Beautiful morning in Whangarei, with Bodhran back in the water and not leaking
So I left off on the last post waiting for a haul out to replace my new shaft seal. The guys at Dockland 5 (the best yard ever) were able to pull me out in the mid-afternoon and leave me in the slings all night while I pulled my engine so that I could take out the shaft and replace the seal. It turns out that it was just the clamp at the back of the seal that had deformed and was not sealing properly. So I was still able to use my nice new dripless shaft seal and not put the stuffing box back in. Unfortunately about 9pm that night after I had just spent over an hour aligning my engine, I realized that I hadn’t put the prop on yet. I had to pull the engine again to get the shaft out to make room in front of the rudder to slide the prop on. To make matters worse, I made the same mistake a week earlier when I put the engine back in the boat the first time. Oops.
My new shaft seal all cleaned up and ready to go back in
I awoke at 6:30am to the rumble of the travel lift firing up after a short 6 hour night. By 7:30 Bodhran was back in the water and tied up in Town Basin while I ran a few errands before heading out cruising. I borrowed my buddy Mike’s van to run out to Kamo where I traded my old frozen up 3.5hp Nissan outboard for a used Tohatsu 5hp. Along with the new 2.7m skiff I picked up this made for a pretty serious upgrade from my old setup. I would have liked to test it out a bit, but the tide was already ebbing and I wanted to get downriver. So two days after my first attempt I took off back down the Hatea River trying to get Bodhran back out to the Pacific Ocean.
I made it down to Urquharts Bay at the mouth of the river without incident and anchored up for the night. I slipped my nice new 7.5′ oars through the oar locks and took my new inflatable out for an inaugural half mile row across the bay. She didn’t track nearly as well as my old Avon, but I get a lot more power out of the big oars, and it’s a much dryer ride. I’m still a little torn. My old skiff was a lot better quality, but I’m tired of having a wet butt every time I go anywhere.
I needed to decompress a bit after all the engine stress of the last few days, so I donned my goofy looking 5 finger toe shoes and took off to hike the loop trail out to Busby head. I’d never been ashore in Urquharts before, and I’ve certainly been missing out. I’m going to have to go back later this year and hike some of the bigger trails.
Me out at Busby Head
Old gun emplacement with Urquharts bay in the background:
5 fingers shoes. I love these things. They’re so light it’s like going barefoot and after dragging my skiff through the mud and hiking for 2 hours I had nary a blister or hotspot to be found:
The next morning, I took off north to search for my buddies Christian and Rick on Guava Jelly. They’d been up in the Bay of Islands, but were on their way South. I took off north calling on the VHF every hour, but after a 7 hour motor in light winds, I pulled into Mimiwhangata bay and called it a night. The next morning, I took off again, and checked for the boys in Whangaruru to no avail. I thought about staying there to do some more hiking and to dig pipis, but decided to try Whangamumu 12 miles up the coast. I reached Guava Jelly when I was about half way there. They’d spent the night in Whangamumu and were on their way out to the Poor Knights Islands. So I turned hard to starboard and set course to the Knights. There was light wind out of the north and I was finally able to get Bodhran sailing again for the first time in almost a year.
Spinnaker run to the Poor Knights:
The Poor Knights Islands are a world heritage dive site, one of Jacque Cousteau’s favorites. Unfortunately the islands don’t have any protected anchorages. The cliffs are steep and drop off to depths impossible to anchor in. There are only a few places where it’s possible to anchor, but the bottoms are rocky with big pinnacles that rise up to tangle your anchor chain. So you can only visit the islands in calm weather. We had a forecast of light and variable winds for the next 3 days. So this seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit.
Guava Jelly with the Poor Knights in the background
Bodhran and Guava Jelly met up just north of the island and proceed to scout a few anchorages before settling on Sandager’s Reef about halfway up the west side. I actually found a sandy patch and was able to set my anchor pretty well. Rick ended up having to anchor in some rocks not too far away. There was a confused swell refracting off the cliff faces around us, but it seemed like we were pretty well set for the night. After having some beers on Guava and catching up, we settled in for the night. The wind died completely with the setting of the sun, which ended up spelling the doom of our chances of getting any sleep that night. As the boats bobbed around with the swell, the anchor chains wrapped around the rocks restricting our respective swing radius’s until at 3:30am when Rick and I were so close that we could have reached out and shook hands with his bow roller threatening to take out my windvane. So I motored forward on my anchor, pulling up chain as I went until it was free of the rocks, while Rick and Christian got Guava Jelly’s anchor up and motored off to find another anchorage in the middle of the night. Good planning paid off for Rick. He’d scouted another anchorage earlier in the day and had a bread crumb trail to follow on his GPS.
Bodhran in front of a 27m tall arch at the south end of the knights. If the swell wasn’t so big, I could have driven through.
The next morning after coffee and breakfast, I put the new 5 horse on my skiff and was giddy with delight when I throttled up and was quickly able to get up on a plane even in the confused chop allowing me to cover the mile down to where Guava was anchored just moments. After waking up the boys, we took off for a dinghy ride through the world’s biggest sea cave (by volume, Sea Lions Caves in Oregon are the longest.) Afterwards, we slipped into the water to do some of the best snorkeling I’ve ever done.
Rick and Christian in front of Rikoriko Cave:
Christian herding a school of fish:
Rick doing a bit of free diving:
The Poor Knights have been a marine reserve since 1981 and the quantity and diversity of the fish are like nothing I’d ever seen before. Within a minute of sliding into the water, I was swimming through a school of large school of blue maumau. It seemed that everywhere you turned there was another huge school of fish, just swimming around like you weren’t even there. We went through a couple of caves, and swam through an arch with almost zero visibility due to all krill in the water. When the surge would come into the arch, big pink plumes of krill would come streaming out as all the little crustaceans were blown out with the water.
