It’s raining again here in Whanga-rain New Zealand (an apt name coined by my friend Camila). In fact it’s rained every day for over a week now. A damned annoying state of affairs if you’re trying to get any work done sitting in a boat yard. It’s been a month now since I’ve been back on Bodhran and despite the weather, things are going well. I spent a week and a half in Town Basin where I met up with some old friends and met a number of this year’s crop of Pacific crossing cruisers. It took a few days to get the boat cleaned up, and then sat and waited for over a week before I could schedule a haulout to get started on this years list of projects that I wanted to tackle. In the meantime, there was much wandering around Mount Parihaka and a big trek to the other side to explore the Abbey Caves.
All that time spent in Town Basin wouldn’t have been much better spent in the boat yard. As it was raining pretty much all that time as well. La Nina in New Zealand seems to bring an unusual amount of rain. This year’s phenomenon is supposedly weaker than last years, so hopefully it won’t bring any full fledged cyclones, but I just say through the weakened remains of one over the last few days.
I hauled out on December 16th at Dockland 5 boatyard a little closer to town than the Norsand yard where I hauled 2 years ago. They’re a bit more expensive, but the little things that Charlie and Doug take care of here really make it as good an experience and you could hope for while living in a construction area. Immediately after pressure washing my boat, Doug went ahead and threw a 5000 watt transformer and long power cord on board so that I could use all my American 110volt tools. When he put up the ladder, he actually put a floor mat underneath it so that I wouldn’t track all sorts of yard dirt on board. The pièce de résistance came just before Christmas when Charlie fired up his forklift and placed a little shop for me to use outfitted with a work bench and windows right under Bodhran’s bow. The bathrooms/laundry is just just a few boats away and they’ve probably got the best internet connection that I’ve used in New Zealand. All in all, it’s the best boatyard setup I’ve ever had.
I passed the holidays without much fanfare this year. I spent Christmas Eve with Neil and his daughter Corie on Rutea along with a crowd of other American cruisers who’d crossed the Pacific this year. It was a great time, but I didn’t cut off work until about 5pm. Christmas Day and New Years were both spent working until late and then getting together for beers with Mike, an Kiwi/Aussie (he’s not quite sure which) who’s building a 15 meter steel Bruce Robert’s cutter.
So the projects slowly keep rolling on here. I’ve got the port windows plugged, glassed over, faired and ready for paint before I install the new smaller ports. The thru-hull fittings have all been replaced. I removed the trim piece that covers the hull to deck joint, and have re-caulked the joint around most of the boat. I’ve got the engine out and have stuck trying to get my prop off. I hope to replace my cutlass bearing and shaft seal as well as the motor mounts before the engine goes back in. I’ve got a new bulkhead glassed in at the foot of the vberth to expand the upper chain locker so that I can use it for my primary anchor chain. I’ve glassed a new little bulkhead in the port saloon and have rebuild all the cabinetry on that side of the boat. I’m sure there’s a bunch more things that I’ve done, but after 2 weeks in the yard things are starting to blur. Most of Kiwiland shuts down the week before Christmas and doesn’t come back to life until a week after New Years, so I’ve been having a hard time getting parts. Hopefully the next week will see an end to the rain and the re-emergence of the Kiwi economy and I can get out of here before the month’s end.
I’ve thrown up an album here with more pics from December in Whangarei.
Here’s a quick photo album from Thanksgiving weekend: