Port Whangarei

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Fri 27 May 2016 12:55
35:45.4S 174:20.8E  Port Whangarei
We motored 15nm up the Hatea River to the town of Whangarei  (FUNGA-RAY). This large town of over 50 000 people is the centre of Northland (northern North Island) and a big marine centre. It has a large commercial port at the start of the river and then a number of boat yards further up.  Going up the river was a bit stressful, as we had to co-ordinate the timing of the bridge closure with the tides (water depth) and the sunset.  We managed to squeeze through the bridge just before the 4pm closure and on the rising half-tide, which at that point gave us 100mm  under the keel.  Think of that...  10cm, under a boat weighing over 50 tons!  Bit hair-raising to say the least. 
The people of Whangarei are very proud of their award winning bridge design. Known at the Te Matau a Pohe bridge, this bascule bridge is an asset to the area, but has been know to have problems in high summer, when expansion from heat, prevents it from opening to allow yachts to pass through.
bridge whan        bridge piston
Bascule Bridge  -  opened with giant pistons, assisted by the counterweight
Once through the bridge we had a bit more skinny water to navigate before tying up at the marina.  The Whangarei Marina is right in town, super convenient for shopping and restaurants. Mike bought a new bike (also folding) and so we once again had the freedom of wheels to get about quickly and easily.  Mike headed to the marine stores, and I got some general “household” stuff updated.  We also managed to catch up with Brent & Ana on the Catamaran Impi, who had also started their circumnavigation in Simon’s Town. 
  Whangarei%20air%20finals%2001%20(3)           bl whang dock
View down the river (MarinePromotions pic)                                                 Time2 getting lots of attention from visitors to the waterfront precinct
After many years of heat and humidity  in the tropics, our vinyl ceiling liners finally all sagged. It is a huge job to replace, as there are 64 panels of different sizes, many with light fittings. The foam backing of the linings had deteriorated and so in addition to  sagging, was releasing a fine dust into the boat, which was irritating our eyes. Not good!   Luckily we were able to contract the super-professional team from SMI who managed to  replace all our ceiling liners in 4 days, while we were on the marina.   What a pleasure dealing such competent and flexible tradesmen. 
   ceiling liner     under panels
    Sagging ceiling liners in the salon, and then a few days without ceilings.
Our next step was to take Time2 back down the river to the Port Whangarei boat yard, where she is to stay for the winter.  This yard was built to fit out certain naval vessels for the Australian and New Zealand navy, but is now a private facility.  We chose this yard, as they have very competent technical teams that work on various aspects of yacht maintenance and have a fantastic clean yard for storage. Here is Time2 back in the slings, about to get a power-wash. 
bl port whangarei
All that is left for us to do, is to lock up and take the bus tomorrow to Auckland to take the long flight back to Cape Town. As Mike says, “it is better to be cold and wet in a house, than be cold and wet on a boat”
We will be back at the end of the year, when things warm up.