Happy New Year!

Mike and Liz Downing
Mon 2 Jan 2012 23:58
New Year celebrations were somewhat muted this year - after a couple of days of dry weather after Christmas, the rains came back with a vengeance. It was particularly bad on Friday and Saturday, coming down in torrents as the remnants of tropical cyclone Fina arrived over New Zealand. A lot of the New Year events were cancelled including firework displays (notably in the capital, Wellington), but luckily not here in Tauranga. The rain had eased by midnight and a fireworks display took place by the Tauranga bridge overlooking the marina, so being high up on the hard we had a grandstand view.
Our cockpit cover has been a godsend. Didn't think it would get much use after leaving the UK, but we couldn't have survived here without it. It zips on to the back of the sprayhood and goes over a frame at the aft end of the cockpit, so the whole cockpit is covered. It has 3 acrylic windows, the one at the back being very big, and a zipped entrance on either side. It gives us another room - our conservatory -  and keeps the cockpit dry. At least it did until this weekend. The rain was so hard it started to ooze through the canvas and we were stemming leaks most of Saturday. We eventually gave up and covered the top with a small tarpaulin held down with ties. That worked, but we got very wet doing it. While working on the boat, all our tools, paints and spares etc are in the cockpit and we need to keep them dry. 
The couple of dry days after Christmas allowed priming of the rest of the bottom of the boat and one coat of antifouling, so progress is being made, but it's all so very slow. It's drizzling again today and showery weather is forecast to the weekend, when they reckon it's going to pour again! Like 2010, 2011 was another La Nina year. It wasn't as bad as 2010, but enough it would seem to create all this rain. The natives all say its unseasonable rain, but it happened last year, so to us its the norm!  With all the rain, it's been an opportunity to get on with indoor jobs and having fitted a new mixer tap to the aft heads basin, it was a good time to do the same for the forward heads basin. Unfortunately that wasn't so easy. It was necessary to heat the hoses to get them off the tap connectors. The cold water hose then came off easily, but the tougher hot-water hose needed more heat and this super heated the water still inside the pipe, so when the hose finally came off, an amount of scalding water sprayed out, and all over my right hand. Not a problem as I was wearing industrial leather gloves - I had thought ahead! However, the leather covering was everywhere except for a strip of cloth across the back of the hand, which, of course, is where the water went. Having bathed it in cold water for quite a long time it didn't look too bad, but it came up the next day and didn't look good. So it was off to the medics, a tetanus jab and big bandage around the hand, with instruction not to use it until after they look at it again. Just as well it's raining, my left-hand painting is not good!      
After all the natural disasters in New Zealand in 2011 there was great hope that 2012 would be much better. The last thing they wanted was for Christchurch to get more aftershocks, but it did; in the last couple of days there's been 23! Luckily very little damage was caused. (Apparently the collective noun for earthquakes is a swarm.) 
Dramatic skies above the marina yesterday evening.