Wellington to the Sounds – Finally!

After three weeks of perfect weather, Murphy would turn up again and threaten to rev the wind engines up for our trip across the Cook Strait.

It’s one of those passages we had been looking forward to, being able to say “we’ve crossed Cook Strait in our own boat”.  Captain B had ensured that we had very calm conditions and wind against tide etc.  Nonetheless, I was still a little apprehensive after everyone pointing out how rough it can get around the “Karori Rip” and what the tide could be like entering the Tory channel.

I knew the waves would get worse so decided to cook some breakfast before this happened.  Scrambled eggs and fresh tomatoes.  Simple but healthy and tasty.  Certainly, enough to get us to the Sounds.

Leaving Wellington there was a ship waiting to approach the Harbour.  The Pilot boat screamed past us heading out to meet them.

Even after three weeks of amazing weather and therefore, relatively small swells, it was still an interesting ride. Waves crashed against the boat as we headed directly into them.

It was never uncomfortable.

Captain B’s plan was to hit the Tory Channel a little before the top of the tide, which happened to be around 12:15pm.  We didn’t leave until around 8am but whether it was because of our new shafts and repaired props or that the tide was also going our way, we went 1-2 knots faster than expected, which would have us arrive in front of the Tory Channel an hour early.  For the last hour or so, Captain B slowed the boat down to 6 knots. I’m thinking “Really? We’re going to slow the whole thing down? Wow!”.

Half an hour before high tide we decided it would ok to enter.  Following the white pegs they have on the hillside to navigate your way into the channel, we entered the grandeur of the sounds, with the bow pointing a good 10 degrees port of our actual direction of travel.  The strength of the tide was visible on the surface of the water.

Entering the Sounds 2

I remember doing this trip many times from the ferry but never in our boat. It was gorgeous.

Having had a fantastic trip over and feeling pretty good about it all, we anchored in Ngaruru Bay.  It was a gorgeous little bay still in the Tory Channel.  It had become extremely windy out the bay.

First Anchorage

It is more common practice in the Sounds to use moorings rather than anchoring.  We joined the Waikawa Boating Club, who also have partnerships with the Pelorous Boating Club and the Mana Cruising Club.  Together they have about 100 moorings that, as a club member, you can use.  These are throughout the  Pelorus, Kenepuru and Queen Charlotte Sounds, Tory Channel, D’Urville Island and the east side of Porirua Harbour.

There are certain protocols in terms of putting fenders on the side of your boat ready for others to come and ‘raft up’ next to you.  Some know that I couldn’t think of anything worse!  Luckily the moorings can take up to about 4 to 5 boats but the total tonnage cannot exceed 35 tons.  Which happens to be what we weigh so there will be no ‘rafting up’ to Resolution on this trip!

We took the opportunity to use the mooring that was available.  It is less hassle than anchoring and it was fun to try something new.

I couldn’t wait to celebrate our arrival to the South Island but knew we needed to do our 30-Day Challenge exercises before any alcohol was consumed.  We had started these while we were ‘stuck’ in Wellington.  B had downloaded three different 30-Day Challenge apps.  One was for Squats, another for Push Ups and one for Abs that consisted of Sit-ups, Crunchies, Leg Raises and a Plank.  Each day the number of exercises increases.

I asked B to look up what we were up for…. 40 squats…. no push ups.… no ab work…. no plank.  They were all rest days!  Yee haa!  Elated, I did my 40 squats in the galley as I cooked Crab Cakes.  They ended up being deconstructed crab cakes, which we ate in some lettuce leaves.  And now that the exercises were done for the day, our lunch was accompanied with a Wooing Tree Rose.

 

A gorgeous Bay – we listened to music, read books and talked shit.  My perfect day.

We also got to see just how many ferry sailings there are in a day as we watched the Interislander and Bluebridge ferries go up and down the Tory Channel.

For dinner, I cooked the favourite from our first leg with Tanya and Alison.  Using some salmon bought from Wellington New World the night before we left, it was Chelsea Winter’s Sticky Hoison Salmon.

Next morning I got a txt from Carolyne who was with Spence in Nelson/Blenheim for the weekend.  They wanted to know if it was possible to visit.  Very excited to have spontaneous visitors, we headed into Waikawa Bay to meet them.

Waikawa

Captain B arranged a berth on the 35m long visitor’s dock at the marina and within a couple of hours we were tied up and drinking champagne and snacking on goat and sheep cheeses at the back of the boat.  Given the high winds and cold waters (i.e.: not really that inviting for swimming) we decided to stay put at the marina and have lunch there.  We had got into the water the day before and were not in for long!  I think my total swim was about 30 seconds long.  B stayed in and went around the boat cleaning it with a brush.  God knows how he could stay in for that long.  We checked the temperature once we were back on board and it was a chilly 14.5 degrees!  I know in my Tri/Ironman events, if the temperature was below 14 degrees it was mandatory to wear a neoprene hood!

While I was cooking, and the others were sitting on the back of the boat, a launch came into the marina, not at full speed but way too fast.  The driver did a hard turn to spin his boat around and then full forced the motors towards the empty berth opposite us.  My god, I was sure as he did his initial spin, he was going to take us out in the process.  After a few heart thumps and a very wide-eyed stare, he managed to maneuver it into the hole, bouncing off the poles a few times on the way in.

Once tied up he turned around and apologised to us – it was his first time berthing the boat!  I did feel for him as it was unlikely that a boat our size would normally be on the pontoon opposite making it way more tricky and scary for him.  I told him in the nicest possible way that he scared the shit out of me!  But I was glad he berthed the boat ok and didn’t hit us or anything else other than the poles around him.  B reassured him, suggesting 3 knots and idle revs only, noting that the wind and our unexpected presence opposite would have made it difficult for anyone.  B suggested that he only needed to do it 20 more times before he’d be used to it.  I’m not exaggerating; the poor fella was literally still shaking.

I’ve started cooking chicken dishes but with fish instead of chicken. It is referred to as the chicken of the sea so why not? Risky but worth giving a go.  Today’s choice was Donna Hay’s Baked ‘chicken of the sea’ with lemon zest, feta and oregano.  We used the Blue Cod we had caught in Ngawi that Max had kindly fileted for us.  This was served with a simple salad for a late lunch. I think the flavours worked well without taking anything away from the beautiful fish.

It was a lovely visit and we even got taken for a little spin in their new little classic Citroen – fun times!  Thanks so much for visiting guys!

Captain B did a fantastic backing maneuver to take us all the way out of the tight marina against the wind.  From there we went and anchored in a great little NW / SW friendly side cove in Torea Bay.  Lovely!  Thanks Burt for the suggestion!

My blog is still a little behind reality but you can use this link to see where we actually are:  Click here to see our track on the map.

Can’t beat Wellington on a good day!

So having no boat is one thing… waiting for it to be fixed is another. Especially when parts need to be engineered, couriered between two cities, couriers not turning up when planned, props and shafts split up between Auckland and Wellington etc etc.  We decided to be incredibly grateful for a few things – no-one was hurt, the damage to the boat could have been a lot worse, we could have been somewhere where they didn’t have the ability to haul the boat out and fix it and…. Wellington is not a bad place to be ‘stuck’. So it was a matter of sucking it up and making the most of our time on land.

Our first outing the week before was to meet Tracy at Hangar.  Tracy Morris is a very dear friend and used to work with B and I many years ago.  And we used to cycle together when she lived in Auckland.  Hangar is a very cool and funky place to meet, eat and hang out. Their coffee is out of this world – and that’s coming from a decaf drinker!  Each cup comes with a card explaining where it is from, the blend and what it tastes like.  I haven’t even seen this much detail when buying wine.  As always, Tracy, B and I had a wonderful catchup.  Doesn’t matter how much time we are away from each other, you just start off where you left off and in no time at all, you are all caught up. Before the end of the night we had arranged a dinner for the following week at the Hillside Eatery.

That night we couldn’t resist going back to Charley Nobles for dinner. The delicious Te Makatu Oysters were calling my name. Half in tempura batter and half au natural with some chardonnay vinegar and shallot.  I also tried their Chicken Pot pie – a small array of heaven in a bowl of pastry.  Seriously good food at this place.

Chicken Pot Pie

Our friend’s, Kirsten and Pete, arranged for their son Jacob (Rosebud) to lend us his car.  What a godsend!  We met up with Jacob to see where it was parked and pick up the keys.  A nice coffee and B grilling Jacob on his girlfriend (sorry Rosebud), we now had our own wheels. Bug was now part of the whanau.

Bug

The boat was on the ‘hard’ for what we thought was one more week so I’ll focus on our land based cruising, which will read more like a Wellington restaurant review. We are good eaters after all.  Most of the restaurants are either old haunts or new, trendy places that Tracy has told me about.

Firstly accommodation, Wellington is a very busy place.  I remember years ago when I was stuck in Wellington for an extra night due to fog closing the airport and there was absolutely not a spare bed in town due to a flower show!  Really?  Anyhu, busy place and/or they need more beds.  Understandably we were looking last minute, but the options were few and far between.  Even AirBnB were short on places to stay.  Those that we did find and like, were out of town and we knew we’d be wanting the comforts of the city.  We decided to treat ourselves and stay in the Sofitel for a night, which is one of Wellington’s newest hotels.  A nice night and excellent service.  Bug was excited about some valet parking but there were spare car parks right outside the door.

Our favourite place of all times is the Museum Hotel, which is now part of the QT chain.  They have apartments including a kitchenette and laundry facilities.  We booked ourselves in for the rest of the week.

The good thing about Bug was that she was parked about 2km away from where we were staying so the walk to and from was good exercise.  Some days in the very uncharacteristic 28 degree heat!

Wednesday morning and we headed to another Tracy recommendation, Prefab.  What a cool place.  Very hip and really busy.  Often have to wait for a table and the queue can be out the door.  We got seated at a sharing table which we love and reminded me of old times at Bambina.  Food was excellent and I would highly recommend this place for a weekend breakfast or lunch.

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Resigned to the fact that we’d be on land for at least another week, we ventured back out to Seaview to see how the boat was coming along and to pick up some more clothes.  Needless to say there wasn’t much going on at all as Strait Marine were still waiting for the parts to arrive back in Wellington.

