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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Update from Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

February 2009
Since purchasing our beloved boat we have not been absent from her for 2 months nor had we left her unattended for this length of time.  Our anxieties were soon quelled, as we looked her over inside and out to discover that she had remained just as we had left her.  Hence, we set about the task of preparing to put her up on the hard (dry dock/hard stand), in order to have her hull checked out, cleaned and repainted with anti fouling.  During the process of moving her from the marina berth over to the haul-out bay, just as we had cleared the marina's breakwater, our engine overheated and the bow thruster gave out!  I guess she had been sitting too long unattended. We were embarrassingly set adrift in the 5 knot current among the anchored boats. Thank goodness, Andrew who was watching us from shore jumped into Gigi, the marina's Zodiac and towed us to the lift.  I wish we had a picture of that dinghy towing us – must have been a sight.  When Destiny was up out of the water we discovered that families of crabs had nested into the bow thruster and every other through-hull opening, clogging the engine's intake.  They were none too happy to be blasted out of their comfy new homes by the pressure cleaner!  We swore some gave us the finger as they sidled away back into the water.
Destiny was on the hardstand longer than we had anticipated due to inclement weather and high winds that had arrived just after we got set.  I had never before lived aboard while on the hard so this proved to be yet another new experience as we climbed on and off via the ladder provided and tried to remember not to utilize running water – or the heads.  We know many folks who successfully achieve a modicum of comfort living this way (i.e., "bucket and chuck it"), but we do not enjoy it much; therefore when our friends Jaime and Christine called us from Auckland to say that they were getting away for a few days, coming our direction to celebrate Jaime's birthday which happened to be on Valentine's Day, we decided to join them and make an escape.  Piling suitcases into their rental we set off for Rotorua the town that is not to be missed when touring the North Island.  To us it is Disney Land, Yellowstone, Glenwood Springs, Tahoe and Livingston, Texas, presented all in one.  You can do and see just about anything there from Maori history and culture to hot springs to geysers to mud baths, gondolas, luging, zorbing, eating and gambling.  And the list goes on.  We rented a beautiful 2-bedroom suite/condo at the best hotel in town and went to town, doing and seeing.
Returning to Destiny we discovered that our friends, Ian and Julia aboard Moasi were back from their tour of the South Island. We were thrilled to be with them again, not having laid eyes on them since Bora Bora.  Julia and I enjoyed long coffees together, shopping and planning while Frank and Ian went up and down our mast repairing the wind meter and installing a new LED anchor light at the top.  We all sought and shopped for boat parts and replacements.  Amazingly nothing lasts long on a cruising yacht.  The wear and tear that we put on our vessels is astonishing compared to one used for recreational sailing.  Even interiors wear out no matter how well maintained.  Restocking these items in another country is more challenging than anyone can imagine.  We as Americans take so much for granted (I've said this many times and will probably repeat myself again and again).  We have been told that we must stop thinking as Americans and think as world travelers.  How does one undo 52 years of programming in a year?  It is a work in progress, and not one that I succumb to easily.  So we spend more time than we would like in search of these elusive "things".  It becomes part of the adventure, which can be enjoyable or exasperating depending on the mood and amount of disposable time at hand.  Luckily I was able to make many of these jaunts with Julia who lives in a near constant state of joviality & positive thinking, and not with Frank who lives in a near constant state of impatience, while shopping.  Our most maddening obstacle was Internet access (lack thereof).  So much can be achieved searching online instead of driving all over the blessed place describing, asking and looking.  Yet Tauranga Bridge Marina's internet made life an expensive struggle.  It was offered for $9/hour, $29/10 hours or $89/100 hours – per month.   Ok, no-brainer there, the problem we ran into was that the service was so BAD and the signal painfully intermittent; twice we purchased the 100 hours only to have the hours expire on us before we had used 30 of them.  Crapola!  But what else can one do?  There was a local Starbucks in Mt. Maunganui with internet for $10/hour!  As I just said, we are not in America anymore with plentiful and free resources at our fingertips.  I'm over it now because it is what it is.  However, I reserve the right to complain about this as it passes through my mind from time to time.

Fortunately where serious boat parts are concerned we were in a port that housed an efficient and well-connected boat yard.  Dean from Hutcheson Boat Builders was irreplaceable to us; he hooked us up with stainless steel specialists (for our beautiful new hand rails on the sugar scoop), electricians who rewired the defectively installed bow-thruster, and a fellow to rip out and replace the mildewed shower liner in the guest room.  This is one reason we are so rigid about the showers being properly squeegeed and wiped down after each use.

We installed a larger and heavier roll-proof anchor, purchased new dock lines, replaced halyards and so on and so on, all the while realizing we had missed our window of opportunity to get to the South Island and to tour the North Island as hoped.   Taking care of our home had to be priority, less we wake up one day with a P.O.S. on our hands, wishing and lamenting.  It felt good.  Of course, there is still more to be done – always.  But that is what the next port is for!
while at sea: (note:the sender must include the character sequence "//WL2K" in the subject line of the message.)
Skype ID: frank.barb.gladney

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