Boat jobs and some exploring in New Zealand

Last Sunday we had a lovely roast lamb dinner, complete with mint sauce, and enjoyed our  evening with Karen and Paul.

Monday we carried on identifying cables throughout the boat. It is like spaghetti, particularly behind the main switch panel.   Tracing the routes can be difficult especially in some of the tight spots.

We did quite well and, having removed quite a few cables that were no longer needed we started installing the new gear. We took the fibreglass panel from the binnacle to the local carpenter who cut it to size for us in a few hours as our new plotter has a slightly bigger footprint. By the end of the day we had installed both the chart plotter and the autopilot control head. Really happy with how that all went and we followed it up by an early night, both of us feeling a bit achy having crawled around in restricted spaces.

Tuesday we found out that the new GPS cable could be severed and rejoined by the Raymarine guy – woo hoo – this means we can install it on the arch after all. So we cut the cable and pulled it through the arch. Later on, we ordered the pole mount and will do that as soon as it arrives.

In the afternoon we noticed that the automatic bilge pump kept going on and off. Our first thought was that this may have something to do with the new Volvo stuffing gland. So we pulled everything out of the garage (ie the aft cabin) on top of everything that had been removed from other cupboards so that we could check it out. You wouldn’t believe the mess!

Thankfully the gland was as dry as a bone…..but there was definitely water running through the bilge from this area. That led us to think that it could be the propeller shaft as it had been moved during the stuffing gland installation. To fix that would require us hauling out of the water again which didn’t fill us with joy!  Richard went for a walk and found John from SeaPower who thought it might be our hot water tank. We had actually looked at that ourselves but couldn’t see anything untoward although most of the tank is hidden under the aft cabin bed. John touched one of the hoses and it virtually exploded along with the fitting. So he spent ages pulling out the old tank – in the most awkward of positions meaning lots of working-class language – and then we could see that the whole thing was rusty, particularly along the seams. It must have been leaking for a while.

Wednesday we visited SeaPower and they confirmed that the tank was dead. Bit of a design fault, in our view, to have plastic fittings which had got brittle and failed due to the heat of the water in the tank. The casing had also rusted around the base but this is hidden when in situ so we were not able to clean or check it without dragging the whole tank out. Richard says people who design boats should be forced to work on them LOL!!!

SeaPower had done some research into suitable tanks available here in New Zealand which was limited due to our US voltage – but they were all too deep to fit into the hole.   So we spent a lot of time in the cruisers’ lounge sourcing a replacement and were happy to find that they now make the same aluminium tank with a stainless steel casing, rather than the galvanised steel on the original.  So we ordered it from the US…..and it is now on its way. We have contacted customs and they have advised us what documents to send and where to, so that we can get this imported without any duty to be paid. Phew…..problem solved.  As Richard reminded me BOAT stands for Break Out Another Thousand.

Thursday we had a look at the new AIS and splitter and worked out what cables went where. It was pouring with rain so we pottered around doing more cable labelling and removing and installing the new computer and control head in place. This was particularly awkward due to its position and took a while….here is Richard working hard accessing the old computer. 

Anyway it all went to plan and we called it a day, once we had tidied the boat up once again, and had a movie night on board.

Friday we had booked a car again. So by 9 am we were on our way out and first stop was to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. This is where New Zealand was born with the Treaty being signed on these grounds in 1840 between the Maori chiefs and the British. The museum was fascinating and we spent quite a while walking through and reading the exhibits.

At 10.00 am we had a 50 minute guided walking tour arranged so worked our way back to the entrance. We met our guide and were issued with individual radios so we could listen to him along the way. He took us through the timeline of how the birth of New Zealand came about. He had a great way with words and we were a captivated audience. What was really amazing is that he walks backwards through the tour so that he can face us all the while telling us the story of his nation.

We loved the war canoes which are the largest ceremonial war canoes in the world. Ngatokimatawhaoru (the biggest one) is 35m long and needs a minimum of 76 paddlers to handle it safely on the water. They are launched on the 6th February each year as part of the Waitangi Day Celebrations.