After parking the car back in town and heading down Tory St, we stumbled across a Bunnings!  Outside were two lovely young salespeople working for the Fred Hollows Foundation.  After a lengthy chat about what the society does and details of how they are helping so many people, I signed up to pay a monthly contribution.  I think they were a little overwhelmed with all the questions but they loved the experience.  I’d lost B into Bunnings, but was happy to stay chatting with these guys.  They said I was the most positive person they had spoken to in the job.  I asked if people are rude to them.  They said short of being told to ‘F off’, a lot of people are just awful.  I hate hearing this about humanity.  One of them was a student and the other a backpacker and new to NZ – felt bad that at such a young age they see such a bad side of society.  But… they are out earning money… and for a good cause.  Good on you guys.

‪Wednesday night was booked at the Hillside Eatery on Tinakori Rd.  We were meeting up with Tracy again.  The Eatery does a degustation menu with matching wines, if you so choose.  Tracy behaved on the wine front as she had an early morning flight to Auckland, while B and I were our self-indulgent selves!  The value for money wasn’t quite there and the meals a little short of expectations.  They were creative and funky but not spectacular. Tracy had dined there last time after an electric bike tour and thinks she was may have been on a post-ride high!  She also had ordered off the normal menu.

Given the amount of eating we are doing, we decided to try only having 2 meals a day instead of 3.  This usually meant brunch and dinner.  Today’s choice was a late brunch at Pōneke.  It’s situated at the end of the Chaffers Marina and well worth a visit.  From a special hash eggs benedict (the Pōneke Special) to a spicy breakfast mince on toast with the optional poached egg.  My favourite is the Salmon with a Fried Egg.

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Our very good friend Dougal has a very good friend Burt who has sailed in the Marlborough Sounds for years.  He had offered to take us through his charts for some local knowledge before heading out for a meal.  We met him at his apartment which I must point out was the coolest place ever!  In the old Hannah’s building, it was a warehouse style 2 storey apartment with a deck on the roof.  I felt like I had been transported into New York City.  So after pouring over a number of nautical charts and talking about bays, anchorages, tidal flows and passages, we had a lovely drink up on the roof.  Burt lives a street over from the Egmont Street Eatery where I had dined before (your guessed it, with Tracy).  The food is ‘out of this world’ yum and very different in term of the ingredients used and the concoctions they put together.  Sorry I don’t have any photos of the food – was worried Burt might think I’m a little strange!  A wonderful night. Thank you Burt so much for your local knowledge! Invaluable!

After a huge meal at Egmont St the night before it was time for a huge walk.  We headed out around the gorgeous waterfront of Wellington and after about 2km we came to the entrance of the Southern walk up to Mount Victoria.  What a stunning day!  They do say ‘you can’t beat Wellington on a good day’.

There and back is not our style, we prefer loops! So we came down the other side of Mt Vic into Marjoribanks St. B realised that the first ever house he had bought in NZ was in the next side street.  Forgetting that we had just done a huge walk and our legs were way too tired to do any more, we scaled the hill of Port Road to see his pride of joy as a 27 year old.  Not bad digs Mr B!

B's first house 2

Late brunch at Field and Green on the way back to the apartment.  This place is a treasure.  Slightly off-beat in the sense that the menu items read somewhat different to what we are used to. It’s advertised as “European Soul Food”.  The main item on the menu that got me every time was a Fish Finger sandwich!  Wow, I remember eating those years ago.  Welsh Rarebit, Marinated sardines and Kedgeree were all on offer.  Apparently the owner used to work in the kitchen of a restaurant off-shore and was hidden from view so they never got to see the guests or how their food was being appreciated.  She was determined to make this restaurant more open and inclusive.  The kitchen was an open, with a bar style place at the back of the restaurant where you could see everything that was going on.

A very chilled day and not having had any food from our meal at Field and Green earlier, it was now around 5pm and we were hungry!  I was calling for some more Te Makatu oysters and we knew exactly where to get them.  Ortega here we come.  But no, they don’t open until 6pm so we went to the bar next door called Slim Davey’s.  Fantastic bar but unfortunately they were needing to close down in the new year. So sad for all involved but all we could do in the short term was to support them as much as possible today. No time like the present.  We ordered a lovely bottle of rose and summoned up some oysters.  They’re not usually on offer at Slim’s but the kind staff brought us some over from next door.  Love that type of service.

Ortega and Slims run like a big family business. We got to meet the owner of Slims, her sister, her husband and the nephew.  A couple of guys who flat with another of the waitresses turned up with their dog to have a drink.  What a hoot. Great young guys living life to the fullest.  After our oysters and rose disappeared and a lot of fun banter, we shimmied next door to sit at the bar at Ortega to have some more amazeball food.  Since we had started so early I called for a movie.  The Embassy Theatre is just around the corner so we chose the only film playing at the time and went on in.

The Embassy has a very cool bar – serves drinks obviously but also has an array of board games that you can sit and play before or after a movie.  Or even if you aren’t going to the movies at all.  Murder on the Orient Express was the movie on offer.  Given the star-studded crew, I would have expected better.  But after a day like today, who could complain.  Thanks Wellington.

It was the weekend.  Funny how being on a perpetual holiday as we are, you don’t normally know what day of the week it is.  But… when you are staying in central Wellington it is rather evident.  The city is so quiet on the weekends.  Not at the eating establishments, but definitely out on the streets.  Even moving into Christmas shopping craziness, it was relatively quiet out there.

Not only was it the weekend, we still didn’t have a boat.  It was looking good to be in the water this week though.  Plan was to put it back in the water on Wednesday, take it for a sea trial and all going well, get it over to Chaffers marina.  The lovely team at QT were quite confused as to why we kept extending our stay.  They must have been thinking ‘these guys don’t quite know what’s going on in their lives”!  Not to mention we had a very limited wardrobe with us.

For an early dinner, we walked into Dragonfly on Courtney Place. Usually a very busy place where you either must have booked or you wait a long time. They offered for us to sit out the back in the bar area.  Perfect and I think I prefer it to the restaurant proper.  The food was exquisite!  Highly recommend this place.  Asian tapas and some scrumptious dumplings.

We passed the Ballroom Pool Hall on Courtney place a couple of times during the day and it got B’s attention.  Not because that is where he and Leach did some ballroom dancing but for many years he has played pool, but not very well (in his words) and he said it was about time he fixed this.  I’m sure this was a reaction to his recent loss in Ngawi but who was I to complain.  I love pool and Ballroom is right next door to Dragonfly so we didn’t have far to go.  In we went.  $2 a game and the best of 5.  No need to talk about who won but let’s just say that B’s pool was improving.

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Sunday morning stroll to Cuba Mall for breakfast at Plum.  I had heard good things about this place but I don’t think it was nearly as good as the other breakfast places we had been too. It was however a fantastic place to sit and ‘people watch’ in Wellington.  A very interesting mix of people.

That afternoon, we stopped into another favourite Dockside for a pre-dinner drink.  We were meeting up with my nephew Ben again.  This time at Charley Nobles.  I always love catching up with family.  Another beautiful meal.  B couldn’t resist one more round at the pool hall.  We made a deal.  One round of ‘best of five’ and then a ‘roadie’ at Hot Sauce by the hotel.

Another walk to Cuba Mall and this time for breakfast at Floriditas.  This was worth the walk.  The food was exceptional and the team incredibly friendly.  Coffee good too.  We had thought about ignoring Christmas altogether and given we were going to be away from everyone, we weren’t sure if anyone would notice.  However, we did have some time on our hands and Christmas means a lot to me so it was Christmas shopping time.  We nailed it!  It wasn’t long before we realised that B was not used to this experience!

That night we decided on Chow for their Monday night 2 for 1 dinner deal. You can’t book but after you put your name down, you pop next door to the Library bar for a drink.  They will call you or come and get you and as long as you pay for your drinks before leaving, they are more than happy for you to take the wine through to the restaurant.

The food was as good as it always but unfortunately we ended up having a terrible experience.  We ordered quite a few dishes to share (as we do) and asked specifically that they come out slowly, perhaps two at a time so we weren’t rushed.  It all came out together!  So when the last dish, the Duck Curry was brought to the table we explained the situation and asked if they could take it back and we’ll let them know when we were ready for it.  It was obvious that the 2 for 1 night is very popular and they were trying to move the tables through quickly. So when we were ready for the curry, we let them know. I jokingly said ‘I hope they don’t bring us back the one they brought out earlier’.  Surely not. It arrived and it was cold.  Horrified, we got up, paid the bill (minus the curry) and got out of there.  A real shame as I usually love it at Chow.  Another round at the pool hall and B was still improving.  Now I was getting worried!

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Back to the Egmont St Eatery for breakfast.  I had booked in for B and I to have a float at 10am.  For those of you who haven’t tried this, it is my approach to forced meditation.  Deprivation of the senses – floating in a tank/pod of about 12 inches of water stocked with Epsom Salts is not only good for your muscles but also very buoyant so zero gravity.  No light and no sound. It is so dark that if you do open your eyes, nothing changes.  I have floated a number of times but it was B’s first time.  He finds it incredibly hard to sit still for longer than 2 minutes so this was going to be interesting.  They offer ‘double floats’ with two of you in the same tank but I felt that this completely defeated the purpose of relaxing in your own space so opted for our own rooms. I have also been keen to try of the Shakti Mats I had heard so much about.  They are supposed to emulate lying on a bed of nails!  I looked where to get them in Wellington and low and behold it was the Float Centre (check name) where we were headed.  With a Shakti matt or two in hand and feeling very relaxed we headed back out into the hustle and bustle of Wellington.

Later that day we were walking up Tory St to get Bug and we passed where Chris (guy looking after my plants) works.  We bumped into him as he was heading home for the day.  So we offered him a lift out to Seaview where we were going to check on the boat as the new shafts and repaired props had been installed.  It was a good opportunity to pick up the plants and get them settled back on the boat. Boat was looking good and it was all ready for the ‘drop in’ tomorrow afternoon.  We raced back around to Chris and Michelle’s to drop off some Blue Cod to thank them for looking after our plants.  Thanks guys!

B had also decided to put some rope cutters on the boat, behind each of of the props.  These will cut away weeds, cray pot ropes or any random lines that might get in our way.  They are nasty looking things but way better than getting ropes caught around the props.

Rope Cutters

Dragonfly for more dumpling delights and a quick round of pool next door.  B’s pool continues to improve. I think I’ll need to have him as my partner from now on rather than an opponent.

