Chris got back from working in Kathmandu on Sunday night. I gave her a day to recover and we snuck out of the docks at Riverside Marina in Whangarei, where the boat has been since last January. There’s a hierarchy of boat living discomfort for me: Worst is living in the yard while the boat is hauled. Then scary, crazy anchorage. Next is hanging too long at a dock. Best is a quite, calm anchorage. We motored the 2 hours down river from Whangarei town to the Whangarei Heads at the entrance to the river and anchored for the night in Urquhart’s Bay – shown in the morning picture above. Best.
A lot of small boat jobs were done before we left. The biggest was finishing up the new standing rigging (wires that hold the mast up). OK, almost finished up. There’s still a few hard-to-get parts on order that we’ll pick up on our way back North after playing on the Kiwi east coast for a few months. Above is our Viking Rescuyou-4 liferaft on its return from getting inspected and repacked in Auckland. If you aren’t going to do the work yourself then you are pretty much restricted to using a manufacture’s authorized inspection station. This model requires an inspection every 4 years. This ended up costing NZD$1,800 (USD$1,260). Seems like a lot for a liferaft that we bought for $2,400. I think its like a slow version of the razor and razor blade business – the profit is in the blades.
Another project was adding non-skid to the companionway steps. The varnish had gotten pretty beat up on the steps. There’s only three wide steps here, making getting in and out of the cabin easy.
After re-varnishing the bull-nose ends and putting Seadek rubber padding down. Better wearing and less slippery.
Before we left momma duck brought over her 10 baby ducklings to wish us Merry Something (it was hard to hear what she was actually saying) and beg for the leftovers of last nights focaccia bread.
We are headed about 150 miles south, to Tauranga to meet up with our Scottish friends on Endorphin for an Xmas dinner. We are two thirds of the way and hunkered down in Cook’s Bay, Whitianga, waiting out a blow. Above is Hole-in-the-Wall at the entrance to the bay. You can pretty easily guess why they call this Cook’s Bay – there seems to be a lot of Cook’s Bays in the world. Cook was here in November, 1769. For his journal:
"my reasons for putting in here were the hopes of discerning a good harbour and the desire I had of being in some convenient place to observe the Transit of Mercury, which happens on the 9th instant and will be wholly visible here if the day is clear between 5 and 6 o'clock"
The often uncooperative Kiwi weather has us spending an unwanted day at anchorage here in Cook’s Bay. The wind is forecast to turn to the SW and go to 25kts gusting to 35kts. We’'ll wait a day for it to let off a bit before finishing the last 60 miles down to Tuaranga. Hopefully we’ll make it before Xmas – they are having it on the 25th down here this year. That’s the 24th for those of you on the other side of the dateline.