Our New Zealand reunion with Morpheus

Tuesday afternoon we were ready and waiting to go to Heathrow for our evening flight to Singapore.  We had a great run to the airport and were in good spirits when we arrived at Terminal 2.  Despite having checked in on line we were told to check in using the machines to get our bag tags….no worries……and started the process.  The machine didn’t recognise our New Zealand visa so we were put in a long queue to talk to a real person. Whilst in the queue a couple of guys told us about a drone sighting and that all flights had been grounded. OMG what a start to the journey!!!

Our flight, however, was showing as leaving on time and as there were no announcements we weren’t sure what to think – and then Alison rang (she had given us a lift to the airport) and confirmed the drone news.  Damn!   We continued to queue and finally got to the counter and the check-in clerk thought it was strange that we had two people on one visa – we pointed out that it mentioned us both and that I was listed as the principal applicant with Richard as second applicant (ie a joint visa) but she wasn’t happy.  Finally, after she took some advice, and definitely not with a smile, she printed our bag tags and they were off on the carousel.

We then cleared security (where I got the full scanner treatment as usual!) and then went to the pub to get online to see what was going on. The news was pretty dire for a while and I was concerned about missing all the connecting flights.   But, amazingly, we were called to the gate  and took off on time. We were travelling Singapore Airlines on one of their double-deckers and our economy seats towards the rear of the lower level were pretty cramped but who cares we were happy to be on our way!    

We arrived into Singapore Changi airport early….found the next departure gate…..and had a wander around to stretch our legs before sitting down with coffee to await the next long flight.  The gate came up, we cleared through security and waited. This time we were upstairs on the double-decker plane and it seemed much more spacious in economy. Late on Wednesday evening we took off for the next flight to Auckland.

We arrived into Auckland on time and got through immigration really quickly and then collected our bags and reported to Customs with our prescription drugs….as requested on the Customs website…..as one of mine is a controlled drug. This was all sorted really quickly and the Customs man  was really friendly and thanked me for my honesty! That’s a novel experience….

We walked to the domestic terminal and checked our bags in there – after lots of hassle because the bar code readers couldn’t read our Singapore Airlines versions.  So we had to get Air New Zealand to reprint the boarding passes and luggage tags and we were then finally good to re-check our bags. All done we had a couple of beers in the domestic terminal while we waited for our final flight.

The next flight to Kerikeri was on time and we were greeted, only 40 minutes later, by our shuttle bus to take us to Paihia. We arrived into Paihia, checked into our basic but very clean motel, wandered down the road to a pub for pizza and a pint and crashed into bed by around 7pm….this was Thursday evening, New Zealand time.

Friday morning – Happy Birthday to me – and thanks to everyone for their cards, gifts and kind wishes.

We waited around for Rent-a-Dent to deliver our small hire car and then drove over to the marina.   The cars aren’t great but at only £25 a day they certainly suit our needs. 

We stopped by the office and the boatyard to let everyone know that we were back and found Morphie up on the hard. She was a little lonely and we were quite anxious about the condition of her down below. We were pleasantly surprised – no mould, no problems – so did a quick clean up and started to unpack and called it a day.

We returned to Paihia and wandered the town where Richard purchased a lovely birthday present – a stunning new ring for my Seabourn cruise. Will share pictures later!

We ended up sitting on the Paihia wharf quaffing wine overlooking the water and enjoyed just chilling – still feeling very tired – so we changed our mind and decided to go straight out for something quick and easy to eat rather than go to a fancy restaurant as we didn’t think we could do that justice. So ribs at Jimmy Jacks it was….. We then returned to our motel and had another early night still recovering from our long journey.

Saturday morning we were up early and headed over to Morphie. She had some dried slime left on her hull from the straps when she was lifted so I got down to getting that off along with some barnacles. Richard cleaned the hull itself and got all the dust and muck off – she looked so shiny when we were finished. We also gave her a new ensign and New Zealand courtesy flag, both of which had shredded in our absence. Long day but satisfying…..so back to the motel via the supermarket and we had a steak BBQ on the motel’s roof terrace and enjoyed a very pleasant evening in the sun.  Nobody else used this area so it was very private.

