Our Current Position

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Whangaroa Harbour

So having spent hours trying to start the outboard last week we now find out (from Ash) that there’s an Australian product for stubborn engines appropriately called “Start Ya Bastard”. We are definitely getting some of that at the next provisioning stop! To be fair though the outboard has behaved impeccably since then.  (Footnote from Debi:  Pat did use the verbal form of this product in his efforts to fix the outboard)

We went ashore to Urupukapuka Island on Thursday and had a nice 6km walk around the island with some stunning views of the Bay of Islands. There was a relay race going on around the island whilst we were there, where the baton seemed to be a beer bottle! As we are still on dry January Pat was tempted to join in, but it all seemed too energetic, so we retired to X-Pat to resume relaxing.

A walk around Urapukapuka Island

On Friday we said goodbye to the Bay of Islands and headed north. We had a great sail for the first hour, with the new mainsail performing well and a pod of about 15 spinner dolphins keeping us company.  However, the wind died after that and the engine came on for the rest of the way.

We are now anchored in Waitepipi Bay, part of Whangaroa Harbour and about 35nm north of the Bay of Islands. It is stunning here, with sheer rock faces and lots of native bush. Yesterday we took the dinghy up amongst some of the mangroves at high tide, which was beautiful. Pat also had a go with the fishing rod, but was clearly applying the wrong technique for the area and we ended up having vegetarian moussaka for supper!

Across Waitepipi Bay
A view from the deck!
A trip in the dinghy

A cruise in the mangroves

There are a lot of gannets here doing their spectacular diving for fish and being a lot more successful than Pat. We are surrounded by the sound of gannets plummeting into the water. Pat had a go at trying to capture the spectacle with the camera, but they were too quick to capture the plunge.

About to take the plunge

Today Debi has been for her regular 1km swim and Pat finished cleaning the bottom of the boat using the Hookah dive gear. We are now all ready to head south and plan to depart tomorrow (Monday) for Tasman Bay at the top of South Island. The wind looks like it will be fairly light and the expectation is that it will take us four days to get there. Our arrival is carefully planed for the 1st February, the end of dry January, when we plan to celebrate our arrival in South Island in style. Our progress can be followed in the “Our Position” part of this website or directly at http://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/XPat

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Back on the Water

We are back on the water! Since leaving X-Pat in the Bay of Islands Marina in Opua at the end of August, we have been away doing other things (on land). With the exception of a one week visit by Pat in November to check things were all ok, X-Pat has been looking after herself.

Pat arrived back on Sunday 13th January to start getting things back in order. This has included cleaning out the diesel tanks, fixing broken bits and pieces following our boisterous trip back from Tonga and updating the software and charts on the navigation systems.

Debi arrived back on Wednesday and we hired a car to go and get all the provisions and sort out the all-important internet contract. We also filled the gas bottles and so are now well and truly provisioned for some time away from civilisation.

On Thursday our long awaited new mainsail arrived. Fitting took a bit longer than we anticipated and so we delayed our departure until Saturday. This allowed us to get the sail fitted but unfortunately the new sail bag wasn’t ready so we had to return again on Monday afternoon to get this done.

Fitting the new mainsail
Shakedown of the new sail

We are now bobbing around in very light conditions in the Bay of Islands trying to get everything recommissioned. We have had a short trip with the new sail, which all went well and the reefing system is certainly greatly improved. We also got the water maker back up and working and the dinghy is back in the water. We had one small fright when, after a short break, Pat went to jump in the dinghy and found it wasn’t there! A quick scan of the horizon revealed nothing.  However, a walk to the bow revealed that the dinghy had somehow got itself around the bow of the boat and was now off the starboard side rather than the port side where it was tied up. Phew!!

Fitting the new sail bag

Job done!

Unfortunately recommissioning the outboard motor has not gone so well. Although normally reliable we can’t get the thing to start. This is despite taking what we thought were precautions before the winter to flush the cooling and fuel systems. We have now put in new fuel, changed the fuel filter and replaced the spark plug all to no avail.  After sleeping on the problem we were just on the brink of removing the carburettor (gulp) when Pat had one more go at starting it and detected some signs of life. After some frantic cranking it finally started. Pat gave it a good blast around the bay and all seems to be fine now. It was probably some dirty fuel in the system. A lesson for next time we lay it up for the winter.

Time for some relaxation …

Friendly Fiji

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