Dec 312009
 

Me drinking Sangria for Christmas:
JasonChristmas

Happy New Years everyone! It’s been a good few weeks since we put Bodhran in the water and not much work has really been accomplished. The weather’s been great and we’ve been trying to get out touring a bit after a hard 10 days in the boat yard. First we got my surfboard wet for the first time since the Marquesas on a little trip we took with Christian along the coast north of Whangarei. Little waves over a beach break and the water was too cold to stay in too long without a wet suit, but much fun was had and Tiffany caught her first waves, though she only tried to stand up once.

Christian barbecuing at Sandy Bay on one of the many free gas BBQs around NZ :
Christian barbecuing at Sandy Bay on one of the many free gas BBQs around NZ

For Christmas we rented a car and took of for Arek and Iwona’s in Orewa. They’re renting a mother-in-law type apartment off the side of Robert and Sue’s house. So we had a great Christmas day with Robert and Sue’s family, Arek and Iwona, sunny weather in the upper 70’s, out in the country with rolling green hills and sheep in the background. We roast a lamb shank on a charcoal webber in front of a field of sheep for Christmas dinner. Probably a bit cruel, but the lamb tasted fantastic.

Tiffany at Robert and Sue’s on Christmas:
Tiffany at Robert and Sue's on Christmas

Boxing day found us at Omaha beach north of Orewa a ways. The water was in the uppper 60’s and we stayed in for nearly an hour without wetsuits. The beach was packed, but we found a great sandy patch, set up an umbrella and picked tunes, ate cheese and drank wine late into the day. I even got $5 from some guys near us, though we really weren’t trying to busk at all.

Playing music on the beach:
BeachMusic

The next day we spent touring around Auckland. We started out with the Kelly Tarlton Aquarium and Antarctic Encounter. Not a bad aquarium, with some great rays, sharks and turtles, but the Antarctic Encounter was more like a lame Disneyland ride through penguin jail. Still it was my first time checking out King and Gentoo Penguins. After the aquarium we got some great gelato and walked around the waterfront before heading up the hill to the Auckland Museum. Hard to do a city the size of Auckland in a day, but I’m not really a city guys, so we’re going to save the rest for another time.

Tiffany and Iwona getting eaten by a Great White at the aquarium:
Tiffany and Iwona getting eaten by a Great White at the aquarium

We left Arek and Iwona and drove down to Waitomo, south of Hamilton where the famous glowworm caves are. Actually there are glowworm caves practically everywhere in New Zealand, but Waitomo is where all the big tours are. We decided to spice up out glowworm experience a bit by taking a trip with the Blackwater Rafting Company exploring the water filled caves by inner-tube. Actually it’s about half walking, half paddling yourself through water with barely any current, but it was a lot of fun. Floating through a huge water filled cave with all the lights out and thousands of glowworms above you is pretty hard to beat. The only adrenaline filled part of the trip was the 4 foot drop off a waterfall that you had to jump off backward into your tube and clear a rock at the bottom.

Beginning of the trip through the caves with the Blackwater Rafting Company:
Beginning of the trip through the caves with the Blackwater Rafting Company

Tiffany had to work the next day, so we drove back up to Whangarei. We had one more day with the car, so we did all the local sights around town including the Whangari Museum and Kiwi House, A.H. Reed Kauri Walk, Whangarei Falls and the War Memorial Lookout before taking in an evening showing of Avatar. I’m returning the car today, but I’d say we did pretty well packing in a weeks worth of touring with it. Now I really need to buckle down and get some work done on Bodhran so I can start adding some sailing pics to this blog.

Staring up an ancient Kauri tree:
Kauri

Tiffany and a Kauri:
Tiffany and a Kauri

Here’s a photo album with all the pics since I got back to NZ in November:

 Posted by at 9:59 am
Dec 182009
 

Bodhran ready to go back in the water after a week’s haulout:
LoaderBodhran

Well Bodhran is back in the water after a 10 day haulout. The biggest item on the project list was to reinforce the mast step. My mast had caused the deck to buckle ¼ of an inch around the mast, so I pulled the mast off, jacked up the deck, and had a bracket fabricated to reinforce the area and hopefully fix the problem. We also painted the hull, scoured the prop and coated it with Peller Clean (a silicon anti fouling for bronze), cleaned, buffed and waxed the topsides, repainted the shear stripe, removed all the caulk and rot from under the caprail and injected thickened epoxy to fill the voids.