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Today was the day!  Our boat was due to be back in the water.  The original plan was for 2pm but Captain B raised concerns about the tide.  High tide was in the morning and we suddenly got the call to get out to the marina by 10:30am.  I was having a catchup with a girlfriend so B went to get Rosebud and I hoofed down my breakfast and raced back to the hotel.  Never been so excited about checking out from a hotel before!

We got out to the boat at Seaview marina just as the guys were getting the travel lift ready. I don’t get seasick and I thought taking the boat out of the water was terrifying.  Well putting it back in seemed to freak me out even more!  I felt physically ill as we watched our home being transported into the water.  Again the team at Seaview Marina took their time and did a wonderful job getting Resolution back in the water without a scratch, despite their only being a few inches of room either side.  What a relief!

It was good to see Bug getting in on the action.

Boat going in the water with Bug

Now for the big moment to see if the new shafts and repaired props will actually work.  I held my breath as Captain B turned over the motors.  Everything sounded in order.  Now to see if we could move and steer the boat.  Dan from Strait Marine was on board with his toolbox at the ready.  We headed out of the marina and into the harbour.  Other than a slight “hum” at a certain number of revs, everything worked beautifully.  Dan assured me that the noise was just the shaft ‘bedding itself in” and it would go away.  Dan knows his stuff.  After a quick romp around the harbour trying different rev levels, turns, the stabilisers, it was back into he marina for ‘touch and go’ drop off of Dan.  There were some others on the dock that could help grab his heavy toolbox.  Thanks Dan!

Feeling pretty pleased we headed back to Chaffers Marina.  We had left Bug over at Seaview so once we were all tied up and happy with the ropes, we walked to get the ferry to Seaview to collect the car.  We waited for the bus that was to take 10 minutes until one drove by and said it was ‘out of service’.  It was quite a walk from the bus stop at Seaview to where the Bug was, so I called a taxi.  Still another 15 minutes wait.  Not an Uber in sight!

Tracy came down to look at the boat.  I forget that with her in Wellington she hadn’t actually been on it. It was a gorgeous evening in Wellington so we sat in the cockpit and had a cheeky wine or two before heading up to Pōneke Cafe for dinner.  We’d had a number of breakfasts and a lunch here but not dinner. We ordered a variety of tapas to share and the food was fantastic.

Jodi and Tracy on Reso

I just realised that I haven’t mentioned the weather since being in Wellington. The weather has been absolutely spectacular for 3 weeks now!  And every day would have been a perfect time to cross the Cook Strait.  As Murphy continues to hang with us, although we had the boat back, B had a Board meeting in Christchurch the following day.  So we were in the marina for at least 2 nights.  And again in true Murphy style the first day of ‘not so great’ weather just happened to be the Friday that we decided to cross!

B left early in the morning to head to Christchurch for his Board meeting.  My job today was to provision the boat with food.  We had parked Bug at the marina so I didn’t have to do the big walk to get her.  I had some Christmas post for people overseas so I also needed to find a Post Office.  As I waked to Bug I passed a gym and saw some weight bags.  I thought that’s exactly what we need not the boat to do some strength work.  They didn’t have them for sale but directed me to a shop inside Les Mills Extreme so off I went.  Funnily enough I parked Bug outside and thought I wouldn’t need to put money in the meter as I was only going to be 10 minutes.  Who do I bump into, but Jacob – Bug’s dad.  Oooops.  Actually he couldn’t have cared less.  I really only wanted a 10kg bag but they only had a 15kg one in stock so that was going to do.

Next was a post office.  By this time it was 28 degrees and excruciatingly hot.  Bug has great aircon but that was helping me outside walking the streets of Wellington.  Found the post office and sorted the post – boy did I feel organised this year.  Now it was time to hit the supermarket.  Surely I didn’t need too much.  We have a freezer full of meat and dry stores that could last us months, so it was really only fresh vegetables and a few supplies that needed topping up.  I got the small trolley – fatal mistake!  Before I knew it, she was full to the brim and I was balancing bottles of wine, cauliflower heads and toilet paper as I pushed the trolley to the checkout.  They kindly got me a larger trolley to use to get to the car.

Now it was time to pack the boat.  Parked Bug back at the marina but unfortunately there was about 30 metres between the car and the closest marina trolley which happen to be down some stairs.  I masterfully managed to get everything I had into one trolley load.

Shopping in the trollley

Then our boat was the very last boat on the pier – I’m sure someone was trying to get me to workout today.  It was sweltering hot. I loaded the bags into the boat and then continued to load the food and supplies into the many drawers, cupboards and holes on the boat.  I was smashed.  All I needed to do now was fill Bug up with petrol, get a car wash and park her back up Tory St.  When I got back to the car, I realised the 15kg weight bag was still in the back seat.  There was only one thing to do.  Weight bag went onto my shoulders and I hoofed it to the boat.  Another mini-workout I didn’t need in 28 degrees.

Fiona who also used to work with us many years ago was keen to bring her kids down to see the boat. I was running late so they stopped for ice-cream on the way – fabulous idea.  It was so lovely to see these guys.  The last time I’d seen the kids, they were in nappies.

Jodi and Fi's kids

Tracy was also popping down with a work colleague Gavin.  He was a client of mine 23 years ago!  Still looked as young as he ever did.  We had a nice cold beer on the boat.  B arrived home early from Christchurch so he got to see everyone.

We had booked in our final dinner at Ortega. One, because we love it, but two, we had a gift for Jacob for lending us Bug.  There’s a bit of an internal shirt competition going on with the guys at Ortega so we thought this would be a great one for Jacob.

So… on one hand a wonderful three-week break in Wellington.  But on the other… a very frustrating time not being on the water in such gorgeous weather and an early delay in our trip.

The boat is all stocked and it’s time to get out there!

 

 

 

 

No boat, no problem

We had always planned to head to Auckland for Board meetings the week after arriving in Wellington.  Mr B Monday/Tuesday and me Wednesday/Thursday/Friday – ensuring that someone was with the boat the whole time.  Now that it was up on the hard and we were paying for accommodation, we figured there was no point doing that in two cities at the same time! So with a couple of ticket changes, I was on the plane with B heading up to Auckland and he joined me on the return leg on Friday.

A full-on week with meetings and socialising.  An interesting experience staying in hotels in (what was) your home town – not something you do on a regular basis.

Our friends Hannah and Max were all booked in to fly back to Wellington with us with the plan to travel across Cook Strait to the Marlborough Sounds on the boat.  Obviously without a boat this was going to prove tricky.  Hannah, being the most resourceful person I know, swung into action and created an alternative plan for the four of us.  A weekend in Ngawi, Cape Palliser.  A gorgeous little remote town on the south coast of the north island. The accommodation was booked by Max and he found a brand new camping site with cute little cabins.  Hannah had to break the news to me that there were no bathrooms in said cabins.  I totally couldn’t care less but it was funny at the time.

Hannah flew to Wellington with Mr B and I on the 4:15pm flight.  Koru hour starts at 4:30pm – really?  We did our old ‘let’s use the coffee take away cups’ trick and put a little wine inside to get us through the flight.  Max was already in Wellington. He flew from Queenstown where he had been working.  Rental car in hand, snack shopping done, he was at the airport to pick us up.  Perfect service.  We dropped the car at Rydges and headed straight for Ortega Fish Shack, where they were saving the bar seats for us.  Kirsten had dined with us earlier in the week and decided she couldn’t miss an opportunity to go to Ortega with us so she flew down especially!  Well, actually to see her dad, but dinner was an added bonus.  We had the best food, fantastic wine and excellent service. Oh yes, I forgot the little “roadie” at Slim Davey’s next door.  A cheese board and port to finish the night off.

Roll on Saturday…  after a lovely meal at Pōneke Cafe at Chaffers Marina, it was a quick trip to the boat to re-pack and we were off north to Martinborough.  The boys grabbed seats at a cafe and had a quiet cuppa while Han and I walked around the sun drenched Square, popping into shops now and again.

Typical small world NZ, we bumped into a friend of Hannah’s who used to work with B and I.  The first I knew of this discovery was a spine chilling scream from Hannah.  I thought someone had been hit by a car!  But no, Hannah was just very excited to see Nigel.  And the rest of Martinborough knew he was there too!

We lunched at The Village Café, which was connected to a wine shop where we stocked up on some supplies for the cabin, including some beautiful Savvy Washed Rind Goat Cheese!  Tasty but STINKY!  It’s made by The Drunken Nanny company (www.thedrunkennanny.co.nz) and Hannah saw it featured recently on episode 40 of Country Calendar, so she added it to the agenda.

We didn’t get the $550 bottles of wine though!

We were back on the road and now heading south to Ngawi.  Nothing beats a road trip with friends.

As beautiful as the surrounding hills were, you couldn’t help but notice just how dry they were.  This place was in need of some rain.

We arrived to meet John, at The Waimeha Camping Village, who welcomed us to his new place.  The shared area had a pool table, dart board, mammoth old sound system and a large screen TV.  What more did we need?  Oh yes, it also had a bar!

A quick game of pool and then a pre-dinner drink at the cabin.

The weather seemed to be closing in a little so the winter gears came out.  Not the rain they desperately needed though.  More of a mist like we were sitting up the top of a ski mountain on a cloudy day.

Hannah and her hoodie

Two things you must do in Ngawi, which were on Han’s itinerary, are the seals and the lighthouse.  Off we go…

At first it wasn’t obvious where all the seals were but walking amongst them they soon let you know they were there.  Max had a fright or two!

 

Max with the seals

Now for the lighthouse!  525 steps and we didn’t spill a drop!

Dinner time!  A very cool caravan stands at the side of the road opposite the fishing club.  We ordered our burgers, a mix of fish and beef and found a table at the club.  The caravan even delivers!

Captain's Table caravan.png

Back to the cabins for some pool with the locals.  My partner was Milton (and not the Milton I live with, who calls himself Bennett).  This was Milton who had just been through treatment for Leukaemia.  He and his wife owned a pub in Levin and one just out of Levin in Manukau (pronouned ‘ko’ not ‘cow’).  When Milton got sick, they sold up and are now cruising around the country in their camper van. Gotta live life when you have it.  Not sure drinking 6 bottles of vodka in a week is ‘living’ but Milton was pretty happy and we rocked at pool.  As you do when consuming lots of booze, we got hungry.  John came out with some beef, lamb, chicken and fish and Max got busy on the BBQ.  A midnight feast at it’s best.  A wonderful night which went into the early hours of the morning.  With the ABs game starting at 06:00, we didn’t spend too much time in our cabins.

