Goodbye New Zealand
16 May 2017 | Opua
Jane/Warm and Sunny
Living on a boat, like everything, has its ups and downs. However the last couple of months have felt like a roller coaster, with its highs and lows seriously testing us. Learning to always be patient and flexible we try to make sure we live life with a smile, however it is not always easy.
Getting back to Ta-b after our walkabout we were thrilled to be home. Bluefix who had been working on her in our absence did a fabulous job, however NSR ordered the wrong part from France in December, and because of this no work was done in our absence. On our return we were told the part was on its way, then it was delayed, then that it would definitely arrive - soon. To cut a long story short the part arrived five months after it was ordered, not one. Then when it eventually arrived it was still not as requested so another few weeks went past while it was adjusted to work. Sadly NSR are not a company we would recommend to anyone, too many errors were made and management was not there for us. Thankfully we had Dean of Total Engineering and Rob of Marine Electrics help us out. Their work was excellent.
Then we had had Easy mechanics work on our engines while we were away. When we went back into the water, our port engine went forwards when put into reverse. A test to my helmenship for sure. We had to be lifted not once, but twice more before the engine was fixed, yes amazing, and another few weeks of delay. JJ and Sherie at Total Haulage were wonderful at lifting Ta-b not once, but three times and said we were the best clients they had ever had. Not sure why.
Even though at one stage we felt glued to the dock, it was not so bad. The local chandlers "Caters" are the best we have ever experienced, so friendly and helpful, getting us parts within a day so we were able to cross jobs off our "to do" list. Roger at North Sails did a superb job making us a new sail cover and servicing our sails. He became a good friend and also kindly helped me with other sewing jobs. Charlotte and Brad and their wonderful team at Bluefix soon became friends who were always there for us when needed. Bill at the Marine Shop was always helpful and manages the Opua daily net and Paul known as Budda the rigger was also one of the "good" guys. Lastly the Opua Sailing Club, a terrific place to de-stress at the end of the day, with wonderful roast lamb every Sunday. However, living on a building site was not such fun. The marina is doubling in size and the dredging, dirt, noise, huge puddles to wade through, content cleaning needed on the boat was very hard. We were surprised we did not get a credit at the end of our stay, so could not recommend staying there.
Russell's sister Yoga and husband Boop (a nickname Edwin gave him at age 14 months) came over from Australia to see us in March for a couple of weeks. We were able to get off the dock, even with our dodgy engine, and thoroughly enjoyed sharing the delights of Northland and the Bay of Islands with them. Always special having family on board.
Sadly our friends Grant and Mary were unable visit us over Easter as meeting them in Auckland became impossible, all because NSR had still not completed their work. Sailing agendas we have found are often difficult, but we have always managed before, so we were gutted not to spend time with them sailing. The upside was that our friend Jonas (my birthday twin) was celebrating his 50th birthday in Opua so we were able to party with him. We had a wonderful evening with good friends coming from Auckland and Whangarei to join us.
Luckily we still have our car, which we bought off Edwin, so enabling us to spend time ashore exploring. Northland is a delightful area of New Zealand and we plan to come back here in November, although we think we will base ourselves in Whangarei as it might be an easier place to sell Ta-b. We will also keep the car at our friends until our return.
As to leaving, well we have had three cyclone's form in the South Pacific in the last couple of months. The official cyclone season finished 30 April, but we have had "Donna" and "Ella" since then to delay everyone's departure.. There is a rally here in Opua with 35 boats who were supposed to leave 6 May, most of the participants have not been offshore and are getting very ansy about the delay. For us it is part of the norm and we are always happy to sit patiently until a decent weather window shows itself. We leave for Fiji tomorrow, 18 May and the Rally either Friday or Saturday for Tonga.
Since getting back in March the weather has slowly cooled especially at night. However, apart from the end of three cyclones caming through with massive amounts of rain we have had warm sunny days. We have been fortunate with a gorgeous Indian Summer, we would be experiencing November conditions in Vancouver if we were there, so no complaints although we are certainly looking forward to warmer climes. To experience the trees starting to turn red, orange and brown is a treat we have not seen for many years.
We will be updating our blog map site and YIT website on a regular basis so that everyone knows where we are. We always love to see friends and family, so if you see that we are nearby or if you are coming our way, please let us know. Otherwise we hope to hear from you all over the next few months.
Much love to all our friends and family. We feel blessed to have you all in our lives.