was incredibly frustrating as quite a few people started their washing machines and then disappeared for hours. So, along with some fellow cruisers we mutinied and emptied machines as they finished. One of the piles of clothes were still there when I had finished three loads of washing and drying! Anyway about half an hour later a guy came in and complained because all the machines were still full. Well, mate, just leaving your laundry on the side while you head off to the cafe for breakfast doesn’t mean you keep your position in the queue. He was clearly annoyed but there were quite a few of us who were there watching our laundry and freeing up the machines as quickly as possible so he didn’t really have a leg to stand on, particularly when we pointed out the notices that said you should not leave your laundry unattended LOL.

Saturday night it rained hard and turned cold. We headed out, anyway, as we had plans to meet Chris and Frances (from SV Usquabae) in the Cruisers Club for dinner. We had all crossed the Pacific together. They had spent some time at home in the UK too so we had a lot to catch up on. We were delighted that they were both well and we had a fun evening.

Sunday morning Richard busied himself with a variety of boat jobs and I ploughed through admin jobs on the computer like banking; Australian visas; North Island hotels for an upcoming trip with Clive; and activating the Iridium Go! unit again, including the tracker, which is now live again (under the Where are we now? page). Everything ticked off the list and it was a pretty productive day for both of us. We decided not to go to the Cruising Club for Sunday roast and, instead, had a quiet night on board.

Monday was a Bank Holiday in New Zealand so it was busy in the marina and the stores were closed – so we had a lazy day on board reading and snoozing. Was lovely!

Tuesday we went through our spares and put an order in for some new filters, a replacement horn for the arch (as it is now sounding pathetic LOL) and various other bits and bobs. We also went through all our provisions to compile our shopping list. We then wandered around the marina and paid off our bills at SeaPower, NSR Rigging and Cater Marine. We also got a new rigging report to confirm that all ‘defects’ had been rectified to send to our insurance company who, very quickly replied, to confirm that we were in compliance and could now leave the dock. Yay!!!! In the evening it was pretty chilly so we had a movie night down below.

Wednesday morning we cleaned the boat and did our final boat jobs and checks. Lists finished for now we were ready to go…so time to have some fun.

In the afternoon we headed into Paihia to meet Mike and Michelle. Mike used to work at the Bank with us and we hadn’t seen him in a very long time – they are on a NZ touring holiday and just so happened to have a free afternoon/evening in Paihia. Amazing coincidence and we had a lovely time catching up with them – we took them to visit Morphie first – and then had a glass or two on the Paihia wharf followed by a great meal at The Alfresco restaurant on the waterfront.

Was really good to see Mike again after such a long time and to meet Michelle. Oh yes, and during our dinner another guy came over and asked if we had worked at the Bank – seriously – and it turns out he was also on the same tour as Mike and Michelle. We should definitely have done the lottery, with these types of odds we might have managed a big win LOL.

Thursday we were up at a reasonable time and headed into Paihia. First stop was the doctors for some more prescription drugs followed by a wander through the town whilst the chemist filled the order. All done we headed to the large Countdown supermarket and did our final provisioning run or, as Richard called it, the “Final Countdown”. We returned to Morphie, put everything away, and got ourselves ready to entertain Chris and Frances as it was our last night in the marina. They came over and we showed them how the Iridium Go! unit worked – the real purpose of the visit – and having done the demo we then just sat and chatted, and drank, and laughed and generally had a lovely evening.

This morning (Friday) we were up very early and headed to the Marina Cafe for breakfast; did some laundry; paid our marina berth fee and parked Bill’s car in a safe place to await his return to Opua to collect it. We tidied everything away down below, checked the charts, and slipped the lines. And, finally, after a very very long time we were leaving the marina behind us.

It was lovely to be back on the water. Of course the wind was very light and from the wrong direction. But the seas were flat and we enjoyed motoring the huge three miles to our destination.

So we are now anchored behind a mooring field in a bay near Russell Yacht Club and are just enjoying bobbing around and checking out the boats.

The Millennium Cup is underway here so there are so lovely big boats racing around and at anchor.

Bye for now

Jan

Getting Morpheus ship shape

Thursday we spent a lot of time looking at our new electronics and inputting our boat characteristics like setting it up for cruising, rather than racing, for example. We also used our new New Zealand and Australia chart chip and played around with the radar, AIS, chart settings etc. We came across a couple of things we couldn’t work out but otherwise everything was working as it should. Very happy! We emailed Hans to say thank you again for sorting this in our absence and could he pop round to go through the few items we were puzzled by…. All in all a relatively quiet day but was very useful in familiarising ourselves with the new equipment. We had a quiet evening on board.

