Day 406, Year 1: Happy Hour at Town Dock
Date: Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Weather: No Change–Blue Skies, Sunny, Temperature in the 60’s
Location: Whangarei, New Zealand

The weather has been incredible. I guess summer really is coming to New Zealand. It is still cooler than we are used to in the early mornings and evenings, but the sunshine during the day warms things nicely. We started our morning with a quick visit by Calibre Sails giving us a quick estimate on getting our sails off and repairs made in the next two weeks. Next Tom, the local Profurl representative came by to talk about repairs to both our head sail and stay sail furlers-again to be done by the time we leave here to come back to the US. Somewhere in there we had breakfast and then Mark took off to find the guy who does boat paint estimates. In just a few minutes he was back with Gavin from Pacific Gloss. The fiberglass on our topsides, the white sides of the boat, have developed some strange crazings. Gavin thinks there was a problem when the fiberglass was first applied, but it has taken 26 years for the problems to make themselves known. We can either heavily sand the hull and then apply epoxy and paint, or we can have the sides shaved professionally followed by several coats of epoxy, lots of fairing and then paint. If we decide to have the sides shaved, the work will have to be done professionally and I’m not sure I want to see the price tag. If we go with the heavy sanding alternative, we could do the sanding piece but it will take time and energy. We would have to do this in April and by that time it will be fall here and the weather will be cooler again. We’ll have to find out how this would affect painting. I guess the other alternative is to ignore this for another season and return here next November with the intent to do this work during the New Zealand summer. Once Gavin gives us an estimate, we will decide what to do.

While Mark was out gathering more information, I cleaned the bottom of the dinghy and washed the boat down with fresh water. It was then time for lunch and soon after, Mark took off with one of our propane tanks in search of a propane dealer who could help us with a problem that developed just last night. We have propane in the tank, but we can’t get our stove to light. That means no cooking, so we need to get this fixed ASAP. Mary on Kismet, the boat just across from us, offered to take Mark to the “gas man”, so off they went. I stayed on Windbird and worked on getting the last pictures from Tonga labeled so that they can be sent to the website. By the time Mark returned, it was time to get ready to go to Happy Hour at Reba’s at Town Docks. There is only one Happy Hour night here and it is Tuesday. So off we went. Reba moved here from the US over 30 years ago and has built her business from a small pizza place to a very nice restaurant overlooking the Town Docks. There are many boats on the docks and that means many cruisers at Happy Hour. We sat with the crew from Riverside Drive Marina-Maggie Drum, Ranger, Oz, and White Swan-and visited with others that have settled in other locations here in Whangarei. We saw George and Ute from Miami who are temporarily at Town Docks and Steve and Toya from Cheers who were just taken out of the water today and are on land at Dockland 5. We haven’t seen Tom and Bette Lee of Quantum Leap and think they must have headed further south getting ready for their flight back to the US next week.

We learned from other cruisers today that our first impression of drivers here was correct-stay out of their way. Pedestrians absolutely do not have the right of way here. Joe of Maggie Drum was almost hit when he first arrived. When he reported this to the police, they just asked him what he was doing in the road. The fact that you have to cross it is your problem!

I met Yvonne of Windsong today. She and her husband are from Utah, but have been out sailing for about five years now. This is their second season here at Riverside Drive. Mary of Kismet that took Mark into town has been in the Pacific for about seven years, and she and her husband have finally established residency here. It seems like this is a very comfortable place to spend the Pacific cyclone season-so comfortable that some never leave.