NZ Land Logs 55, Year 2: Happy Birthday, Brother Dickel
Date: Saturday, April 14, 2007
Weather Today: Mostly Sunny, Periods of Wind and Sprinkles
Location: Whangarei, New Zealand

Today is my brother’s birthday. He was born on April 14, 1935. My parents were married on April 15, 1923, but when I was little I always proudly announced that my brother was born one day before my parents were married. I just couldn’t understand why people got upset when I said this. I was so proud that I knew 14 came before 15. I just didn’t know about the years. Oh, well. My brother’s name is Richard, but he has always been called Dickie. Somewhere along the line, he become good friends with George Dickel, thus the switch from Dickie to Dickel. Happy 72nd! Seems just like yesterday that I was a seven-year old riding around in my brother’s brand new 1955 red and white Chevy. The years certainly do pass quickly.

The boat work is coming along. Mark is absolutely amazing. I have no idea how he keeps on working nonstop, but he does. Today he put up all of the scaffolding necessary to tape off and paint the shearline and waterline stripes on the starboard of the boat, and after painting that side, he then moved all of the scaffolding and did the same on the port side. In the afternoon he finally gave out, but even the EverReady Bunny needs a rest at some point.

I walked down to the Town Basin early this morning and met Molly of Kauila. She was loaning me three cruising guides to the Solomon Islands so I could get them copied for Pam and Scott on Starship before they leave in the morning. I had seen Molly in town the other day and she asked if there were any guides that we might need for the upcoming season. I mentioned the Solomons and she had just what was needed. I then got a ride into town with Bob of White Swan to drop off the guides to be copied. All of this took almost all morning, but when I returned to Windbird, I was able to help with some last minute sanding on the shearline stripe and do some of the taping. I then oiled the cockpit floor. Tomorrow Mark will paint the stripes a second time and do some gelcoat repairs before starting on waxing the topsides. If the weather holds, Monday and Tuesday will be allow more time for waxing and painting the bottom. We are still hopeful that we can be back in the water by mid-week.

Now for the cruising PLAN. It really is beginning to form. It looks like we will leave here in about a week, cruise the northeast coast of New Zealand, and leave from Opua for Fiji in early May. We will spend at least a month in Fiji and then go to Vanuatu. From Vanuatu we will go to New Caledonia and from there to Bundaberg, Australia. It is possible that we will go from Fiji to the Solomons and then back down to Vanuatu. That is yet to be decided. Once in Australia, we have decided that we will leave the boat there and come home to the United States to work for a few months. We’re not sure what we will do, but we both feel the need to repay some of the money we “borrowed” from the retirement kitty for the first year and a half of cruising. All of those repairs cost way more than we planned, so working for six months sounds like a good plan. This will also give us time to see more of that new grandbaby and formally celebrate Justin’s recent marriage. We will return to Australia in April, no later than May, and cruise up the coast of Australia and around to Darwin, Australia by mid-July. The Sail Indonesia cruising rally leaves Darwin each July going through Indonesia to Singapore. The highlight of the trip for most cruisers is evidently visiting the Kumai River in Borneo to where Orangutangs are reintroduced into the wild. This is enough to convince me that we have to do this. There are also stops in Bali and Java that sound intriguing. When the rally reaches Singapore, you can stay there or travel on with another rally, Sail Asia, up the coast of Malaysia to the island of Langkawi. From here we would travel on to Phuket, Thailand, and from there start the trip across the Indian Ocean to South Africa. This year there are already 80 boats registered for the rally, so this sounds like a safer way to see some really beautiful parts of the world. As always, this might change, but right now it’s the PLAN.