Friday was the last day of having a hire car, so we headed back to Kerikeri. We had a long shopping list and was relatively successful although the final items, new rugs for our saloon, remained elusive. We talked to a few people in town and were directed towards Whaipapa. We managed to find our way there (without maps or sat nav!) and came across a huge warehouse which reminded us of Costco. So we pulled in and had a look. They sold everything – including rugs – but the sizes didn’t work for us. So we decided to give this up until we get to Auckland where, hopefully, there will be lots more choice. We did manage to get some other stuff though and all at bargain basement prices so pretty happy. Best bargain was a very thin 3mm yoga mat which is now pressed into service as a protective cover for our saloon table, as the old one had gone a bit mouldy.

In the evening, after dinner on board, we headed to the Cruising Club for a few glasses of wine before heading back through the boatyard to bed. Picked up a local magazine to find out that next week is the Bay of Islands Sailing Week so a beer tent was being erected in the car park. It looked like it could be fun.

Saturday morning it was back to boat jobs. We took everything off the rail and scrubbed the topsides. Then we used a de-oxidiser to clean the gelcoat. After that we Woody Waxed the non-slip areas.

Finished up top for now we headed below and deep cleaned the heads. Phew, that was hard work. So we had a quiet evening on board in the cockpit watching the small racing boats arrive. Most of them are being temporarily housed on our dock or some are on trailers in the marina’s car park.

Sunday we waxed the topsides and cleaned the plexiglass and the hatches. I also repainted our dorades (wind scoops) bright pillar box red. Then we cleaned ourselves up and headed to the Cruising Club for our first Sunday roast in a while – was lamb with mint sauce – which was absolutely delicious and spent a nice evening with Bill and Peter.

Monday we ‘protected’ the topsides with a product they use here to avoid UV damage to the gelcoat and polished….all by hand as we don’t have a machine…another item I hanker after LOL. When that was done, and after a breather, we got on with other jobs like servicing and testing the generator and the outboard. We also ordered some new locks for the cabinet doors as these all seem to be failing at the same time. Hans came by later and kindly answered our questions on the new kit. Richard also cleaned out our bilges. Morphie is looking quite shiny but there remains some work to do and that’s without even thinking about re-varnishing the wood some of which is in a poor state right now (inside and out).  Absolutely shattered, we had a quiet night on board.

Tuesday we applied the second coat and finished protecting the gelcoat. Then it was time for the cockpit to get the spring clean treatment. Richard worked very hard on all this while I started on the stainless steel.

All done and we decided to take the rest of the afternoon off so headed over to Russell on the car ferry from Opua with the intention of seeing the kiwis (of the feathered variety). We enjoyed looking at the boats on the way.

Kiwis are nocturnal birds, so while waiting for the sun to go down we wandered around this pretty historic little town which, originally, was called the Hell Hole of the Pacific.   This was the biggest whaling port in the Southern Hemisphere with one of its largest industries being prostitution. Up to 500 whalers would come ashore at any one time – having been at sea for 12 months – and there was no effective law enforcement. Apparently it was all a bit of a shock to the London missionaries LOL.

We then visited the Duke of Marlborough Hotel which has been refreshing rascals and reprobates since 1827 and was originally named Johnny Johnston’s Grog Shop.

We had an excellent dinner in their restaurant overlooking the waterfront and then headed off to the look out having watched the sun go down over the bay.

Whilst this offered us great views over the Bay of Islands and of the moon coming up (no lunar eclipse visible here) the birds stayed away, probably because of the noisy rugrats running around!

Oh yes and Bill does not comply with road markings LOL.

We headed back to the car ferry and returned to Opua where Bill and Peter came onboard Morphie for a final pontoonie. Was lovely to be doing something other than just working on the boat!

Wednesday I finished off the stainless steel. Richard was planning to service the engine but the Reverso oil pump decided to go on strike. Eventually it was resolved with a new impeller and a replacement hose but, by now, Richard had had enough and decided to leave the engine servicing for another day. So he started work on the pilot light to the heads shower sump pump but that didn’t work either….not a good day for him….and it continued in that vein when he realised that he couldn’t install the new LED light strip above the refrigeration units as he didn’t have the right size drill bit to fit the switch! Language was quite workmanlike for a while LOL. The mood was not improved when we also found out that we could not get our Winslow (USA-made) liferaft serviced here in New Zealand as the cost of getting the licence is apparently too prohibitive and, of course, it is the ONLY make they do not have a licence for. Not impressed!

The one thing that did go well – hurrah – was that we managed to sell both the old Garmin radar dome and the Garmin AIS and posted them off to their new owners in Auckland once the money had been transferred. As this was the first evening of sailing week we decided to go along and join in the festivities….well that was a damp squib…..no live music and most of the racers had gone home by 9pm. Definitely wasn’t like Cowes Week LOL.

Thursday morning and we were up very early as the riggers were coming to start the installation of the whisker pole onto the mast and we needed to protect our lines from the drilling as little bits of metal will be flying around. Here are both the Robs getting ready to start work.

I then headed off into Paihia with Bill in his car…for some grocery shopping. I returned and Richard had fixed the new cabin locks to the locker doors and had also installed the LED light strip. Very impressed when I saw what a difference it made to this dark area.