After a full on fry-up the following morning of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages and toast, we were re-energised for our big day fishing.  I had seen Ngawi about 20 years ago and I always remembered the line-up of boats on trailers and the bull-dozers they use to get them in the water.  A different way of launching a vessel from what we are used to.  We were able to get on board on land, call the day’s shared bull dozer driver on the VHF and get pushed into the water.

For those of you who know Max, he likes to fish.  And fish he does.  What I get a kick out of is, that even though he’s been fishing about 2 billion times in his life, he still has a grin on his face from ear to ear whenever he is out on the water.  This was no exception!

Max on the boat

We caught blue cod, terakihi, shark, and various annoying reef fish.  The waves were big and the boat was often side on.  We rocked and rolled all afternoon. Hannah and I were lucky enough to experience the onboard loo!  Perfect butt-sized bucket with sea water in it!  Genius.

Next on the agenda was picking up John’s cray pots.  6 of them to get and Max was super-keen to ‘throw the grapnel’ to get the ropes and to load the rope onto the winch for retrieval.  What a hoot!  There was a bit of heavy lifting involved and quite a technique of ensuring the buoys and lines get put in the right place before stacking the big pots on top.  Do this wrong, and don’t go from the left all the time, and you can get yourself in quite a tangle putting them back out!  Max did a sterling job with a little help from his crew.  John was impressed at his prowess of catching the ropes.  I noticed him speed the boat up a couple of times to make it even trickier.  Having spotted this, I told him he was a bit mean.  A smirk appeared across his face.  Obviously not the first time he’s teased some punters on board.

But it was well worth it!

John and the team at Waimeha couldn’t have been more hospitable. No apparent check-out times at this establishment. “Come back, shower, cook the crays, filet the fish and relax before you leave” says John.  And that’s exactly what we did.  Hannah with her never-ending snacks and bottles of plonk setup another feast.

Max took care of the filleting and B helped out with the cray cooking.  Hannah and I kept ourselves busy by welcoming people that ‘popped by’ to take a look at the joint.  Turns out they were lured in by the Tip Top Ice Cream sign out on the road.  With the 30 degree heat, they were streaming in.  B even figured out how to use the EFTPOS machine to sell the ice creams to those with only a plastic card when John popped out for a bit.  To top off what couldn’t have been a better trip to Ngawi, we sat and ate freshly cooked cray with a beautiful bottle of chardy.  Heaven really.

The road trip continued.  This time with John’s daughter in the back with Han and I.  She was going to stay with her grandmother in Martinborough. She got to see all of Han’s holiday picks and have a laugh or three.  Actually I think Han had her laughing the whole way.  This next photo was me frantically getting my phone ready to take a photo of the church.  Going 100km/hr I thought there was no chance but snapped away just in case.  Was pretty happy with this one:

Church and tree

After the salubrious stay at Ngawi, Hannah had booked us an apartment each at Peppers.  Wow, flash! There was even a fireplace in each room.  After a freshen up it was chardy and chips at H&M’s before heading to the restaurant for dinner.  We had asked if the chef would mind cooking up some crayfish and some cod.  YUM!  She did an amazing job.

Crayfish at Peppers

A very pleasant meal with lovely wine and a toast to Greg Glover for making it to Freemantle from Capetown after 30+ days at sea on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.  Sounds like the southern ocean was full of fury.  Well done Greggy!

Next morning brought even more excitement to our weekend.  We hired bikes from the hotel and rode around some vineyards for some wine tasting.  I felt a little sorry for the boys who at 6 foot something each had to ride with their knees by their ears!

With Hannah as our guide we navigated our way from the hotel to the golf course and wound our way back through the vineyards ending up back at the hotel.  Martinborough vineyards also had a supply of Lighthouse Gin, which has the Palliser Lighthouse on their label.  Just had to have some of that.

Lunch at Luna vineyard was a fabulous array of tapas matched with their gorgeous rose.  And then it was back off to Wellington.  Thanks for staying off the booze and driving for us Max.

Checked back into Rydges and this time it was out to dinner at Charley Noble’s.  Another Wellington favourite with a vast menu.  It was an early’ish departure for the visitors so we got up and early and had breakfast at my “Prego of Wellington” Pravda.  Was luckily enough to bump into Catherine Skinner on her way out!  And of course being little ole NZ, Hannah had also worked with Catherine at HP.  Nice to see you Catherine.

A HUGE thank you to Hannah and Max for an outstanding weekend despite not having the boat.  See you guys again soon!

 

 

 

 

People, Plants, Party and a Port

Leah had a work meeting in the morning and then she was off back to the big smoke of Auckland. So much quieter without you girlfriend! Leah is one of those really positive souls on earth and it’s a joy to hang out with her.  I wasn’t sad as I knew she’d be back!

During the day I received a Messenger message from my cousin Denise (our mums were sisters).  She said that she could see we were still in Wellington and that they were having a big family celebration on Saturday night for the two-year anniversary of her mum’s passing.  I love family get togethers so I was ‘in like Flynn’.

My cousin lives up the coast at Raumati so a road trip was in order.  B (he does not get to be Captain and often not even Mr. when he’s on land!) hired a car and we were off.  We had also arranged to meet up with Chris and Michelle Scouler on the way.  Chris had done the Tour de France trip with us a few years back and they live in Seaview.  I had asked them a huge favour of looking after my plants at their place while our boat was out of the water.  After a nice coffee and chat, we took them to the boat to collect the plants.  Such a relief to know the plants weren’t going to die!  Thanks guys!!

I have 12 herb plants and 5 miniature plants of tomatoes, chillies, eggplants, capsicums and cucumbers.  Such a treat to have this type of produce growing on board.

We booked a place to stay in Paekakariki called “Finns”.  It was combined with a bar and restaurant and a movie theatre, which at first B thought was rather odd.  But we were taken out the back of the establishment and there were the motel rooms.  A lovely spot.

Bags dropped and we were off to Denise’s house in Raumati for the family get together.  Did I mention I LOVE family get togethers. A fabulous night thanks to everyone for having us!

B had arranged to meet up with Marcel (the one who asked us about the Rocket Lab launching pad) and his wife Deanna.  They are building a new place, so after a nice brunch at their local, The Raumati Social Club, we went up the hill to take a look. Absolutely stunning and so exciting to see them create a home that so reflects their own style and wishes.  Can’t wait to see it all finished.

Having had the experience of smacking into a log and being thankful that no-one was hurt, I got to thinking that those involved with shipping logs should know when these incidents happen. It did do some damage and, if we didn’t have such a strong hull, slow speed and benign sea conditions that day on our boat, it could have been much more serious. I often used to tell my team “you can’t manage what you don’t know” to encourage issues to be raised and learnt from, rather than ignored or treated as a negative.  With this in mind I thought I’d write to the Wellington Port company to remind them that the consequence of logs being left in the water can be seriously dangerous for others.  Here’s the letter:

Centreport Logo

“Dear Derek

I own a vessel called Resolution III – a Salthouse 65, heavy displacement launch.  We are currently on a voyage to circumnavigate NZ.  Early morning on Wednesday 15th November, we were nearing the end of our passage from Napier to Wellington.  Just around the Pencarrow lighthouse we collided with a log which looked to be around 4 metres in length and perfectly trimmed and formed.

We contacted the Harbour Master to be told that they only retrieve logs when they are within the Harbour limits.  He said it could have come down the Hutt River and without being able to inspect the log, we can’t be certain of its source.  It did however look to me like a pruned export log.

The inconvenience has been huge and the cost considerable having to slip and repair the tub.  To date it has spent 21 days on the hard and cost approximately $30k in labour, parts and fees.  Not to mention the need for transport and accommodation for us for this time in Wellington.

The point of my letter is not to bore you with our plight, or to try and find blame or liability – short of me jumping in the water after the log to read the attached bar-code ticket to identify it, this would be near impossible to determine.  I can’t help but think that someone must be missing a log though?  But again, although I’ve always wanted to be a private investigator, I’m not seeking an enquiry here.

It’s really to ensure that your stevedores and teams who load the ships are being as diligent as possible with the loading and unloading of logs.  And for this to go a small way to avoid this happening to other vessels.  Especially those that are less solid than our tub and your ships!  If a planing launch had hit the log, people could have been harmed and the outcome may not have been very pretty.

I appreciate your time and thank you in advance for perhaps letting your teams know that these incidents do occur and for them to know what part they can play in doing everything possible to prevent them happening in the future.  And maybe you want to pass this message on to your other Port CE’s to clear the logs from our path for the remainder of our trip.

Kind Regards

Jodi Mitchell”

Within a matter of hours I received the following response:

“Dear Jodi

Thanks for your email and I appreciate the difficult circumstances you have faced and I hope the balance of your voyage is a safe and enjoyable one.

We will discuss your situation with the two stevedoring companies in the port, C3 and ISO. I will also discuss this at the next port CEO’s meeting in 2018.

Thanks again

Regards,

Derek”

Short and sweet, but incredibly responsive and respectful.  Let’s hope he undertakes his planned actions! 🙂

 

 

Napier to Wellington

The blog has been a bit behind so I’ll do my best to catch you all up! Thanks to the two Guest Bloggers, Leah and Stuart for sharing their perspectives.

Ok… so by now you know we hit a big log just outside the Wellington Harbour.  We left Napier with Stuart and Leah on board as crew and the weather couldn’t have been better.  It was so good that we decided to anchor for the night at Castlepoint – a rare opportunity.  Of course, I was stoked as I had not done an ‘overnighter’ before and was keen to see a nice, new anchorage, to have dinner and maybe our max. allowable quota of 2 glasses of wine before 8pm.  It was still a 13-hour journey so leaving at 4am was planned.  I couldn’t believe it that when we were motoring out at about 4:10am, Shelly had obviously set her alarm and was out on the deck to wave us farewell.  Such a team player that one.  It was lovely to see you Shells – I just hope you went back to bed for a good sleep-in afterwards!

The weather was amazing, we saw dolphins, the low-pressure oil warning light was nowhere in sight and we were just having lots of fun.  Crossies, exercises, sleeping, eating, yapping and lots of naps.  No alcohol but I did find my stash of Asahi Zero – no carbs, no sugar and no alcohol.  I even think it still tastes like beer!

