Opua

Waiting in Opua, I need a new piece for the aquadrive prop-shaft coupling,
and it has to come from the US, hopefully by the end of the week.

Opua is a serious yachting centre, but not much else, Paihia down the road
is a pretty resort, not quite yet in season and limited in scope. The
people are charming, the Bay of Islands is picture-postcard, but I've spent
a lot of time here over the last year and I'm ready for something new. What
proportion of a cruiser's existence is spent wrestling with the cabin fever
induced by breakdown or contrary weather?

But... I have a small rented car and can get about. I've pottered up to the
old whaling port of Mangonui, across North Island to Kaitai and Ahipara on
the Tasman Sea, and back to Opua along the remote and rustic inter-coastal
road. The land is green and beautiful after the Spring rains, if one wished
to be a farmer I can think of no better place. I've also walked the overland
route to Whangamumu Bay, a steep hour and a half's hike each way over the
hills from the nearest road (itself a clinker track), well worth it for the
exercise, the views, and the birdsong. There are lots of boats arriving from the Pacific islands at this time of year, and the marina is buzzy.

Tuesday the week after. The part has arrived, been fitted, tested, and the boat appears to be whole again. My thanks to Chris, the engineer at Seapower in Opua. He is the size and shape of a grizzly bear, with a ginger rasta hairstyle, a Ho Chi Min beard, and a lot of the old ink on the skin. He has done various bits on this boat and impresses me as a natural engineer. I could use him as crew.

There is a weather depression coming over North Island with a stiff wind from the North East, backing to North West, not good for Australia . This is likely to last until Saturday or Sunday, at which time I hope to be on my way.

Best wishes to all,

Donald.