Landlocked in Havelock

With our guests gone we are back in the Havelock marina and all was very quiet. Not a sound in the house, not even a mouse.

Havelock is another coastal village similar to Picton at the head of the Pelorus Sound. The population is around 500 peeps and the road between Nelson and Blenheim passes through the town. And although they don’t have too many people, they are the centre of the green-lipped mussel industry in NZ (more on this later in the piece).  It was gold in 1864 that led to the growing township, then sawmilling and then dairying.

00 Havelock

What I found most interesting about Havelock’s history is that it is named after Sir Henry Havelock, known from the Siege of Lucknow during the Indian Rebellion in 1857. The main street at that time was called Lucknow Street. With my father being born in Lucknow, India, it was a cool link!

Another interesting piece of trivia that the Malborough Marina group are very proud of is that Malborough only makes up 1% of the country’s population but they have 20% of the coastline.

09 Marlborough Stats

Today was boat maintenance time again.

Two key issues. Firstly, the hydraulics. B wondered if there was a leak in the system somewhere as the winch would let the anchor “creep” out. He also was still keen to explore a redundancy option should we lose the engine that pumps the hydraulic fluid for the stabilisers.

The other was the batteries again. These were still playing up and just didn’t seem to work as well as they used to. When we were in town with the kids, the chandlery Bow to Stern referred us to a company called the Owen Brothers who are known around town as the O Bro’s. They were fully booked up so they referred us to a guy called Mark. What a find! Mark and B sat down in the cockpit and talked through the issues at hand.

34 Mark's Number plate

Turns out that one of our house batteries (we have four) is dead. Another is dying and the other two won’t be far behind. They’ve been in the boat for about 5 years so it’s just one of those things. I would expect another five years out of them, but what would I know! However, I can’t help but think that this was the reason the electrics have been playing up and why the TV and lights kicked the bucket when we were in the Queen Charlotte Sounds. We ordered new batteries and decided to stay overnight to be here when they arrived the following day.

B was also concerned that we potentially had fuel in the oil – which is not good! He arranged with the local engineering firm to get an Oil Analysis Kit to send away a sample of the oil to get tested.  This needs to be posted to Christchurch for testing.

04 Oil Analysis Kit.png

Another guy Carl from FPS Solutions came to the boat to look at what was happening with the hydraulics. Unfortunately, after a day rummaging around swapping bits of componentry, he was none the wiser. The manuals were out but the puzzle remained.

01 Carl and the hydraulics

While all this engineering work was underway, I opted to get the washing done. We had a couple of loads and although we do have a condenser washer/dryer on the boat, marinas prefer that you use their facilities to keep the water as clean as possible. And their machines are commercial grade, big and do a great job. So, I went to the laundry where a load was already underway, but no queue.

02 Washing Room

For all those of you who have stayed at camping grounds with shared facilities, there is a certain etiquette. Following this, I put my bag of laundry at the base of the machine to clearly show that I was next. Not to mention we have a bright red laundry bag that can’t exactly be missed.

07 Inside the laundry

To help get me through these terribly mundane and domestic jobs, I often call my sisters while I work (and before you say anything you two, I call you other times too)! The machine was on the final spin, which is quite noisy, so I popped out of the room and stood beside it. I saw an elderly lady coming towards the room with a bag and an armful of what looked like toilet mats. I mentioned to her when she opened the door that there was a queue. I didn’t think I needed to explain that the red bag was next and the queue was me! She was taking some time so I told my sister to hold on and I popped my head back inside the door to see her putting another load in the machine. Huh? I calmly asked, “Are you putting another load on?”. Again, kind of obvious why I asked. Her response without looking around and hurriedly stuffing her mats into the machine said “Yes, I’m putting my next load on. It won’t take long. It’s only 20 minutes”.

Wow, the freaking cheek of it. Being in her 70’s I couldn’t say what I really thought but I was not happy. My poor sister got the download and her advice was for me to make friends with the woman and take her for a cup of tea. Thanks Tanya, but that was soooo not going to happen. When I returned 30 minutes later she was standing outside the room and quickly headed inside when she saw me. I opened the door to have her say “Sorry for holding you up but I’m done now”. My only thought was “If you were really sorry, you wouldn’t have pushed in young lady”. But my mother always taught me that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. It is very unlike me to say nothing, but I did just that.  As I walked back to the boat, I did snigger to myself about how something could annoy me so much when actually I had all the time in the world and had nowhere to be. I suppose that injustice in any setting gets up my nose. Where’s that Shakti mat?

There was a campground next door and I now think that maybe they share the facilities with the marina. There is a property (made out of caravans) that seriously looks like it has been there for at least 30 years.  All I can say is “Young lady, I know where you live”!