Asahi Zero

I heard the engine revving funny, immediately looked at Captain B and was about to say “That doesn’t sound right” and the motor shut off.  To have another issue with the Port engine now was just plain annoying.  It didn’t take long to diagnose that this was not a sensor issue, but a real one!  There was some problem with fuel flow, perhaps the lift pump or an air leak and after hand priming and re-starting the engine for the next 2 hours, ever more frequently, it just wasn’t worth it.  Off with the motor and again, no stabilisers.

With the weather window we had chosen, the conditions were so favourable it didn’t matter so much not to have the stabilisers this time.  But… then the decision to continue on or stop for the night. I knew my crazy crew and the Captain were so excited about doing an overnighter, it wouldn’t have been a hard decision.  Although I was apprehensive, there was also a slight interest in ticking off my first.  Port motor off, Stabilisers not operating and now another 20 hours all the way to Wellington.  A friend’s father, who was a salty dog sailor, always said to me “With boating it’s 90% fun and 10% fear.  To be able to have the fun, you must experience the fear”.  I wouldn’t call it fear as such at this point, but trepidation for sure.

Fast forward to the real 10%.  It was around 0630 hours and Stuart was on the helm.  We had just turned around Cape Palliser towards Pencarrow.  There was a ship showing on the radar and it was also on our AIS.  I could see that it was the Celebrity Soltice, a huge cruise ship (1,000 feet long and 121 feet wide).  It had quite a few lights on and was coming right up behind us.  I looked up on the AIS and it said it would come to within .2 and .4 of a nautical mile of us at the closest point.  Way too close for my liking.  Stuart and I had a chat and the obvious thing to do was to wake Captain B up (as per “standing orders”).  I was hesitant to do so as he was on the next shift and an important one getting us into the Wellington Harbour.

So I thought to myself “what would he do?”.  I knew straight away – we’d have to call the Captain of the ship to make sure he can see us and was not going to get that close.  It’s always a little awkward using the VHF radio and especially calling up a ship that big.  I went back to see how close they were and although still a distance at this point, they were travelling 3 times our speed and at that moment, they turned towards the Wellington entrance.  Oh my, I had been seeing the lights of just the front of the boat!  It was HUGE when it turned side on.  Right… I need to get onto that radio and call the dude.  I radio’d in, let them know who we are and asked “just making sure you can see us off your starboard bow”.  He responded in a very foreign accent that he could see me on his radar and the AIS.  i.e.: everything was AOK from his perspective. Next minute, Stu and I could see the dots of the ship on the radar do a turn to port (left) away from us.  Our call had encouraged him to change his course.  Phew, just a bit more comfort!  Captain B often repeats the advice – if in any doubt, pick up the mike and call the other ship!  The issue with our course diversions are they are still only at 8 knots.  And with only one engine running, 6.5 knots.  Other vessels are often doing 2-3 times our speed.

Celebrity Soltice

The sun was coming up and daylight arrived. At 0700 hours, Stuart handed the helm over to Bennett.  We were going along just fine telling stories about the cruise ship and anything else that had happened while others were asleep.  We were all up now and spirits on the boat were super positive.  We had made it through the night and the Wellington Harbour was just ahead of us.  You could even say there was quite a bit of excitement on board.

When all of a sudden, “BANG”.  With a quick response of “FUCK!”.  Then another “BANG”.  With a louder “FUCK!  What they hell was that?”.  The prop started making the worst noise ever.  Having just seen a seal beside us I could have sworn he had got stuck in our prop. The engine was turned off.  Now we had no engines!  Leah was told to dish out the PFDs and she’s told you what happened next, so I won’t repeat all that.  I did however want to say that this seemed way more than our 10% worth!  So hopefully we have stored some up for the rest of the trip.  Damn log.

From my perspective, this was one of my worst fears of any trip.  Being out on the water but still close to land when we lose both engines.   Once we got the port engine running again, my initial reaction was to go to the closest bay outside of the entrance, anchor and wait for Coastguard to come and tow us into the Harbour.  With the huge ships, ferries, Barrett Reef – yip, the one the Wahine went down on, I didn’t think it wise to enter the Harbour on one dodgy hand-pumped engine.  The continual pumping from our crew was a legendary effort.  Of course I started imagining what we would be doing if Stu and Leah were not on board.  Not worth thinking about!  After discussing our plan with Captain B and him being satisfied that we could steam our way into the Harbour – which with the weather worsening later in the day, I could understand his rationale, I went into Plan B mode.  I looked at the charts to ensure that if the Port engine did fail, we could find an anchorage shallow enough to throw the pick down.  Right up the starboard side of the harbour would be good.

My heart was racing until we passed Barrett Reef and we were on our way to Seaview. The Coastguard (who we were told were not on ‘on call’ duty until 8am), arrived to be by our side. I’m sure a wee phone call was made to make that happen. Love you Coasties!  It was such a relief to have them there in case the engine failed.  Unfortunately for our hero crew, manual fuel pumping was required until we were tied up to the dock, some two hours worth!

Coastguard Wellington

It was time to celebrate and that we did!

Stuart flew home very early the next morning.  I’m sure we were all feeling quite dusty from our ‘celebrations’ but we all got up to bid him farewell. Then there were three.  Leah and I got a call from the helicopter place to say that we could go on a longer ride for the same money and instead of simply circling the city, we would be taken out to Makara and the South Coast for a landing and seal spotting before heading back to base.  It was also going to be at 11am instead of 2pm which worked out well as we also had a call saying they were lifting Reso out of the water at 1:30pm.  It would be tight but we knew we could do it.  Leah and I jumped in the trusty Uber and headed into town.  What a spectacular experience.  I’ve lived in Wellington a couple of times and been to these coasts but never in a helicopter.  Loved it.  Here are some pics of our adventure:

Couldn’t help but take photos of the lovely Chaffers marina area where we were supposed to be berthed in for our week in Wellington.

Chaffers marina from the chopper

After an exhilarating trip with a very good pilot, we were back in a trusty Uber heading back to Seaview.  Got there in plenty of time to start shitting myself about watching our boat being taken out of the water.

Phil from Strait Marine was onboard fixing the fuel issue with the Port engine.  Turned out to be a blockage in the fuel flow sensor! Very annoying knowing that we had only had that installed just a month ago. That’s boating!  Phil was an excellent guy and gave us all the confidence in the world that he was going to look after Reso for us. As well as fixing the fuel flow sensor blockage, he also inspected the engines and shafts from inside the boat.  The starboard shaft had definitely been knocked by the log and had shifted back from it’s position.  There is a collar that stops it from completely leaving the boat which is kind of handy, but it left metal on metal rubbing together which was why we were hearing the terrible squealing that sounded like the seal. Good news for the seal for sure.  He moved the shaft back up and instructed us to use both engines for the trip to the travel lift. It wasn’t far but it was windy and having some extra maneuverability in the marina to get there was welcome.

A young couple, who knew Phil and wanted to talk with him about their boat, came by.  They absolutely didn’t want to interfere with his work so hung back a little.  In our typical style, we urged them on board and got chatting.  They had just arrived into Wellington from driving down from Opua in the Bay of Islands.  They had returned to NZ after sailing their newly acquired sale boat back from South Africa.  Both of them were professional skippers!  Who better to grab some lines and help us take our damaged boat to the haul out area of the marina.  They were totally happy to help – thank you guys!

When we started the engines, there was no noise out of the ordinary and B had full control of the vessel. Hmmm.. that’s good, maybe there’s no damage!

Being experienced and smart boaties, as soon as the lines were connected to the dock and the engines killed, our new friends were out of there!  I soon realised why.  I thought having two engines fail outside one of NZ’s busier ports was a heart stopping exercise – it was nothing like watching your boat being attached to a travel lift and removed from the water. Boats are definitely not built to be on land.  There was a commercial crayfishing boat at the fuel dock.  I had asked the skipper what type of fishing they were doing and he told me crayfishing. “Oh my god I love crayfish. We’ve been trekking down the country so fast we haven’t had a chance to dive for any”.  He turned towards his boat and returned with two live crays for us! What a guy.  And then the crew helped us out with ropes and fendors to get the boat out safely.

We definitely needed the extra hands.  They bay in which the boat has to go into before being hauled out is not much more than 10 cm wider than the boat!  The guys from the Seaview Marina who do the haul-outs were at our boat in the morning with a tape measure! Not a confidence builder but very wise move dudes!

Boat in travel lift hole

It was a slow process but a job well done.  Thanks to Mike and his mate for taking such care on the mission.

When we looked at the shaft and the prop, it all looked pretty good.  We thought we had totally lucked out but needed to wait for the guys at Strait Marine to take a closer look.

As it turns out the tolerance for a bend in the shaft is 0.02mm.  From a cursory external look, the measurement was 1.2mm.  Not good.  And it was even worse once they removed the shaft from the boat.  We were definitely in need of a new shaft.  The first group Phil spoke to said we would be looking at four weeks which of course we responded “no way, gotta get it done quicker than that”.  The next crowd said 10 days – we’ll go with that.  These are made by Henleys in Auckland who have been doing this since 1917!  Good to know that they know what they’re doing!  You then send the props up to get crack-tested.  If they are damaged and can be fixed, all good. If we needed a new prop, that would have been interesting.

Starboard Shaft and Prop

We packed a bag for a couple of nights and headed into town.  We moved into a two-bedroom apartment in the QT Museum hotel.  Leah was still with us and we were determined to make the most of it!  Not to mention we had two crays to cook and eat.  The pots in the apartment were too small so I called up reception and asked for a big pot from the kitchen.  They delivered one that was no bigger in width but was higher.  Still not great.

I then had a better idea and called up Davey at the Ortega Fish Shack where we had eaten the night before.  Explained to him that I had two live crays and would love for them to cook them up for us.  Assured them that we would still eat lots after the cray as an entree but Davey didn’t care.  He said “come on down”.  What a night!

Crays cooked at Ortega

Ortega has to be one of ‘the’ best restaurants in Wellington.  If you like seafood, get on in there!  Our friends Kirsten and Pete’s son Jacob works there.  He’s nicknamed Rosebud for reason’s you only get to know if you visit the restaurant.  Bennett discovered this little gem one night when he was in Wellington and ate out alone.  Until of course he got talking to Kirsten!  Fabulous way to meet new friends.

 

Leah and I had a little “Roadie” at Hot Sauce, the new bar opposite the QT Museum Hotel.  They serve asian tapas (not that we needed food) and had a lovely wine list.  If you are afraid of the little cat figurines with the one waving arm – steer clear of this place, they have hundreds lining the walls!

