Back in the water in Opua

Sunday’s roast at the Cruisers Club was as good as we remembered. The offering was pork this week which even came with crackling and apple sauce. Yum! After that we had a leisurely wander back to Morphie, climbed the ladder and had an early night.

Monday morning the weather had deteriorated significantly. It was wet, windy and freezing cold. This left us pottering around down below just sorting things out. When the rain eased up we ventured out to Cater Marine to visit our new dinghy. It had just arrived and was still packaged up but we were quite excited that it had arrived….  And that was about it for the day. We had a quiet night on board and vowed to buy a duvet at the first opportunity as we were freezing despite wearing thermals in bed!

Tuesday morning and it remained cold. We started prepping Morphie for going back in the water. We put a hose pipe up the water intake and started the engine – Richard was keen to do this out of the water as we had had the injectors removed, serviced and reinstalled and the last thing we needed was to find a problem whilst in the sling. Nervously we turned the key but Morphie started first time.  She is such a good girl!   As the rain stopped we focussed on the windlass problem and found a dodgy fuse – so replaced that and, thankfully, it was all operational again so we serviced that too.

Later on SeaPower very kindly lent us some testing gear so that we could check the status of our batteries.  We were delighted that all six of them were in a reasonable condition, so we’ll leave them this year.  We’ll definitely replace them before we leave New Zealand in 2019, however, as you can guarantee that they will pack up the minute we get somewhere remote where replacement is not an option!

Wednesday morning and we were up and ready to splash really early. There was a little boat in front of us that needed moving so that was on its way around eight. Just before nine the lift machine – or the beast as we like to call it – turned up for us.

They got Morphie into the cradle and Richard was still on board as he wanted to supervise if any ropes had to be led back to the cockpit.

No need….so he climbed down. Then they lifted her up and Richard climbed underneath to put a thick coat of anti-fouling onto the hull where it had been sitting on the blocks. In the middle of all this, the Swiss German guy on the boat next to us was not happy that his ladder had been moved to let the beast get through, so he put it back into position to get back on board. The boatyard guys (who were decidedly unimpressed) promptly got it out of the way again and they were thinking of not putting it back LOL. Seriously though he would only have had to wait five minutes or so…..

Then Morphie was on the move and she was leaning forward a bit and pretty close to the ground but the guys were happy so we had to trust them.

Finally Morphie was driven through the boatyard and put back in the water…..hoists still attached. We were given a lift by dinghy to the stern and climbed back on board. The mechanic from SeaPower also got on board – he ‘burped’ the new Volvo stuffing gland and we were good to go having checked that there were no leaks anywhere. So the straps were removed and the beast backed away from us…and Richard reversed out.

I quickly kicked over the fenders and Richard turned us around towards our slip. Paul and Karen from Gigi (fellow Island Packeteers) were waited on the dock and, despite a bit of a current, it all went smoothly and we were into our slip with no problems. Phew – this whole thing is so stressful! It was really kind of Paul and Karen to catch our lines making life so much easier and you could just tell that Morphie was very happy to be back in the water.

The rest of the day was spent moving things around and as it was so windy there was no chance of putting the sails on, even if we had them, which we didn’t.   So the foil inside the mast was banging away as we heeled over in the gusts and we were glad we had no neighbours nearby to annoy.  We reinstated the ‘garage’ into the stern cabin and moved things back into their rightful places. Later on we returned to Cater Marine and visited our new dinghy again.   It looks absolutely huge now it is inflated. We are hoping that it is just an optical illusion as it is surrounded by very small dinghies in the yard.   It was certainly light weight though as we were able to pick it up with no difficulty between us, so will make life much easier going forward.

Later on we went back to the boatyard and climbed aboard Vega for drinks….we had a few wines and then all decided to head to the Cruising Club for dinner…. Was a really nice evening with Annie and Hugh, whom we had first met in the Galapagos last year.

Thursday morning and we waited for the sails to be delivered….and waited….and waited. The calm of the morning turned into another windy day and Richard was fed up. So he went and collected the sails himself but, of course, by now it was too windy to install them so we had to suffer another day of the banging foil. This was like torture!   In preparation for a shopping day on Friday we got the fridge and freezing running – the freezer was straight into the zone but the fridge was a little more reluctant to start its compressor. Finally we managed to get the fridge to play having given it a bit more gas…and we were very happy overnight to have them sitting comfortably at the set temperatures.

Friday morning we were up at the crack of dawn and hoisted the mainsail as we have found sunrise/sunset is the quietest part of the day, weather wise. Yay…it went very well…and we were very happy. We then got ourselves cleaned up and headed up to the car park to pick up our rental car from Rent a Dent. Wayne was late so we stood around for a while but eventually we were on our way.

We had already downloaded the Co-Pilot maps for the whole of New Zealand so, combining either the iPhone or the iPad with the Bad Elf, we have a SatNav. We drove along the main coast route towards KeriKeri – our destination. We admired the beautiful green scenery which is very UK-like in its appearance complete with sheep and hairy Aberdeen Angus cows!

