A Dose of Donna and Playing the Patience Game

Thu 11 May 2017 02:33

A Dose of Donna and Playing the Patience Game

Our third cyclone of the late season is dumping her load of rain over us at the moment. After what seemed like a couple of weeks of exquisite weather with cold nights and warm, clear blue days from the Antarctic, Cyclone Donna will have passed by tomorrow and we should be back to fine weather.

Wise and experienced New Zealanders have not yet left for the Tropics preferring the risk of a southern ocean gale up their tails to heading headlong into another spinning top of low pressure off the equator.

Alongside us is a Norwegian yacht, Lovinda Too, with a delightful couple and their friend on board and we have had some lovely times with them. They are off tomorrow and the next time we are likely to see them will be in Norway, who knows when.

The INZ Immigration Service is dragging its heels over our Visitor Visa Application. The right hand in Auckland does not seem to know what their left hand in Beijing is doing and vice versa. We had our full medicals a month ago and we know they have received the reports, but they are denying it. We have been playing a lot of Patience recently, both literally and metaphorically.

A refreshing bit of routine maintenance recently was to cut out a weak link in the anchor chain and have the old section re-galvanised. Then we got a foundry to weld a new link on to join the two sections back together. I suggested we have it load tested so that we would not worry about it breaking in the event of hanging on to our anchor in a gale. Our 10mm chain should take a load of 1.35 tons without breaking. Benny tested the link to 1.95 tons and it didn’t ping!

Rob found coffee cream liqueur in the engine when he dipped the oil and the engine was running below its usual oil pressure. Two changes of oil and it was back to normal and it seems the oil pressure sensor is at fault, so that is on order.

The large cream cat infront of us, of Gunboat design, left the other morning while the dew was still on the windows and the marina has many spaces in it now. Soon the Happy Hour on Tuesdays at the Love Mussel will be attended by a handful of folk staying over the winter. Some are resident, others planning a good spell back home and a sadder story is a couple on a big green yacht from Rotterdam, whose lady has been diagnosed with dementia and their yacht has rotten, leaking decks which need replacing.

The other evening we dined with our Austrian friends Hannes and Sabine on their elegant Amel yacht Cayenne. There was another couple there too, from South Africa and we aired countless topics of conversation until Rob looked at his watch, “Do you know its nearly 2.00am!”

I carefully guided a very merry and giggly hubby back around the quay. It seemed best to physically hold him by the waist as his course was not at all direct. When we came to the canopy bridge it crossed my mind it would be better to sling him over my shoulder to prevent him sinking in the river just a few metres from where Zoonie nearly sank, but I thought better of it. I think we woke up around 11.00am the next morning! That really was a good evening.

Rob surgically removed the motor and compressor of the watermaker recently and they are being tested in Auckland. We have the go ahead from the insurers for a lift out and a new bow prop, so soon we will make our way across the river to Richardsons Yard for the lift where we have been invited to stay with our American friends Gail and Tony on board Cetacea, their spacious sailing ‘ship’. That sounds like more fun.

The evenings are drawing in now so to entertain us we have been watching the old series The Thorn Birds and the original Poldark of 2003 vintage. What a pleasure they have been. Last night we watched ‘Gunfighter’ with Gregory Peck and filmed in 1950. It had been restored and was in mint black and white condition.

A couple of Fiji based marina owners came down recently and laid on a lovely, ticketed evening of dinner, talks and entertainment for us. We thought we’ll be going there next year anyway and besides its an evening out. They certainly make Fiji sound a nice place to visit and the local Maori Haka group came and performed for us. They came mostly from one family and one young lady sang the Maori song made famous by Kiri te Kanawa.

Just for a change we walked up the hill to the Maori encampment around the Parahaka Lookout the other day. A steep climb and descent we felt would be good exercise. The valley through which we ascended was tucked away from habitations and roads and the only sounds were the birds as we climbed past Rimu, Tawa and Kauri trees growing in healthy abundance. It was easy to imagine groups of Maori hunting amongst the trees centuries before the first Europeans arrived.

As we sat on the riverside in the sunlight we reflected on how pleased we were that the family explored this area while they were with us. Clouds of gold leaf pollen glistened in the sunlight as it fell from the Pohutokawa trees onto the water surface, having been released by sparrows nibbling the seeds above.

Runners huffed and puffed their way towards an uncertain victory and a young mother, her nerves jangling, as she guided her toddler along the stone wall river bank opposite.

This evening we are dining out with Gail and Tony who have just returned from their South Island Sabbatical and will be bursting with news. We are loving the life here, as much socialising as we want, saying ‘hello’ to everyone who comes down the ramp onto this courtesy pontoon if we are sitting in the cockpit. A little lad in the clubhouse the other day said “You from a boat or a house?” He seemed pleased when I said a boat, but numerous families are moving ashore, either permanently seeking a future here or for the winter, to give them a bit more room.

For us Zoonie is fine while she is in the water, cosy and homely does it for us.