Richard has been doing other small jobs all day whilst the riggers have been on board. They left late afternoon. I was blogging and had technical problems with the uploading of photos so had to get some support – thanks Paul for sorting it out overnight! We had a frustrating night in the cruisers lounge on the internet. Oh well, never mind.

Friday morning and the riggers are back and I’m finishing this blog. Think we are going to have a lazy day once the riggers have gone and then we are heading over to Music for dinner with Bill and Peter tonight, as it is their last night with us. It’s all go on the good ship Morpheus.

Bye for now

Jan

Our New Zealand reunion with Morpheus

Tuesday afternoon we were ready and waiting to go to Heathrow for our evening flight to Singapore.  We had a great run to the airport and were in good spirits when we arrived at Terminal 2.  Despite having checked in on line we were told to check in using the machines to get our bag tags….no worries……and started the process.  The machine didn’t recognise our New Zealand visa so we were put in a long queue to talk to a real person. Whilst in the queue a couple of guys told us about a drone sighting and that all flights had been grounded. OMG what a start to the journey!!!

Our flight, however, was showing as leaving on time and as there were no announcements we weren’t sure what to think – and then Alison rang (she had given us a lift to the airport) and confirmed the drone news.  Damn!   We continued to queue and finally got to the counter and the check-in clerk thought it was strange that we had two people on one visa – we pointed out that it mentioned us both and that I was listed as the principal applicant with Richard as second applicant (ie a joint visa) but she wasn’t happy.  Finally, after she took some advice, and definitely not with a smile, she printed our bag tags and they were off on the carousel.

We then cleared security (where I got the full scanner treatment as usual!) and then went to the pub to get online to see what was going on. The news was pretty dire for a while and I was concerned about missing all the connecting flights.   But, amazingly, we were called to the gate  and took off on time. We were travelling Singapore Airlines on one of their double-deckers and our economy seats towards the rear of the lower level were pretty cramped but who cares we were happy to be on our way!    

We arrived into Singapore Changi airport early….found the next departure gate…..and had a wander around to stretch our legs before sitting down with coffee to await the next long flight.  The gate came up, we cleared through security and waited. This time we were upstairs on the double-decker plane and it seemed much more spacious in economy. Late on Wednesday evening we took off for the next flight to Auckland.

We arrived into Auckland on time and got through immigration really quickly and then collected our bags and reported to Customs with our prescription drugs….as requested on the Customs website…..as one of mine is a controlled drug. This was all sorted really quickly and the Customs man  was really friendly and thanked me for my honesty! That’s a novel experience….

We walked to the domestic terminal and checked our bags in there – after lots of hassle because the bar code readers couldn’t read our Singapore Airlines versions.  So we had to get Air New Zealand to reprint the boarding passes and luggage tags and we were then finally good to re-check our bags. All done we had a couple of beers in the domestic terminal while we waited for our final flight.

The next flight to Kerikeri was on time and we were greeted, only 40 minutes later, by our shuttle bus to take us to Paihia. We arrived into Paihia, checked into our basic but very clean motel, wandered down the road to a pub for pizza and a pint and crashed into bed by around 7pm….this was Thursday evening, New Zealand time.

Friday morning – Happy Birthday to me – and thanks to everyone for their cards, gifts and kind wishes.

We waited around for Rent-a-Dent to deliver our small hire car and then drove over to the marina.   The cars aren’t great but at only £25 a day they certainly suit our needs. 

We stopped by the office and the boatyard to let everyone know that we were back and found Morphie up on the hard. She was a little lonely and we were quite anxious about the condition of her down below. We were pleasantly surprised – no mould, no problems – so did a quick clean up and started to unpack and called it a day.

We returned to Paihia and wandered the town where Richard purchased a lovely birthday present – a stunning new ring for my Seabourn cruise. Will share pictures later!

We ended up sitting on the Paihia wharf quaffing wine overlooking the water and enjoyed just chilling – still feeling very tired – so we changed our mind and decided to go straight out for something quick and easy to eat rather than go to a fancy restaurant as we didn’t think we could do that justice. So ribs at Jimmy Jacks it was….. We then returned to our motel and had another early night still recovering from our long journey.

Saturday morning we were up early and headed over to Morphie. She had some dried slime left on her hull from the straps when she was lifted so I got down to getting that off along with some barnacles. Richard cleaned the hull itself and got all the dust and muck off – she looked so shiny when we were finished. We also gave her a new ensign and New Zealand courtesy flag, both of which had shredded in our absence. Long day but satisfying…..so back to the motel via the supermarket and we had a steak BBQ on the motel’s roof terrace and enjoyed a very pleasant evening in the sun.  Nobody else used this area so it was very private.

