Where are we

Thursday 20 April 2023

Looking forward to being Fiji bound.

On the whole, it’s been a cold wet NZ spring, followed by a cool wet summer and we are just easing into a cold wet winter. We’ve had a lot of wind to contend with as well, not even including Cyclone Gabrielle.  Today, we are anchored near Russell in the Bay of Islands sheltering from a strong Easterly that has been blowing for the past 3 days.

A pic of Tim and I outside the Christ Church, Russell over the Easter weekend. You will think I’m lying about all the rain we’ve been having, but there really has been more wet and windy weather than there has been sunshine and blue skies.

This has nothing do with NZ but everything to do with Easter, and I wanted to show off my sister Laura’s gorgeous homemade Babka - traditional Ukrainian Easter Bread.

I’ve been trying to come to grips with the effects El Niño and La Niña here in NZ and it’s in no way straight forward. I found this an interesting article - El Niño and La Niña.  And this is a RNZ.co.nz news report on what what influences La Niña has had over the last 3 years - Rare Triple-dip La Niña is over.

We have managed to do a little sailing, some boat work and quite a lot of socialising.  Many friends who left their boats back in 2020 to sit out the pandemic at home are back onboard and preparing to head north for Fiji too. 

We did some repairs on our two year old Coppercoat when we came out of the water for a week in Marsden Cove.

I still find it amusing to see Larus rise up out of the water, trundle up the ramp, across the road, around the bend and into the hard standing area.

I like this picture as it is of 3 boats all built during the 70’s. The hull shape with those pointy bows and swept back keels shows the close relationship. Larus is the little bow peeping out from behind the 50+ foot yacht in the foreground.

Home is where you leave your shoes at the door.

Two years ago we tried a new product called PropSpeed and we’re very pleased with it. It’s is a gel like layer applied to propeller, propeller shaft and ‘P’bracket that stoped any little critters trying to get a foothold - so no barnacles and no coral growth. 

The first time we used it we used a professional do all the prep and application, but this time we did it ourselves.  We use a hard rubber grinding disk first to removed all the old product and any barnacles and coral. 

Applying the PropSpeed is a bit of a dance even for two people so there are no photos.  We watched the application video on YouTube several times in preparation. There are strict times between processes and coats and we were unsure if we were up to it. First you chemically etch and degrease the prop. Next you paint on the yellow base coat and lastly the glossy clear topcoat that makes a gel-like coating. We were pleasantly surprised that once dry it looked just as it was supposed to.

No matter how careful you prepare the hull any dips and bumps can lead to a bit of the copper popping off. We were lucky to have some days of fine weather to sort it out.

Our rudder is another of our problem areas for keeping critters from growing. It’s always full of water, is a little leaky and the Coppercoat just will not stick properly. 

A closeup of the rudder before patching. I think there is something quite beautiful about the colour of fresh copper with the older green copper and the glossy kinda creepy reaction from a tiny dribble of seawater. Colour and texture-wise, it reminds me of the glaze on a piece of Mom’s Raku pottery.

As does this - a copper mine on Kawau Island that we visited with Bruno’s Girl during a spell of fine weather after Cyclone Gabrielle’s visit.

A coppery cave.

It really was a glorious day.  The chimney from the mine looks very fine against the sky and we look very small standing at its base.

We’ve made a couple purchases of note in the 6 months since we arrived.

We now have a new dinghy. Though our previous dinghy was only about 5 years old, its seams were glued and in Fiji we had a lot of trouble with slow leaks caused but the glue failing and seams opening up. 

Welded seams are the solution to this and we were quite impressed by an NZ designed catamaran type dinghy designed by True kit.nz. It is very popular here. We kept seeing them around and got to talk to a lot of owners.  All who rave about it. It is taking a little getting used to. It feels and handles a little differently to a regular dinghy, but it is lighter, gets on the plane quicker and has firmest, most non-slip floor we have ever run across.

We did have a scare yesterday when it seemed to have developed a slow leak.  Tim is very experienced at finding and patching slow leaks, but that was not the point.  It was our new dinghy!!!!! Waaaahh!!!!!

Once it was back onboard and Tim had a good look, he was much relieved to find very pleased that one of the air valves was a little loose.  All he had to do was get the valve spanner from in the handy dandy Truekit repair kit and tighten it up. 

Rather topically, we are the curious owners of one of these….

…. a Starlink Satellite Internet receiver. 

Amongst the cruising community there is a huge amount of interest. Being able to get high speed internet hundreds of miles from land is pretty exciting. The monthly charges are pretty steep, though you can stop and start at anytime, but the receiver itself was ridiculously inexpensive - $199 NZ - and that made it completely irresistible to almost everyone we know.

It worked in Whangarei Harbour and it is working out here at anchor. This bodes well, but we will continue using our Iridium Satellite phone on long passages as well.

Topically, just before heading up here to the Bay of Islands we anchored in Urquhart’s Bay for an early start north. We had dinner on Bruno’s Girl with Philip and Claudia. During dinner someone mentioned seeing satellites in the sky at night.  I said I’d never seen one, so Philip took me out on deck and after just a minute or so I could see a tiny light moving slowly past the stars and planets. Very pleased we went back below. Philip also mentioned a trail of lights across the sky that they had seen and on investigation discovered that it was a group of Starlink satellites being launched.  Very interesting ,but then dinner was served and I forgot all about it.

As we were getting ready to head back to Larus, I was the first on deck. I looked up and saw this.

This is not our photo but this is what I saw, a line of bright dots of light moving up into the sky. Honestly, I blinked, looked away, looked back and it was still there. The rest came up on deck and it was exactly what Philip had been talking about just minutes before.  We watched them move across the sky, so far away that they were being lit by the sun that had set for us hours ago.

Back on Larus, I did a search and found this - SpaceX launches 56 Starlink Satellites. As excited as I am dismayed at the liberties being taken with the skies above us. It’s hard to sort out the good from the bad when it comes to progress.

Last but not least, I was able to get the new omicron specific booster on the first of April. The post-jab waiting area has an art gallery.

  I particularly taken with Jasper’s artwork. 

: D

That’s all for now but we will post again as things start happening. 

Nancy and Tim