Still in Kawau Island

Sunday late morning we headed ashore in a break from the rain to have a late breakfast in the Club whilst I moved backwards and forwards to the laundry. There were two big washers but only one small drier so it took ages. To speed things along Richard took some sheets and towels back to the boat to hang them up so I could concentrate on getting the clothes dry. Of course, this meant that I got stranded ashore as the rain came down even heavier and there was a white out in the anchorage! The rain didn’t let up at all so eventually Richard came and collected me, we toughed it out, and got absolutely soaked on the return dinghy ride.

Monday morning we were up early just in time to see Sea Bear depart from the anchorage as Chris started his travels north. We worked hard sanding down and varnishing, pleased that the rain held off despite the threatening clouds around us.

Just before the sun went down the wind shifted significantly and we were nodding into a considerable fetch – so we picked up anchor and moved to the other side of the anchorage to get some respite. Once set we then relaxed for the rest of the evening.

Tuesday morning and the weather had improved significantly. It was a beautiful day.

We were up early, rubbed down, and managed to get another coat of varnish on. Yay! Morphie is definitely looking much smarter.

We then tackled the Spectra watermaker. This had been ‘pickled’ since we left Morpheus in November 2017. We had decided not to unpickle it up until now as, once it is operational, it needs to be flushed every five days and, with our touring holidays arranged, we knew we would not be on board for that to happen. So today was the day and we were both a bit nervous to be honest, concerned about leaks and the possibility of contamination in the hoses. We went through the whole process diligently and were delighted that everything was working absolutely fine and the water quality was good. So we made some water to top up our tanks. Something else to check off our ever increasing list of things to do before we depart for Fiji this season.

Wednesday morning the forecast remained good. So we sanded down early and got another coat of varnish applied. We were sat in the cockpit having a cup of tea and a sandwich not more than an hour later and the rain came down again. Damn that’s not good! We suffered some damage to the new varnish on the port rail where there were some holes and cloudy areas. We let the sun dry out the varnish and, luckily, some of the cloudiness disappeared so we mainly had to deal with the holes. Oh well, what can you do?!? So we visited the Club to drown our sorrows for a couple of hours and ended up sitting in front of the roaring fire chatting to some friendly locals before heading back to Morphie before dark.

Thursday morning and it was fine and sunny. While we were working hard rubbing down we saw everyone converging on the Club’s jetty for Anzac Day. I would have liked to have gone to the remembrance ceremony but, sadly, after the varnishing set back the day before we needed to keep working. We eventually applied the varnish and had all our fingers and toes crossed.

And it stayed fine so we were very happy that we were good to go for a little while -we’ll probably do some more coats in Fiji but at least the wood is now protected from the elements. So we went ashore later in the afternoon and admired the wreaths before attending the retreat when they took down the national flag on the jetty. We had a couple of cold ones and headed back to Morphie before dark.

Friday we decided not to remove the masking tape as we wanted to let the varnish harden up before we did that but we did reinstate the canvas dodgers, the spare fuel cans on the rails, and moved our blocks back into position for the sheets. Later on we headed over for sundowners in the Club and enjoyed a nice meal combined with a great sunset.

Saturday morning we removed the masking tape and reinstated all the sheets. At last, job done!

We had been dreading our next job – to clean Morphie’s hull. The bio-security rules here in New Zealand require you to anti-foul, jet wash or dive your hull before moving between areas. There is a problem in the Auckland area with Mediterranean fan worm which is a foreign invasive species without any predators which could decimate the oyster and green-lipped mussel business in Northland – so when we return to the Bay of Islands we have to have a clean hull. Anyway, we got into the (cold) water in our 3mm wetsuits and stared in horror at the bottom. OMG Morphie had only been in the water for a couple of months and look at the state of it! We had never seen anything like it before in our lives.

Richard decided that he would dive the bottom while I snorkelled and got on board to organise that when he called me back onboard. He had realised that we had moved around a bit whilst we were in the water and was concerned we may have dragged our anchor….so started the engine….and then put it into reverse to check the set. And, guess what, we had no reverse gear! So we abandoned the hull cleaning and relied on Calder’s bible to troubleshoot the problem. Thankfully we managed to resolve it. Phew what a stressful day! We went ashore for restorative sundowners at the Club before getting back onboard for an early night.

This morning, Sunday, and we got back in the water to continue to clean the bottom. Richard dived and I snorkelled – so he was tackling the deeper growth while I concentrated on the waterline and just below. We spent over two hours in the water and were absolutely exhausted so ended up calling it a day. Oh yes, horrendously the growth has lots of little shrimp-like things in it and they stick to our wetsuits. So we are absolutely crawling when we get out of the water and, although they die off pretty quickly, they give me the creeps! Tomorrow is another day… will have to go back in for a third time….

So I’m sitting here blogging down below while Richard is reading – we are in fleeces having had showers and hot chocolate but still feel a bit chilly! Later on we plan to go to the Club for a roast dinner so we’re really looking forward to that (not to mention sitting in front of the fire LOL). Sadly I think we’ll get wet again later as it has just started raining again – you can definitely tell that winter is approaching.

We had planned to leave Kawau on Monday once the varnishing was complete and the hull was clean, but the weather is not conducive, and certainly don’t fancy the forecast. Check out the wind on this grib, think it would definitely be prudent to sit tight for another day.

We had hoped to rock hop back north to the Bay of Islands and visit more anchorages but the wind turns north again soon and we have a deadline of the 6 May when we are booked in to be hauled out and renew our antifoul. So we have decided to make an overnight sail on Tuesday/Wednesday (weather permitting) and return to Russell where we can relax before heading around the corner to Opua. Will be good to get some sailing practice in on another overnight passage anyway.

Bye for now