Just Boat Work- Thankfully
22 April 2013 | Norsand Boatyard, Whangarei
We usually tune the news out. We don't want the gory details of someone else's pain and listening to everyone's position on politics, religion, weapons & war is depressing. But, the events in Boston turned our heads and really affected us. We've been absorbed with our boat projects but distracted by all that has been happening. It's because we lived in Boston for over 10 years, have many friends there, MGH was a great place to work and I almost always went down to watch the marathon so it all really hit home. I'm glad I wasn't there this year. We're relieved that the killers aren't still running loose, but that doesn't help all of the people who have sustained life changing injuries or death for nothing. I can't imagine being the nurse who has to take care of someone who's been so cruel to others. The whole thing is sick. We feel sad about what everyone has had to endure and we're glad to be here away from it all. Our biggest worries seem inconsequential in comparison.
I think New Zealand's drought is definitely over since rainy days have been getting in the way of our progress. This afternoon was a complete washout. Noel, the carpenter who made our new bowsprit, completed it today and it's ready for varnishing. It is made out of a wood called Quila, which comes from Papua New Guinea. New Zealand imports a great deal of it to use as a teak replacement and we certainly have a big chunk of it! Noel is a carpenter at Norsand and has an interesting history that includes 2 homebuilt boats and two circumnavigations. He made our bowsprit using very traditional tools that have either been handed down to him or been collected during his travels. He said he found a lot of old, well built tools on the East coast of the USA while cruising there. He used an adze to carve out the octagonal form of the bowsprit and various block planes, a spokeshave and chisels, to form the taper. And the finished piece looks like the original so we will be back in business stronger than ever. Well this after numerous coats of varnish. We considered painting it but nothing really seems significantly easier or long lasting so I think it'll just be varnish again. Jon said we signed up for a lot of varnishing when we bought this boat and we're not going to get out of it. Inside & out, we've got a lot of furniture to take care of. A week ago, I tripped in the cockpit and sprained my hand, which is great timing since everything that needs doing needs hands! It is slowly healing, I think, but it's making things harder.
We've painstakenly repaired many blisters on the hull. Once we got all the bottom paint off, we could see little round circles of blistered fiberglass that needed to be ground out. So Jon does that part, I sand them, cut our little circles of fiberglass, Jon mixes batch after batch of resin and we go around the hull together with me putting the patch on the dug out blister and Jon wetting it down with resin. Once dry, Jon sands them smooth. We do this fully garbed up in white suits, masks, eye protection. We spend so much time wearing this stuff that we have cuts on our noses from the masks. It really is pathetic! Anyway, I won't bore you with further details of our boat projects but if you wonder what we've been doing.... well that is it!
We really enjoyed Bob & Ann's wedding. It was held outside on the lawn of a quiet B&B here in Whangarei called the Riddlesden. It was a beautiful afternoon and they had a really touching ceremony, followed by a nice reception on the balcony. Practically everyone there were sailors so it was great to catch up with people and find out how they'd spent their time in NZ. We got such a chuckle out of the couple who owned the B&B because they were so enthusiastic about the house and all they'd done to it (they gave Jon & I a nice little tour), they talked about their other dream of just traveling around Scotland staying at historic B&B's and visiting old pubs (they showed us a coffee table book featuring old historic pubs) and toward the end of the evening when several of us stragglers were still hanging out with the bride & groom, they came out with pitchers of homemade beer for us to try!
We had dinner one night on Slip Away since they're getting ready to head to Fii soon before their visa expires. We hope to catch up with them there. They spent a few months here at Norsand doing a pretty major refit so I guess I can stay here for 3 weeks or more. I think today we're going to try to slide the launch date out a week to give us more time to finish stuff. That'll be a month total and then we really need to get out of here.
Whangarei has the most lively & beautiful produce market I've ever seen and they hold it each Saturday morning all year long. NZ enjoys a year round growing season so there is always stuff to harvest. Ali & I have been hurriedly going each week before launching into the day's boat projects. Avocados are still cheap & delicious so we're eating those like crazy (this is like a dream come true!) and we're also getting fresh limes, all kinds of dark greens, baby bok choy, herbs, fresh mesclun, chestnuts, homemade lemon curd & jams, fresh meat, radishes, new crop apples, celery, tomatoes, fresh flowers, etc. We're eating pretty well. Not good practice for island cruising but we'll enjoy it while we can.
Well, we're going to a cruiser's potluck tonight on a friend's catamaran- a great social platform, but just like us, they're hauled out doing boat work too so we'll be up in the air the same as here! I've been ordered to make a cake so the pressure is on to produce one that actually rises, cooks in the middle and comes out of the pan- all things that I can't predictably accomplish. But, somehow it always disappears no matter how funny looking it is. I promise to get some pictures. I'm sure it's more interesting to look at them than just read this. Will add that to the to-do list.