Licking our wounds after our 8.5 day crossing of 1100 miles. Which is to say time to dig into my diesel leak. Nancy arrives tomorrow and need to get the boat in habitable shape.
The fuel tanks live under the bed in the aft stateroom. So tear that up. There are fittings on the top of the tanks that allow fuel to be extracted for the motor, moved from tank to tank, and fuel gauge. At least two leak. So seal them all I will!
As mentioned before these fittings were sealed with silicon caulk and fastened with wood screws. Polypropylene plastic is notoriously difficult for anything to stick to durably. Especially in the presence of diesel fuel. The wood screws stripping out of the poly are not helpful either.
Some research shows me that there are darn few sealants that might stand up to fuel/poly applications. But one is Permatex form-a-gasket #2. Which I can buy across the parking lot at the boat store. Did I mention that this is an awesome marina for getting things done?
In addition to changing sealants I will replace the wood screws with nuts and bolts so I can tighten things up for real without stripping out the poly. And nice rubber gaskets to boot.
During this process I have removed the fitting that carries the fuel dip tube. Remember the one that keeps getting clogged and killing my motor?
As you can see, this is not going to pass much fuel without a fight. I removed the offending screen. I have filters to take care of fuel contaminants. Without that screen in the way the filters will be allowed to do their job.
Sounds easy enough, it just takes all day. Then reassemble the bed.
Part of the organizing includes rebuilding the port settee. That’s Boat Speak for couch. I hit a rock back on Mexico which “rocked” the settee from it’s moorings you might say. And the repair required removing the settee completely. And after my subsequent reassembly I found I had a few spare fasteners. In retrospect I should have been more concerned about that. A fine Pacific crossing really does a number on things poorly anchored. Like my settee. No fasteners left behind on the reassembly this time.
After a crossing things in a boat are in a state of relative chaos. Now time to organize the debris. Frantically. Nancy arrives this afternoon! Aggghh!
Our friend John collects Nancy at KeriKeri airport while we clean up the last details. I even cleaned off the nav station. Well, Kat made me…
Nancy arrives to a clean boat. A miracle. She failed to comment on the miraculously clean nav station however…
We enjoy marina life for a couple weeks. Plenty of people we know. And people we should. Some nights musicians would have jam night in the cruiser’s lounge. Big Green Egg gets plenty of exercise. Found a shop nearby that sells proper charcoal and smoking chips! Yay! And a butcher. NZ takes their meat seriously.
We attended a Princess party at the Opua cruisers club. Free but you have to dress like a Princess. Men and women alike. Our friend Josh won for best costume. Deservedly.
We have been traveling with our friend John and his boat Danika off and on since Moorea. He’s here at Opua and bought a van. When he went back to Seattle he rented it to us. So we drove to Cape Reinga. The northernmost bit of NZ. Beautiful drive. But none of the road was strait. And I couldn’t see a geographical reason why. Having driven a bit on the North and South islands my conclusion is that kiwis don’t like strait roads. So they don’t make them! Clever lot.
We spent the night at an air B&B near Mangonui and the Kariakari peninsula. Beautiful area. Nice Dutch retired couple. He showed us his Daimler. Maybe 1955. The wood dash rotted out so he built a new one out of a piece of 40,000 year old Kauri wood. I’m not making this up. A forest was buried in ancient times in an earthquake. And sometimes they harvest bits of it. Crazy stuff. We took a side trip to Mangonui for famous fish and chips at a place where the seagulls bussed the tables. They work for chips…
99 mile beach was so large you could walk forever and feel like you haven’t gone anywhere. That’s Nancy out there in case you couldn’t tell. You can drive on the beach but where the road meets the beach the sand gets soft. And swallows up vehicles. These people caught me taking their photo so I was Shamed! into helping push them out.
Minor flashback. The last time I pushed a vehicle stuck in the sand it was our bus in Uganda and a hundred cape buffalo 🐃 were watching us. Warily…
As we get closer to cape Reinga we are low on fuel. And the neighborhood is low on population. So I’m following the signs to the last gas on the Road to Reinga. We get there and it’s an automated station. I chat with a couple motorcyclists as I wait my turn. Then I discover that my credit and debit cards don’t work. NZ and OZ cards only. Biker has an extra 4 liters and offers them as a gift. Nice guy! Then we figure out that it would be more productive to have him buy me a tank and I pay him cash. The people you meet at lands end.
On to the Cape! Particularly beautiful example of a lands end event. The Mauri were here before the Europeans arrived. Their legend has it that Cape Reinga was where the dead would depart the world and enter the underworld (the sea eh?)
Next up is return to the US. Christmas etc.
When you are doing something that you’d really rather not, your subconscious is your Ally in keeping you aware. My own has delayed my departure from Mexico twice when I really did not want to leave. Arriving at the airport without a passport (“forgotten” and still on the boat 😀). That worked twice. This time I “forgot” my USA phone. I mean it was about to become useful again back in the USA. And this time leaving things behind did not work. Our friend Kat attempted to return to the boat, pick up phone, and get it to the airport in time. She watched our plane take off. Valiant Effort Kat!
Mixed feelings about returning. NZ is lovely this time of year. Seattle… Well it’ll be nice to visit with friends. And drive my car. On the familiar side of the road even! We had rented our Tesla to some friends. And they gave it back to us for this visit. Thanks Art and Sharon! I forgot how fun that thing is to drive.
We stayed with our friend Willow’s for a week. That was fun. We got to drive her Jeep. For just a moment I was Sarah Conner (Terminator reference). Then Nancy’s mom Cathie. Nice to spend some time with her. Then friends Tom and Karen. Really nice to catch up with them. Looking forward to seeing them in Mexico in February.
Party time once at Willow’s and again later at Sally and Peter’s house. Great to see people. But you can never do it all. Trying was hard work!
There are boat parts to round up. Dr visits to take care of. Collect our mail. Lots of odd things. We got haircuts from Sylvia. She’s been cutting mine for decades. And I had not been trimmed since July in Moorea. Definitely due.
It was fun to be back at Overlake Eyecare again. Their remodel was done and looked great. Some staff changes but the new lot were very nice to work with. Nearly all my patients those four days were long timers. A few from 1993. Seems like a lifetime ago. I guess it was. And a good one at that.
Then Art and Sharon came by to Tom and Karen’s for dinner and to take the Tesla back home. I had it in for service a couple days ago which includes a pretty thorough cleaning. This way I could turn it back over to Art and Sharon as clean as when they gave it to me. I’m sneaky that way.
But now without wheels it’s time to go. RUN! Uber to airport at the crack of dawn on the 30th. Arrive Auckland the 31st at 1030pm. And New Zealand begins again!