Sunday morning back to Morphie and we carried on tidying up the boat.   I went and got us some more dock lines from the store as ours had finally given up the ghost, they were gnarly and salt-laden so it was time for new ones. Richard was surprised when I came back with relatively inexpensive poly ones as he thought I might end up with blue, pre-spliced lines as I always hankered after them on other boats – but the cost was prohibitive and I knew I would be in trouble if I did that LOL.  So plain white with blue flecks was the answer.

While I continued sorting stuff down below Richard serviced some of the winches. Later on we lubricated and worked all the seacock through hulls and started the engine using a water hose into the intake. Another good day and we were ready for splashing. 

Sunday night we had another BBQ on the motel roof and of course some nice NZ Sauvignon to wash it down.

Monday morning and up very early – we packed our stuff up, checked out of the motel and returned to the boat yard. We went for a coffee and then climbed back on board, got all the fenders and lines ready for going into our slip, and waited for the ‘beast’ to come get us.

He was a little late and the weather was closing in so we got a little wet as they started to move Morphie towards the water.

Richard was going to reverse into the slip single-handedly (to avoid me having to jump off and risking any further injury to my back) but luckily Mike from Total Yacht Care came by and offered to help which we gratefully accepted. So I ran to the dock to catch the lines. Richard did a brilliant job of getting Morphie in despite some wind and current and she was quickly tied up. The marina is absolutely full so we have been allocated a slot on the ‘working’ dock so we are in the cheap seats LOL. We washed her off with fresh water and then got on with unpacking and making beds etc. We also cleaned all the sofas and got the fridge and freezer up and running – aided by a little extra gas and some ice. At this point the heavens opened and it rained – hard – for the rest of the day.

So we headed to the supermarket to pick up some fresh meat and vegetables for dinner.   We didn’t need anything else as I had fully provisioned the boat with dry and canned goods back in early May. So we had a quiet evening on board and an early night as all this manual labour was taking its toll LOL.

Tuesday morning and Richard had the riggers on board to talk through the work we had organised – swapping out our in-haul / out-haul and safety halyard – the only ‘defects’ identified on our rigging report which need to be resolved before we go sailing for insurance purposes. They are also going to mount the whisker pole on the mast as we found the manual deployment of this from the rail difficult at times when crossing the Pacific.   Sadly, the parts haven’t arrived from the USA yet so that  work will have to be rescheduled.    I took off to do domestic duties like laundry and getting the shore power cable PAT tested, which is an annual requirement here in New Zealand. Later on I collected all our frozen food from Cater Marine who had very kindly stored it for us in our absence. After Richard had finished with the rigger he put away all the laundry that I had returned with while I restocked the freezer. Richard serviced more winches and I got all the provisions out of their hiding holes to check what we had – threw away a few things that were out of date – but most of it was good. So made another shopping list…..

After a few hours relaxing, we cleaned ourselves up and went to the Yacht Club to meet Bill and his crew member Peter – from the Island Packet called Music, for a reunion. We hadn’t seen Bill since Tahiti so had been quite a while. Was a great evening catching up (although we couldn’t remember how to set the selfie timer so that’s why we couldn’t get four people in the same picture LOL). We also got soaked by another rain storm on the way.

This morning, Wednesday, and although it is still windy and cloudy the sun is back – hurrah!!!! We are now on shore power so are having a charging fest – and the rigger has just returned and installed the new lines.   Job done.  I cleaned up the winches after their servicing and Richard has been sorting out lockers to identify what there is we still need to buy. He is also starting to place adverts for our old equipment that we are selling on.

This afternoon as we still have the car we are going to go shopping in Kerikeri. 

And whilst we are trying to avoid all things Brexit, we have logged on to see the result of the ‘meaningful’ vote…and OMG it is a resounding NO to the Prime Minister’s deal, as expected. What on earth is going to happen next?!?!? We will send our family and friends food parcels as required LOL.

Bye for now

Jan

Preparation, preparation, preparation…

I finally got the all clear to fly from the doctors so we quickly booked our flights back to New Zealand and leave Tuesday, 8 January 2019. We are very excited about getting back to Morphie, especially as another cruiser told us that she looked good but lonely on the hard….

We are in full preparation mode right now. The New Zealand immigration people decided that, as we had not arrived in time for the original set date of 7 November, these visas were void and we would have to go through the whole process again (including paying the fee).   So annoying….all we wanted was a change of arrival date….anyway, we submitted and paid for the whole thing for the second time and waited…and waited….and I was getting really concerned when we hadn’t heard anything by Christmas so called them up. Well, that seemed to do the trick, as suddenly our application was routed to their offices in Beijing (seriously) and the lady there was very efficient so visas are now in our possession. Hurrah!

Yacht insurance was finalised with that all important cyclone cover included and we decided, in the end, to go with the same company that supplies our yachtmaster personal travel insurance. So that was a relief to get that organised.  Some companies were not interested and it appears that, having been bitten by recent hurricanes in the Caribbean, many are withdrawing from the market.

When we arrive in Paihia we are staying in a motel for a few nights so that I don’t have to live up a ladder on the hard…..trying to be ultra cautious over my newly-repaired bones LOL.

We have organised Morphie to be ‘splashed’ on Monday and then the riggers start work on the Tuesday. We expect to be in the Bay of Islands Marina in Opua for a few weeks and then we’ll go sailing and get back on the hook so that we can check that all our systems are working properly.  Once we are confident we’ll move down the coast.

We finally managed to secure a slip near Auckland so that we have somewhere to leave Mophie when we go on our cruise. New Zealand do not make it easy for international cruisers that want to liveaboard that’s for sure. As well as paying for the actual slip they then add on a “liveaboard fee” per person per day plus they insist upon a NZ $1000 security deposit – although we have already proved that we were insured and have significant third party liability coverage. It seems a real shame that they make us jump through so many hoops. But we are delighted to have this hurdle out of the way and are looking forward to actually going sailing again!

We are in the middle of getting the house ready now and packing…. The main difference this year is that we don’t have to carry lots of boat spares as, for the first time in a while, we are in a first world country so we have access to anything we need in situ. Of course, though, there are lots of courtesy flags to buy for the countries we are visiting.  From the top – Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Australia.

Very excited to finally be returning to Morphie after such a long time at home and an awful year. But it wasn’t all bad as we did manage to have some great nights out with friends…   So bye for now and see you next season!

Jan

Another update….

After bringing together and submitting all the relevent documentation we were delighted to be granted New Zealand visas. But were surprised by the ‘arrival’ date being set at latest 7 November, although that wasn’t a problem as we definitely planned to be back by then. So one thing ticked off the list and, most importantly, it meant we could travel on a single ticket and could also stay in the country for up to nine months. Very happy as that should eliminate any future problems checking in at the airport.

We scattered Mum’s ashes on a gorgeous sunny morning in Brighton and enjoyed a nice weekend in my home town celebrating her life. We did a traditional mariner’s farewell by turning to starboard and circling the zone meaning “time and life goes on” whilst saying our final farewells over poems, music and the scattering of roses and petals. A fitting end to a beautiful person.

Guess it will get easier with time but I still miss her terribly especially as we celebrated what would have been her 88th birthday earlier this month without her. Here’s one of my favourite pictures of us together having fun….this was Christmas in Mexico.

We started receiving new quotes for yacht insurance although they all come with certain restrictions so we need to review them to make sure they offer what we are looking for. Particularly named storm coverage as, although Brisbane (next season’s destination) hasn’t had a named storm for a while, we don’t want to leave ourselves exposed without it.  Definitely time to read the small print.

I finally got signed off by the back consultant, so as I had to wait for the next surgery we quickly fitted in a trip to the Peak District to see our friends Jack and Elaine who had retired up north in our absence.   Was lovely to see them.   They have a beautiful home and have obviously found their happy place and with views like this who can blame them?

On the way we popped in to see Chris, a fellow cruiser who was on the same circuit as us last year.   He is also taking some time out at home before starting another sailing season.   Was lovely to catch up with him and Wendy, albeit very briefly.  Here is a picture of his boat Sea Bear in Tahiti….

I then underwent a hip arthroscopy at the end of September. Although the consultant managed to attend to my femoroacetabular impingement via keyhole surgery there was a lot more work to do than he expected so the surgery took longer. Poor Richard waited in my room for nearly four hours wondering what had happened to me. Thankfully everything went OK and I’m slowly recovering. The hospital sent me some pictures of the instruments at work inside my hip shaving and shaping the bone which I thought you might find interesting…..

This more intensive surgery meant that I was banned from flying for three months due to DVT risk. Which subsequently pushed our return to New Zealand into early January next year. So, of course, we missed the deadline for the NZ visa and have to start the whole process again….sigh…..and will be in the UK for Christmas after all….another sigh. I am disappointed by this turn of events but am happy to report that the recovery is going well although frustrated somewhat by an extended period on crutches and my house arrest!  Richard has been amazing looking after me in between his domestic duties LOL.

This change to our schedule (again) meant we became increasingly concerned about leaving Morphie in the water so we had her hauled and she is now safely back on the hard. The marina guys continue to look after her for us and we are very relieved to have had such good support. Here is a picture of her in her slip when we left in May, looking sparkling, and her dirty bottom getting a jet wash when she was hauled three months later but only some slime and barnacles, thankfully. Fingers crossed she looks just as good when we get back next year.

It is hard to believe that it is now 10 years since we sailed a brand-new Morphie from the Chesapeake down to St Thomas…and almost six years since we went cruising. Where has the time gone? And such amazing adventures along the way – and we are only half way around the world!  Really looking forward to what comes next……

Because of Morphie’s advancing years we have had another rigging check (the last one was done in Guatemala prior to sailing the Pacific). We covered a tough 9000 miles last year so wanted to make sure that everything was still good…and need to prove this to our prospective insurers. We are very pleased that, apart from some halyards / lines needing replacement (which we had planned this year anyway) she passed with flying colours.

