Arrival in Whangarei NZ
02/19/2013, Whangarei NZ, North Island
On Friday the 15th of Feb, it was finally time to head back to NZ after 2 months back in the states. We said the last of our goodbyes on Friday morning, then Skip and Mary Ann gave us a ride to the airport along with 200+ lbs of baggage. Luckily their car was large enough to hold the four of us plus all our bags! We arrived in San Francisco around 1:30 in the afternoon, and we finally reached our hotel downtown 2 hours later via BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). So much for 'Rapid Transit'! Not the best choice when you're loaded down with 4-50lb bags plus backpacks and purses. Our return trip to the airport was a much different experience the next day - we splurged on the $55 town car ride and it was well worth it!
We had a great time in San Francisco, and the weather was perfect! Friday evening we were looking for a Chinese restaurant nearby to have dinner. Our cocktail waitress at the hotel recommended a place a couple blocks away called R&G Lounge. So off we went, only to find a long line streaming out the front door of the establishment. John's first reaction was "let's go somewhere else!", and mine was "this is perfect - I'll get our name on the list"! It was only a 40 minute wait and there was one empty stool at the bar - looks like we'll be doing dinner at R&G! While we were waiting for our table, we struck up a conversation with the couple sitting next to us. They were originally from Vietnam, and had escaped to Malaysia back in the mid-1970's via a small boat. A year later they arrived in the US with 2 little kids both under 5 years old. They had quite an interesting story to tell and we wanted to learn more, but our time was cut short as their table was called. Our table was ready a little while later and we had a delicious meal. Salt and pepper scallops and mu shu pork - deeelish!! We later found out that the restaurant was featured on the travel channel - so no wonder so busy, but definitely worth it. Saturday, our plane didn't leave until 7:30pm so we had the day to hang out. We walked to the Ferry Building on the esplanade where there was a farmers market going on. We were overwhelmed by all the food choices. Everything looked good! We opted for a glass of wine and some bread and cheese/olives. Good stuff! We spent the rest of the day walking down towards pier 39 where it was swarming with people - probably because the weather was so nice. We finally caught a tram back to the Ferry Building where we walked back to the hotel and grabbed our ride to the airport.
Other than being very long, the plane ride was pretty painless and we landed at 5:30am Monday morning. We zipped through customs and made our way to downtown Auckland to catch a bus to Whangarei. We arrived at the bus stop much earlier than expected - our scheduled bus was not for another 3 hours! The early bus to Whangarei was just getting ready to depart, and we were able to catch it just in time before it pulled out. Score! So we made it into Whangarei at 11:45am. Our friend Dave was there with our van to load all our baggage into. But he said it had been having trouble starting the last few days. He had no more than turned it off to meet us at the bus station and help us with our bags, and the battery was dead. So replacing the dead battery moved directly to the top of the list of 'Things to do when we get to Whangarei'!
Monday afternoon we also checked into Riddlesden B&B which I had reserved for our arrival, and we'll be staying at for a few weeks while we have some work done on Orcinius. It is a beautiful 100 year old home that Jeanette and Alistair have recently restored. Our room is huge with a huge bathroom and French doors that open to our own little porch overlooking the backyard and a park reserve. It is really nice, and Jeanette and Alistair couldn't be more inviting. We are being spoiled!
We also did a walkthrough of Orcinius Monday afternoon to see all of what needs to be done. I will let John elaborate more on that later. For now we are digging through much of our 'boat stuff' - reorganizing it and trying to get rid of the extraneous stuff. Not an easy thing for two people that like to be prepared for everything!
And the best part of the day - dinner with Charisma!!! It was great catching up with Bob and Ann, we missed them a ton! We are also starting to plan for our trip down to the south island. At least come up with a list of top things we would like to see and do. The weather here now is great - we are definitely enjoying the warm sunshine. All for now!
Resuming the Blog
02/09/2013, Vancouver, WA
It¬'s Time to Resume the Blog of ORCINIUS
We have been back in the great Northwest for just over two months but it feels to me like a century and Lisa like yesterday.
