Monday, February 23, 2009

We are heading off tomorrow, on the tide, for about 6 weeks of cruising. We will go to Great Barrier Island, just east of Auckland for awhile and then hang around the Hauraki Gulf. There seems to be lots of places to see around there. Our chain and anchor will be delivered today, pretty hard to cruise without that!! We will be putting our Sat. phone on at 7:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. Alberta time if you want to get ahold of us. It will be great to get away from the dock and explore in the boat again. Hopefully I will be able to do some updating depending on internet access, take care.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

We have had a busy week. The boat is starting to look like a boat again, not a work in progress with tools, sandpaper and varnish stashed all over the boat. The cap rail is oiled, the grab rail in varnished (9 coats)and the boom gallows has 3 new coats of Cetol on it. The new hatches came in and one in installed, it rained today so did not get the other on. We have 5 new windows that work and let in so much more light than before. Barry put in a new head and a new Y valve so that the head can function properly. I repaired the sail cover by fixing the zipper and adding a 6 inch strip down the middle so now it fits the sail better. No more struggling to get it done up. I also sewed up the bimini, the snaps were letting loose and I put a patch on the area where the boom was rubbing. Barry fixed the bracket that holds the boom vang on. It was a great huge stainless steel bracket that we had made in Papette but it did not fit the mast properly so when it twisted with the boom the screws that were holding it onto the boom came loose. Barry repainted the mast and put an epoxy filler on to build up the area where the bracket would attached so that the bracket would be flush to the mast. He got that done and then a fellow came to rivet the bracket onto the mast. It looks very solid and we hope not to have any more problems with that.
Our anchor chain and anchors have been regalvanized but we are just waiting for the guys to deliver them. They are very heavy and we are not sure that they would transport very well in our car. The electrician also has some parts on order. The bus where the 110 power gets distributed to the boat has become very rusty and we do not have power to the aft cabin plug ins. The electrician has ordered something to replace the whole shebang, it is supposed to be here on Monday. Hopefully we will be able to get out of here on Tues and go cruising for 6 weeks.
The weather has changed, it was hot and sunny for 4 weeks straight and now it has become unstable. Every day there is a cloud build up and then it rains, now we know why this area is called Raingarei!! There is no sun out there today but once we get the second hatch installed I will take a pic of our new improved deck. I am thinking the deck needs painting but that can wait until a better time, no need to have a newly painted deck to be put into storage for a year or so. We leave NZ on April 23, a little over 2 months away so I am anxious to see more of the islands by water.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I have been walking everyday with a buddy, Liz from Argonaut. We have been exploring all the neighbourhoods around. I don't think we taken the same trail twice. The other day we headed out to a quarry whose land was gifted to a local town council and they have set up a garden.
They have been at it for 10 years, there is a paid gardner and volunteers do the rest. It was a lovely spot, with great walks. There were plants that attracted Monarch butterflys so I managed to get some decent shots.
A few days ago we walked up to Whangarei Falls, by far the longest falls we have seen yet. It was about a 2 and 1/2 hour hike so we got rid of our calories that day. We headed off and then went across the river on a footbridge. We wound our way through a residential district, but we both figured we had made a wrong turn so we headed back to the river. Once we got there we found a very small unused trail but I could see the regular gravelled, well marked trail on the other side of the river. There were rocks at fairly strategic spots across the river so I convinced Liz that we should cross and get back on the proper side of the river. I made it about 3/4 of the way across, then lost my balance and ended up on my backside, wet up to my armpits. Liz, against her better judgement crossed as well, she took her boots off though so when she slipped all she got wet was the bottom of her shorts. It was hot though, and the damp clothing kept me cool. Barry and Mike drove up to the falls and timed it perfectly arriving at the top just as we crossed the bottom of the falls.
Today we went into Auckland to watch some of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Race Series. These are the same boats that race in the America's Cup so it was really something to be on the Haraki Gulf, in person, watching the action. The disappointment was the boats were a long way away and we had forgotten our binoculars and our camera. There was a play by play on the radio and so we kind of figured out what was going on but it was difficult to get excited when the action was a 4 miles away. Anyways, I am glad we went so that if it ever comes on TV again, I can say, Oh I was there!! Imagine being so close and not going!! We got to stay overnight with some friends we made during the crossing, they have sold their boat and are attempting to find jobs in NZ so they can imigrate. We also had a chance to see Tarun in her new home in Auckland, in the marina just over the big bridge so it was great to know where Brian and Cathy are situated.

We got more new windows today, so I hope to get the varnish finished and Barry can install the windows and hopefully when we get the chain back (it is getting regalvanished) next week we can get away for some NZ explorations in the boat.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

On Sunday we took a day off from boat chores and went and participated in a New Zealand pastime. We went to a cricket game. It was the New Zealand woman’s team playing the Aussie’s, the game started at 10:30 A.M. and finished at 5:30 P.M. quite the day. We learned a lot about cricket, it was great. We had established the basic rules by watching it on TV but learned the finer points by badgering obliging Kiwis that were sitting close to us. The game consisted of each team bowling 50 overs, an over consisting of 6 bowled balls, so that is a lot of bowling!!!
There is a ton more but I won’t bore you with the details. I learned the cricket cheer, when the batsman hits the ball if it goes out of the park they get 6, (unfortunately we did not see any women hit it out of the park) if the ball rolls over the outside boundary they get 4 so if your team hits a run and the ball is heading toward the boundary and the opposition is running to stop it from going over the line you have to holler “GO THE BALL” I am quite proud of this new cheer and I find it erupting from my lips at the most inappropriate moments. I just hope there are cricket wise Kiwis about so they will understand and sympathize with my need to cheer!!! While we were at the game we had a few other Kiwi staples such as a piece of bacon and egg pie and some beer.
On Monday we watched another sports event, the Super Bowl. We went to a local bar and were very hopeful that the Cardinals would hold on to the lead and have a fairy tale ending to their season but it was not to be. Contemplating the comparison between the two sporting events I must say that I think I preferred the very athletic and sportsmanship display put on by the women cricket players to the hype and the steroid driven testosterone match that was played in the northern hemisphere. Another cruiser and I went back yesterday to watch the end of the second cricket match between the same 2 teams (we couldn’t avoid our boat chores again) We couldn’t leave until the end of the game and I am happy to report that the Kiwis took two in a row, something that hasn’t happened in quite awhile in woman’s cricket.
The rugby league is supposed to start up this week so we are planning on heading out to a game and annoying yet more unsuspecting spectators with our questions in our quest to understand another game that is not truly popular in North America. Before we arrived here there were two things I wanted to do, go to a rugby match and a cricket game. I have accomplished both, now I will just have to wait until I get to Australia to complete my Down Under wish list when I get to figure out Aussie Rules Football!!
Curling playoffs for the Scottie’s are taking place in Canada now and I am avidly following them online, once a jock, always a jock I guess.