Fish under Guava Jelly’s keel
Rick standing on his keel:
In all we got 3 good snorkels in before taking off on the third day to head back over to Tutukaka. I couldn’t really take another night anchored out there, and Christian was anxious to get back to Whangarei to do some work on his boat Irie. He left Irie on the hard 2 years ago and has been working with Linblad Expeditions. Unfortunately, Irie’s not going back in the water this year, but hopefully she’ll still be in good shape when he’s ready to sail her north next year.
I’ve still got a lot of work to do to Bodhran and Rick’s got some projects to do on Guava, so we’ll be hanging out here for a couple of days before taking off to where ever the winds blows us next.
Here’s 3 videos I threw up on youtube:
Sailing to Poor Knights, even though I say it’s Barrier in the video:
Bodhran back in Town Basin Marina after 6 long weeks in the yard:
After 6 long weeks in the yard, Bodhran is back in the water…..for now. I’m hauling out again this afternoon, but just for the night. More on that later. For one reason or another, I just haven’t been motivated to write about all the work that I’ve been doing on the boat while it was still in progress. Now I just want to go out sailing instead of sitting around writing blog posts, but as I’m anchored off Whangarei waiting to be hauled out this afternoon, here goes.
Of course there are many projects that I wanted to do and didn’t get a chance to, but here’s a synopsis of everything I did:
1. Took the facing trim off the entire cap rail, re-caulked the hull to deck joint, replaced the trim piece (much of which was damaged during removal), faired the entire rail and painted it with white marine enamel.
Here’s the cap rail all done with the windows faired and painted:
2. Removed the large windows from the saloon, glassed in 3/4” plywood plugs for the old windows, glassed over the plugs inside and out, faired the outside, trimmed the inside with 1/8 ply painted white, painted the outside white with marine enamel and installed 4 new 5×26” opening ports. The new ports don’t quite match the old ones installed forward, but when I get my port visors in they should match better.
3. Removed engine, cleaned and painted engine compartment, replaced all 4 motor mounts, cleaned the propeller shaft, re-trued the coupler face, replaced the shaft seal, had a new alternator bracket made, cleaned and painted rusty parts on the engine, replaced the bearings and seals in the water pump and re-installed the engine.
Here’s the engine compartment painted with 4 shiny new motor mounts:
4. Replaced 4 old bronze thru-hulls and seacocks with new marlon fittings. I still have a bronze thru-hull and seacock for the raw water foot pump in the galley that is only 6 years old.
5. Installed mini-bulkheads next to each chainplate attachment point not already supported by a structural bulkhead, painted new bulkheads white and re-installed cabinetry including new workbench area.
Here’s the new bulkheads on the starboard side:
And here’s the fold down workbench that I constructed around the new bulkheads:
6. Removed the old butterfly hatch, built and glassed in a new 1.25” frame around the old hatch frame raising it to above the upper deck level, faired, painted and installed a new aluminum hatch.
Here the new hatch as well as my new 2.7m inflatable. My old 2.2m avon was just too small so I sold it and got a new one:
7. Doubled the size of the anchor locker by cutting the opening in the old bulkhead larger, and adding a new bulkhead 9” aft of the original allowing me to move my primary anchor chain to the upper locker and alleviating the need to go below to knock down chain and I raise the anchor.
Here’s the new anchor locker bulkhead:
8. Cut the bottom out of half of the cockpit locker, glassed in new bulkheads to separate the new locker area from the engine compartment reclaiming a large portion of unused space in the engine room and allowing me to move my diesel jugs off the deck into the cockpit locker.
Here’s the newly modified cockpit locker:
9. Tiled the rest of the galley counter, built temporary shelving behind the sink and added a pull out kitchen sprayer that doubles as a shower in the cockpit.
10. Installed new 6 gallon water tank under the sink as a dedicated shower/rainwater catchment tank. Plumbed the vent line so that while catching water, I can direct the overflow from the new tank to the main tanks if I want.
11. Built a new cockpit table with leftover 3/4” ply. I still need to build the support when the table is in the up position.
Here’s the new table folded down against the pedestal:
12. Polished the hull, re-painted the bottom with two coats of anti-fouling and had propspeed applied to the prop.
My new deep red hull with a shiny coating of propspeed to keep the growth off the prop:
I’m probably forgetting some little things, but that’s the gist of what I’ve been doing the last couple of months. I went back in the water 5 days ago and after spending 3 nights in the marina in town decided to take off for a bit of cruising yesterday. Well unfortunately I didn’t install my new shaft seal properly I think that I burned it out already. It’s a lip seal that attaches around the shaft log with a clamp and then at the other end has a tapered area with 3 depressed ring areas that hold grease and keep the water from coming out around the shaft (it kinda looks like one of those dog toys you fill with peanut butter). Unfortunately the seal was made for a smaller shaft log than mine and the clamp deformed when I tightened it. It was doing fine, but after taking off yesterday and running the motor for 2 hours, the seal developed a leak around the shaft log which drained the water out of the seal leaving it with no lubrication. I figured it out when I started getting a burning rubber smell from my engine. So now I’m back to Dockland 5 for an overnight haulout. If the seal isn’t damaged I might be able to re-install it in a way that it won’t leak, but I think that I’ll be putting my old stuffing box back in. Either way I hope to be back in the water tomorrow and on my way out the river to meet up with my buddies Rick and Christian on Guava Jelly. Cross your fingers!