Richard has been keeping himself busy getting on with house maintenance. We have replaced our front and back doors and have had a new garage door installed too….so the house is looking quite smart. He has also reseeded the front lawn and done some work in the back garden to get rid of some of our flower beds and fill them with pebbles to restrict weed growth while we are away – when we return from cruising we’ll reinstate the flowers LOL.

A lot of this work was done on Richard’s 61st birthday so felt bad that I was unable to help him. Here he is last year celebrating in Tonga so nothing quite so exotic this year but at least we did manage to have an Indian takeaway with friends to celebrate the occasion LOL.

Being home we are going to be able to attend a couple of family weddings so it is not all bad. And the autumn weather so far has been beautiful – from a (chilly) windswept day in Folkestone to a beautiful calm day on the Essex Coast.

We have been invited to the National Arboretum to join the Blind Veterans Association for the special 100th anniversary rememberance service in recognition of donations collected at the funeral in lieu of flowers in Mum’s memory. Another special honour – feel so proud to be her daughter!

I’m also really excited about getting fully back on my feet so I can organise all those nights out on the town with the girls LOL as I’m definitely stir crazy from being housebound for so long. Am very grateful to have such good friends who have taken me out, sent me flowers, and just generally been so supportive during this period.  Thank you all.

Whilst we haven’t booked the flights back to New Zealand yet we have been thinking about what we are going to be doing on our return (apart from getting Morphie ready to go back to sea). Obviously our time exploring this fascinating country has been curtailed and so, along with friends Carolyn and Ron, we are taking a Seabourn Encore cruise around the whole of New Zealand to see the highlights. Yes, never thought you would find us on a cruise ship!   Quite an exciting itinerary on this small luxury ship so really looking forward to that future adventure.

After that, our friend Clive is also flying out to see us so planning land travel to see some of the interior and also, with some luck, a bit of sailing….

So lots of fun ahead after such an awful year!

Bye for now
Jan

Update on our cruising plans

Having travelled home because Mum had passed away suddenly we threw ourselves into organising the funeral, the wake and clearing her apartment.  She had the most moving funeral as it was attended by many veterans in their uniforms and we had the standards (flags) in attendance too from the Royal Naval Association, the Normandy Veterans and the Royal British Legion.  Many close and dear friends were also there.  

It was a very emotional day and it was wonderful to listen to all her friends’ lovely memories of Mum.   To also find out that she had raised almost £60k for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal over the years was just an amazing achievement and I am so proud to be her daughter.

I was also invited to be a member of the Royal Naval Association in her name which was a fantastic honour which I have accepted and am now proud to be an Associate Member.

We also raised over £1k in her name for the Blind Veterans Association – fantastic!   

To be honest, I’m still struggling and miss her so much…but know that she will still be with me wherever I am….  Love you Mum, you’ll be forever in my heart.

So what next?  Well, the uncomfortable long journey home managed to aggravate my back so I decided to get it checked out. The result was that I needed a minor operation to get that sorted. However, the MRI showed that I also have a problem with my right hip that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later, so once I have been signed off by the back consultant, I’ll probably be having a small hip operation – luckily it is keyhole surgery only.  So this means that we are staying here in the UK for longer than anticipated to give me time to recover.   Am hoping it is not too debilitating as I need to see my friends and have some fun too!!!

Our original plan for this season was to explore New Zealand and sail next May / June 2019 once the cyclone season had passed (which is November to April in that part of the world). However, during this period we had planned to return home to the UK for Mum’s birthday and to spend Christmas with her.  Sadly that is no longer an option and, as a result, I really don’t want to be home during the festive period.

So our new plan is:

  • Return to New Zealand around October time

  • Explore New Zealand
  • Leave in May / June (2019) bound for Fiji.   We may stop at South Minerva Reef on the way if the weather closes in.

  • We’ll then explore before moving on to Vanuatu.    We hope to visit the Tanna Volcano while we are there.

  • Then move on to New Caledonia

  • Finally leaving New Caledonia bound for Brisbane, Australia

Our timings are fluid and weather dependent, but we need to be safely into Australia before November 2019.   This revised plan means that we would be in New Zealand longer than the duration of a normal visitor visa (6 months on arrival for UK citizens). So we applied for a special visitor visa to stay for 9 months instead which has been granted (phew!). It gives us multiple entries and no requirement for onward travel so we can now fly on a single ticket and have something official from NZ immigration to show the check-in desk.  So hopefully we’ll not have difficulties this time – result!

Whilst in New Zealand we have some exciting plans and will be having friends joining us for much of this – and are also looking forward to returning to Morpheus. We were originally concerned about leaving her in the water in our absence but we have a good company visiting every couple of weeks to run the engine, to air the boat, and to wash her down as needed. They are also visiting every time there is a blow to make sure that she remains well secured (and they send us an email so we don’t worry).   So feeling much happier about the situation now.

