Friday, 13 December 2013

News from Kiwiland

Hi to all,
We thought it was time to regale you with more news! Quite a lot has happened in the past few weeks. We left Danga Bay on Nov. 26th. and had a seamless ride to Changi Airport in Singapore. Cost was SGD60 but worth every cent. We never even had to get out of the taxi. We arrived back in NZ on the morning of the 27th. after a 10 hour flight from Singapore to Auckland and were met by Perry, Jean's son. Then it was but a short ride to their home in Milford on the North Shore where we were to stay and Jean met her first grandchild, Carter James. An emotional time, particularly as Carter is her 1st grandchild. May there be many more!! Wonder whether Perry and Tracie are reading this!! Not to be outdone, Jim is also a new grandfather. Callum Patrick was born a few weeks later than Carter and Jim has yet to make the acquaintance with his 4th. grandchild!! This state of affairs has now been rectified and it was great to see his mother Rozanne again after many months. Apart from being a mother to 2 bouncing boys, she also holds down a senior teaching job at one of Auckland's most prestigious private girls schools and is a recent university graduate with a masters degree in education.
Sadly we are still involved with the fallout from the appalling business with "Tintin" and "Kealba". As a result we did have reservations about leaving our boat "Tiare Taporo III" after the physical assault on Jim and the later direct threat to us and our yacht by the gutless and anonymous leaving of a computer generated note on our foredeck reading "REMEMBER THE RAINBOW WARRIOR".
It now appears that "Kealba" is trying to suggest that we were somehow at fault in the incident at Kupang under some regulations governing boats at anchor. They don't appear to realise however that a boat dragging its anchor is legally not anchored and is considered to be "underway". We were not dragging and have NEVER dragged. Thanks to the Rocna. There are of course a whole lot of different regulations governing vessels underway - chief amongst those is the requirement for the Master and crew to be on board!! "Kealba" was unattended when she collided with us and so contravened those regulations. All common sense but certain people appear lacking in that commodity - no doubt in a futile attempt to evade their clear responsibility. We will be hauling out in east Johore when we return and to repair the damage it will almost certainly be necessary to remove the affected structures from the boat. This will at the very least incur labour cost. With a cursory look at the boat right now, one could be forgiven for thinking that the damage is negligible but when one realises the implications of the scope of repair work the picture changes.
We hope that "Kealba" assumes its responsibility and adequately compensates us for the damage they caused. But there has been no response from them to date and we have to say it isn't looking hopeful. However, we have in the meantime imposed a commercial lien on them which may well be influential in changing their attitude. As for "Tintin", we have reported their disgusting assault on us at Danga Bay to the Johor Police and they have passed the details on to the other state police and the Maritime Police. We hope that we never have the misfortune to ever see them again but the cruising world is a small one. We are ever mindful of their last threat which was "if you ever come into an anchorage where I am anchored, WATCH YOUR BACK". We have been talking to all our friends and acquaintances here in Whangarei, many of whom are part of the yachting/cruising world, and they are all horrified at our experiences. It is so unusual in the cruising world that it defies belief. However, it doesn't take much here to engender derogatory and often humourous comments about Australians. Our shipwright friend here, Noel Barrot, said "keep your hands off those Aussies!" However, we have of course met some great Australians and these incidents only negatively bolster the anti Aussie/Kiwi debate - notwithstanding that "Tintin" is a Pommy boat!! "Kealba" is of course an Aussie boat.
We apologise for re-litigating all the aforementioned but it is none of our doing and would all fade into the obscurity where it belongs as long as the people at fault front up to their responsibilities.
In the meantime we have had a wonderful time in Whangarei staying with our friends Hamish and Sara. Hamish is a stainless steel fabricator and has done many jobs on foreign boats visiting Whangarei. Sara is a chef. We have Perry's car while he is in Madrid checking out a job offer. One of our primary objectives while in Whangarei was to streamline our storage unit by downsizing. The local Hospice shop has been a beneficiary!! The weather was against us for a few days at the beginning but it has since cleared up and we have now finished!! Furniture is stacked to the roof.
