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Back on the hard

We’ve been on the boat for over three years now and in that time we’ve hauled out three times. Once in Grenada before our first year was up and twice here in New Zealand, both times in the last 8 months. More strong feelings of deja vu and a sense, again, that we’ve never left.

The morning was not overly busy. With Sam now confirmed on the boat for next year I spent a lot of time researching our options for visiting the Solomons next year. The upshot of all that effort is by the end of the day I had our accommodation and flights booked. We’ll fly out of Fiji and spend 19 days in/around Honiara principally to observe the festival but no doubt we’ll find other things to do. We’ll be staying at one of the ‘rest houses’ close to the center of town. There’s a few of them run by various churches. The one we liked the most had been recently fully booked out by festival attendees/performers. The room we have booked is self contained but no doubt spartan. House rules are strict. We’re not allowed to spit on the blinds nor comfort each other. Oh well. How we’ll avoid spitting on the blinds for three weeks I’ll never know.

By midday I’d paid up our marina fees and we were ready to go. With help from Jeff from Subzero we slipped the lines. With little room between us, the bank and the boats around us I was able to spring off the dock, rotate and motor out from between the finger dock and the shore in a forward direction. By the time we reached the haul out ramp the boat that was in the way was just clearing out so we didn’t have to anchor to wait. Because we need access to the back of the boat come February we had to back into the dock. This went fine and soon we were tied to the dock with the truck bed beneath us waiting for the water to ebb.

New rules in the yard required us to disembark while the boat was pulled out. So after the ground crew had had their lunch we were taken the short distance ashore in a row boat. While the boat was taken out of the water we took a look around the yard to see if there were any boats we recognized. Some names were vaguely familiar but none were ones we knew well.

Once the boat was firmly on land we were allowed back aboard where we rested and I continued with my Solomons research. After a spray down we were eventually put into our allocated slot.

(The map as is available at time of publishing is older than the yard so it looks like we’re on rough ground. We’re not)

By the time we were settled it was late in the day so plans for removing batteries, etc. were postponed.

We have a bit of a busy day ahead of us. We need to meet with Peter, the works manager, to discuss work we need done to the boat. When we hauled earlier this year we’d planned to be in the water for two years and had the bottom painted accordingly. With this haul out we’d like to postpone that next one so we’re considering an extra layer of paint to keep us going. We’d also like to have the new props painted to prevent growth so that will need to be organized. Apart from that there’s not too much to do.

After that we’ll walk into Whangarei to pick up our hire car. We can then pick up the missing part from our rollock which has arrived. Then it’s back to the boat where we’ll pull the batteries and prep for the work in February.

Hike to Whangarei Falls

9am Monday morning we were up and ready for our walk to Whangarei Falls along with Cheryl and Jeff from Subzero. The walk along the river turned out to be quite pleasant and all the better for the company. The map, again, was a little wrong in places but we found our way to the falls well under two hours. We ate lunch there before taking the path to the top of the falls and then coming back down for the return trip.

On the way back we passed through the AH Reed Kauri Park where they’d build quite a high boardwalk through the trees. All very pleasant.

I dropped by Northland Inflatables to finish off fixing their email. This entailed fixing the root cause which really meant educating the users. That’s all sorted now. Looks like they may have sorted out my dinghy rollock for my efforts. It’s on it’s way.

Yesterday evening we went to the movies to watch Contagion which was pretty ok although I got upset when one of the main characters (Jude Law) explained some “elementary maths” which where he gave an example of doubling only he ended up squaring his terms. Made me shudder. What can one really expect from screen writers?

Been a bit late blogging today as I’ve been sucked into more internet ordering. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right part but now successfully ordered are :

  • 3 hatch supports
  • 2 hatch blinds
  • Yet another US flag
  • Spare dinghy fuel hose
  • Fishing gloves
  • Batteries for the autopilot remote
  • Mixer tap for outside shower (only need the lid but need to order whole thing)
  • Airline tickets from Uk to NZ.
I’ve also spent ages looking at options to get from Auckland airport to Whangarei on our return.  All the car hire companies want to charge $220 to $250 to return the vehicle to the airport (it’s much cheaper the other way around).  The busses look cheap but they need to be booked and there’s no guarantee on flight arrival time and lugging ourselves on the busses after flying for a day and switching our clocks 12 hours won’t be fun.  Taxi firms seem to want $500 for the trip but I’ve just found a local chap who will do the trip for $200.  Looks, by far, the best option.

Haul Out Prep

On Thursday we began to focus on our haul out preparations. We will need to leave the boat ready for the work to begin so Helen got on with moving things around in the boat to create space for all the things we’ll be taking out from under the bunks and in the stern lockers once we’re on the hard.

While Helen was getting on with that, I pickled the water maker for the first time ever as we won’t be making water until next year now. I also started researching and ordering parts for projects we’ll get on with while the Lagoon techs will be switching around the propulsion. I ended up ordering and VHF splitter and AIS transceiver which will result in our being able to have much greater sensitivity on AIS reception and move us into the realms of transmitting our position info too. We don’t yet know if we’re going as far as Singapore but in those parts of the world AIS transponders are mandatory so it’s good to be prepared. I’m also of the opinion that most vessels these days that are diligent enough to be monitoring radar are quite likely to have at least an AIS receiver aboard
so having a transceiver to transmit position info is rapidly overtaking efforts to make oneself radar visible as a means of safety at sea. Also ordered was a pair of outdoor speakers as we’ve had another failure. Finally I ordered replacement pickling chemicals.

In the afternoon Helen went off to find a suitcase as our old one is kaput. While she was out I went to the supermarket to buy some wine and butter. I forgot the butter.

In the evening we visited Jeff and Cheryl aboard Subzero where they shared info on Vanuatu/New Caledonia and we shared info on Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand. We also shared a lot of food, wine and beer as well. This morning we both feel the effects.

Some good news has come in. Lagoon have agreed to moved their work start date to Feb 20 which is great. We may not be there on the first day but looking at schedules, etc. it looks like we can be there before the end of day. We need to set up support for them from the yard as well as launch dates. I’ve also learned that the factory who produces the wheels for our sliding door will be sending us them free of charge, including free shipping. How often does that happen? Great stuff.

Up The Hill

We kind of loaded around the morning, reading, playing computer games and that sort of thing. Feeling a bit guilty, we took a walk up Parahaki hill that looks down over Whangarei. This at least gave us our daily exercise.

On the way back we visited the supermarket to pick up some food and wine (yes – it’s almost all gone now) for the evening.

Back on the dock we got talking to Jeff and Cherryl on the boat next to us, Sub Zero. Turns out this boat used to be owned by another 420 hybrid owner who I had, just that morning, got in contact with regarding possible sale of components for spares. It’s a small world. They’ve just sailed in from Australia having spent the season in New Caledonia on the way. We’re meeting up this evening to share info. We have plenty on Tonga and Fiji where they’re heading next year and it would be great for us to get info on New Caledonia.

In the evening Dan and Amy from Division II came by with their three kids, Paige, Oliver and Reilly. The kids, as is usual with boat kids, were very polite, engaging with adults but still kids and a lot of fun. I’d used the excuse to get in some ice cream for desert which we very rarely do. No doubt all the calories burned during the day were more than compensated for in the evening.

One other story that is now playing out. We received confirmed dates for the conversion work from Lagoon. Good in that it’s happening. Not good in that it was three weeks earlier than we’d requested placing it before Ben and Sam are due to fly to meet us in the Uk. So emails have been flying and it looks like the dates are shifting but we may still have some complications that will have to be managed. We’ll see.