Sunday, December 18, 2016

Happy Birthday SHELLEY!

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tomorrow Shelley celebrates another birthday.  As a rule, neither of us make a big deal about turning a year older, but see each passing milestone as a celebration of our life together...  After 14 years much in life for any couple is routine...  That said, in case I don't say it enough or to enough people, Shelley is the CENTER of my universe.  She tolerates my shortcomings (many)  and shows off my more positive sides (few) and ALWAYS supports and cares for me....  THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU!
Wine, Flowers (from s/v Zoonie) and Oysters...  A good start to a birthday...

We will spend a quiet day going for our daily swim, then re-installing the scuba compressor and attaching the new dinghy wheels we made to fit our new dinghy, then if we are not both too exhausted, we will go out for a nice dinner....  A real treat!

As for life on Blowin' Bubbles, we have been working steadily on all the boat projects we need to complete while still in New Zealand.  We are finding prices here overwhelmingly expensive, and we are finding that we really have to shop around before committing to anything.

We have also had a horrible time with the NZ Customs people in Auckland.  We ordered a new heat exchanger for the main engine last month and spent over $1400 USD including shipping here.  We tried to buy one locally but $3000 USD was the cheapest we could find.  Anyway, when we arrived in NZ we specifically asked the Customs people about importing some needed boat parts, and they said that the paper we were given at that time would suffice.  Apparently it doesn't.  We needed a "Customs Importer Number" if we bring anything in the country over $1000...  So 10 days after the part arrived at the Auckland airport we are STILL waiting for it to clear customs!!!!

Here is the best part.  The part is coming to us tax and duty free as we are a "Yacht in Transit"  so this isn't even about MONEY!  Just failed bureaucracy at its finest!   (End Rant)

As for other projects, the scuba compressor now has a shiny new stainless steel base and a new belt tension roller purchased from an auto wreckers...  We also replaced the rusted out security bars in the main salon with 316 stainless steels ones.  Our finest build has to be our new beach wheels for our new dinghy.  The wheels here cost anywhere from $200 - $400 so we decided to build our own.  And for about $100 we have an awesome set of retractable dinghy wheels!  A HUGE THANK YOU to Graham from s/v Te Arai  who we met in Tonga.  He is a retired dairy farmer who still lives on his land when not out cruising.  He was kind enough to invite us to his farm an hour south of us and use his shop (and expertise) to built all of the above items!
Graham welding the new security bars.


Painting the compressor with high heat paint

Graham's shop

Our NEW wheels for the dinghy...



New security bars.... Installed!

New Dinghy Wheels - Finished!


While we were working, Shelley took some time to explore Graham's farm...



Oranges...
That is a LEMON!!!!
The Oranges were smaller than the lemons!


We have also installed an electric winch that will lift our new davits that we are having fabricated after Christmas.  More on that soon....



In spite of all the work going on we have still managed to get some exploring in.  We have taken numerous hikes and last weekend visited the Kiwi North Museum.  Below are some pictures from our adventures...  

We visited The Abbey Caves...




Sheep everywhere!

Gates to keep the sheep where they belong...

But smart people can get out!



I added this picture cause I think it is just beautiful! (Shelley took it)
 Another day we visited Busby Head and hiked to Smuggler's Cove...  The home to New Zealand's only ocean defense position during WW2.











This time we were surrounded by cows!


 We ended our hike with a lovely picnic...


 And here are some pictures from the museum....

The "flightless" Kiwi bird...

In their darkened enclosure...

Other cool critters....

Notice the size of her egg!




The "smallest" church in New Zealand...



The place had flowers EVERYWHERE!
 As you know from our last post we have decorated for Christmas.  We discovered that the competition to win the "Best Decorated Boat" has really heated up....  We will not lose without a fight so we have increased our "Christmas" presence...







Our friends, Rob & Barb from s/v Zoonie are part of the reason we have to put so much effort into winning.... You can't see it in this picture, but they spelled out "Merry Christmas" with home made nautical letter signal flags....


We will post again in a few days...  Cheers!



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