So not much else to say really, other than we have been enjoying the heat wave at home, although have not really taken advantage of it as we have been busy sorting out Mum’s estate. That is now finished and we are scattering her ashes at sea next Thursday off Brighton on the south coast – which is where Mum was born.

We are also actively looking at changing our yacht insurance company.  As they took a hit in the Caribbean last year they are no longer offering Named Storm Coverage in their normal insurance policy.  I requested a quote for this to be included (when I found out) and it is now such an outrageous amount of money it is clearly designed to discourage take up.  We are definitely not willing to pay that sort of money nor leave Morpheus without cover when we leave her in Australia to travel (and it is mandatory in most boat yards/marinas anyway). So we are now in the process of getting quotes from other insurance companies – but feel really let down by the whole situation.

Anyway, that is about it. We have just signed on the dotted line for new front and rear doors for our house so at least the maintenance is getting done LOL.

So bye for now

Jan

Devastating news….so we’re on our way home.

This morning, Sunday, in the early hours Richard couldn’t sleep with the noise of the rain hitting the coachroof so he turned the iPad on. He spotted emails to me from both my brother and my sister which is unusual and I was almost too frightened to call them back. The news was terrible – mum had passed away – and I’m absolutely devastated.

This poem says it all.

Every time I smile,
Every time I sigh,
I think of your face,
And a tear escapes my eye.

You were my world,
My inspiration and my heart,
But when you left me,
I thought I would fall apart.

You were my best friend,
My one true confidant,
And that’s not all you were.
You were also my mum.

I don’t want to live without you,
But you would have wanted me to,
And if there’s anyone I want to make happy,
That anyone is you.

I would give anything to have you back,
But I know now that it was meant to be,
For you are still watching from up there,
And I know you’re watching me.

I’ll make you proud, Mom.
I’m going to fulfill your wish.
You’re going to see me and smile.
That’s a daughter’s promise.

Here’s the last family photo I have of my brother, mum and me…..

Rest In Peace Mum – enjoy your reunions up there with those that have gone before – and know that I will always love you. You will never be forgotten and will always be in my heart.

So what next? We are going to pack the boat up quickly and fly out of here on Wednesday, arriving in London on Thursday afternoon. We are leaving Morphie in the water and will ask the marina to keep an eye on her. So this will be my last blog for a while. We don’t know how long we will be home for, obviously, so subscribe to the blog (using the link on the right-hand side) and you’ll then get an email to let you know when I start it up again.

Bye for now
Jan

Exploring Northland (part 2) and back to Morphie

Sunday morning we were disappointed to wake up to very heavy rain. We had a coffee, said our farewells to John, packed our belongings in our car before heading into next door’s art gallery / cafe for breakfast. John had said he used to own the antique store / restaurant prior to extending his house….so we think that the art gallery / cafe remains in his ownership due to the style of some of the contents.

Leaving Rawene, we drove through the gloom and down the west coast going into the Waipoua Forest until we reached where we wanted to go.

We parked the car, went through the biosecurity gates washing our shoes to ensure we did not bring any invasive species into the forest, and followed the walk through until we reached Tane Manuta. His name stands for the Lord of the Forest – and he is the largest of the ancient Kauri trees.  Even in the rain he was pretty spectacular!

Moving back to the car we carried on down the coast towards Bailys Beach. This is another beach road and we hoped for some good views and maybe somewhere to stay if the resort was interesting. Well….in the gloom….we carefully followed the road up and down until we finally arrived at the sand car park. But we couldn’t see the sea…and we didn’t fancy walking in the torrential rain. So we aborted and drove back to the main town of Dargaville which sits on the main highway. This was another depressed small town. Hmm….it is such a shame to see dilapidated properties in such a spectacular, scenic area. There must be a lack of work opportunities outside farming and the odd manufacturing base in this region and it showed.

Moving swiftly on we decided to head across the middle of the island to Whangarei. We have pencilled in spending some time here on Morpheus later in the year so we thought we’d take a look. The Town Basin marina (about 12 miles up the river) looked pretty central and was surrounded by a walkway of cafes, bars and local artisan type craft stores. This is a pretty big place and we thought it looked OK but we drove through some pretty depressed areas here in the city too. We had thought about staying overnight but the rain was getting us down and we didn’t really fancy doing other tourist sights (like the local glow worm caves or waterfalls) and decided to drive back to Morphie instead.

So we went to the local supermarket to pick up some fresh produce for dinner and some drinking vouchers. We were in the store about 10 minutes total and, when we came back, some b*****d had reversed into our yellow peril and done some damage. Thankfully the boot still opened! Very fed up as there was no note nor CCTV in the car park….. Sigh…..

We drove on the main highway north towards Kawakawa. We were pretty hungry so decided to stop at the local bakers for a pie….yumm….. By now the weather had started to clear up.