Tiffany and I taking a break in the shade of Bodhran’s hull:
Tiffany and I taking a break in the shade of Bodhran's hull

The new mast bracket on top of the compression post:
The new mast bracket on top of the compression post

It was a pretty full 10 days. Fortunately for us, Christian and his boat Irie were in the yard. Christian is friends with Greg and Bonnie and Bob and Cary from back in Bellingham. He and his ex were caretakers out at Eliza Island before taking off across the Pacific. It was nice to have an extra hand in the yard, a person to bum tools and advice from. He also happens to have a van and very generously let us borrow it to make runs into town for parts, groceries and beers. He also got us out one night to Tutukaka to visit Rick on Guava Jelly and play some music before Rick had to fly back to Seattle for the Winter. Distraction was also provided by Arek and Iwona who drove up from Orewa and took us up to explore the area north of the Bay of Islands for the day.

Rick, Christian, Tiffany and Guava Jelly in Tutukaka:
Rick, Christian, Tiffany and Guava Jelly in Tutukaka

Tiffany on the beach north of the Bay of Islands:
Tiffany on the beach north of the Bay of Islands

Sunset just outside of Whangaroa:
Sunset just outside of Whangaroa

We’re back in the water now. It’d be nice to get out sailing someday, but for now I think we’re going to be working on the boat for another few weeks until after New Years and try and get some short sailing trips in then.

I’ve put together an album of haulout pics here:
Haulout Pics

 Posted by at 1:57 pm
Dec 022009
 

Tiffany in the park just down from the marina here in Whangarei:
Tiffany in the park just down from the marina here in Whangarei

Well I’ve been in New Zealand for about a month and I’m already falling behind on the blog posts. For the most part I’ve just been taking care of lots of little projects for the last couple of weeks making the boat more livable. The engine is back in with two of the motor mounts replaced, a rebuilt alternator and a new water pump. It seems to be running as well as it ever has. I also added 2” of Styrofoam to the walls of my fridge and 4” on the bottom to try and keep it from running 24 hours a day. It’s now running a little less than half the time which means Jason now gets cold beer and fresh veggies when he’s done working for the day.

New motor mounts and cleaned up coupling waiting for my Suzie diesel to go back in:
New motor mounts and cleaned up coupling waiting for my Suzie diesel to go back in

My newly insulated fridge:
Fridge

Weekend before last Arek and his buddy Adam drove up from Orewa for the weekend. Arek and Iwona have been living just north of Auckland for the past year spending all their free time working on a free classified ad site for New Zealand: www.ulist.co.nz. Everyone over here uses a site called tradme, which is similar to ebay in it’s fee structure and is quite infuriating. Infuriating enough that Arek has become obsessed with getting the craigslist model running successfully in this country. Well Ulist was talked about, music was played, rum was drunk and catching up was done and in the morning we took off for the Bay of Islands in Arek’s car. I skipped the Bay of Islands when I sailed into NZ last year and hadn’t checked out the northern part of the north island yet. Unfortunately Summer isn’t quite upon us here and the weather wasn’t beautiful, but they rain held as we toured through Russell, Opua, Kerikeri and Waitangi before hitting some glow worm caves and heading back down the Whangarei. The trip certainly whet my whistle. I need to get Bodhran up there before too long and get some good quality cruising time in. It’s been over a year since I’ve had Bodhran out sailing, but I’ve still got at least another month worth of projects left before I get out of the river.

Adam and Arek in Russell:
AdamArekRussell

Russell, the sailing up of the Bay of Islands:
Russell, the sailing up of the Bay of Islands

The biggest event of the last few weeks is the arrival of my girlfriend Tiffany just over a week ago. She left snow on the ground in Spokane, WA and after a mere 37 hours of travel arrived in Whangarei ushering in 4 days of the nicest weather we’ve had since I’ve been over here. She’s got her working holiday visa and has been handing out resumes left and right since she got here. She’s got a test shift at Fring’s, the brewpub across from the marina, tonight. So here’s hoping that she gets a job and is able to support me in the lifestyle to which I’ve become accustomed :). If she doesn’t find work, well maybe I’ll just finish up working on Bodhran a bit earlier and we’ll do more sailing. That certainly wouldn’t break my heart either. I’m going to be hauling out for 10 days or so on Monday. After that Bodhran should at least be seaworthy again.

Tiffany varnishing up some of the interior trim:
TiffanyVarnish

 Posted by at 12:22 pm