Nov 21 - Off the boat

We're flying back to the States for a while to visit family and friends. We wish everyone a Happy Holiday season, and will start posting again at the end of January. Cheers!

Nov 16 - It's a juggling act

Yesterday there were three workman on the boat at the same time. I had requested a canvas shop in Whangerei to send someone to give an estimate for a new dodger and a few other canvas projects we're considering having done. Meanwhile, Bob Evans, a local electrician guru, was finishing up fixing what I had screwed up (excuse me....installed...) in Honolulu. Actually, I had come pretty close to getting it all right...but there were a few wires that I had led to the wrong wonder our readings weren't quite right! (Ya know, when you hire these amateurs to do your work for you, you just don't really know the quality of their work.... just don't tell the Admiral....) At the same time, Rob from Northland Spars and Rigging was up the mast working. Fortunately, he brought an apprentice along with him, so the young un did the grunt work and I stayed down below with Bob. At the end of the work day, the head stay with its new wire was installed, the Profurl and it's grooved luff foil had been completely stripped and refurbished, new upper spreader lift wires were in place, new lower shrouds were installed, and a new set of lazy jacks had been custom fabricated and also installed. The new mast head sheaves had been put in the other day, so the only thing we're awaiting is a new genoa halyard, as the old wire/rope one had frayed wires and a broken SS thimble. (The new one will be Spectra.) Bob had completed his it was a funny feeling at the end of the day without anyone working aboard. Sue and I went to the Waitangi Culture night, a lovely performance put on in Waitangi describing a brief history of the Maori.
Everday there are activities sponsored by the All Points Rally (hosted by John and Lynn Martin,, and every evening there are BBQ's or dinners. The other night was all you can eat pizza; lots of varieties, along with a cash bar for beer, wine and soft drinks. More boats are arriving daily; our friends on sv Attitude (Neil & Kathy) arrived in the afternoon. We hadn't seen them since the Gambier Islands, and they returned to NZ from Fiji. Btw, along with all the above work and activities, we've also been packing to depart for the States for a few months to visit family and friends...there's always something going on!

Nov 11 - Out and about

In between projects we've gone along with friends to Pahia, Keri Keri, Whangarei and, last night, Russell. First off Pahia. It's a touristy little town but has several banks and lots of storefronts with tourist prices for goods. Brian at the scuba shop fixed our regulator, which needed an adjustment as it was free flowing air. We use it with our hooka rig when we scrub the bottom. He didn't charge us, and indicated that January was a better time to go diving around the islands as the water clarity improved then. Grocery shopping is in nearby Keri Keri, with an excellent selection of most anything. We went into Whangarei with our friends on Passages. There's a nice marina there where many yachties spend the season, and the town is really a small city, with lots of places to go, a downtown, and many boat related services. I arranged another sail and canvas maker to visit Infini, so we'll end up with 2-3 quotes from various lofts before deciding on who will do our work. Last night we ate at the Swordfish Club in Russell, the second oldest sport fishing club in the world. It was lots of fun to look at all the old pictures and trophies and talk to a few of the members; the food was really good too. Aboard Infini, the headstay and foil are off and in the rigging shop! We needed to shorten the headstay wire, and figured along the way we'd have the Profurl unit serviced, all easier to do in the shop. The rigger has replaced all six sheaves at the masthead, and from the condition of these original wire/rope sheaves of the Lefiel mast, this was long overdue. We've gone to sheaves that will be for rope only, and our old wire rope genoa halyard will be replaced. The wire was old, a few strands were letting go, and the SS thimble at its terminal end was cracked. Very seldom checked, but time to replace it! With the entire unit on the bench, I had a good opportunity to really go over the Profurl and wire with Paul of Northland Spars and Rigging. I replaced the headstay about 8-10 years ago (my memory gets faulty...) so although the wire and Hayne Hi Mod terminals look OK, I chose to replace the wire. The Profurl unit was due for a major service. In NZ, Profurl parts are expensive, but the shop sells and works on the units, so I've OK'd an overhaul. The work goes on...
Pic: Watching the dolpins play from the Swordfish Club in Russell.

Nov 6 - New photos have been uploaded

We've been cleaning and organizing; not too exciting! Had some friends over for a spaghetti dinner and later went to see the Guy Fawkes fireworks at the OCC. Sue's been busy on the internet, and has uploaded two new photo albums, North Minerva Reef and Tonga - enjoy!

