Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Boatyard Blues

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I’ve been pretty slow lately on getting blog updates posted. Mainly been too busy and too tired from doing boat projects. The picture above is what it looks like everyday when you are working in the boat yard.

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The first big project was installing the new ITR Hurricane Zephyr model heater. This is 32,000 BTUs of wintertime joy. The main unit is about the size of our old 11 gallon water heater. I yanked out the old water heater and installed the Hurricane in its place. This unit heats domestic hot-water on-demand plus heats coolant that is circulated around the boat to two radiators that keep the cabins and Chris toasty. The install is a big job because you have to route exhaust pipes, air in-take, DC electric, AC electric, Thermostat wiring, fan wiring, and diesel fuel all over the boat. One hot shower and one warm morning in the crisp North Island winter makes it worth all worthwhile.

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Another big job was (is) re-rigging the mast, i.e. replacing all the wires and fittings. Here’s Matthew from CSpar getting ready to connect the crane to pull Georgia’s mast. The job’s not done yet, but getting close. We did have some issues with parts on the rig that were made out of unobtainium. The cones for the Norsemen mechanical fittings are very hard to come by. We also had to swap out the upper shroud balls as the 7/16inch versions were no longer available.

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I decided to clean the water strainers on some of our through-hulls (the pipes that take water into the boat for the engine, etc). I opened one and this not so happy eel jumped out into the bilge. I immediately jumped into valiant hunter mode, grabbed some thick gloves and yanked this guy out of the bilge and into this green bucket. He seemed as relieved as I felt when I launched him overboard.

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We ordered a fuel truck to meet us at the docks to fill the diesel tanks. That long hose is reaching Georgia while she sits in the haul out bay dock. Cheapest fuel we’ve had for a long long time. It was GST (tax) free and about .70NZD a liter. About US1.85 a gallon. Beats the $5 a gallon we paid when we stopped at Catalina Island 6 years ago.

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One job we really wanted to do while we are here is leak suppression. Not security leaks, but water leaks. We took off all the headliners in all the cabins and stuck them in storage. Then waited for the New Zealand rainfall to show off the small, but pesky leaks. Here’s Chris rebedding one of our small hatches to try to beat one of the leaks into submission.

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This is me entering my rented Bloke Shed (in American that would be a Man Cave). It’s a shipping container in the boat yard. It really speeds up those projects that require no rain.

rdmIMG_5617The big project for the Bloke Shed was building a box to replace the deck box that got washed overboard on our passage from Tonga to New Zealand. Those are the panels being laid up.

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This is the first time I’ve used peel-ply while laying up epoxy and fiberglass. The peel-ply is the red striped cloth. It really makes the job a lot easier and it turns out better. The peel-ply sucks out extra resin in the lay up and leaves the surface smooth without any amine blush, ready for the next layer without sanding.

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Doing a box fit before putting two-part polyurethane paint on. She fit perfect. Some how I didn’t get a picture of the finished box painted white. So you’ll have to wait with untold anticipation for a future blog that reveals a full body view.

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We did take a few breaks, including a beach walk near Whangarei Heads, where the surf was peeling, but tiny.

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Plus, we’ve enjoyed our evening walks along the Hatea River from the marina to the Town Basin. Here’s a view at an extreme low tide.

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This kingfisher hangs out near the Town Basin Marina.

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Along with his shy duck friend.

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Another Bloke Shed job was painting the main anchor. I decided to try Por-15 paint instead of having our big Spade anchor re-galvanized. We’ll see how long it lasts.

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And another job, the re-build of the boom vang. This thing is just undersized for the loads we put on it crossing the Pacific. I found some stronger gas struts that are made here in New Zealand and used them this time. Hopefully they will last longer.

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We also ordered a new Maxwell windlass and 100 meters of chain. They arrived in this 44 gallon drum (55gallon drum for Yanks), seen here sitting in the boat yard waiting to be loaded on to Georgia.

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We went up in size from the old 5/16inch chain to Italian made Maggi DIN 10mm (3/8inch) chain.

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Another gratuitous bird photo (these are NZ white-faced herons). These guys claim a pole at the docks every day and watch the boaters do their weird things.   

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We decided to do a short haul out in order to clean the bottom and change the zincs before leaving.

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The bottom was the worst we’d ever seen it from sitting too long in the river water. What is that growing off the bottom?

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That brought us to a new decision. We decided to haul the boat and leave her on the hard instead of in the water while we travel back to the US. Check our ride parked in front of Georgia. Friends Art and Nancy on Second Wind left us their Mitsubishi to use while they are playing in the islands. Driving it has been a challenge. I have to get in and immediately start my driving mantra – Stay Left, Stay Left. I’m starting to get a little accustomed. Next time out I think I’m going try and start using turn signals. A little at a time. There are a lot of round-abouts here and few traffic lights. I find the easiest way to enter them is to approach at about half the speed of everyone else, roll down the window and yell American and then just barge right in. For those of you who work on boat or house projects and know how important it is to have a car to make your half dozen trips to Home Depot or Lowes you can understand how thankful we are that we got to take care of the Mitsubishi. (The equivalent here in New Zealand is a half dozen trips to either Bunnings or Mega-10.)

rdmIMG_20160422_142405_HDRNow Chris hasn’t spent her entire time chasing leaks. She’s been working on crocheting this mega-complicated baby blanket. I believe she said that she just has 135,000 more stitches to go.

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That brings us to our winter/summer plans. We are leaving Georgia on the hard here for the rest of the winter while we head up to Bellingham, WA for the summer. We need to get our fill of anti-oxidants (in blueberry form) and take care of some very small family business.

Paul and Chris

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Getting-to-know the Kiwis Movie

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Since we’ve been in Whangarei for awhile now we’re trying to not  become POBs (prisoner of the boat), i.e. always working on boat projects. So, we’ve ventured out to an occasional movie date in town. We saw Hunt for the Wilderpeople the other evening. Wilderpeople here is drawn from wildebeest, the African herd animals that run like crazy across the savannahs.  It’s a very well done movie by local Kiwi director Taiki Waititi, based on the book Wild Pork and Watercress.

It’s the story of a cocky, defiant city kid (labeled ‘a very bad egg’ by his social worker) who is sent by Child Welfare Services to live with a warm, nurturing foster mother in a remote part of the country and the relationship that develops between the boy and the cantankerous old geezer who lives with the foster mother. NZ’s child welfare services doesn’t come off looking too good (as is currently the case in the news here unfortunately). And, since no movie is complete without one, there is a gratuitous car chase scene too.

The movie gives you a little insight into the understated Kiwi sense of humor (or humour) as well as some great shots of the gorgeous New Zealand landscape.

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Definitely two thumbs up from the movie critics from the hamsters on Georgia. A ‘must see’ if it ever makes it’s way across the world.

Paul

Monday, May 9, 2016

New Zealand Duck Hunting Season Begins With High Scoring

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The New Zealand duck hunting season opened over the weekend. In early reports the ducks are ahead with 3 hunters being shot in the first few hours. The Kiwi news reporters almost sounded disappointed that alcohol was not involved. Can you imagine in the early hours of the morning on the lake side the ducks all lining up with their short, stubby legs and doing the going to war Haka before the season opener? The number of duck casualties has not been reported.

Paul