The chronology of life away from ORCINIUS this time is like a speeding locomotive. While a year ago when we returned from Costa Rica to the NW the trip and time at home was like the velocity of a bullet. This time it slowed down some but now as we near the end, again it feels to me like we were on a runaway train down a very steep hill. Did we get anything accomplished? Good question, but yes to some extent. Rekindling with family and friends is what it is really all about and unfortunately servicing our government through the IRS is a necessary evil but we got most taken care of.
We are a week away from our departure here and heading back to Whangarei New Zealand. We really did accomplish much back here in the NW but at the same time we discovered some more work that we need to do on ORCINIUS when we get back to NZ. We originally hoped that we could have the boat hauled while we were back home and get it worked on and completed before we returned. I believe I have a good representative there but because some of the things that needed to be taken care of were rally out of his scope I held off having these done until I return, can do a visual, and make a final determination of the service. When we return we have a very nice B&B to stay at on the north end of town down by the river. We plan on two weeks there and then are looking at taking in the sights of the South island for about a month or a little more. On our return we should be close to having ORCINIUS re-launched. Once she is back in the water we will be able to test out some new and/or rebuilt systems, get the new batteries up to float and make a good test sail. After that it still give us some time to spend around the North island hopping around the different anchorages.
So while we were sailing South and West over the last 15 months we missed our family back home and now while we are here at home we miss our family of the sea. We will be in Whangarei on the afternoon of the 18th of February and looking for our friends.
12/04/2012, 35 43.7'S:174 20.0'E, Whangarei NZ
We are still sitting here in the Riverside Drive Marina waiting for the day to head home. Actually we aren't sitting but the boat is. We have too many projects to complete before this Saturday so we can head to Auckland. Have accomplished allot already but still have some things to do.
We pulled all the sails off yesterday after hanging the spinnakers and Screecher out to dry. The main is the real bugger. Thank goodness there was no wind. We managed to drop the whole sail on the deck and then pull the head over the boom until just the lower 10 feet was left on the other side where we could start to fold it. Then we dropped the genoa and folded it. We are replacing the genoa so have been looking for a consignment store to sell it. Not many here in Whangarei and the ones that do consignment don't take used sails.
We decided to have Willis sail repair the main and replace the genoa. Right after we made that decision and contracted with them we went to a meet and greet dinner and won $100 towards sail work at Calibre. Wouldn't you know it. Anyway, we had bought a symmetrical sail back in Portland and had is shipped to the boat when we were in Costa Rica. I blew a D ring for the tack and cut a few small holes in the cloth so will have Calibre repair it. Now I just have to decide who is going to cut down our Screecher so it goes to the fractional point instead of mast high. Could share the wealth and have Calibre do that also.
Have been bouncing back and forth with the engine mechanics on getting it apart so we can determine the extent of the overhaul. So far the cylinders look good, just need honing but without taking the pistons out we don't know their state. Jeff, at the shop has been having trouble sourcing all the parts so I took it upon myself to source them out of Seattle since that is where the generator is manufactured. Will know in a couple of days. While I am on the subject of engines, I crawled into the bilges yesterday and cleaned out all the oil and then scrubbed them down. Port engine was fairly clean but took some brake cleaner and really degreased it. The starboard engine bilge had about a quart of oil in the bottom. It took about 5 oil diapers to soak it all up before I could degrease and clean the bilge. I change the oil and filter in both engines and laid a couple of diapers under the starboard engine so I can determine where the oil is coming from. I suspect it is comi ng from the rear main. If that is the case I will probably nurse it through another season and then pull both engines next year for a really good cleaning and bilge job.
It is raining today so my tasks will be more under cover than outside. Have to paint the hard stands for the dive compressor, water maker and washing machine. Then will get into tearing apart the water maker and servicing it. I am going to add another membrane to it to increase the throughput to somewhere around 20 gallons per hour instead of 13. That will reduce the number of hours we need to put on the generator. Will be able to fill the water tanks in 8 hours instead of 13.