There was a party last Saturday night a little way south of Whangarei at Jenny Hastie's house inland from Waipu. Jenny is a cousin by marriage of Jean's and a number of Jean's family members were there to "celebrate still being alive"!! A worthwhile cause indeed! After so long and all our diverse experiences it was good to catch up. The get together was great with good conversation and an excellent NZ style BBQ with pork chops and sausages. They have a house on a hill overlooking the bright green rolling hills of dairy country. The country always looks great at this time of year with the grass absolutely emerald green after the spring rains. We stayed the night and then it was into the storage unit move again which as stated is now finished. It has been a major task but all will be much streamlined from now on. It's amazing how voyaging under sail gives one a different perspective on material possessions, and while we aren't getting rid of everything by any means, we have removed much that is of no relevance to our present situation.
A few days ago we had the pleasure of meeting Neil Scott ("Galatea") again when he passed through Whangarei after attending a wedding in Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands. We had dinner with him and his Australian friend at a restaurant here in Whangarei and again it seemed so bizarre re-living our experiences in Indonesia in such a different setting. A very pleasant evening was had by all.
Jean's health is much improved since her nose operation at the KPJ Specialist Hospital in Johor. As we've said before we cannot praise the Malaysian medical system highly enough and would recommend it to anyone. Her lower back and hips were also scanned in Malaysia and fortunately all was clear. Since being back in Whangarei she has visited an osteopath for her hip ligament problems at the Rathbone Clinic and that along with exercise has been worthwhile in the continuing recovery process. Good osteopaths seem to be thin on the ground in all of the places we have been to recently, including we have to say, Queensland. However, notable exceptions to that were the two Emmett Therapy practitioners we discovered in Cairns and later in Darwin. She has been doing some lifting with the storage unit job though and this has set her back a bit but we are hoping that Pilates and some targeted exercise should ultimately fix this.
Staying with Hamish and Sara has been very relaxed and low key - just what we needed after all the pressures of the last 4 months following on from the Kupang dragging incident. They are hospitality personified and have also lent us their trailer to assist with the moving. Hamish has just acquired a new ute and has returned from Nelson where he went to purchase it. Very flash!! And it's a Holden - that will please the Aussies, notwithstanding that unless the Aussie Govt. comes up with more than the $500 million that they currently subsidise the car industry with, GM - Holden is likely to disappear from this part of the world for good in a couple of years and we will all be driving Chevrolets instead! In fact it has now been confirmed that GMH will no longer manufacture in Australia after 2016. It is estimated that this will cost upwards of 50,000 jobs.
Being in NZ in a totally different environment and doing mundane things like moving possessions and visiting the doctor seems quite bizarre after the experiences we have had since we left Cairns 8 months ago. It almost seems as though none of it ever happened - the Queensland coast, the Gulf of Carpentaria, Darwin and its associated tides, the fuel pump packing a sad on the way to Kupang on Timor, the Komodo dragons and all the other documented experiences throughout Indonesia. It all seems unreal from this distance.
We are now back in Auckland after spending a thoroughly pleasant night with Keith (Jean's brother) and Eileen just south of Wellsford on the farm that they manage. The farm was formerly owned by Richard Izard who manufactured tungsten tipped saw blades in Wellsford and achieved notable success in exporting his saw blades world wide in the 1980's. The business is now owned by the Irwin Tool Co. of the USA. The farm is immaculate and boasts its own aircraft landing strip. There are 7 Alpacas on the farm (an experimental hobby at this stage) and we watched at 0700 as they were gently driven/led to the woolshed for their annual clipping. You have to keep your distance from Alpacas as they apparently spit and always have 100% accuracy over an impressive distance! Full in the face and all slimy with semi digested grass. Reminded Jim forcibly of the disgusting lout on "Tintin" so he was especially careful!!
On the way back into Auckland we stopped at Rozanne's house to deliver some items from the storage unit that we had earmarked for her and finally made the acquaintance of Callum Patrick Donald. A bonny wee chap indeed and we have no doubt that he will live up to his illustrious name in whatever field of endeavour he engages in.
We continued on over the harbour bridge to Milford where we will be domiciled for a few weeks now. It's good to be back but we have enjoyed our time in Whangarei.
There will be more to come in due course but in the meantime we wish all our friends a very happy Christmas and NewYear where ever you are.
With very best wishes and love from us.............
Jim and Jean

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