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Wintering up North

As summer finally arrives in the UK, for the first time since landing in NZ last November we have to dig out our long trousers! We plan to spend our first winter in four years hunkered down in the winterless north and be based at Whangarei and the Bay of Islands.

Before heading north we spent May exploring the beautiful Coromandel which seemed to be the expensive playground of the capital city. Wow… land, property, and boat berths are a thriving business with second properties driving up land and house prices beyond comprehension. Fortunately Saorsa makes a great floating batch and gives us a very privilege access to NZ beautiful coast. Unable to get into the local marina we found our own stunning anchorage up the river from Whitianga.....

Before we headed north for the winter, we squeezed in another vineyard on Waiheke – Passage rock, who make a particularly good "chard" and they don’t use chemicals (the first time John hasn’t got a headache from wine, and of course he know thinks he is an expert!). I then left John & Saorsa anchored in their city pad off Auckland and headed to Wellington for mothers day weekend.

Wellington pulled out the stops and delivered a beautiful day for Luke (my son), his girlfriend, Nao, and I, to cycle across the Rumatukas to Martinborough. Quiet a cycle ride, but great fun and we all enjoyed a well deserved pizza that evening.

Emma,(daughter in Amsterdam), rang and said she had tickets for the Eurovision song contest, this resulted in a family binge on everything Eurovision and of course a lot of banter as we all sat around the world glued to the competition. Not quite as nerve racking as the football semi-final and final but certainly a bit of fun.

We waited for the wind to turn and then had some beautiful sails north. Most days we were out alone on the sea with only Dolphins to keep us company, but the seas were building, and we wanted to get some work done on Saorsa so our couple of weeks in Whangarei turned into a month.

Berthed alongside the beautiful Town Basin we became a tourist attraction as we set about the main teak decks, put in a new exhaust fitting, replaced the upper rudder bearing and on wet days went about revarnishing some interior facings. Helped by the ice cream shop which was only 20 meters away and a lot of conversations from genuinely interested public, our time flew buy.

It wasn’t all work, at the weekends we ventured up hills, biked to waterfalls and unexpectedly ended been right at the centre of a key event. At 0630hrs in the morning we were woken by noise on the Quayside – it was the local radio station setting up shop right next to us and they couldn’t find power so Saorsa was happy to oblige. A barge arrived alongside and later in the morning, in a well orchestrated and impressive manoeuvre, a crane lifted a Golden

Copula from the barge onto the top of the Hundertwassers building – Whangarie’s new art centre.

With the winds poised to blow us further north we ventured to sea and had a cracking few days sailing north to the Bay of Islands. The first few days the shorts were back on and it was time to finish the caulking. Today the winterless north isn’t so winterless as a massive low pressure system threatens to bash us with 50 kt winds. Thank fully we are anchored safely below a big cliff that seems to be protect us well, the heater is on and ice cream from the freezer is ready to go with the afternoon matinee. Of course the varnishing projects are on going……

Upper rudder bearing

Corroded and leaking to this........

bashed to smooth

from driftwood look .... trim, sand


and semco

now time for....