Day 6, Year 2: B-O-A-T
Date: Monday, April 30, 2007
Weather Today: Overcast and Rainy
Location: Opua, New Zealand

B-O-A-T–Break Out Another Thousand. The verdict is in on the windlass. It was not the gears or bearings that was the problem. It was the motor. The armature, which is the shaft that connects the motor to the gears, simply snapped in two. So we need a new motor to the tune of $1200. This is the cost of the cruising life. Ranger was luckier with their watermaker problem. They simply took out a valve and put in back in and the whole thing is working just fine. We had one of those fixes today as well. I wanted to sand the aft cabin shower stall and when I plugged in the sander, nothing happened. I checked the inverter and it was on, but the voltage meter was showing no power. Strange. Our first thought was the the inverter was gone and that would be a really expensive fix. Mark got out the manuals and started reading, and then he asked me to try the sander again. Instead, I tried the toaster. That is always my test to see if the power is on. I tried it, it worked, and the reading on the voltage meter showed power. I turned it off and the meter went back to zero. Even stranger. I tried the vacuum cleaner and the same thing happened. Then Mark remembered that he had reset the inverter to be on idle or standby even when it is turned on unless there is power draw. I don’t quite understand the whole thing, but I am very grateful that we don’t have an inverter problem. That would have been another thousand and that would have made this a very, very expensive day.

Mark got back from taking the windlass to shore around 9 AM and we tried to call Heather and Jed using Skype. In case we leave this week for Fiji, we wanted to see that grandbaby one more time. It is so much fun to talk with Heather and Jed and just watch Sam doing whatever he is doing. He was happy just sitting in his mom’s lap at first, but then he got a little fussy. He stood up on Heather’s lap, with her help of course, and he looked so tall. Jed got out a tape measure and a rough measurement showed that he is about 25 inches long. He is a big baby. We had a frustrating time with the Skype connection as it kept dropping and we would have to reconnect to the internet each time and call again. But the frustration was worth it. When we see him we really feel like we are watching him grow. When that call was over, Mark needed to go back to land to check on the windlass, so I went in with him and called my brother using a phone card. We bought a phone card a couple of days ago when we were having no luck with wireless on the boat, and since we might be leaving this week, I might as well use up the time. I had a nice conversation with my sister-in-law Conda and my brother. My sister was at my brother’s house, but she asked that I call her later at home via Skype. I did and we also had a great conversation. Since our son Justin lives on the West Coast and I didn’t expect him to be at home early in the day on Sunday, I decided to delay calling him until we went back in this evening. That was a mistake. Unfortunately, the weather turned really nasty and when we went in for a late afternoon seminar, I decided not to walk the distance from the Cruising Club to the marina phone in the pouring rain. I will try Justin again tomorrow.

We attended two seminars at the Cruising Club this evening. The first was a seminar about sailing around South Africa. Peter from Shoestring is from South Africa and I think he said he has sailed around the Cape seven times. He has also crossed the Indian Ocean a few times and his insights were most informative. The bottom line is that rounding the Cape of Good Hope is very tricky and timing is most important. And although the weather can be really challenging, after sailing through the Red Sea to the Mediterranean twice, Peter says he will never do that again. He recommends circumnavigating around South Africa and visiting Madagascar on the way. Peter said you really can’t call yourself a world cruiser until you have visited the Galapagos Islands, visited the active volcanoes in Vanuatu, and been to Madagascar. We’ve been to the Galapagos, will visit the volcanoes in Vanuatu this season, and suppose we will be going on to South Africa in another year or so.

After the South Africa seminar, it was time for a medical seminar with Dr. Geoff Kivell, Raewyn Kivell, nurse, and pharmacist Dick Meldrum. We have talked with Geoff a number of times in Whangarei, but it never hurts to review those important points about staying healthy in a tropical climates. At the end of the evening, we felt like we have the health bases covered, at least in terms of medicines we have onboard.

Tomorrow I will finish my sanding and painting in the aft cabin bathroom. Mark is going to do a little research on Medicare. He turns 65 in July and there are Medicare decisions that are time sensitive. He is also going to take care of processing the paperwork for leaving New Zealand and our visas for entering Australia. Wednesday will be a shopping day, and very possibly we will leave for Fiji on Thursday. We really won’t know for sure until the weather reports on Wednesday morning, but we have to be prepared just in case.

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