Ishka Logs

07 August 2010
10 May 2010
22 April 2010
15 February 2010
01 January 2010
23 November 2009
18 November 2009
29 October 2009
16 October 2009
11 October 2009
28 September 2009
26 September 2009
15 September 2009
11 September 2009
04 September 2009
31 August 2009
27 August 2009

Sailing again!

07 August 2010
ishka
OK, house is at lock up so we're getting Ishka ready for the trip back to the sun! It hasn't been that bad spending Winter here but a bit of a shock to the senses after the last 2 years in the Tropics! At one cold stage we were wondering why it was so hard to start the generator, then we found out how the 'glow plug' works on the Kobota!! Hot showers again!!
Next time we talk, the bikini will be back on and the sheepskin rugs removed from the saloon, see you in New Cal!

House

10 May 2010
ishka
11th May 2010 House

Here we are sitting on Ishka sheltering from the rain, which has been coming down heavily all day, so couldn't go to the building site, but it should clear in a few days which would be good as there is still so much to do there! Haven't been doing much sailing, with all the building work, there has been no time, although Ian did tow a broken down fishing boat back to shore one evening, so we were gifted with a glorious snapper for dinner. The Russell Boat Club remains our local a couple of nights a week, so that gives us a chance to catch up on Russell gossip, which isn't much. Lately we've said goodbyes to some of our cruising mates who have spent the season here in Nz, the thought of heading North with them has certainly crossed our minds often, but our time will come again. On that note Ida has to go and make lunch for tomorrow....more corned beef sangas, argh!!!!

It's just work, work, work, so here's the photographic evidence of where we are at currently with the house.

The Russell Plan So far

22 April 2010
ida
22nd April 2010. The Plan So Far!

Where are we at? Let us relieve the 'sitting on the edge of your seats' feeling for a bit.
After Blenheim, we did more of this, that and had more of those meetings regarding council, architect, engineers, and whoever else wants [or needed to be!] added to the list, so by early March when the plans were finally submitted and a few dollars down in the kitty, we thought its all a piss in a pan from here! We have 'Mr Wayne Henderson' building extraordinaire working with us and you know what he is the most laid back guy and a pleasure to work with. If there's no grin...you're not allowed in! Happiness on a site is worth big money......making sure you enjoy the job!
Now let us fill you in on our Plannnnnnnnn!
We've had Building Consent, a delayed Resource Consent, a couple of inspections, and thankfully now all is positive. Next few weeks there's a heap of strenuous work to do for the next lot of inspections, so blog updates could be as slow as before! But in saying that there have been plenty of good Ishka days prior.....as below
After a beautiful impromptu visit from James [Ida's Bro] mid March after checking on his wiener marts, great Swedish stories and excellent Tullamore ballads from Britta & Bertal [Blues], then Debbie, Alanah & Kiera came for Easter and boy was this a good break from all the stress of waiting for planning permission. We took Ishka out around the islands for a couple of days, with a pod of about 30-40 dolphins following us at one time. The girls were awe struck as they sat up on the bow tramps and were endlessly splashed by the playful dolphins, now that will give them plenty to tell their mates about when they go back to school. Had an Easter egg hunt at Long Beach with Ian finding all the eggs he hid to Alanah and Kiera's disgust!! Met a few cruising buddies at the Duke of Marlborough on Easter Sunday and this turned into quite a party with us all going back to Russell Boating Club for much needed food. Then Will and Margaret from 'Atlantia' kindly towed us back to Ishka as the dinghy wouldn't start, so to thank them we had a few more glasses of red on board but Debbie disappeared to bed long before the guitar playing started, she just needs more experience on yachtie sundowner sessions!!

Blenheim, Sth Island

15 February 2010
ishka
Mon. 15th Feb. Blenheim, Sth Island

Things take a while to get processed here, even though we've been taking things slowly and cruising for a couple of years, we still seem to move at light speed compared to the rest of the New Zealanders we've had to deal with so instead of banging our heads against a brick wall we happily bide our time and wait for the plans to be submitted! We've joined Russell Boat Club which is serious time warp material, this is a very good thing by the way and means the laid back, friendly bunch of people that hang out there have their priorities in order. Ishka is anchored in Matauwhi Bay on the look-out for a substantial mooring we can rent, though its easy to move from bay to bay here, seeking the best shelter available as the wind shifts, we want to be close to the dinghy dock while we're building, just for the convenience and piece of mind.
David and Jeanette drove our car up to Russell in torrential rain, so much for a scenic drive. So unfortunately there wasn't much site seeing going on for them, but the good old Duke of Marlborough's fish and chips with wine provided the ideal way to spend the afternoon, only to be finished with another downpour, escape back into the dinghy and returning to Ishka for Ian's eye fillet wonder avec jus] followed by a Tullamore Dew aperitif! Beautiful evening, full of laughs, stories and someone falling out of bed in the middle of the night! Thank you Mum and Dad for a wonderful visit, though too short, next time we promise to will the weather to be a bit more enticing and put a mattress on the floor to fall onto!
Next day our two great 'Tall Lady' friends, Jilly and Hils, arrive for a few days relax, SB's and crosswords, so Ishka is all in hospitality mode, making sure everyone is happy, sailing is enjoyable around these beautiful Islands and no one has an empty glass. It happens to be the Waitangai Day celebrations as we sail back into Matauwhi Bay, so the waters surrounding Waitangi are filled with Maori flags and a fantastic fleet of traditional double rigged yachts and waka taua [including the 35 mtr ' Ngatokimatawhaorua' which we had seen in Nov] , chanting and muscling their paddles throughout the morning. Superb sight and glad we were here to experience it. After another Duke of M send off, J & H leave so we spend the net few days trying to get these plans in quicker to the council as we're running out of time and temperatures!
Back in October we'd planned to meet our good mates from White Hawk in Blenheim for the Marlborough Wine Festival, as they'd experienced it before and told us what we were missing out on. So last Thursday we flew down there for the experience. Fabulous. There were superb wine selections, not just sauv blancs. but excellent red varieties, and perfect weather although the best part of the weekend for Ida would have to have been the Gin Wigmore performance at the end......"Oh My God!" Shake that booty!!
Thanks Lynn & Paul for another fantastic weekend, we look forward to Coffs for our next rendez vous.