It was another big day!  But hopefully by now our new shaft was being built, our starboard prop was winging its way to Auckland and we’d be back in the water in a couple of weeks or so.

We had also planned to be in Auckland the following week.  In relaying our story to a friend over email, and as I was writing about the starboard engine being hit, it suddenly dawned on me that we were all focusing on the starboard engine as that was the one we knew got hit by the log.  What about the port one?  I called Dan at Strait Marine and asked them if they had checked the port shaft?  They had done the external cursory look, but hadn’t taken it out to do a more thorough check. Thankfully they did as it was also bent past the tolerance levels. So now, two new shafts and another prop to head to the big city.  In undertaking this exercise we also learnt that the starboard prop hadn’t been picked up yet!  At least they can travel together now!

 

 

The Big Bang, Engines Down

Our second Guest Blog!  Here’s Leah Davey’s narrative of her time on Resolution 3.  It was an exciting time for all…

After weeks of excitement and reading the initial blogs of the journey, I finally arrived in Napier ready to join my crew buddy, Stuart on board Resolution III.  Jodi said, just come to the Napier yacht club and you’ll see us, she wasn’t wrong, there she was, Resolution III, a super sexy boat sitting comfortably right outside the yacht club.  In fact, she was nearly as big as the yacht club.  After climbing on board, a few short catch-ups and being pretty impressed there was actually a full size TV on board, we got stuck into a good 90 minute session of Married at First Sight. Is there anything better than a great TV show, shared commentary and opinions (only in the ad breaks!), a beautiful boat in a stunning piece of NZ with fantastic company?

We were all pretty tired, me from an overnight flight from Singapore and the rest of the team from their afternoon shenanigans so we ducked across the street for quick Thai meal and hit the hay early.  Only after discovering there was actually a real flushing toilet on board, I’m so used to having to pump that this was a bit of a novelty and a very cool one.  I was in love with the TV and now the toilet (or the ‘heads’ as boaties call it), this took my boat appreciation to a whole new level.

After a relaxed start and a quick shower, I discovered that toothpaste made a pretty poor substitute for soap and shampoo but was very proud of my improvisation efforts.  After attempting to keep up appearances and do some work, we gave up on that and enjoyed a restaurant class breakfast by head chef, Jodi.  I knew she had some talents but didn’t know cooking was one of them, it was a treat – fancy scrambled eggs, some smashed avo with feta and mint, tomatoes with balsamic, mushrooms and some delicious bacon cooked by Captain B on the deck.  To kill a bit of time, Captain B decided to test his new crew’s navigation skills and put us to work with a series of charts, asked us what course we should take, how many miles it was, what we should look out for on the way and what time we should leave if we wanted to get to Castlepoint before sunset.  I was a bit rusty I have to admit but with the help of my trusty and very pragmatic crew buddy, Stu, we were in good shape and got pretty close to Captain B’s answers – phew, we were allowed to stay on board and proved our worth as crew.

Lunch had been booked at the Craggy Range Winery, these guys know how to live and I love it, we had one of the most amazing days, divine food, the most amazing bread I’ve ever eaten, great conversation and lots of laughs.  I’ll intentionally skip some of the detail around one of the conversations, that one stays on the road :).  One of Bennett’s friends had lent us a car to use for the day, think his name was Wayne, what a champ!  We then headed up to a look-out point that overlooked the whole of the Hawkes Bay after a few attempts to find the right road and some cheek from the ‘lady’ drivers in the back seat.  After a quick supermarket shop, me for chocolate biscuits and crossword puzzles and Jodi for more sensible stuff like chicken, we headed back to the boat for an early night as we had a 5am departure planned.  We did a safety briefing, had a chat about the plan for the morning departure and enjoyed some fish and chips over the series finale of Married at First Sight.  There are some days you want to repeat in life, this was one of them! I was so excited about our morning departure, I slept in my clothes so I could get up and get right into the day without any delay.  I know I’m 39 but some days life is so exciting, I feel as though I’m a kid again.

We were all up at 4am, the weather was as forecast and we all got ready for our journey ahead.  We had pre-planned our watches and did 2 hours each after Captain B got us safely out of the harbour.  The sunrise was stunning then reality set in that as beautiful as it was we were on this course for at least 13 hours.  I’m not great at sitting still so we decided that after a day of indulgence prior that we would create a little boat exercise routine.  We used a song called Flower by Moby (look it up if you want) and did squats through the whole track, when the song said up, we went up, when the song said down, we squatted down – pretty easy right? Holy heck, have you ever done 4 minutes of squats on a moving boat?! Not so easy! Jodi and I went first while the boys laughed at us then tried to be all macho and follow suit.  I was happy to see them struggle as much as I did.  Jodi was the true champion and didn’t stop once.  We decided that getting our heart rate up was a good thing so agreed that every hour we would do another exercise to the same song, next was press ups followed by tricep dips.  The novelty wore off after the third hour and we convinced ourselves we’d done plenty.

Mid way through a short nap, I heard ‘dolphins’ being shouted out, I came quickly up on deck to enjoy these beautiful creatures – no matter how many times you see them, it’s hard not to appreciate their beauty and grace.  We enjoyed dolphins on and off for most of the day, it’s a pretty special thing.

Dolphins.png

Jodi worked her magic in the galley again and while at the helm on watch, and rocking out to some pretty epic 80’s hits with some questionable singing, I was served up a pretty delicious creation – I can’t actually remember what it was but it was like a Mediterranean cauliflower and chicken, it was pretty amazing.

Poor Stu had to do the dishes again, I had managed to avoid them the whole trip so far, I figured that it’s a shame when someone has such talent to not let them use it.  Good on you Stu, a gentleman you are.

 

Stu doing the dishes.png

Mid-way through our journey to our planned anchorage at Castlepoint, we had some issues with the Port engine, something about a ‘lift pump’ which left us with a port engine that kept cutting out due to lack of fuel supply.  Stu and Bennett figured out how to sort this out, temporarily at least.  We then found we had further issues and the engine kept cutting out, we noted down the frequency of this and it was every 20-25 minutes and soon ended up being much shorter than that.  Captain B made a good call and decided to run on one engine.  We made pretty good progress on one engine and still averaged around 6.5 knots which was quite impressive.  Captain B had a chat with us all around our options to either anchor at Castlepoint for the night or continue overnight and get to the safety of Wellington Harbour and sort the lift pump issue out.  We decided to go for it and head straight to Wellington, we worked up a watch plan for the night and relaxed into our new plan. It was an excellent display of seamanship and skippering!  Every day on the water is a school day, the learning never stops.

The afternoon was spent alternating watches, doing ‘crossies’ (otherwise known as arrow word crosswords), playing some fun games of ‘never have I ever’ and asking each other a list of questions to use on first dates that are designed to get to the core of who we are.  That provided some great entertainment for a few hours, we all shared a bit of our souls, a few stories and had some hearty laughs.

Puzzles in the pilot house.png

We settled into our watches for the night after a tasty little treat again whipped up by the Jodester in the galley – tortilla wraps with left over fish from the night before.  Coincidentally, I was on a watch so Stu got to perfect his form on cleaning the galley and doing the dishes 🙂  Love your work, Stu.

The next morning after our night watches we were all awake and enjoying the sunrise and our approach to Wellington Harbour.  We heard an almighty crash and as we were all looking at each other wondering what in the world just happened, we heard another crash – Jodi and I quickly ran out to the stern and saw that we had just hit a submerged log, impossible to see and incredibly dangerous to boaties.  As we were figuring out what to do next, we heard the engine making a racket and smoke coming out the stern on the starboard side.  Captain B quickly turned the engine off to ensure no further damage was done through a turning drive shaft and prop.  After we all shared a few well justified expletives, Captain B was amazing, he quickly assessed the situation, stayed remarkably calm, and hatched a plan.  Now without engines, we determined it was too deep to anchor (90m of water), Captain B called the Coastguard and followed through on informing them of our situation and seeking assistance.  Stu was a superstar and quickly ran down to the engine room to manually pump the lift pump to see if we could re-start and use the Port engine we’d lost earlier to get us into Wellington safely, avoid other vessels (there was a huge ship, the Celebrity Solstice entering the harbour at the same time) and to avoid drifting into any other hazards.

Our heart rates were up and we were all trying to figure out how best to assist Captain B in ensuring the boat was safe.  The manual pumping of the lift pump helped us get the engine started but it quickly failed on running.  Stu and Captain B decided to keep pumping the lift pump which seemed to work keep us safely under power.  Stu and I took turns in the engine room pumping the pump manually, it seemed to work a treat and we were told that fuel flows looked good, so that’s what we did for the next few hours as Captain B arranged an alternate spot at Seaview Marina with the knowledge the boat needed a lift out of the water to assess any damage done by the log.  A volunteer Coastguard crew were there to meet us on entry and followed us until we were safely tied up in the marina.  The Coastguard team tied off next to us and came aboard for a coffee and some chocolate biscuits.  I knew those biscuits would come in handy.

 

After relaxing when we were all safely tied off, we hit the town for some well-earned refreshments and amazing food at Dockside in Wellington.  We reflected on the experience and had a short debrief.  There was nothing more we could have done, it was sheer bad luck and Captain B did a superb job of ensuring vessel and crew safety, the number one job of a skipper, and he did it perfectly.  I learnt much as I watched how he and Jodi handled the situation, what a great team.

Crew safely at Seaview.png

We spotted a helicopter tour company across the street and thought it was entirely appropriate to ask them to drop us back at the boat, or close to it.  They tried their best to find a spot to land but it couldn’t be done so we booked a chopper tour for the day after.  We went back to the boat for more refreshments and enjoyed sitting in the sun and chatting about life and love, had some waltz lessons then hit the town again for an unreal dinner at Ortega followed by a highly competitive ‘boys versus girls’ few rounds of pool.  I can’t remember who won but think that the girls held it down and represented well.  Waiting for an Uber, we did some more waltzing with each other and a random homeless man then headed to the boat for a well-earned sleep!

It was an absolutely epic week, I now want to live on a boat and be a chopper pilot, thanks Jodi and Bennett for sharing a little bit of the journey with us, it was an amazing adventure and the week of a lifetime!  Your enthusiasm for life is so contagious.  Oprah Winfrey once said this about legacies, your legacy is the sum of all the people you have influenced, yours is going to be massive.  I’ve invited myself back on board after promising to do more dishes next time and can’t wait.

