New Zealand 26th Nov

David & Susan's Adventures
David & Susan Simpson
Sat 26 Nov 2016 19:53

35.18.57S 174.07.78E


We arrived in Opua Marina in New Zealand at 9.30 am on Saturday 5th November. We had just tied up when the customs came on board and within 30 minutes we were cleared in and it was all very painless. We then moved to a berth in the marina and started to relax and celebrate. Chevaldy, who left Minerva Reef at the same time as us arrived on Sunday the 6th so we delayed our party until they arrived.

Apologies for the dearth of blogs, but it has been a fairly hectic 3 weeks. Opua is fairly remote in the Bay of Islands, but is the centre of cruising in New Zealand  and therefore a great place to keep the boat if you want to go cruising for a few days every now and then to remote anchorages. We stayed in the marina for 2 weeks and then moved out to a mooring, which is managed by the marina and gives us access to all the facilities in the marina.

Over the past 10 days there has been an All Points Rally festival, with lots of events arranged by the Island Cruising Association and sponsored by the marina and most of the businesses surrounding Opua. There have been lots of Sausage Sizzles & BBQ’s and all sort of talks on sailing related topics. Many of the boats we have met up with over the past few months have been in the marina over the past 3 weeks so it has been very social, both at the ICA events and on various boats.

We have been very busy in between the social events trying to progress our huge list of jobs. As we had planned we are doing a significant refit on Enchantress and have started the biggest job, i.e. removing the teak deck.

We have had increasing leaks on the boat and have been worried that water was getting in to the Balsa core of the deck, with potentially serious consequences. Some parts of the teak are down to 2mm thickness and it was clear that water was getting under a large part of the deck. We (mainly me) have now started removing the teak with a mallet and chisel and it is very slow work as the teak is mostly very well glued down and you have to chip away carefully so that you don’t destroy the fibreglass. After nearly 2 weeks I have removed almost half the teak, but most of the difficult bits still have to be done and involves removing lots of deck fittings. This will mean removing much of the wood ceiling panels inside the boat to get at bolts etc.

There are several thousand screws or screw holes which were used to hold the teak in place. These all have to be opened and then filled with epoxy. The deck will then all have to be sanded before being painted and then we will probably put down rubber Treadmaster on the deck.

We expect the work on the boat to take several months, but we hope to be able to go cruising every now and then to give us a break.

The following photos start from getting ready in Tonga to leave for NZ and will continue in follow-up blogs.

Sean helping to transfer 800 litres of diesel to his, Aros Mear and our jerry cans and to Enchantress tanks in Nuku Alofi, before setting off for NZ.

The entrance to Minerva Reef, 2 days sailing from Tonga. You mainly see the breaking water as at high tide there is very little of the reef shows above water.

Enchantress anchored in Minerva Reef. It feels like you are anchored in the middle of the ocean as the reef is only 2-3 feet high at low tide.

Catching up with Sean & Sabine on Chevaldy in Minerva Reef.

A spectacular sunset in Minerva.

Chevaldy disappearing in the swell on the way to NZ.

Chevaldy at the top of the swell.

Sunrise over the top of NZ!!

The entrance to the Bay of Islands leading down to Opua.

The moorings outside the Opua marina.

More photos on the follow-up blog.