Friday, 31 July 2015

Attached are the specifications of the 12 ton Gauntlet "Tiare Taporo III" which have been prepared as information relevant to the eventual sale of said vessel.

Friday, 3 July 2015

End of visits overseas and back at Langkawi

Hi to all,
Jim continued his round of visits to family and friends in Auckland. Visited his old school, St. Kentigern College at Pakuranga, which evoked many memories from long ago - 1963 in fact. Made sure that when Jean was in Glasgow she visited Kentigern's tomb in the crypt of Glasgow Cathedral! A very pleasant dinner at Graham and Carol Pearce's home and a nostalgic visit to Alastair Whitelaw (now in his 80's) who was Jim's history teacher at St. Kentigern's. John Mains (Jim's cousin) and Garry in their exquisite antique furniture showroom, Rosemary Morton (Jim's cousin) and of course Jim's brother Alec and Linda - his wife.
Then there was Amanda (Jim's eldest daughter) who works as a midwife at the Botany Birthing Unit - so good to see where she works and is so happy. Had 2 happy days with Amanda hearing all about her work which she absolutely loves. She now has a "company car"! Her colleagues at the Birthing Unit said that "they absolutely love Amanda". So good to hear those things. Two visits with Heather (Jean's sister) both of which were very pleasant. She is living in a residential community in a quiet corner of Albany on the North Shore. Lovely friendly people. Good to see her improving and starting to get back into her life. A trip to Waiuku to see Tracie's parents who have moved out there to be with their ailing daughter and the next day had coffee with Mary and Alan - Jim's former sister and brother in law. Great to see them again after all these years and catch up all the news.
The camper van concept worked very well giving mobility and a place to lay the weary head. Living at Rozanne's place out on the Te Atatu Peninsula meant a fair trek from the city and the NW motorway is undergoing massive works which probably won't be finished for another 18 months. And all to make it easier for people to zoom round in cars - and camper vans!! The way Auckland is growing with all this Asian immigration, by the time it is finished it will be as congested as ever. Still, Auckland doesn't have that on its own.
There was another trip to Whangarei for a final doctor's visit and collect prescriptions. NZ is definitely getting way less user friendly. Jim was told that as we had been out of the country for more than 120 days, we had "dropped off the system" and therefore doctor's visits and prescriptions would cost far more. $90 per visit for a 15 minute appointment where there is barely enough time to discuss any ailments - just enough time to type the prescriptions out on the computer. We will be seeking appropriate medical treatment in other countries from now on. By contrast, when Jean was in Glasgow she became quite ill just before she was due to leave and had to postpone her flights. She went to the doctor and everything was FREE including prescriptions. She has a British passport but they didn't want to see it. She's fine now. NZ is exceptionally expensive and housing in Auckland is going through the stratosphere. All due to unfettered, rampant and speculative buying by Asians. No problem if they are bona fide permanent residents or citizens but that is not a requirement to buy property in NZ, and it absolutely should be. We've said it before, NZ is not the country we remembered and holds virtually no attraction for us to ever come back and live. Maybe that's not quite fair; most of that feeling comes from Auckland but there's no getting away from the fact that NZ is becoming ever more expensive to live in.
Anyway, did a final round of people in Whangarei to say goodbye before finally leaving and back to soulless Auckland! Got a speeding ticket in Helensville on a quiet Sunday evening - no traffic and doing 72 kph in a 50 kph area - and slowing down. Just came past the sign on the outskirts of town and there were all these blue and red flashing lights! Bugger! $170. Still haven't paid it and probably won't - another reason not to come back for a while!!
Then back at Rozanne's and each morning taking young Harry to kindergarten again, not to mention doing loads of dishes - Jim's speciality!!. Callum is full of energy and life too and zooms around the house at 90 mph!
However, on Jim's 2nd. to last night in Auckland there was an explosive and unprovoked temper tantrum from Rozanne's partner wherein unbelievably she ordered Jim off the property! She is a volatile person to be sure but absolutely no excuse for that sort of extreme behaviour. It came from left field out of the blue. There had been a minor disagreement over a gentle chastisement that Jim delivered to young Harry but that was certainly no reason for her extraordinary outburst. No explanation has ever been forthcoming - much less any sort of apology. Nothing had changed in the morning so there wasn't even a chance to say goodbye to Harry and Callum - they were dragged off to kindergarten and creche by 0730 and that was that. There has been no communication since, although Jim has tried several times. Unbelievable and quite distressing. Don't know when we'll ever see them again.