05 Washing Ladies House

It was time to get off the boat and go for a walk. I was keen to see if we could visit a Mussel Factory to see how they process them from the barges, many of which pass our boat all day heading to the factories form the many “farms” around the area.

08 Mussel Barge

And although poor Carl wasn’t able to resolve our hydraulic issue, he certainly knows about mussels! He, like many of the other locals here in Havelock, have some equity in the mussel farms. I was telling him that we got some mussels off a farm last week for dinner. He reassured us that the companies do not mind at all if people take the mussels. And here’s why…

There are 600 farms in the Marlborough Sounds alone. Each farm has 10 lines and each line is 160 metres in length. They farm 25 tonnes per line! If my math is working correctly, that’s 150,000 tonnes of mussels!  He said if the entire Havelock marina took mussels for every meal, there would still be plenty to harvest and the industry wants to preserve goodwill with the local boaties (shared use). The mussel industry in NZ is around $375 million and that’s out of a $500 million total aquaculture industry. The remainder being oysters and salmon.

If you are ever in Havelock, there are cruises you can go on that will not only take you out to the gorgeous waters of the Pelorus Sound but also educate you on NZ’s mussel farming industry. Here is one of the cruise boats that was on our pier.

17 The Mail Boat - Daily Mussel Tours

There are two main factories here in Havelock; Talley’s and Sanford’s. It was such a lovely evening we decided to head towards the water where the Sanfords factory was.

On the way, we found the Pelorus Boating Club. There wasn’t much going on and similar to a number of the local boating clubs, they are closed most days. I’m sure they have a club day when they open their doors.

Although the factory was in full swing, it was after normal working hours and therefore not that inviting. I think if the office had been open, we could have asked there for a tour. We decided to do our own tour around the outside of the factory and then walked down the other end of Havelock where the Tally’s factory is. There were guys working on cleaning and seeding ropes for the farms.

The winch issue remains unresolved. B hadn’t done the oil test kits yet and wanted this done so he could post them away in the morning! We had not eaten since breakfast (‪at around 9:30am) and it was now ‪7pm. A frustrating wait while B filled up the test kits and one was rather hangry by the time we headed out for dinner! It had also been another scorcher of a day reaching 28 degrees.

Even in our hungry states, we wanted to eat at the Captain’s Daughter again, only to be told on arrival that their kitchen stove was out of action and they couldn’t do dinner service. It was back to the Slip Inn. It was a beautiful evening and the hills of Havelock looked fabulous from the restaurant. The food was nothing to rave about unfortunately but the view certainly made up for it.

On the way into town for breakfast the following morning, I put another load of washing on. B being B, he had the Oil Analysis Kit in hand. As we walked up the street to the post office, B spotted the NZ Post Rural Delivery van. He booted it across the road and intercepted the NZ Post women emptying a post box. She didn’t seem to mind and added our oil to her pile. Job done, now we can eat.

28 B intercepting the rural post

It was back to the Captain’s Daughter for breakfast. We sat out on the back deck and, after putting my order in, I was able to use Brett’s Bridge behind the restaurant to go and switch the washing into the dryer after the 20 minutes it takes to do a washing load.

Bridge and Captains Daughter

There was slight confusion over our order and we ended up with only one meal. It was big enough to share and we were happy with that!

In walking back to the boat we went through the campground which is quite open. We noticed that a number of the trees had fruit on them – apples, pears and peaches.

30 Community Orchard 2

Then we saw the sign that it is a Community Orchard,

29 Community Orchard

What a great idea.

I got another blog out while B worked on trying to figure out the hydraulic issue.

The batteries arrived ‪around 2pm. The lovely Mark brought them to the boat in a couple of trolleys. What I didn’t quite appreciate is that these batteries each weigh about 45kg. To take the current ones out and replace them in the tight area in the engine room is no easy task. And it is certainly not a ‘one man job’.

31 Batteries

Both B and Mark had not seen the brand before and were concerned to know if they were the right ones and the best ones. After a number of phone calls to a number of the marine electric industry, we had some trusted feedback that they would indeed be OK. These are not something you want to install and then have to swap out again!

B got his activewear on and off they went! Poor Mark, like all the engineers working on the boats, he needs to comply with Health & Safety regulations and wear full length, fire resistant overalls. Ironically it was about 36 degrees in the engine room today, so he would surely die of heat exhaustion before a fire would get to him!

I made some chicken liver pate while these guys worked tirelessly in removing the old batteries and installing the new. They have to navigate onto the boat from the pier, down our stairs and into the tight spaces in the engine room. They have definitely had their cardio and weight training for the week at least!

The most astonishing thing of all was that when all the house batteries were removed, the gauge that we manage the batteries off, still read 23.4 volts! WTF?  We can only put it down to larger firms in Auckland using multiple team members and no-one checking the work thoroughly at the end of the job. They had hooked up the sensor of our house batteries to our starter batteries! No wonder we were confused about what was happening!