Nov 4 - Let the organizing begin

We rented a small storage space from the Marina office and started off loading sails, canvas, and a whole lot of stuff we don't need aboard right now. This will make it easier to empty out lockers and get to areas we haven't really been into for a long while. In the afternoon there was a complementary "sausage sizzle," which is a grill set up to cook, in this case, sausages; it was sponsored by Cater Marine, one of the big chandleries around here. It was a good opportunity to meet other cruisers, and from there we went to listen to a guitar duo that played some nice music at the nearby Opua Cafe. We walked over to the Opua Cruising Club for dinner, and joined as visiting members ($40/year) to support the local kids sailing and take advantage of the amenities of the OCC.
Pic: A gathering of friends we've met along the way...celebrating at the OCC.

Nov 2 - Into Keri Keri

Today was a buying day for a bunch of stuff we needed/wanted (we'll mention prices as so many folks have asked us for specifics): a suitcase to pack our stuff for our visit back to the States (thrift store cost: $5), a Petanque set (this is a real good lawn bowling set (Bocce), list $50, our cost $45), a 6' fishing gaff, (we lost ours overboard a long while back...list $100, on sale $50), a water hose (15 meter cost $25). Now, don't forget to apply the currency conversion, presently $.81 USD/NZD. Driving thru Paihia to get to Keri Keri is a beautiful excursion. There aren't too many cars on the road, the rolling hills are incredibly picturesque, and the multiple bays have hundreds of boats anchored nearby; we love it! We stopped at the RoadRunner Bar, a local spot, on the way back to the marina. Back at the boat, went for a nice hot shower ($2 coin for 4 min; doesn't sound like a lot of time but it's plenty for us; scalding hot water and nice facilities). One of the riggers stopped by, and we found a broken wire on the port aft lower shroud at the mast terminal. I hadn't replaced any of the lowers when I rerigged in Honolulu, so they'll be changed here. Also saw a few new arrivals: Frank (previously owned the W-43 RiRi, we bought our new staysail from him) as well as Mike and Irene (sv This Side Up).
Pic: Sue walked the coastal trail from Opua to Pahia, with Sharon from Georgia J. It was a scenic 2hr. leisurely hike. (They got a ride back.)

Nov 1 - Getting around

We've been busy! Both Sue and I have made separate trips to Paihia with friends to get a Sim card, more money, and a haircut. I've seen some of the tradesmen here, and many have good reputations for most yachtie needs. One of the SS fabricators stopped by to help design a fitting needed forward of the headstay, extending from the bowsprit, so we can fly our code zero sail. One of the canvas shop guys came over to talk about a new dodger with us. I've also stopped by one of the rigging shops to discuss some modifications with them. This afternoon, an electrician came by to review a few electrical gremlins that have been giving us a bit of a challenge. Progress on many fronts. It appears that many of the tradesmen here charge in the $65-70/hour range, so major projects can cost quite a bit, albeit many of us are using currency exchange rates to our favor. We were pleasantly surprised when our friends March and Pam of sv Passages docked next to us. (We're in the slip they were in last year!) They had just returned from Fiji and said it was one of their best passages they've had. Lots of folks to see and things to do! And yes, it's rainy and cold; it reminds us of the Pacific Northwest.
Pic: Good to see friends from the past; we had met in Panama. Sue & Pam didn't plan on the same wardrobe.

Oct 31 - Have to get organized

We haven't even washed the deck yet! Our friends Kim and Sharon (sv Georgia J) had bought a car and invited us to the Sunday Farmers Market in Keri Keri. Kim's doing great driving on the "wrong" side of the road, and we went to scenic Paihia first, found an ATM, walked around, and then went to the market. We bought fresh fruits and veggies, ate a delicious breakfast at the Cinema Cafe, and had a jolly good time. By the time we got back to the boat it was 1300 hours, and I was determined to do a bit of work. I hooked the hose up and the fitting to the dock spigot promptly broke. I took that as a sign that maybe I should just relax more, open the bottle of Ake Ake Merlot we had just bought, and get on the internet. Boats are arriving in hordes to the Q dock, and we don't see too many empty slips. Weather has been fine; sunny and warm (certainly a relative term for those of us who have spent so long in the Tropics!), with occasional light drizzle.
The picture is another view of the Q Dock from our slip. Nobody's there now, but another wave of boats is heading down.