These huge boats made out of a single huge tree – check out the size of the stump! They are housed in their own private ‘shed’ which is also ornately carved with lots of manly appendages, glassy eyeballs and tongues – which are very important in the Maori culture.

We then wandered up to the field to see the flagstaff which marks the spot where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February 1840.

It flies the three official New Zealand flags – the Union Flag (from 1840), the United Tribes of New Zealand (from 1834) and the more easily recognised national flag of New Zealand which was introduced in 1902. Check out the United Tribes flag below.

The views across the bay from this location were spectacular.

Including where we entered into New Zealand on our passage from Tonga.   Looked very different in the day from the driving rain in the middle of the night that we faced then….

We then went to the carved meeting house which is called Te Whare Runanga.

We were going to be invited inside for a cultural performance but, first, the resident tribe had to find out whether we came in peace or not. For that our ‘tribe’ needed a chief. And the girl chose Richard!!!  

So he was informed about his chiefly duties and had to stand dead still while the Maori tribe came out to meet him. OMG they were in his face full on with violent stabs of their staffs … it was like his own personal Haka!!! Not sure I could have stood still in the face of the onslaught LOL. Anyway….we came in peace…so Richard was offered a peace offering of the green crown.

We then all followed Richard into the meeting house (having taken off our shoes first) and then took our seats. As wife of the chief I got a front row seat whilst we received our official welcome. Then it was time for Richard to give his acceptance speech and for a hongi.  Fantastic.

The show followed with traditional song, dance and the use of weapons. They are very scary when they point those things right at your face!!! And that’s without the tongues or the eyes…. A real treat.

We then went to visit the Treaty House which was officially the British residency of James Busby who was the UK’s first government representative in New Zealand.

He lived there with his wife Agnes and their six children. This is also where the Treaty was drawn up in 1840. The Treaty House and the Carved Meeting House stand facing each other and symbolises the partnership between the Maori and the British Crown. Was a bit surreal to see that the garden was stocked with very English flowers plus even a white picket fence!

This was the end of our tour so we wandered back through the beautiful grounds and headed off in our little car. The next stop was Haruru waterfalls which, although not very large, was pretty nice to see.

After that it was time to head into Kerikeri.  First stop was the hardware store (of course!) then something for lunch followed by a supermarket sweep…..and then to another supermarket for the things that we couldn’t get at the first. Oh yes and we got some more drinking vouchers from the ATM in town. Shopping finished we headed to the medical centre.

We were both seen by a nurse practitioner first followed by the doctor. The Scottish doctor was  very thorough. We both came away with prescriptions for three months and some blood tests to organise too. The drugs were quiet expensive and we left about £200 lighter in all….but our travel insurance only covers emergencies not routine doctor visits….so this is down to us. Not ideal but what can you do?!?  We were both very impressed with the service that we received – especially as the pharmacy is inside the Medical Centre so you can get the drugs before you physically leave the building.

We then drove back to Opua, quickly dumped all the shopping on board, and headed to the Cruising Club for Indonesian night. The place was absolutely rammed – which is always the way when free food and drink is offered to a cruiser population.

The talk was interesting and we learnt lots about this future cruising destination. We certainly have it on our radar in the next few years. We were entertained by some singing and dancing and we had a pretty good night overall.

Saturday morning and it was our final push on the electronics. The pole mount had arrived so we got the extra GPS onto the arch. We managed to wire up everything ready for commissioning which we hope to have done early next week. After that it was a matter of tidying up cables and making sure all labels were accurate. This has been a huge job!

After dinner on board, we decided to walk to the Cruising Club.   We admired Morphie in her slip and checked out the numerous Oyster flags in the marina.

The Oyster Round the World Rally were at the Club having their formal farewell dinner, as they are scheduled to depart NZ on Tuesday. They were on the balcony so we sat inside and caught up with a few people that we knew. We had a nice time…..especially the people watching.

Today, Sunday, and I’m blogging and doing the laundry….while Richard continues tidying up. We are heading off to the club for our Sunday roast later so looking forward to that.  It’s become a bit of a weekly highlight LOL.

Bye for now