It's an Expensive Business!

Mike and Liz Downing
Sat 29 Oct 2011 04:50
Discovered in the week that the rudder has quite a bit of play in it's bottom fitting. Expert view is that it's okay but "you wouldn't want it to get much worse". They reckon it might last another 12 months or so, but who knows where we will be in 12 months. So with all the facilities here and after much dialogue with, and help from, Hallberg Rassy, a new bottom rudder fitting (at £700) is going to be sent from Sweden. HR are still waiting for our replacement windscreen glass (£600) to come from their supplier, so they will send both the glass and rudder fitting together by courier (dread to think what that's going to cost!) some time next week we hope. With all the other things we've had done or are having done, this small refit in NZ is growing by the day - it's an expensive business! 
Good news this morning. Received an email from NZ Immigration to say our passports are waiting in Hamilton for collection and that our visa extension applications have been approved. We can now stay in NZ until the end of May 2012, the same end date that Customs set for the boat. Both have quoted the work we're having done for the reason, together with the cyclone season in the tropics - it officially starts next Tuesday and lasts 6 months or so, so not a good time to head north! It's not the best of times to head west either as cyclones in tropical South Pacific tend to head south west and end up in the Coral Sea and/or the Tasman Sea. The officials here accept that heading south (towards Antarctica) or east (thousands of miles in the Roaring Forties to South America) is never a good idea! So everyone agrees that it makes sense to stay put in NZ until the cyclone season in the tropics is over. Although we thought it likely that Immigration would approve our visa applications, we did have a concern that they might insist we have medicals. The application forms state that if staying in NZ for more than 12 months a medical would be required. That's not a problem except for the cost - £500 each! We had checked it out last May when getting our first visa extensions (then we only had to supply chest x-rays). So very glad medicals weren't required - it gives us a little more money to keep the marine industry going here in Tauranga (or pay for the courier from Sweden!).
Grocery shopping when in the boatyard - not a problem. Discovered that Countdown (the NZ equivalent of Waitrose) has online shopping, so we order online and it gets delivered to the boatyard every Saturday morning. In fact, as the driver now knows where we are, he delivers it right to the bottom of our ladder on the boat, so couldn't be any closer. (Just as well as it was raining again this morning!)
Not our boat, but a picture form Hallberg Rassy showing the bottom rudder fitting that we need.