Exploring Northland (part 2) and back to Morphie

Sunday morning we were disappointed to wake up to very heavy rain. We had a coffee, said our farewells to John, packed our belongings in our car before heading into next door’s art gallery / cafe for breakfast. John had said he used to own the antique store / restaurant prior to extending his house….so we think that the art gallery / cafe remains in his ownership due to the style of some of the contents.

Leaving Rawene, we drove through the gloom and down the west coast going into the Waipoua Forest until we reached where we wanted to go.

We parked the car, went through the biosecurity gates washing our shoes to ensure we did not bring any invasive species into the forest, and followed the walk through until we reached Tane Manuta. His name stands for the Lord of the Forest – and he is the largest of the ancient Kauri trees.  Even in the rain he was pretty spectacular!

Moving back to the car we carried on down the coast towards Bailys Beach. This is another beach road and we hoped for some good views and maybe somewhere to stay if the resort was interesting. Well….in the gloom….we carefully followed the road up and down until we finally arrived at the sand car park. But we couldn’t see the sea…and we didn’t fancy walking in the torrential rain. So we aborted and drove back to the main town of Dargaville which sits on the main highway. This was another depressed small town. Hmm….it is such a shame to see dilapidated properties in such a spectacular, scenic area. There must be a lack of work opportunities outside farming and the odd manufacturing base in this region and it showed.

Moving swiftly on we decided to head across the middle of the island to Whangarei. We have pencilled in spending some time here on Morpheus later in the year so we thought we’d take a look. The Town Basin marina (about 12 miles up the river) looked pretty central and was surrounded by a walkway of cafes, bars and local artisan type craft stores. This is a pretty big place and we thought it looked OK but we drove through some pretty depressed areas here in the city too. We had thought about staying overnight but the rain was getting us down and we didn’t really fancy doing other tourist sights (like the local glow worm caves or waterfalls) and decided to drive back to Morphie instead.

So we went to the local supermarket to pick up some fresh produce for dinner and some drinking vouchers. We were in the store about 10 minutes total and, when we came back, some b*****d had reversed into our yellow peril and done some damage. Thankfully the boot still opened! Very fed up as there was no note nor CCTV in the car park….. Sigh…..

We drove on the main highway north towards Kawakawa. We were pretty hungry so decided to stop at the local bakers for a pie….yumm….. By now the weather had started to clear up.

We then visited the local toilets which were designed by Austrian-born artist and eco-architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser who lived nearby – they are typical of his work with organic wavy lines decorated with ceramic mosaics and brightly coloured bottles. All very bizarre!

From there we had to take a detour back to Opua as the main coast highway was closed due to a landslide. We followed the route and ended up back on Morphie – glad to be home. She was relatively warm and welcoming down below so we ended up having a quiet movie night on board.

Monday morning we telephoned Wayne from Rent-a-Dent and told him about the car. He told us that we were liable for the first $2,000 worth of damage. We were not happy with that as I knew that would probably be an excess but, hey, the car probably wasn’t even worth that much.  So I quoted his own document back to him saying that, as we had taken his insurance, we were indemnified against any losses. He denied knowing anything about this – despite it being in the small print on his own contract – and said he’d look into it.

Anyway….we had the car for another day…..so we took ourselves off to Kerikeri to do another large provisioning run. We also stopped at a couple of places to try and get our propane bottle filled – but, despite it being a recognised manufacturer (Worthington), they won’t fill it without a NZ LAB number. Hmmmm….this is getting difficult……we are down to half a bottle of gas only right now. If we can’t get them filled we are going to have to purchase new ones and the size of our lockers – as our cylinders are designed to be used horizontally – are quite tight.

On our return we were delighted to find that our new hot water tank had arrived in the marina so we went to SeaPower and organised John to come and fit it on Tuesday. In the evening we had another quiet night.

Tuesday morning we were up early and cleared the aft cabin in preparation for the hot water tank to be fitted. Well…we waited…and waited….and John had got caught up in another job so it wasn’t going to happen. Richard returned to see Wayne and he had now decided to waive any costs of the damage…. So that was a result at least!

We got all our stuff back in the saloon from the cockpit, locked up, and took ourselves off to the Cruisers Lounge and caught up on some internet stuff. We are looking at routes home from New Zealand later in the year so wanted to price up all the different options – and, hopefully, get some more exploring done on the way. Later on I did the laundry while Richard did some other boat jobs – like topping up the water tank as the water maker remains pickled until we get back out on the hook. We had another early night.

Wednesday and John was here bright and early. The new water tank was fitted and then Mike came onboard to do the final electrical installation. Everything was turned on….and it filled up and worked. Hot water has been resumed onboard. Yay!  Richard filled up the coolant bottle on the engine as we had lost some during this work and that was it. Later on in the day Hans came by and returned the radar – the interesting news was that Raymarine could find no fault with it at all. In the workshop it connected both via a cable and also via its built-in wifi. Hmmmmm….curious!  We couldn’t install it, though, as no rigger was available.

Later on – after luxuriating in the hot showers on board – we headed to the Cruisers Club to meet some people whom we had met last year in Tonga and had a nice social evening with them.

Thursday and Hans turned up along with Brett, the rigger. We were hoping that Rob would be back as he climbs like a monkey and it is really easy getting him up the mast – Brett is a much bigger lad and it takes a bit of hard work to hoist him up LOL. Anyway….the radar was reinstalled….plugged in…..and we lowered Brett back down.

Hans turned everything on – ensured power was connected etc – and, guess what, the plotter still could not be paired to the radar, either physically through the data cable or through the wifi function. And….at this point….the plotter went crazy starting doing some strange things. Hans was on the phone to Raymarine (Australia) for a few hours trying different options and, in the end, they decided that the plotter was crocked. Apparently this has only happened once since the Axiom Pros had been introduced and sod’s law that the second event would be us!  So the plotter was uninstalled and taken away.   After another uneventful day we had another quiet movie night on board.

Friday morning Hans turned up with a brand-new plotter out of the box which had been couriered up to us overnight from Auckland.  Pretty impressive!   He plugged it all in and it found the external GPS / the Vesper AIS system / the autopilot / the depth gauge / the wind gauge / the speed gauge….but NOT the radar!  So although the new plotter was working fine it still couldn’t find the radar…. Hans was completely perplexed by all this…. At least the plotter and all other equipment is working – but a real mystery. Hans went off again to talk to Australia.   We then had a boring afternoon just waiting around – Richard did some boat jobs but I just read a book….    I’m convinced this problem is a software bug!  Hans phoned us again later and said that Australia had a few ideas and he would return on Monday to try them out. Very frustrating for all concerned!   We had another movie night on board staying warm and dry – it was absolutely horrible out.

Saturday morning and the weather remained awful – pouring rain and heavy wind gusts. So we had a bit of a lay in and then headed up to the laundry. On the way back to Morphie we watched the small boats coming in from their race day…pretty impressive how they sailed in a line to get onto the dock!

We returned, did a few more internal boat jobs, and then headed out to the Cruisers Club for the evening. It was rammed with people from other yacht clubs who had come to cheer on their boats….and there was a live band playing. We sat outside on the terrace for a few hours with our coats on and then headed back to Morphie.

Bye for now