Friday, January 21, 2011

Still in Opua

The past couple weeks in Opua have been not too exciting.
Work continues on the new arch, but mostly in the shop, not
on the boat.  The carpenter has reinstalled the door to the forward
cabin, installed a new shelf in the bow and new sliding doors for the galley locker.  Things look nice.  I dread seeing the bill.

The last several days have been the Bay of Islands Sailing Week,
which consist of three days of racing.  Last Tuesday, the day
before racing started, the area was grazed by a tropical cyclone. 
It blew in the 30s in the marina.  We were cooped up on the boat
for a day and half by that.  Fortunately racing didn't start until the next day.  That didn't prevent the carnage though.  On the first day, between races, a catamaran was holed by a monohull.  Wednesday was fairly calm.  But Friday was pretty breezy, and at least one boat came back without it's mast.

We're in the crosshairs of yet another weather event:  a big low to
the NW and a big high to the SE.  35kts winds are predicted this

We'd like to take the boat over to Russell and go to the movies. 
But using a dinghy in those conditions could be sketchy, so who knows....

Monday, January 17, 2011

Return to New Zealand

We had a good trip back to New Zealand and rented a car when we arrived in Auckland.  Our friends Marian and Brian put us up in their lovely home overnight and helped us get back on our feet.  (Thanks Marian!)  We were really tired.  Bobbi Campbell in Seattle had a suitcase to return to Marian in Auckland, so we filled it with boat parts and took it along.  It was the perfect arrangement.  (Thanks Bobbi!)

Tall Ships Race
 When we drove up to Opua, Walter Smith lent us his beautiful home in nearby Paihia for a few days while the boat was still on the hard.

Look, a dishwasher!!!!
It was such a treat and a real convenience for us.  (Thanks Walter and Kathryn!)

All our friends have been so hospitable and generous to us.  We feel really lucky.

Jarana was relaunched a few days ago and is at the work float next to the travelift.  Bill's been installing the allegedly repaired electronics we brought back from the US.  Some work OK, some not so much.  Bill got the sails back onboard and we took the boat out for a sea trial yesterday  It was a fine breezy day and our friends Pam and John Marchant from Passages came along.  We had a few minor surprises.  Only one instrument display worked. One of the jib winches misbehaved (Bill fixed it on the spot).  Oh, and the jib halyard shackle broke.  It wasn't a bad place for that to happen, vs on passage.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Holiday Visit Home

Puget Sound - Winter Morning, ahhh

We arrived in Seattle on November 30th.  Our dear friend, Lynne Werner, picked us up at the Seattle airport and took us to her lovely home on Perkins Lane overlooking Puget Sound.  (Thanks Lynne and Roger!) It was great to be home.

After a good night’s rest we went to retrieve my car from storage.  We pulled off the cover and yep, my car was still there.  Oops, I forgot I put an anti-theft club on the steering wheel.  Yikes!  I also forgot who had the key.  We jump started the battery and the ever resourceful Bill managed to drive it with the club still on the wheel down the block to the mechanic.  The battery delivery truck just happened to pull up with the right battery and our friend Joel came by with the necessary keys, I walked a block to renew my tabs, and we were good to go.  The car ran fine and wasn’t infested with mice as I had feared (thanks to the storage yard cats).

It felt so good to be back in Seattle, despite the traffic, the cold weather and short dark days.  I was excited to go grocery shopping in my old haunts anticipating that I might run into a neighbor there.   It felt as if Bill and I had been in a 15 month 3-legged race while we were cruising.  Mostly we got along pretty well.  However, being forced to share the same car and driving around town together was a lot more trying on the nerves.  It was such a relief when he got his own car and we could get away from each other for a while every day.

Saturday night Dec 3rd, we went to the Seattle Yacht Club Commodore’s Ball.  I wore an old bridesmaid’s dress I had given Lynne and we were able to rent a tux for Bill by taking his measurements back in New Zealand and phoning them to the tux rental shop in advance.  It was great to see so many friends all gussied up and having a good time.  Our cruising friends, Brad and PJ Baker were there too.  They had left Tahiti in July and sailed back to the PNW during the summer.

Bluefin Crew Reunion
We spent the rest of December traveling back and forth between Seattle, Portland and Long Beach for holiday get-togethers and much wining and dining, and shopping for boat stuff.

We returned to New Zealand with the maximum possible luggage: over 200lbs between us.  I ordered the most expensive eyeglasses ever, but they weren’t ready when we left Seattle, so they’ll have to be mailed to me.

Catching up in Opua - Some More

To continue: 
The power on the docks is 220v, and our boat is wired 110v only.  However, our solar panels managed to keep our batteries charged.  

The haulout was an exciting experience:  There was a strong crosscurrent as we pulled up to the travel lift.  The operator told Bill just to run the boat into the forward strap which would stop the boat and hold it in place until the aft strap could be properly aligned (so as not to mangle the prop and shaft).  It seemed like we were rising up out of the water in 60 seconds.  The lift pulled forward and we beheld the shag carpet weird looking growth the bottom.  Yikes!  The yard workers suited up and blasted it clean with fire hoses.  Then the lift driver threaded the lift through the yard narrowly missing assorted obstacles.  The whole experience was a sight to behold. 

The next day one of the painter’s helpers showed up and started scraping the bottom.  He made rapid progress.  Though from inside the boat it sounded like giant fingernails on a blackboard.  We got a room at a local motel as we prepared for our trip home.  The weather had been pretty chilly, and only seemed to warm up a couple days before we left.
Late Friday afternoon, the day before we were to leave, seemed like the perfect time to start ripping out the so-called refer insulation.  It was a sodden, sloppy mess.  As we contemplated the haphazard installation, we deduced that the work must have done at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon….hmmm.

One of the yard supervisors and the local refrigeration experts proposed some improvements to be made whilst we were away. 

We caught a plush bus to Auckland and spent the night with our friends, Bev and Mike Webster.  In addition, to the normal luggage, we had a duffel bag full of broken boat stuff for repair or replacement in the US.  Bev and Mike took us to the airport, and stood by while we checked in and kept us company until it was time to board.  (Thanks Bev and Mike!)  The Air New Zealand flight was nice, although the crying baby duet seemed a bit much.