Leah hangin on the phone.png

 

 

 

 

First Crew, First Guest Blogger!

Our first Guest Blog!  Here’s Stuart Bloomfield’s take on his time with us in Napier.  Thank Stu!

Adventure beckoned when Jodi and Bennett invited me to crew the Napier to Wellington passage of their Aotearoa figure eight circumnavigation with Leah. Trip of a lifetime!

Sunday November 12th – Love a welcoming committee and got just that when I wandered into the Napier Sailing Club after touching down in Napier from Auckland. Bunch of clubbies watching the ABs/French test greeted me. Jodi knew the manager from a past squash club and set it up – thanks!

At half time I set foot on Resolution 3 for the first time and it has the wow factor.

Reso outside club

Could wax lyrical for ages on how stylish, resilient, well equipped and appointed it is but recommend the reader finds out for themselves (even the engine room is roomy and spotless). Thanks skipper Bennett for making my bed, no sleeping bags on this vessel, just fresh linen.

Strong southerlies and a big swell were forecast to abate early Tuesday so our departure time was set for 4:30am. Crew mate Leah was due that evening so we set off on the 5-6km anti-clockwise walk round Napier bluff hill to the central city. Got a taste of gang presence on the first stretch with MM emblazoned on the hoody of a member who was ute browsing. Nothing threatening.

Once arrived in central Napier we sought out the popular Bistronomy cafe for lunch. It was booked out for the wine and food festival so we headed to Mr Google’s choice of cafe Mr D. En route sweet live music drew us down an alleyway to Monica’s Love cafe. One of those offbeat cool spots that you luck upon in your travels (couple of locals later told us they were surprised we found it). Anyway, spent the next hour and a half enjoying tapas, Rose and a cheeky Chardonnay with a singer banging out a funky song mix throughout – hard to beat. The cafe name came from the owners seeing it on a painting/mural in NE Spain – for GOT fans it’s the city in Spain where they walked naked down the street.

Monica 2

Back on foot we took the 6km seaside route back past huge breakers, a massive pool complex, towering cliffs, the port and a fishing boat line up of all shapes and sizes

Fishing Boats

(I love boat spotting). Bennett made us stop for a beer on the way.

Beer Stop 2

Got back to resolution in time to greet lovely Leah. She arrived remarkably fresh given her epic travel schedule from Singapore via Hong Kong, Melbourne and Auckland. Once settled we snuck into the nearby Thai for dinner just before closing. Wee bit blurry after that as had a night cap or two before crashing. Cracking first day!

Monday November 13th – Jodi made us a divine breakfast with lashings of everything (mushrooms, bacon, sausages, eggs, tomatoes …). I doubt anyone in the bay had better.

My stepbrother Carl Rowling paid a visit and of course Bennett knew him from business dealings 20+ years earlier! Man J and B are well connected.

Stu's bro

Shot off for a site tour of Carl and Meghan’s cliff top renovation overlooking the old jail and the mighty Pacific.

Stu's Bro's house

Will be back when the guest room is finished. Back at Resolution Leah was plotting our course to Castlepoint at 7.5 knots. Great use of her Coastal Skippers course and realisation for me that I had forgotten most of my Boat Masters course.

Lunch was booked at Craggy Range. The stunning coastal and orchard-lined drive there jogged memories of past holidays in hot Hawkes Bay. Appetite whet we savoured the luscious vineyard setting

Bulls at Craggy Range

and stepped down into the domed restaurant.

Crew at Craggy Range

The food winner was, believe it or not, the bread and Camembert infused butter capped with a dash of honey.  The Rose and Chardonnays were divine and a special mention to the lamb tartare and Flinstone steak for three.

Safety first when sailing and we enforced the 12-hour alcohol embargo on Te Mata Peak dwarfing Craggy Range.

View from Te Mata or CR

 

Back at Resolution we were stepped through a Bennett led full safety briefing. Kicked off with Leah and I properly fitting and stashing our life jackets through to setting watch times finishing with cast off roles and timing. Another cracking day!

Tuesday November 14th – To sea!! All hands on deck at 4am and cast off for CastlePoint. Real buzz aboard.

Loving Napier

Got a bit of a fright waking up to this view!

Napier Sailing Club through window of Reso

That’s right, we’re outside a sailing club. Must remember that! Today was planned for another chore day (double groan). With our first crew arriving and after our rough and tumble trip into Napier, the ship was in need of some cleaning.

But before undertaking hard labour like that, we needed food. We walked into town to another of Wayne’s recommendations, Milk & Honey. Turns out that we had actually been there the last time we visited the Hawke’s Bay but we had approached it from the Napier end by car. We had no idea that around the corner behind the cafe was the marina and the sailing club. One of the fishing boats was unloading their catch into a truck. They use a crane which I think is shared amongst all of the fishing boats, or at least hired by each of them as and when required.

Unloading Fish in Napier

We vacuumed, dusted, and polished – I always forget just how much wood is on our boat. I fell short of doing the ceiling – one I can’t reach it and two the dust doesn’t sit on it like it does on all the other surfaces. The sailing club had a laundry so it was the perfect time to wash the bed linen too. God I love mundane tasks – NOT! But, as I’m so often reminded, it’s important to keep on top of keeping the ship ”ship shape”!

Laundry in Napier.jpg

Shelly popped in to say hi and invited us up to her sister’s place that night for wine and snacks and potentially heading into town for a drink. Such a nice invite and one we couldn’t say no to! I was now excited about the night and had already forgotten about the mundane tasks!

Shelly was going to swing by at 6pm to pick us up. After a hard days work we decided to have a quick drink prior. There was a Christmas function on at the club at 6pm, so timing was perfect. We met a couple who were on their way home to Christchurch from spending 4.5 years on their yacht with their two sons!. Wow… I thought 4.5 months was a long time. The mum home-schools the boys with the help of some correspondence teachers. They were also heading to Wellington on Tuesday and the boys were going to meet their correspondence teachers for the first time after being taught by them for the 4.5 years. So cool. The guy was super experienced and had a lot of wisdom to share.

Shelly and Phil swung by to pick us up and we were off. I love family get-togethers – even when it’s not my whanau! Her sister Nicki didn’t live too far away so before we knew it we were inside their house, wine in hand and meeting all the friendly folk that were there. So much fun! It didn’t take long for other mutual connections to be made from our respective family and friends. Also discovered that Shelly’s step-dad was in the Navy and was on the vessel Resolution and her brother-in-law worked on the vessel Resolution 2. For us to have Resolution 3, it was a great discovery.

As often happens when consuming wine, we were ready to party on at the end of the night. So our soba driver (thanks Phil) drove us to The Gin Trap. A band called The Naked Guns were playing – Shelly explained that they were ‘squashies’ (squash players). They were amazing! We all had a good boogie and Shelly and I did a few handstands to finish the night off. What a blast. Thank you Nicki, Shelly and family for your heartfelt hospitality – nothing like it!

The next morning started off considerably slower than the one before! A little dusty we decided to return to Milk & Honey as their food rocked. This time I chose the Creamy Mushrooms, Hash Browns and Poached Eggs – just what the doctor ordered!

We needed to get back to the boat for Stuart’s arrival. I first met Stuart through my work at SimplHealth and we soon became drinking buddies! He has a boat and was keen to crew a leg with us. As I walked past the club I heard some knocking on one of the window. It was Shelly – the All Black / French game was on at the club. We diverted our path and settled in to watch while we waited for Stu. I txt him to let him know to come inside the club. He said he always liked a welcoming party, so I organised him one. The local team of boat dwellers that were watching the game were all ready to greet Stu on his arrival. You guys did a splendid job, thanks!

At half time, we showed Stuart the boat (I didn’t realise he hadn’t seen it) and Captain B showed him the two cabins he and Leah had to choose from. Back to the club for the remainder of the game – not a great watch but we got the win.

Now time to plan our day in Napier…

Rolling into Napier

A nice anchorage but the wind had strengthened and turned overnight as forecast. Plenty of time for some breakfast before leaving on our journey to Napier.  52 nautical miles and approximately 7 hours travelling.  Today’s breakfast menu was herbed chilli eggs, tomatoes with basil and avocado smash with feta, lemon and mint. We ate around 8:30am and up anchored around 0900 hours.

Breakfast out of Gisborne

I was doing the dishes as Captain B was raising the anchor. I could tell from the noises I was hearing that the anchor was not behaving. I was called to the helm and B went up to the bow to try and sort out the problem. The anchor had come up but it wouldn’t turn around the right way to be brought home onto the rollers. I kept the boat steady and at times slowly moved us back out of the bay as there was a strong wind blowing us towards shore and it was low tide. Last thing we needed at this point was to be grounded!  After a number of tries and the use of a boat hook Captain B managed to bring the anchor fully up onto the rollers. He secured the anchor keep and put the anchor lock on whilst I slowly started us off towards Napier. After having said my bit last night about how amazing it is that we have had no issues, I decided that this was a quick reminder how things can go wrong as minor as this little issue was!

The weather was not at all as good as yesterdays and we were abeam the swell. We have hydraulic stabilisers that help keep the boat steady, even in big seas. They were working a treat and we were comfortably on our way to Napier. Captain B had been in touch with Shelly who managed the Napier Sailing Club and we knew we had an adequate berth waiting for us.

It was Friday today and Stuart and Leah were arriving on Sunday.  These would be our first “crew guests” to join us on our first 24+ hour passage from Napier to Wellington.  Captain B would neither confirm nor deny, however I rather suspect that he worked in a few pre-dawn departures and 13 hour passages to get me comfortable with the thought of a full overnight passage.  Well, either way, it worked because I had somehow shifted from being quite concerned to actually looking forward to it!

With bad weather forecast all the way down the coast, Tuesday was going to be the best day to travel south.   The Wairarapa was to be the second “infamous” bit of coast to traverse after East Cape and we were happy to pause in Napier and enjoy the last of the Hawkes Bay FAWC (Food & Wine Classic) before launching in favorable conditions.

The weather outside was not pleasant and we got a bit of rain to add to the wind and swells. Another visit from some dolphins was a nice distraction. Excuse the recording from inside the boat.