January. Russell, Bay of Islands

02 February 2010
ishka
Sunday 31st Jan. 2010 Russell, Bay of Islands, NZ

New Years Day was too windy to spray so it was postponed until the day after, and we were lucky to get Ishka painted, as the winds strengthened big time by the afternoon, thus making it impossible to have held the tarps down on neighbouring boats [protecting them from over spray], never mind aiming the paint onto Ishka's topsides! But we got her glossed up by 2pm so it was just a matter of pulling off the masking tape and mentally telling the rain clouds to bugger off until the following day. They did, thankfully! Over the next week, Ian also decided to get some boat builders to put some extra layers of epoxy fibre-glass on the bottom of her keels to cover up any scratches and dings that she's managed to collect in her busy life....kinda like a new pair of jandels. New helm seats have also been welded in place, rudder bearings changed, drive shafts serviced, blah, blah and new NZ woolen carpet installed, just so our feet find the winter months up in Russell more bearable! So Ishka is a younger-looking 'cougar' and we were proud to re-launch her on 22nd Jan. Hoping to take her into the Viaduct for a few days to catch up with some mates and experience downtown Auckland, we were disappointed to find out they only had a berth costing $125 per night! And that's not including room service! The manager, Scott, at 'The Landing' Boatyard [who does a great job there with his team] rang around all the other Auckland area marinas trying to use his charm to get us a more realistic priced berth, but unfortunately they were full or couldn't fit Ishka's 7.47metre beam. So once again the Heavy Haulage Tow trunk lowered Ishka into Okahu Bay, and we were asking "where the hell are we going to anchor for the night in our flash, new-looking home"? It was near sundown, the wind was about 25kts onshore, so we just headed out to Orakai Basin and dropped the pick. "Oh no, you can't do that, move please." Said the Harbour Master, so we move and pay for a mooring in front of Royal Akarana Yacht Club. This will be fine until the wind subsides in few days we think. Mr Pain in Arse Harbour Master pulls along side us telling us we're too big for that mooring. We ask him where else we can go to a quick response of "that's your problem'! Finally we agree to give our mobile phone number so that if anyone complains or they need to contact us in the next couple of days they can, and in the meantime we can shelter from the ....... .
After 4 days we hadn't had a phone call thankfully but we were ready to move on anyhow, so with fuel, grocery and gas runs complete, Ian sailed around to Maraetai to pick Ida up, after she dropped the car at James' house. [Her parents are driving it up for us next week.]
It's exciting to be going up to get the house projects moving along, but also a bit sad to be leaving the warm, friendly surrounds of Clevedon. Debbie thank-you so much for letting us stay in your lovely home longer than expected, and it was such a treat to have all the holiday time with Alanah and Kiera, their auntie and uncle will be popping down from Russell often, just to chew some fat, practice the cryptic crosswords and make sure the wine cabinet stays empty. And James thanks for the unit use and container storage, we promise we'll get it unloaded as soon as we build a house to put the stuff in.
So its now Sunday 31st Jan, and we have just sailed back up to Russell, breaking the passage with a couple of days at Great Barrier Island. Hopefully we'll get back down there over the next few months, as theres so much more to see on that awesome Island. And it will be worth seeing Ian go even bluer when he jumps in at the waterfall again, he couldn't dress quick enough never mind trying to stop his teeth chattering....and it's still summer!
But for now, let's hope our house plans are approved quickly, and let the building begin.


December in Auckland

01 January 2010
ishka
December 2009, Auckland

Well, being shore bound has made us a bit lazy regarding blog writing. The trip down was relaxing with light winds, blue skies and plenty of quiet little anchorages to spend the nights in. An interesting benefit of being back in civilization was when we caught a big fish and didn't know which species it was so we were able to Google up it's identity before we dispatched it. The 20+kg fish turned out to be a Yellow Tail King fish and was very tasty.

On Dec 1st, Ishka was hauled out at Okahu Bay and the steep ramp meant we had to get a heavy haulage tow truck to finish pulling us up on our trailer, which was nerve wracking to say the least but now she sits on the hard, all safe and work is progressing. Next we bought a car so we can fight our way through Auckland's traffic chaos twice a day traveling from Clevedon to the boat yard and back every day. This is where James and Debbie [Ida's brother and sister] live and we have been sharing our time between their 2 houses, really enjoying the company and the country life that they lead. Christmas came and went as each day we just find another job on Ishka that needs doing. And it is nice to have Ida's parents and her other sister Hazel here too, just to make the family holiday celebrations a bit more like an excuse to have a day off working and away from the boatyard....eh Ida? What with niece's sports days, shopping days out in Botany and the Ellerslie Boxing Day Horse Races, so as Ida spends her minimal winnings on wine and shoes, Ian and Rosco get the priming coat on Ishka, ready for the re-spray on New Years Day. Thanks Boys. It sort of feels like we are back at work and living normal lives again but it wont be for too long, mid January should see us back in the water and sailing Nth to the Bay of Islands. Our house plans are progressing as well as can be expected too and we hope to start our build by Feb. Wish us luck!
Vessel Name: ishka
Vessel Make/Model: kennex 44.5
Hailing Port: geelong, australia
Crew: ian & ida birch
About:
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Who: ian & ida birch
Port: geelong, australia