What do you do when you wake up to a rainy, cold day in the land of the Kiwis? Well, you don your warm clothes, grab your raincoat and head out to explore the land. At least that’s what we did on a rainy day in December. After all if we let the cold and rain keep us inside we may never get a chance to explore this wonderful country. We know it’s supposed to be summer here but it feels more like winter.
We really had no idea where we were going to head but Dan pointed the car south and off we went. Highway 1 is the road that leads to Auckland so we’d seen a good stretch of it already. We stopped at a little café about an hour into our ride. We’d seen it before on the way to and from Auckland. To be honest, the food was less than tasty and there were two women in there with a couple of young boys who were completely out of control. One of the women kept yelling at her son across the restaurant. I can tell you if that had been my kid he’d have gotten a lot more than cross looks and talking to but as I always say, “Not my circus, not my monkey.”
After a less than stellar meal we headed out again. When we saw a sign that pointed west toward the coast we decided to take that road and see where it led. We hopped on State Highway 12 and off we headed toward Paparoa and Ruawai from there we headed north along the coast until we reached Dargaville which put us on State Highway 14 back towards Whangarei.
Along the way we stopped at a couple of overlooks, parks, churches and even a couple of museums. (Dargaville Museum, Kauri Museum in Matakohe) We certainly enjoyed our rainy day and it actually turned out that halfway through the day the sun came out and made it absolutely beautiful.
We know that to many of you it probably looks like all we do around here is play but the truth is that living on a boat full time is a lot of work. During the six months we are here waiting out cyclone season in New Zealand we have a list of projects to complete that’s as long as Dazzler. Many of these things can’t be done in the islands because you just don’t have access to supplies so when you do, you have to work.
If you know anything about boating you know that no project is ever easy. What starts out as a simple project can quickly become a massive one and some projects are tedious and just take a lot of time. Dan does just about everything on our boat. I’m sure you’ve heard me say more than once that there’s nothing the man can’t do and he proves that time and again. One of his favorite things to do on the boat is to varnish her. Yeah, I know, sounds like a sentence not a pleasurable activity but Dan loves it and when he’s done it’s nearly perfect.
I’d be more than happy to help him but there’s two reason he won’t even think about it. The first is that I shed like a long haired pup and long black hair doesn’t look very good in the varnish. The second reason he won’t let me play the varnish game is that he is an absolute perfectionist and he’s afraid I won’t be able to do it exactly the way he does. Honestly, it doesn’t really hurt my feelings that much. I mean, varnishing is a lot of work and I’d just assume stay below deck writing articles and creating videos for you fine folks.
Dan recently spent three weeks varnishing Dazzler’s cockpit. This time he needed to take it back to bare wood which meant it would require eight coats of varnish! Yes, that’s a lot when you consider he has to sand in between each coat. And, like I said, no project is easy. Just after getting started sanding the cockpit he found wood rot in one of the seats. This required him to completely rebuild the seat. He’s never done anything like that before but he didn’t let that stop him and the finished project was perfect!
And there’s been a whole host of other projects from cleaning stainless to removing the sails for when we take our trip back to the states. There have been parts to find and engines to service. In the two months since we arrived Dan has replaced the front main seal on the Yanmar, serviced the shower bilge pump, rebuilt the propane locker door, cleaned the rigging, replaced the deck waste fitting, replaced gimbal brackets on the stove, rewired our steaming light, installed a 240V battery charger, had injectors and our spare alternator serviced, varnished, and even managed to fit in a bit of sight seeing. I guess you could say he’s been a busy man.
As for me, I’ve been maintaining things below deck, writing, making videos, cleaning, cooking, doing laundry and doing research and planning for a three week trip to the South Island with our friends, Jack & Mary, who are coming here from Los Angeles. Not long after they leave we will be making a trip to the U.S. to visit our families for a month. We’ve got lots going and before we know it cruising season will be upon us again.
But don’t think we won’t pay for the “vacation time” because when we get back Dazzler will be on the hard and there’s a bottom to paint, deck repairs, a thru hull replacement, provisioning and a list of other items that must be done before we can take off for this year’s cruising season. Yes, the sailor’s life can be exotic and take you to amazing places but there’s always work that must be done. As Dan always says, “Nothing’s free in Water World!”