At 1030 hours, we thought that the engines has made a funny revving noise (out of synch). We are so tuned to the engine noise, we noticed it straight away with a “what the hell is that?”.  At the same time our port engine staring beeping with a “Low oil pressure” warning. We quickly shut down the engine and then started to catch up with what was going on.  We were quickly reminded that the stabilisers work off the hydraulic pump on the port engine. The boat started rolling sideways in the waves and items that hadn’t previously needed to be fully secured were hitting the floor! We’ve had this happen before and I race around putting tea-towels in-between the soda stream and the jug, squishing miso packets in-between all the oil and other bottles above the microwave, putting the chopping boards on the floor, shoving bags against cupboards that have been known to fly open, etc! Luckily Mr B had upgraded some of those old and tired latches!

It’s always so hard to capture the roughness of the water or the extent of a roll, but I tried with this video:

From the engine’s perspective, Captain B was pretty sure it was an issue with the sensor rather than the oil pressure itself. I took the helm while he went into the engine room to see if he could see anything obvious. He reported that there was plenty of oil in the engine, no spills and that the oil pump was gear driven and would have made a bit more noise had it failed.  Further more, the oil pressure appeared to drop to zero instantaneously and, in real life, you’d loose pressure more gradually over time.

We had talked about the likelihood that, with the extensive work we had done to the boat to get ready for the voyage, things were bound to go wrong before they settle in. It’s always nice to have a ’shake down’ cruise or two before any big adventure. Not so fortunate this time.

We were pretty sure it was a false alarm, however rather than risk damaging the engine, we thought it best to call the engineers in Auckland and ask for their advice. Murphy’s Law, we picked up the cellphone and there was no coverage. Having redundancy for just about everything on board, Captain B used the Satellite Phone. We got through to the company, hit the extension of the service group and finally heard a human answer “Hello”. The only issue with the satellite phone is that is has a  delay – reminds me of the old international calls years ago. B started talking and then we heard “Hello?” and click, buzz. He had hung up on us!  Crickey, really?  We decided it was way too risky to turn the engine over and also too rough for B to start taking things apart in the engine room. So, this would be us until we hit Napier in about 4 hours.

Surprisingly, we still managed around 6.5 knots only on one engine. When cellphone coverage returned, Captain B called the engineer back. He agreed that it is most likely to be the sensor connection, but he certainly didn’t want to encourage us to try the engine! He gave us a number of things we could go into the engine room and diagnose but we kindly explained to him that with the side on roll of the boat with no stablizers, we had no intension of playing engineer today.

You surfers out there will know that waves come in sets and some are bigger than others. Every now and again we would experience a huge roll and we had to hold on tight not to be thrown across the pilot house. By now, everything was on the floor! It certainly made going below to use the toilet an interesting experience. We took turns helming to provide each other with some relief (pun intended).  George the autopilot could not equal manual helming in these conditions, as “he” cannot see the “7th wave” coming from some odd angle to the swell.  The weather was getting worse and it became very uncomfortable.

We were making way more like a yacht, tacking across the waves on a 45 degree angle and turning straight onto the big ones. This however, does not have you go in a straight line, takes longer and therefore keeps you in these seas for longer. It’s often a tradeoff and we really didn’t have any choice in the matter! Captain B updated Maritime NZ Radio and Coastguard Napier to let them know that we were travelling on only one engine and were otherwise fine. Coastguard would be on standby if we needed any assistance. Our 7-hour trip was now going to be 9 hours.

As Mr B rolls, he had already called our engineers in Auckland to get a name of a company in Napier to call about the sensor. The guy Kerry was lined up to visit the boat this afternoon on arrival. And it was a Friday!

The angle of the waves was not ideal for our entry into Napier and we had to tack way high of the entry and then gybe back down and out of the swell. We were so looking forward to being tied up to the dock! Finally we were entering the calm marina.

We called Shelly to let her know that we were on our way in and that being on one engine, our maneuverability was not great. She said she would come out, wave us to our new home and help us with the ropes. A gorgeous spot right outside the Napier Sailing Club was waiting for us. I was on the bow with the rope ready to throw ashore and looked up. “Shelly!”, she responds “Jodi!”. We used to play squash together years ago. Small world. It was so nice to see a familiar face and to have her there to help us tie up. Big hugs!

Couldn’t have been happier to be beside land! And if you are wondering why there aren’t too many photos on this blog, well I was holding on too tight to be able to use my phone!

Park outside Napier Yacht Club

Mr B received a phone call from an industry colleague and friend, Wayne Norrie. He and his wife Cath have decided to make the move from Wellington and build a house in Napier. He was down at the boat about half an hour after we landed and said “right you guys, I’m taking you for a drink on land”. No arguments from me. The Napier Sailing Club is in the area of Ahuriri and there are a row of cool restaurants and bars. Wayne took us to one of his favourites Shed 2. The wine went down a treat but the table kept moving! I’ve experienced this many times from boating over the years and its always worse depending on how much movement there has been on the boat. I like to learn something new every day and today I decided to do some research on what this is all about.  It’s called Mal de debarquement syndrome.  A French term meaning “sickness from disembarkation”.  Turns out what we commonly feel is referred to as “land sickness” and not a serious neurological inner ear issue of the full syndrome. Well… there you go!

After the first wine, Kerry called to say he was on his way to the boat.  Surely we were ‘that job’ that was unplanned and between him and the end of his week (which I’m hoping included Friday night drinks). Mr B ran back to meet him and I stayed on with Wayne until Cath joined us. They were off to a FAWC evening. Wayne made sure he armed me with all of his favourite restaurants in town before he left.

Back at the boat, Kerry was already leaving. Sure enough, it was a lose wire on the sensor. He fixed that one and tightened up all the others while he was there. He also suggested that we paint all of the screws with neoprene paint so the vibrations of the engine wouldn’t loosen them. I love practical advice like that. Kerry refused to charge us for his work nor even have a beer. Mr B said that would never happen in Auckland. Kerry responded with a smile “That’s why I don’t live there”.  Gotta Love provincial NZ!

It was just before 6pm and Shelly had let us know that there was a guest speaker at the club tonight. Matt Spechmann, shore crew on Groupama for the America’s Cup campaign. We grabbed a bottle of wine and found a seat to listen in. Having been to Bermuda to experience the Louis Vuitton Cup, it was awesome to get another perspective. The shore crew clearly felt that they had the harder job! We got to meet Shelly’s partner Phil and the Commodore of the club, Ken. Shelly and Phil live on their yacht in the marina so we were now technically neighbours.

We walked into the Aruhiri town and found the local Indian restaurant for dinner. Walked past a number of the local fishing boats – they must be seriously tough guys to be working on these vessels.  Great murals all around Aruhiri too!

Then off to bed after a very full on day!  BTW… our parking spot was premium!

Reso outside NSC from street

 

 

Mahia Peninsular

Up early but this time at the reasonable hour of 0700 hours. Like so many of our planned trips, the ideal is to be able to anchor overnight on the way to the next port to break the trip up and avoid too many long passages. The ability to do so is always weather dependent. Today’s trip was planned from Gisborne to the other side of the Mahia Peninsular. A total of about 60 nautical miles (8 hours).

Plan to Mahia
Passage plan to Mahia

The forecast was favorable so we threw off the lines bound for the Peninsular. A smooth exit of the marina but low and behold, we timed our departure at the same time as another ship movement.  This time it was preparing to leave the dock.  We couldn’t raise anyone on either CH16 or the harbor channel.  The tugs were in place but not yet engaged so we scooted behind them, but this time with no wake to fight. Another fishing boat, waiting to get into port, greeted us at the harbour entrance.

We were heading to the Mahia Peninsula. This is a halfway point between Gisborne and Napier, however to get into the shelter of the peninsular and right into Mahia Bay for the night, we did need to travel further than half way. Mahia Bay is on other side of the landmass peninsular from Mahia itself. (See the yellow star on the map below).

Gisborne to Mahia on google

Good weather and easy motoring as we crossed Poverty Bay. We decided that with the huge dinner we had last night that we’d skip breakfast altogether today.

The trip was pretty non-eventful which is what we like when travelling on the water. The peninsular was long and relatively baron of towns or villages. Only the town of Whareata could be seen on the charts. We were too far off-shore to be able to see any of it in any detail. I must confess that I get soon bored on these long passages. When our Vodafone Rural Broadband has coverage the boredom is helped with surfing the net, Facebook, txting friends and family. Lots of reading, helming and talking also help. Another tuna salad served in a lettuce cup was the requested lunch option.

There was a fair bit of wind blowing outside and one of our side doors was rattling terribly. Mr B and I discovered many years ago that neither of us can stand rattles, knocking sounds or creaking. There have been many an evening on the boat where we can hear something knocking and spend a good hour hunting it down to be able to get to sleep. Mr B had a solution immediately of the door rattle. He did use a door stop, just in a different way!  Genius.

Door Stop

Before we rounded the end of the peninsular I noticed a strange looking building up on the top of the cliff. It didn’t look like a house and seemed industrial and in the middle of nowhere. Actually, just a little weird. Thankfully I took photo of it as in talking to Marcel van den Assum (ex-Chairman of SimplHealth) he asked if we had seen the Rocket Lab Launch Facility. Um… no, I don’t think so. Oh… yes, that strange building we saw. Sure enough that is exactly what it was.  Cool huh?!

Rocket Lab Launching Pad

On the way we decided the weather was good enough to go in between the Mahia Peninsular and Portland Island. With lots of rocks and a reef to avoid we would not have done this in bad weather. I went outside to look out from the bow to ensure there wasn’t anything unexpected in the water. It was totally fine and saved us time in having to go around the Island.

The trip continued in it’s uneventful manner and we found a gorgeous anchorage just up from the village. Grand cliffs were amazing to look at, especially as the sun went down. The weather was also kind enough to allow us to sit outside for our drinks and snacks. It was at this time I said something I would later regret. “The boat has been going so well. We haven’t had any issues at all”. I did touch the wood of the table!

Other side of the Mahia P

We had our store-bought snapper for dinner. Lightly fried in butter with an asparagus, zucchini ribbon and quinoa salad. Yum! After a week or so on board, it starts becoming a priority to eat up any of the fresh produce that may be tiring. I’ve learnt over the years the order in which to eat the veggies. Today I had zucchini and asparagus to eat up. Another thing I like to do is simply google the ingredients I have and see what recipes come up. Tonight’s choice was actually a recipe for halloumi. And although i had some, it lasts a long time, so I simply exchanged it for the snapper. It worked a treat and certainly a recipe to keep and repeat.

Fish Dinner

All in all, a great day with good progress made on our trip. We were going to make it to Napier the following day which would give us 2 days before our crew, Stuart and Leah arrived for the passage to Wellington.