KeriKeri is a sleepy little town and our first stop was at Bunnings….this is a hardware store, of course. Richard managed to get everything he wanted like builders buckets to replace those that had cracked up in the bilges. We then moved onto a small department store – the mission was to get a duvet for our bed and a new mattress protector for the aft cabin. Well….we found a nice duvet…and I persuaded Richard that I needed a hair dryer as we were going to be predominantly marina dwellers this year and he said YES! That was a very exciting moment for me LOL. Anyway we took these items to the till and the guy said “Hmmmm…did you know there is a one-day sale on this afternoon and these things will be reduced???” Well, of course we didn’t. The savings would be significant allegedly….so he put them behind the till for us to collect later and told us to return after 2pm. Slightly bemused at this turn of events we wandered the high street and had lunch at a popular Turkish restaurant.

We then visited other stores including a pharmacy. We asked about prescription drugs and how to go about getting a ‘script’ here in New Zealand. When we left the UK in March we were told by our NHS GP that he was unable to give us drugs for more than two months at a time. We are UK residents; we are home owners; we continue to pay our taxes; and we are entitled to drugs but only if we pop in to collect them personally. Rant over…..

So this leaves us having to find a way to get our regular prescription drugs here in New Zealand. There are reciprocal health arrangements with the UK but this is for emergency stuff only really. Anyway….we found a medical centre….and made an appointment to see the doctor next Friday and we’ll go from there. We know that the initial consultation (including a script) will be $85 each plus the cost of the drugs. All in all a time consuming and frustrating process.

We then returned to our little department store – yes the sale had started – and our bill had reduced by 65%. Seriously that covered more than the cost of the car for the day. We couldn’t believe our luck and how great the guy on the till was for tipping us the wink!!!   We thanked him profusely and left in a hurry just in case he changed his mind LOL.

Our final stop of the day was the huge Countdown supermarket for our first provisioning run of the year. We stocked up on essentials and some other bits and pieces. Richard blocked my way when he spotted Beef Hula Hoops being sold in the shop as these are the one UK thing that I really miss – but even I couldn’t justify the £1+ for each tiny bag so I longingly looked at them and left them behind. Sigh…. Having offloaded into the car we returned our trundler to the appropriate space.

We drove back to Opua enjoying the scenery out to the bay on the way.

Back on board we unpacked all our goodies. By now the wind was dropping and we managed to get both the genoa and the staysail hanked on. Yay!!  We did notice that the genoa halyard has some significant chafe so we need to shorten it and splice a new eye. But we are not going anywhere right now so we have put it on the list of things to do.

Having had a successful day we had a quiet night on board and an early night.

Saturday morning we were up very early again and drove back into Paihia to top up the petrol as, annoyingly, the petrol gauge had not moved until we had returned to Opua the night before. Mission accomplished we rushed back and returned the car.

During the day we started pulling wires. We managed to remove the Garmin AIS GPS and cable (hoping to sell this on idc) and replaced it on the arch with the new Wifi Extender Bat which went very smoothly and worked first time when plugged into my laptop. So a good start.

Then we removed the old (inoperable) Garmin GPS 17 and started to pull the new Vesper AIS cable through (on the port side at the front of the arch). If you remember this is where the Iridium Go! cable gave us problems and we eventually had to downsize the cable and terminate the cable ourselves once it was pulled through. The Kato arch is 2 inches stainless steel but the hole into the tube is very very small – thanks to Island Yachts for not thinking about our future needs when they did the installation process as they decided on the size of the physical entry point into the tubes by the addition of a solid plate (which is inaccessible and not removable). Wonder if their ears were burning whilst we tugged, pulled and swore a lot!!!! Despite best efforts we could not get the Vesper cable through as it has terminated ends (also not removable) which make it too big to get through the restricted entry point.

We finally gave up and removed the other Garmin GPS unit (something else to sell). This is also on the port side but at the back of the arch. This has another small entry point but, thankfully, slightly larger so we were able to get the Vesper pulled through and installed. Woo hoo!

The earlier failure means, however, that we are no longer going to be able to install the spare Raymarine GPS (which was only for redundancy purposes anyway as we had space on the arch) so we’ll be getting a refund on that unit and will rely, instead, on the built-in GPS in both the Vesper and the Axiom units. We do have the Bad Elf for redundancy too…. We’ll also need to talk to the stainless steel fabricators to make a ‘cap’ for the riser to stop water getting into the tube – a plastic bag does the job for now!

We then started identifying and pulling out all the wires that are linked to the defunct chart plotter. We pulled them through – we installed mouse lines through where there weren’t any – we dumped those that are surplus to requirements and on it went.

We had a quiet night in the cockpit last night – grateful that it was a bit warmer despite the noseeums that decided to feast on us – and enjoyed a nice bottle of NZ Sauvignon Blanc. All in all a pretty successful day.

This morning, Sunday, and I’ve done the laundry and am now in the lounge blogging while Richard continues to identify and label cables.  Later on we are heading out to the Cruisers Club for our Sunday roast dinner with Paul and Karen so looking forward to that.

Bye for now