Back at last. Whangarei 35:43.48S,174:19.63E
We finally returned to Serenity of Swanwick in New Zealand on 27th March after nearly 9 months in the UK. The treatment Sarah received in the UK worked at last and she is currently not on any thyroid medicine and feeling great.
Our return trip to Whangarei went reasonably well – our train to Gatwick was disrupted but we had left in plenty of time, and our hire care from Auckland developed a flat tyre within half an hour of picking it up, but in between the flight from Dubai to Auckland was so empty we could claim a row of seats each and stretch out for some sleep so we arrived reasonably rested.
Serenity was in remarkably good condition considering she had been left so long – there was a lot of dirt on deck but not much down below and no sign of mould or mildew, so after a scrub of the decks we were able to start work redoing the antifouling. Everyone told us what a marvellously dry summer they have had but it rained everyday we were in the boatyard: still we managed to get the paint on and polish the topsides (the bit of the hull above the waterline) between showers. We were relaunched at 0700 on Tuesday, 5 days after arriving, as they had given a choice of then or after Easter – a deadline is good to focus your mind on work!
Hooked up to the tractor and ready to launch
The relaunch went smoothly and we had time before the first opening of the bridge to town to test out the engine as we motored up and down the river. The steering is very stiff, so Phil is going to check through all the cables again to see what’s wrong.
We’ve been up in the town since Tuesday, getting used to life afloat again and rediscovering the social life of Whangarei. We went out with the hash house harriers on Tuesday evening (up to the top of Parahaki Hill and back down for a barbeque) and had a meal in a Turkish café in town with 4 of the group last night. Saturday was the annual OCC end of season get together hosted by the Port Officer, Mary – a pleasant lunch at the Cruising Club with about 40 cruising sailors. Inevitably the conversation here will always gravitate to the shootings in Christchurch and the planned changes to the gun laws which seem to be mostly, but not universally, seen as a good thing – hunting is a way of life in many parts of New Zealand.
We have been busy stocking up again with food and boat parts. Everyone you meet here is so open and friendly – even at the supermarket checkouts, that its a pleasure to go shopping. We plan to reward ourselves for our work with some sailing later in the week.
Daylight saving time ended here on Sunday, so we had an extra hour in bed and are now 11 hours ahead of the UK. The rain stopped the day we left the boat yard and we have had lovely hot sunny days, but chilly nights since then.
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