Sunday morning back to Morphie and we carried on tidying up the boat.   I went and got us some more dock lines from the store as ours had finally given up the ghost, they were gnarly and salt-laden so it was time for new ones. Richard was surprised when I came back with relatively inexpensive poly ones as he thought I might end up with blue, pre-spliced lines as I always hankered after them on other boats – but the cost was prohibitive and I knew I would be in trouble if I did that LOL.  So plain white with blue flecks was the answer.

While I continued sorting stuff down below Richard serviced some of the winches. Later on we lubricated and worked all the seacock through hulls and started the engine using a water hose into the intake. Another good day and we were ready for splashing. 

Sunday night we had another BBQ on the motel roof and of course some nice NZ Sauvignon to wash it down.

Monday morning and up very early – we packed our stuff up, checked out of the motel and returned to the boat yard. We went for a coffee and then climbed back on board, got all the fenders and lines ready for going into our slip, and waited for the ‘beast’ to come get us.

He was a little late and the weather was closing in so we got a little wet as they started to move Morphie towards the water.

Richard was going to reverse into the slip single-handedly (to avoid me having to jump off and risking any further injury to my back) but luckily Mike from Total Yacht Care came by and offered to help which we gratefully accepted. So I ran to the dock to catch the lines. Richard did a brilliant job of getting Morphie in despite some wind and current and she was quickly tied up. The marina is absolutely full so we have been allocated a slot on the ‘working’ dock so we are in the cheap seats LOL. We washed her off with fresh water and then got on with unpacking and making beds etc. We also cleaned all the sofas and got the fridge and freezer up and running – aided by a little extra gas and some ice. At this point the heavens opened and it rained – hard – for the rest of the day.

So we headed to the supermarket to pick up some fresh meat and vegetables for dinner.   We didn’t need anything else as I had fully provisioned the boat with dry and canned goods back in early May. So we had a quiet evening on board and an early night as all this manual labour was taking its toll LOL.

Tuesday morning and Richard had the riggers on board to talk through the work we had organised – swapping out our in-haul / out-haul and safety halyard – the only ‘defects’ identified on our rigging report which need to be resolved before we go sailing for insurance purposes. They are also going to mount the whisker pole on the mast as we found the manual deployment of this from the rail difficult at times when crossing the Pacific.   Sadly, the parts haven’t arrived from the USA yet so that  work will have to be rescheduled.    I took off to do domestic duties like laundry and getting the shore power cable PAT tested, which is an annual requirement here in New Zealand. Later on I collected all our frozen food from Cater Marine who had very kindly stored it for us in our absence. After Richard had finished with the rigger he put away all the laundry that I had returned with while I restocked the freezer. Richard serviced more winches and I got all the provisions out of their hiding holes to check what we had – threw away a few things that were out of date – but most of it was good. So made another shopping list…..

After a few hours relaxing, we cleaned ourselves up and went to the Yacht Club to meet Bill and his crew member Peter – from the Island Packet called Music, for a reunion. We hadn’t seen Bill since Tahiti so had been quite a while. Was a great evening catching up (although we couldn’t remember how to set the selfie timer so that’s why we couldn’t get four people in the same picture LOL). We also got soaked by another rain storm on the way.

This morning, Wednesday, and although it is still windy and cloudy the sun is back – hurrah!!!! We are now on shore power so are having a charging fest – and the rigger has just returned and installed the new lines.   Job done.  I cleaned up the winches after their servicing and Richard has been sorting out lockers to identify what there is we still need to buy. He is also starting to place adverts for our old equipment that we are selling on.

This afternoon as we still have the car we are going to go shopping in Kerikeri. 

And whilst we are trying to avoid all things Brexit, we have logged on to see the result of the ‘meaningful’ vote…and OMG it is a resounding NO to the Prime Minister’s deal, as expected. What on earth is going to happen next?!?!? We will send our family and friends food parcels as required LOL.

Bye for now