Living on the hard in Opua, New Zealand

Monday night the queue was huge for the fish and chip takeaway shop and that also meant that we couldn’t get a drink either as the Easter alcohol rules continued to be enforced.  So we decided to go to one of the smarter restaurants on the waterfront called 35 degrees.  The food was by far the best we had had and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal washed down with a lovely bottle of local Sauvignon Blanc.

Tuesday morning we were up early and on the boat by 8 as we were expecting some guys from SeaPower. They arrived on time and promptly removed the fuel injectors which came out easily but the stuffing gland was a different story.

Up and down the ladder he went with different tools eventually realising the thread had been crossed. Basically it was not worth “repacking” as it would probably give us problems going forward so they recommended we go down the Volvo type instead which is a more modern version. Happy with that he went off to order it and left us alone again with the boat looking like a bomb had hit it!

We managed to clear our cabin out and find new places to store stuff mainly into the space vacated in the starboard lazarette by the fuel cans which, now that we had finished cleaning the topsides, we could reinstate so that was our final job for the day.

Back to the motel for our last night – so we packed up everything we could – and went back to Jimmy Jacks for dinner. Basic fare but we enjoyed it…..

Wednesday morning we were up very early and did a quick stop at the supermarket – just for essentials like bread, eggs, milk, butter and some drinks. Whilst on the hard we have no refrigeration (as both the fridge and freezer units are keel cooled) so we don’t want much more than that. We arrived at the boat yard and lugged all the bags up the ladder to Morphie. We then cleared out the car and returned it to the hire company who have a base here in the marina. We picked up some ice and turned our freezer into a cool box….

We worked hard unpacking and making the bed whilst reorganising things again….and, eventually, in the afternoon we were pretty clear so we went and collected our canvas from the store where it had been repaired, valeted and re-waterproofed. We then put all the canvas on so we had some protection in the cockpit.

Wednesday night we headed to the Opua Cruising Club and had dinner and a couple of drinks. It was very quiet apart from some people who were having a darts competition – not 301 or 501 as we know it – and we politely declined although might be tempted in future if we are here long enough LOL.  After a few hours we walked back to the boatyard and settled down to our first night on board.   We decided we would not eat in the Cruising Club every night as most of the menu consisted of fried food and we wanted to be a little healthier than that….

Thursday morning we got up early and I went for my daily shop at the Opua General Store. I managed to get chicken and lots of fresh vegetables for dinner so very happy about that!

We visited Cater Marine and decided upon our new dinghy which, according to the specifications, is 16kgs lighter than dink.  We could have had an even lighter one than that but we needed a certain size to fit across the back of our arch….but the new Highfield UltraLite that we have chosen does have a lower profile so we are hoping it will fit better on the bow for future long passages.

In the afternoon Hans came by and delivered our new electronics and gave us a talk through all the cabling. All very simple to him as he does this for a living but it’s going to take us a while to get our head round. The plan is that we are going to pull all the cables through the arch replacing the old stuff as we go – but we won’t start this process until we are in the water as it is just too dangerous when we are elevated above a hard ground.

During the day the guys came back and re-installed the serviced fuel injectors and the new Volvo stuffing gland…so we are ready to splash hurrah!   Everything else can be done in the water going forward. We have organised our slip in the marina and have paid for a month’s live aboard so everything is good to go. The marina is under construction and is being extended around us so we are never bored watching the activity around us….and here comes an Oyster out for a bottom clean….

Thursday night we had a quiet evening on board enjoying the sights of the marina around us.

Friday we did more cleaning down below and thoroughly compounded and polished the gelcoat in the cockpit. We then considered more wiring diagrams … and discussed what arch risers would be best for which items as some of the cables can be extended others not.  All very complicated but we think we have it sorted in our heads at least LOL.

We will probably also need someone to help us with the new radar cabling through the mast and, potentially, we might need to get some modifications made to the existing stainless cradle to accommodate the new radar. Oh yes and North Sails have finished valeting the sails so they are ready to be delivered to the boat on Wednesday – something else to tick off the list. SeaPower also confirmed that they have a new starter motor, a new alternator and our old repaired/serviced autopilot waiting for us too – we’ll also take this from them once back in the water as Richard doesn’t fancy carrying all this heavy gear up the ladder!

Saturday we cleaned all the stainless steel below the capping rail which involved Richard moving a heavy platform around and me climbing up and down to reach the areas. Was very hard work and, when we finished, we called it a day and headed to the cruisers lounge for long hot showers. On the way we spotted this huge marlin which had just been landed on a local small fishing boat – the boys seemed pretty happy with themselves!

We returned to Morphie and relaxed before having another quiet night in the cockpit. Morphie is looking really sparkly now…..

This morning, Sunday, we had a lazy start. We decided to get the anchor chain out of the locker so Richard could do some maintenance on the windlass. Remember this was only installed brand new last July in Tahiti and has not been used much since. And, of course, it failed to work!!!! Sigh…. We know that our batteries are very old and need replacing so it is possible that they just do not have enough “umph” to get it to work – but will need someone to help us trouble shoot it. Oh well, one step forward….

Later on we are heading to the Cruising Club for one of their famous Sunday roast dinners – can’t wait!  We splash on Wednesday so we’re looking forward to not living up a ladder for much longer;  not having to pee in a bucket any more;  and being able to do a proper shop once the fridge and freezer are operational again. Not very exciting but we are getting there!

Bye for now