We had a break a 3 1/2 month break from the boat back in BC.  We got in some socializing with our friends and family in Whistler and Vancouver which was great!  Monty skied over 90 days and clocked 2 million vertical feet.  Margy got in about 40 days.  It was a very good snow year at Whistler.

We had a visit from fellow cruisers, Ted and Pam on Roundabout II.

Margy made a couple trips to Halifax to her Dad, sister and brother-in-law and a few friends.

Lobster feast with Margy’s Dad in Peggy’s Cove

We also made a few trips to Washington State (required by BC Med, don’t ask us about that stupid requirement!).  We skied a few days at Mount Baker which is a very different experience from Whistler.

Near mid-March it started to warm up so it was time to get back to the boat. On March 19th, we flew back to Auckland on a direct 14 hour flight on a new aircraft with Air New Zealand.

We had a good start to our re-provisioning at the duty free shops in YVR and Auckland.  NZ allows 3 hard liquor bottles and 6 wine bottles per person.

We rented a Highlander SUV which seems much bigger than my Dad’s old one.  Getting used to driving on the left is always a bit unnerving for the first while. Turning on the windshield wipers to signal is normal behavior for the tourists!

We made a planned stop at the Family Boat Centre in Auckland on Sunday morning and put a hold on a new AB 10.5ft dinghy.  We will put our old one on Trademe- the equivalent of Craigslist here.  It is time for a new one.   We have to get new dinghy chaps made (to protect it from UV) which is another mission.

Monty bought a couple new kites for kite-boarding.  A 10m, which is between our 8 and 12m and a 17m for those lighter wind days.  Monty is excited and I will give it a try too when we get to the islands.  I got a new seat harness as the one I got last year didn’t work well for me.

After a 2 1/2 hour drive north, we got back to the boatyard.  We found Whistler in good shape.  She was a little dusty but she smelled fine and we didn’t find any bugs on board.

Whistler on the hard

After some unpacking, we were pleased that our supplies came through in our luggage from Vancouver without damage. Now, we just have to find a place to store everything.  Some culling is required.

Our life raft needed to be repacked and serviced.  That is required every 3 years.  When we called on Monday morning, someone from the Auckland company that does this sort of thing was on their way to pick up another raft at Norsand that same morning.  We were able to get ours added to their order.  They should be able to get it back to us in early April.

By the time we returned to the boat, the yard had already sanded our hull.  On Monday, they were busy taping it up to prepare the boat for painting the anti-fouling.  We had sun and no wind, so they wanted to take advantage of the good painting weather.

They also helped Monty replace the seals and o-rings on the escape hatches.  They really needed a thorough service.  We will test them out before we head offshore.

We needed to get one of our shafts aligned.  The yard also arranged to get a mechanic over and it went quite smoothly.  We are told it may save some fuel this season with them better aligned.

When we get back on the dock next week, we will be able to take delivery of our new mainsail and genoa. We blew out our main on the way back from Fiji last October.  See our previous blog from our trip back to NZ.  We decided to buy a new genoa as well as both main and genoa were made by the same outfit and neither were well designed or constructed.

We have a few minor electrical jobs.  Our electrician, Scott, came over today and said he will get on it soon.

I drove to Auckland the other day and looked at a couple different upholstery places and their choice of vinyl fabrics.  The options here in New Zealand are not what we have in North America, but I am told they have a long history of using these vinyls here and perhaps they will stand up better to the UV here than the fabrics we saw in Canada.  We have decided to move ahead and get our cockpit cushions recovered.  All the companies here in Whangarei are too busy so I have to drive our cushions back to an upholsterer in Auckland tomorrow.  Another long, at times windy, drive, that takes all your concentration.

We have been shopping for groceries on a day by day basis. Cooking, other than breakfast, on the boat doesn’t happen every night while we are on the hard. We couldn’t use the sinks until the anti-fouling paint had been applied and dried. I had to haul our dishes to the kitchen in the boatyard kitchen to do them. We eat out every other night until we are back in the water. We saw a group of yachties making use of the very basic communal kitchen, barbeque and dining area. It provides a socializing opportunity off the boats, most of which are in a state of chaos with on-going boat projects.

We went to visit the Town Basin Marina and met with a few friends moored on the docks. It was nice to see several familiar boats.  We hope the marina will have room for us next week when we get launched.  We have been told we may need to anchor out for a night.

We also listened in on the “morning net”.  It is a chance to find out who is in town, what is going on, if anyone has things for sale or needs crew, etc.

A weather forecast discussion was planned before a Happy Hour gathering at the Love Mussel lounge on Tuesday. Afterward, we joined a group at a Thai restaurant. It was an opportunity to catch up on what those boats had been doing and where they were going this season.

Many are heading to Vanuatu and then west to either Australia or Indonesia or even further. We will have to make some new friends next November with so many of our friend boats not coming back to New Zealand. Rarely do boats in Australia come back to New Zealand and the South Pacific. It gives me a strange feeling not to be following them. Monty says we will just have to make new friends. Fortunately, we know a few boats planning to return to New Zealand which is comforting.  We will meet more.

Steaks on the BBQ tonight!

Looking at some wet weather for the next while.  It will be nice to be on a dock in town!