We then visited the local toilets which were designed by Austrian-born artist and eco-architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser who lived nearby – they are typical of his work with organic wavy lines decorated with ceramic mosaics and brightly coloured bottles. All very bizarre!

From there we had to take a detour back to Opua as the main coast highway was closed due to a landslide. We followed the route and ended up back on Morphie – glad to be home. She was relatively warm and welcoming down below so we ended up having a quiet movie night on board.

Monday morning we telephoned Wayne from Rent-a-Dent and told him about the car. He told us that we were liable for the first $2,000 worth of damage. We were not happy with that as I knew that would probably be an excess but, hey, the car probably wasn’t even worth that much.  So I quoted his own document back to him saying that, as we had taken his insurance, we were indemnified against any losses. He denied knowing anything about this – despite it being in the small print on his own contract – and said he’d look into it.

Anyway….we had the car for another day…..so we took ourselves off to Kerikeri to do another large provisioning run. We also stopped at a couple of places to try and get our propane bottle filled – but, despite it being a recognised manufacturer (Worthington), they won’t fill it without a NZ LAB number. Hmmmm….this is getting difficult……we are down to half a bottle of gas only right now. If we can’t get them filled we are going to have to purchase new ones and the size of our lockers – as our cylinders are designed to be used horizontally – are quite tight.

On our return we were delighted to find that our new hot water tank had arrived in the marina so we went to SeaPower and organised John to come and fit it on Tuesday. In the evening we had another quiet night.

Tuesday morning we were up early and cleared the aft cabin in preparation for the hot water tank to be fitted. Well…we waited…and waited….and John had got caught up in another job so it wasn’t going to happen. Richard returned to see Wayne and he had now decided to waive any costs of the damage…. So that was a result at least!

We got all our stuff back in the saloon from the cockpit, locked up, and took ourselves off to the Cruisers Lounge and caught up on some internet stuff. We are looking at routes home from New Zealand later in the year so wanted to price up all the different options – and, hopefully, get some more exploring done on the way. Later on I did the laundry while Richard did some other boat jobs – like topping up the water tank as the water maker remains pickled until we get back out on the hook. We had another early night.

Wednesday and John was here bright and early. The new water tank was fitted and then Mike came onboard to do the final electrical installation. Everything was turned on….and it filled up and worked. Hot water has been resumed onboard. Yay!  Richard filled up the coolant bottle on the engine as we had lost some during this work and that was it. Later on in the day Hans came by and returned the radar – the interesting news was that Raymarine could find no fault with it at all. In the workshop it connected both via a cable and also via its built-in wifi. Hmmmmm….curious!  We couldn’t install it, though, as no rigger was available.

Later on – after luxuriating in the hot showers on board – we headed to the Cruisers Club to meet some people whom we had met last year in Tonga and had a nice social evening with them.

Thursday and Hans turned up along with Brett, the rigger. We were hoping that Rob would be back as he climbs like a monkey and it is really easy getting him up the mast – Brett is a much bigger lad and it takes a bit of hard work to hoist him up LOL. Anyway….the radar was reinstalled….plugged in…..and we lowered Brett back down.

Hans turned everything on – ensured power was connected etc – and, guess what, the plotter still could not be paired to the radar, either physically through the data cable or through the wifi function. And….at this point….the plotter went crazy starting doing some strange things. Hans was on the phone to Raymarine (Australia) for a few hours trying different options and, in the end, they decided that the plotter was crocked. Apparently this has only happened once since the Axiom Pros had been introduced and sod’s law that the second event would be us!  So the plotter was uninstalled and taken away.   After another uneventful day we had another quiet movie night on board.

Friday morning Hans turned up with a brand-new plotter out of the box which had been couriered up to us overnight from Auckland.  Pretty impressive!   He plugged it all in and it found the external GPS / the Vesper AIS system / the autopilot / the depth gauge / the wind gauge / the speed gauge….but NOT the radar!  So although the new plotter was working fine it still couldn’t find the radar…. Hans was completely perplexed by all this…. At least the plotter and all other equipment is working – but a real mystery. Hans went off again to talk to Australia.   We then had a boring afternoon just waiting around – Richard did some boat jobs but I just read a book….    I’m convinced this problem is a software bug!  Hans phoned us again later and said that Australia had a few ideas and he would return on Monday to try them out. Very frustrating for all concerned!   We had another movie night on board staying warm and dry – it was absolutely horrible out.

Saturday morning and the weather remained awful – pouring rain and heavy wind gusts. So we had a bit of a lay in and then headed up to the laundry. On the way back to Morphie we watched the small boats coming in from their race day…pretty impressive how they sailed in a line to get onto the dock!

We returned, did a few more internal boat jobs, and then headed out to the Cruisers Club for the evening. It was rammed with people from other yacht clubs who had come to cheer on their boats….and there was a live band playing. We sat outside on the terrace for a few hours with our coats on and then headed back to Morphie.

Bye for now

Jan