Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Anchored in the Hatea River...

This might be our last email before Christmas. Hooray we hear you say!! We have been anchored in the Hatea River, Whangarei (off the Norsand Boatyard) for a week while we dealt with a sail issue and a problem with our engine starting. We have finally traced the latter to a faulty ignition switch and hopefully will have a new switch installed on Friday. What fascinating news we can hear you say. But it is important to us (just like your phone call!!) as you never know when you might need the iron sail. We have had the car at Norsand so have been able to go ashore and do all the land based things whenever necessary; the downside is that we are strengthening the umbilical ties to the land again. Can't have that.
Noel and Litara asked us to break bread with them on "Sina" last Friday and we travelled up there to the marina in our 2.3 metre inflatable dinghy with 2.2 hp. outboard - a distance of about 2 miles further up river. At 3-4 knots that's a half hour trip. We had a very pleasant time with them and then had the return journey down river to negotiate at around midnight - at low tide. Fortunately the effects of the wine had worn off somewhat and, apart from running aground off the old fertiliser wharf we made the journey without falling in or any other incident. There were one or two arguments with the crew as to which channel markers we were looking at - hence the running aground. It seems that the skipper needs to be more assertive!! It happens when the crew has successfully completed a Boatmaster course and they think they know something!! In fact they probably do. Old greybeard skippers need to lift their game!
On Friday we are going upriver again to the Town Basin Marina - this time on "Tiare". We will leave her there while we drive down to Auckland on the 23rd. to spend Christmas with Gina's (Jean's) extended family who are truly international with many members in NZ for the first time in a few years. It promises to be a fairly hilarious time.
Our plans after that are to sail south in and around the Hauraki Gulf and also north - maybe up to North Cape. We plan to do some overnight passages to get used to the watchkeeping routine before we set off seriously for Vanuatu and points north. In between we need to do some serious yachting - none of this poncing about staying in nice sheltered anchorages! Then we are hauling out again late in March for last minute maintenance before the big OE.
In the meantime we hope everyone has a very happy Christmas and we'll not only look forward to hearing your news, but also to further regaling you with ours. "Oh no" we hear you say!!
Cheers and lots of love,
Jim and Gina (Jean)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Heading south

Hi everyone,

We are now heading south and are at Mimiwhangata again. Decided to leave the BOI today as we need to be back in Whangarei early next week and the forecast SE conditions didn't cheer us much. Had a windless rounding of Cape Brett but further south picked up some good wind although we are only 20 miles south of the Cape here so the sail didn't last long. Just north of here we hooked what turned out to be a Wahoo which was a good size and Gina was thrilled and excited to haul the beast on board. Must have weighed a good 2-3 kilos and we had most of it for lunch!!
We had a discussion last night re our plans for the summer and have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we are going to need much more time to become fully familiar with the boat as she has now become with all the changes - not to mention simply getting used to living at sea. It's quite different from living on board out on the hard or even afloat in the marina. Therefore we think it would be prudent to abandon the plan to circumnavigate NZ this summer and instead concentrate on getting ourselves and the Tiare up to speed between the Gulf and Northland before leaving for the Islands next April. There are also the inevitable small teething problems that need to be sorted and we also have to haul out again in March for some final painting and anti fouling so that gives us too short a time frame to squeeze in a 3 month circumnavigation as well as everything else. And, before tackling the southern seas we need to be fully seasoned for a voyage of that sort.

At the moment it's 2115 and we've just heard a fishing boat at Stewart Is talking to Bluff Fishermans Radio so no worries about radio reception. The wind has died down and we are right at the E end of Mimiwhangata tucked in inside a rocky point. The boat is moving a bit but it will be a gentle rocking to sleep! This bay is quite shallow so we have to be careful that we have enough water under us when the tide goes out! Earlier today we had 2-3 feet under the keel at low tide. The bottom is sand and so the water is very clear which only makes it appear shallower.
We are hoping for a decent sail tomorrow to Whangarei. Easterlies up to 20 knots are forecast so that should push us along. Urquarts Bay tomorrow night and then some day sailing maybe before we head up the river to anchor off Norsand again. The Town Basin Marina is filling up with all the offshore boats coming in but we have a slot booked for the latter half of this month.
Well must now go through the palaver of Sailmail and trying to find a frequency in the Sailmail system that is currently free for data transmission. More nautical adventures again soon. Watch this space!
J & G

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Tiare Taporo III

Hi everyone,
This will be a relatively short email - Jim's daughter Charlotte will be pleased!! We have had a pleasant few days in the Bay and our thanks to Russell Radio for allowing us to use one of their moorings in Russell. Thanks again also for Stewart and Louise's hospitality the other night. It was a very enjoyable interlude. We are gradually getting used to living on the boat and cutting the umbilical ties with the land but have to say were subject to some temptation in Russell - not least was a cafe breakfast on the waterfront. We also met Richard and Bev who both operate the radio on a part time volountary basis. We'd have to say that we always find Bev one of the most friendly and personable people we have heard on the air. Sorry Stewart (and Richard) - don't mean to denigrate you or anyone else at Russell Radio at all!!
While there we visited Pompallier House because Gina has a family connection there. Her grandmother, Louise Worsfold lived there for a time during the period of the Greenway's ownership which was from 1879 to 1904. Louise was the daughter of Jane Mair who was Hamlyn Greenway's sister. Jane was widowed and had been married to Henry Mair who was a son of Gilbert Mair who originally came to NZ in the 1830's and was well known as a Pacific Is. trader. No doubt A.B. Donald would have been aware of him - probably even knew him. Henry had been murdered in Vanuatu on Espiritu Santo and that's one of the places we intend to visit next year.
We are thinking of heading off down the coast tomorrow as the weather forecast is talking about SE winds in 2-3 days which would be on the nose for Whangarei - maybe we will have time to visit the Barrier before returning to Whangarei where we will have to be by the 8th. We have heard Bluff Fisherman's Radio previously but never made contact with them until tonight when we called them up on SSB and told them we would probably be circumnavigating the country starting around New Year from Whangarei. We received a very friendly response and will certainly be communicating with them as we progress South. It was great to have confirmation that our installation is now A1 and is capable of clear communication over long distances. They have confirmed other advice we have received in the past which is to go South down the West Coast of the S. Is. and up the East Coast. There is no substitute for local knowledge.
We will be in touch again with more of our nautical saga - in the meantime hope all is well with you.
Cheers (and love where appropriate!!)
Jim and Gina (Jean)