So, he spent his last night in NZ at his brother's place with Alec and Linda and didn't have to sleep in the van! Very good of them and it certainly eased the pain of what was still very raw. The flight out on the 21st. wasn't until almost midnight so had all day to pack and then we went out for lunch in Ponsonby which was pleasant. Delivered the trusty van back to the depot near the airport and then had to cool the heels until departure. Could have knocked Jim down with a feather when who should appear in the departure area but Vijay Malhotra with whom Jim had travelled to India back in 2005. It was great to see him - he was off to Delhi again - and there was a chance to catch up on mutual news. Then it was onto Air NZ and a very turbulent ride out of Auckland - even at 27,000 feet. Dinner was delayed about an hour as it was deemed too dangerous to serve so it wasn't a great flight. And the food wasn't worth having even when it did arrive. Good to get to Singapore and then about 3 hours to catch Air Asia to Langkawi - but that flight was then delayed another 3 hours! So very tired when finally arrived back at the boat and slept an exhausted sleep. Picked up another bug on the plane and again had to endure a few days of coughing and snorting, but some long sleeps and hot toddys with duty free Langkawi Scotch certainly helped!! And the boat was fine having been looked after by Rachel (a Kiwi) who along with her husband runs a boat maintenance business here at Rebak.
Jean was delayed by her illness just before leaving Scotland and so didn't arrive back on the boat for another 4 days. She had had a great time in Miami with Perry, Tracie, Carter (alias Peapod!) and Nash. It was a very treasured few weeks. Being there for the birth of Nash, which she missed with Carter as we were sailing across the Java sea at that time, was a treasured time. Jean's time with Carter was very special, and hard to leave. Lovely to be with Tracie and Perry through this hectic time. Just loved it. Oh and Nanny Rosa the childrens' Mexican nanny, all she can say is how lucky the boys are to have her. Special Rosa. Jean travelled around Miami on buses and also went down to Key West with Tracie, Nash, Carter and Nana Rosa. Thank you Tracie. This was a 4 hour drive from Miami. They visited Earnest Hemingway's house while there. At one stage she took a Greyhound bus to Melbourne north of Miami to see a friend (Ruby) from NZ days some 30 years ago. She is a very keen tennis player and their club is called the Kiwi Tennis Club!! She said the bus was disgraceful; nothing worked properly, and the driver was rude. Greyhound is an iconic American brand and one certainly does not expect that sort of disappointment. It seems that much of American infrastructure is decrepit and of course now there is no money due to excessive government, state and local government debt. Another example of that was the flight to Heathrow on American Airlines. She had to fly from Miami to Raleigh-Durham (2 hrs) to catch the flight to Heathrow. There was an old 747 for the Heathrow flight. Two and a half hours later after sitting on the tarmac all that time they announced that due to mechanical problems the flight was cancelled and so everyone and all their baggage had to be off loaded. Probably just as well given the age and general condition of the plane! All the passengers were taken back into the terminal and then it was a matter of standing in line for 4 hours until 2 in the morning to get alternative travel arrangements. During that whole time, there was no food or drink offered and it was just as well that Jean had already eaten a substantial dinner and had the ubiquitous water bottle with her as usual!!
The ladies working for American Airlines were very patient through all this chaos. Finally she left for her baggage collection about 3 am, which was another enlightening encounter. Jean arrived to her bag torn down one side, with clothes hanging out. So, at this point in time Jean sat on the floor and laughed. She could ave been crying!! The security man then helped to tape the bag for her to transit to the hotel, arriving at 4 am. Then it was email time to let Jiveen know that she, would be arriving 1 day late in Glasgow. Also to let Perry know that Jean had been re scheduled for London. Had a shower, tried to rest to leave on a shuttle at 8am to go and sort out bag problems with American Airlines. Got nothing sorted with American Airlines about the bag, just taped it up so she could get through to Glasgow. Left on Delta Airlines at 12.30pm for New York (La Guardia) one and a half hours. Great flight, but knocked my drink of Ginger Ale all over my trousers. Fun Fun. The only pants I had to change into were my exercise tights in my back pack. So Jean arrived on her first visit to New York in her tights, a long tight leotard top down above her knees and a T shirt. Then to get a taxi to JFK which gave Jean a small tour of New York through the back streets at American Airlines' expense. Met a great girl from Romania who was living in London with her husband, daughter of 7yrs and her parents who she brought out from Romania. They look after their parents and they run a tech company between New York and London. We had a few laughs waiting to board the plane, as American Airlines had this crazy system of loading. Totally disorganised. Jean was going to ring Carter, to show them how it is done. Great flight to London, grabbed 4 seats and slept. Then it was Glasgow with British Airways, to be met by Jiveen. An exciting moment. It was so great to see Jiveen. Went to Jenny's parents straight from the airport for dinner, also to meet up with Jenny and Theo. A great afternoon, and dinner. Thank you Fiona and Rod. Next day rest, then off to Scotland to Loch Ness and Fort William where Jean's Dad was born and raised until he was 15 years old. We spent a delightful 3 days up on the the play grounds of my Dad's. Went and visited my Grand Dad's and Grandmother's graves, also my Auntie Bessie's grave stone. This was very relevant to me as I spent 3 weeks with Aunty Bessie in 1992 three months before she died. It was a memorable time. Jiveen, Jenny, Theo and I had a great time. Stayed at a Back Packers for a night in Fort Augustus, and a B and B. Jean was amazed how Theo knew the difference between a Back Packers and a B and B. His table manners were exquisite. Theo is a wee man of wisdom. It was a wonderful journey. Thanks Jiveen, Jenny and Theo, - oh and now the bump. Back to Glasgow after our three great days. I bought a new bag for my luggage on our return. A really good quality bag - thanks Jiveen. Was to fly out on the Friday, but fell sick in the night before I left. So had to cancel flights and get spoilt with Jenny's vegetable soups and Jiveen's juices. Also had a visit to the Doctor as Jean had to have Doctors' certificates for the airlines. Interesting that it was all free. Left on Monday feeling very emotional, but very happy for an amazing few days.
