Back in NZ - Rooms with a View

Mike and Liz Downing
Sun 18 Sep 2011 11:39
Back in New Zealand after a 39 hour door-to-door journey from the UK. It's wet, windy and cold - much like a UK winter! But Spring is around the corner and we hope the temperatures will start to rise soon. The UK Summer was one of the coldest since the early 1990s, but was still warm with sunny days and it was good to see the countryside in all its glory. We had forgotten how abundant and green the trees are in Surrey and Hampshire. Along the lanes and many main roads, leafy branches were overhanging and overlapping in the middle, creating a tunnel of green under the canopy. For all its great scenic beauty, we haven't seen anything quite like that in NZ.  
It's been a very hectic summer for us and sorting out all our worldly goods, stored in our apartment after our house move before we set sail in 2008, has been a full-time job. We completed it with just 2 days to spare before our return flight to NZ. The apartment is now empty and eagerly awaiting a tenant! We also had a certain event to attend - the wedding of the year, our son's! It was superbly organised with 120 people attending and it all went according to plan. Liz had a new posh frock and hat and it was a lovely day. Jonathan's bride, Louise, looked stunning in a beautiful wedding dress and Jonathan didn't look half bad in his suit and tails. Luckily the weather was good and the reception started with a steel band playing in the sunshine - a reminder of the Caribbean.
After 3 months unattended on the hard in Tauranga the boat was fine, apart from one of the windscreen panels being shattered (like a car windscreen). It's a specially moulded curved shape in toughened glass and having checked, getting it made in NZ will cost a fortune. So it's now a wait for a replacement window to be shipped from Sweden that will take 4 to 5 weeks (and only cost a small fortune!). Inside the boat the dehumidifier was still going strong, having been running continuously for 3 months unattended. So no hint of condensation or dampness of any kind, and everything looks in good shape.
We now have to start work, sanding and antifouling (painting) the bottom. It's more complicated than it sounds as we use 3 different types of antifouling - a hard white on and just above the waterline, a hard blue from the waterline down to about 18 inches and a soft (ablative) over the rest of the hull. Then there's the deck to sand and, as ever, a long list of other jobs to do before she goes back in the water. However, before we start,there's just a small matter of supporting our country in the Rugby World Cup. So it's a walk into Tauranga this evening to see the game live on big screens in one of the bars. Hope they do as well as Ireland.
Overlooking Portsmouth Harbour, UK - the view from our apartment.
It is a great view and we can see (although not in this picture) the history of the British Navy - HMS Victory
(Nelson's flagship) to the left, HMS Warrior (the first British iron clad warship) to the right and current Navy
frigates and helicopter carriers in the middle.
Overlooking Tauranga Harbour and Mount Maunganui, NZ - the view from one of the rooms at the marina.
They have 2 rooms available and we stayed in one the night before we flew home and a couple of nights
when we returned. 
Overlooking the boatyard and Mount Maunganui - the view from the porthole in our aft cabin.
Aurora B in the yard.
The side panel of the windscreen, shattered just like a car windscreen - could have done without this!
A stunning day!
A stunning couple!
A stunning dress!