We ate dinner at Captain’s Daughter again and it was just as yummy as the first time! Missing my Asian food, I opted for a Thai Chicken Curry and B the Salmon Linguine I had last time. Unfortunately, my curry wasn’t exactly an Asian version – more like a Kiwi Curry.

The next morning I cooked breakfast on the boat including some of my favourite Black Pudding. When I was young and didn’t eat much at all, my mum got me eating ‘black sausage’. I had no idea what I was eating but really liked the taste. It wasn’t until about 20 years later that I realised what black pudding actually was. I’ve found that it’s become ‘trendy’ in a number of the cafes and I still love the taste.

37 Breakfast on 17th

It was clear that for some of the things I wanted on the boat, I was not going to be able to source them in Havelock. It was online shopping time! We were planning to be in Nelson in about 2 weeks, so that was the best option for a delivery address. It is strange not having your own address! I may have got carried away a little, but after an hour online, I had 9 parcels winging their way to Nelson Marina. So exciting!

As I’m sure many of you are aware, my blogs are not a twitter feed of up to the minute activity! I used the downtime (well maintenance time for the boat) in Havelock to get writing and get another blog published.

Mark was back to finish off the battery installation. B managed to give himself a huge shock while he was sorting out the battery charger! He forgot to turn off the circuit before putting the cover back on after checking that his work was successful. Youch! Maybe he’s not a fully qualified electrician just yet. But…. boy has he learnt heaps. I’m still trying to get over the fact that the battery reading that we have been managing our battery usage was attached to the wrong battery! I’d like to find the muppet that did that and get them to pay for the satellite TV unit we had to replace! I don’t know how B stays so calm in these situations. Best I leave him to deal with the maintenance!

34 The Electrical Team

The lid to the top of the box where the batteries live did not have any ventilation and Mark thought it should. B walked into town with the lid to see what he could get done. He discovered a Menz Shed. They let him use the shed and drill the holes himself.

Having never heard of them before, I googled it. In a nutshell “Menz Shed brings men together in one community space to share their skills, have a laugh, and work on practical tasks individually (personal projects) or as a group (for the Shed or community)”.  It turns out they have them in 14 regions around NZ. How very cool. B was stoked that he got to do his own handy work and proud of the outcome.

40 B happy with his handy work

I made a very random lunch of Bok Choy and Pork & Fennel Sausages. I was really just trying to use up the Bok Choy that was going to go bad soon if I didn’t. It’s the one thing I find when we are stuck in a marina – we prefer to eat out, but there is leftover food in the fridges that need to be eaten. Not my best work.

It was also now pouring with rain and not the weather to go out walking for the sake of it. It was definitely an online day – lots of emails, texts and phone calls.

I used the opportunity to see what other food we had on board that really should be eaten up. Rummaging through the freezer I spotted the crayfish from Ngawi. Yum! I made another simple crayfish salad mixture and we ate it on lettuce. So yummy!

Crayfish Salad 2

For dessert, we had blueberries with homemade yoghurt, chopped pistachios and maple syrup!

47 Dessert

We woke up the following morning and decided it was high time that we did our blood pressure checks. With my family history of high blood pressure, I bought an Omron blood pressure machine years ago and had it recalibrated just before we left. B’s blood pressure is always excellent which is also a good check on the accuracy of the readings on that day. Mine was not so good – definitely too high! Funny thing is that I’m not too sure what I’m supposed to do about it while I’m on the boat. I decided I’d book in to see my doctor the next time I was in Auckland – just to be on the safe side.

We skipped back to the Slip Inn for breakie. We both chose the eggs benedict with no bread but asked to have them served on mushrooms instead – mine with salmon and B’s with bacon. They were good!

Bellies full, it was time to get back out on the water. This time to explore D’Urville Island before heading to Nelson.

Final engine checks and we’re off.

49 B putting final touches on the batteries

It had been raining quite heavily overnight and the channel was brown and covered in logs and other debris. Not pretty.

56 Debris in the water

I cleared the fenders off the side of the boat

50 Leaving Havelock in the rain

while Captain B diligently navigated us back out into the Pelorus Sound. This time bound for D’Urville Island and beyond.

50 Leaving Havelock

Farewell Havelock! Thanks for having us.

Click here to see our ‘up to the minute’ track on the map




One Reply to “Landlocked in Havelock”

  1. Omg Jodi. I never knew you could write novels and tourist brochures? A change of career could be in order. All very interesting and entertaining as well as resonating with us. Been there, done that with a lot of what you outlined. BOAT. Break out another thousand !! Plus I had similar experience in kerikeri cruising club except my queue jumper was a pregnant mum who’d been sailing (from US) with hubby and 1 yo for 3 years. I reckon she didn’t do any laundry till they arrived here!! Good luck with it all x

    Liked by 1 person

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