Now back at Rebak and what a frustrating time to be sure. The Malays generally have no idea of being helpful; even when struggling to get heavy bags on and off the ferry they just stand and look at you until you say "would you mind giving me a hand". There is a surly woman in the marina office who, when asked to do some simple photocopying, said that it's cheaper in Matsirat! She didn't give a damn whether we saved any money or not; she couldn't be bothered getting off her fat ass. The fact that getting to Matsirat involved a ferry ride and then a 50 Ringgit car hire was neither here nor there to her. Needless to say she did move when she saw Jim's expression.
We needed to haul out to get to the bottom of the transmission noise we had been experiencing. We were then told that the travel lift would be out of action for a week due to regular maintenance - we thought there's a new word for Malaysia! However, due to the inherent inertia around here one week turned into 3 before we were finally hauled out. We have never seen such bad fouling of the hull and propellor after only 12 months and it's all due to the fact that they discharge raw sewerage directly into the marina thus creating a nutrient rich environment for the biggest concentration of oysters, muscles and barnacles we have ever seen. The boat was like a pin cushion of barnacles but she is all cleaned up now and has her 1st coat of new antifouling. However, we will not be coming back in here in future in spite of the pool and other amenities. Then we were forced to deal with engineering cowboys because the regular people are all away. We've been lied to and an attempt to extort money from us was made recently. We have sacked those crooks and now hopefully will have the services of someone a little more reliable. However, that person is unavailable until next week so we can only hope that the job will be done then. It has all been an exercise in extreme frustration not helped by the language problem. Rebak is absolutely the worst marina we have ever been in and we will not be returning. Right now it's Ramadan and getting anyone to do any work is like drawing teeth!
At the moment we have taken the shaft and some bearing material to a machine shop so that the bearing can be machined down to fit the shaft and bearing housing - fingers crossed that they do it right. Shaft and bearing now back and yes they do appear to have done a tolerable job - they're Chinese, not Malays.
There are headlines on the local MSN website saying Malaysia is going to the dogs and a former prime Minister (Dr. Mahatir) is publicly calling the current PM a crook. Even though they are in the same party. There's a so-called sovereign wealth fund which is actually billions of ringitts (2.5 to one NZD at present) in debt - how does that happen? Corruption in a word. Police are breaking up public meetings called to denounce the government and ridiculous demands are being made as regards Muslim dress - particularly for women, and non Muslims as well. A man was barred from entering the lost luggage area at Kuala Lumpur International Airport because his knee length shorts were considered unacceptable. He had to go and find some long trousers! Malaysia is no longer the friendly place it appeared to be back in 2010 when we first came here. The PM was recently quoted as saying that it wasn't just enough to be a good Muslim; if you criticised the government and caused disunity and dissension you wouldn't get to heaven!!!
On the plus side we've discovered a very good coffee shop not far from the ferry at Cenang where the food is good and not too expensive. Right next to a Starbucks which is grossly overpriced and just awful. The other day we went by car up to Telaga Marina and came across some people we know - the boating world is like that. Tim from "Camissa" (a South African boat we knew very well in NZ) was there and we had a hilarious conversation about the frustrations of putting up with the local laziness and inertia - if you didn't laugh you'd cry.
Now the problem is getting some qualified person to put our propellor shaft back in and re-align the engine. We currently have only two possibilities - there's an Aussie engineer who works on the island but he's in Europe at present. We understand he's back next week but we'll believe that when we see it. Then there is the possibility that Des of Popeye Marine in Krabi might be able to get an engineer from a shipyard in Satun (southern Thailand) to come over here and do the job. So, one way or another we will get the old girl back together and back in the water, but we have never felt so frustrated with dealing with people who are just not interested and who are lazy and lackadaisical. It's like trying to nail jelly to the wall.
More to come you may have no doubt!
Lotsaluv from us
Jim and Jean

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