Once I got the generator out I was able to go in and chase down a problem we mentioned way back on the Baja Ha Ha. Walt was at the helm and forgot the autopilot was engaged, Lisa hollered hard to port when she saw fishing line buoys. He put everything he could into the steering wheel when something gave and it wasn't the autopilot. Well I found what gave. I thought at first one of the swages on the steering cable had slid. Over the past several months it has been getting worse and worse. There was about 12 inches of play in the wheel before the boat actually turned. So imagine the layout. At the helm, the steering wheel has a sprocket that a 3 foot chain is on. On each end of the chain is a wire cable. Each cable goes to their respective rudders. To get to the rudders the cables leave the chain and drop down 5 feet to a turning block and then go aft to another turning block then on to the rudders. The two rudders are connected with an aluminum tube to complete the circuit. So, where the two cables make the turn going the stern there is a 1 1/4" thick piece of plywood that was fiberglass tabbed to the hull and flooring. What gave was the tabbing had pulled away and allowed the plywood to bend aft giving the slack in the cable. After I pulled all the blocks out, I realized they were all jammed with crud and would not turn. Cleaned them up and working again. Also in the process I realized that because the blocks were not turning the cable was beginning to fray. Had new ones made yesterday so will install today and adjust the rudders. I had jacked the plywood back into place and inserted a piece of 1 X 4 at the hull to keep it from sliding aft and also ran two lag screws from the flooring through the plywood. The rudders aren't really used for close in steering whereas the engines are so they are mostly for easy turning through a channel or at sea.
There is probably more but as of right now the rest has slipped my mind so all for now.
Will be home in 10 days.
Hey Mr. - you really need that big a motor for your dingy?
11/28/2012, Whangarei, NZ
That's not just any motor in our dingy - that's our generator! It took us all day Tuesday to pull the generator out of the cockpit lazerette, move it 10 feet from one side of our cockpit to the other, and then place it in our dingy waiting 6 feet below the deckline. We moved all 600 pounds of metal with just the two of us - using my brawn and John's brains. (Or was that the other way around?). Actually we both used more brains than brawn. With the help of I-beams, a trolley, winches and halyards, we were able to move the hunk of metal with little strain on our backs. It was actually kind of fun to think through each move to use the least amount of effort, and with an end result of it actually fitting through the back end of the cockpit and into the dingy. The generator is now in the hands of the mechanics who will give us an estimated cost to rebuild it. Then we will decide whether to move forward with the rebuild, or to purchase a new generator.
So that is how we have been spending our first week here in Whangarei. Moving heavy pieces of equipment (dive compressor, watermaker, oven/stove top, washing machine) carefully off the boat so we can either replace or repair them. Once we decide on which sailmaker to use to make some repairs to our main and sew us a new jib (we've gotten quotes from both Doyle and Willis), all the sails will have to come off as well - the last of our heavy moving work. At least until we put everything back on again when we return in Feb.
So that is just part of our list of To Do's that we are working on before we fly out on 12 December. Other big tasks include:
Install Preventer Chain Plates
Seal deck to hull at mid-ship
Repair Motor/Alternator Mounts - (hopefully for the last time!)
Repair Starboard Head Masserator Pump
Reposition Freezer Compressor
Sew New flybridge cover
And lots of cleaning!
We are in Riverside Marina which is about 1/4 of a mile from Town Basin Marina, where most of our friends are. Riverside is a smaller marina which caters more to repairing boats (it has a dockyard, marine store, engine repair facilties, etc.). John's also rented part of a storage container next to the parking lot so we can store all of our extraneous 'boat stuff' to keep it out of the way as we get things done. So we're not quite in the heart of town with all the cafes and such, but the facilities and people here are very nice, and it helps us stay focused on getting all our chores done.
It's rainy and cold outside this morning - so we will be working on our indoor list today. We are counting down the days til we fly back home - can't wait to get back and see everyone! All for now!
11/20/2012, 35 18.7'S:174 07.2'E, Opua NZ
Just one more quick pic for tonight - our arrival to NZ on November 8th!! Gone are the shorts and bare feet! But very happy to have arrived safe and sound!!!