Sunday, 16 June 2013

Honeymoon - Day 5 (Jan 31st)

Day 5 - Abel Tasman to Motueka

We had a lovely day today. We picked up the anchor quite late, it was around 11 once we'd had a swim, made breakfast and tidied up. Actually I can accurately say it was exactly 11, because I've been keeping up the log book. Kind of. I'm at least putting in hours motored, destination and point of departure. I need to get into the habit of doing it, so when our chart plotter breaks I at least have a co-ordinate to put into the GPS. We actually got to sail for most of today and it was amazing. We could chat without yelling and just floated along on top of the waves. I think it's like comparing a push bike to a motorbike - they'll both get you there, they're both fun and often the motorbike is faster. But it's so much more peaceful and you feel so much closer to everything around you without the engine.

We cruised past Tonga island again to look at the baby seals then made our way to Motueka, which is near Nelson. We tried to anchor in Kaiteriteri but there were too many private moorings and no free space. After cruising the coast for a bit we managed to tuck in behind Ngiao island, where the water gets down to 4m deep at the lowest low tide, which is a bit shallower than we normally anchor in. But it should be ok. Our boat is 1.8m, but we like to be safe.

We spent all afternoon reading in the shade and jumping in the clear water when it got too hot. Garth managed to get the outboard going for our dinghy (we've had it for a year and didn't even know if it worked), and found it has 2 speeds - fast and faster. It's 8hp on a tiny dinghy, so I'm not surprised. But being mobile with no draught meant we could head out over to the island, then the beach, then to split apple rock. It's a giant rock that's been split in half, and looks pretty cool. Creative naming around here.

We also inspected sandy beach, which is where we 're heading tomorrow so we can go horse riding - the plan is to drag the dinghy over a heap of sand at low tide and leave it somewhere. Hopefully the sand doesn't go back too far... We wouldn't be able to go at all if Garth hadn't fixed the motor, so it was lucky he's so handy. We tried 2 different horse riding places in Golden Bay, but one was too far away for us to get there without assistance and the other one didn't call me back. Hopefully this one will be better than those guys anyway! It's a beach trek, which is what we wanted.

It seems really simple just going ashore, but it's not. The beaches here are shallow for quite a long way out, so we can't get near them without the dinghy. When we stopped at the marina it was the first time we'd been on land since we left, and I didn't even realize. No people since we left either, so nobody minds if I go for a swim or use the solar shower on the deck in my birthday suit. All the main towns seem to dislike boats, as there isn't really anywhere to go. We got lucky for the first few days because it was so calm and we could anchor anywhere, but now we have to be careful so I don't get sick. I've been pretty good on this trip, I've only been queasy once. We had to move last night to a spot an hour away that was more sheltered from our original anchorage because the wind and the tides were fighting each other, turning the boat side on to the waves. That's bad. I'm in the cockpit at the moment, because the boat is going crazy. I keep thinking I'm seeing falling stars, but it's just a light on the hill bobbing up and down frantically as the boat gets tossed around like a piece of driftwood.

Honeymoon - Day 4 (Jan 30th)

Day 4 - Abel Tasman to Golden Bay

Everyone says cruising is just boat maintenance in exotic locations, and I believed them. But it doesn't really sink in until you wear right through your new jandals in one day walking around trying to get boat parts.

Most of the things that went wrong yesterday probably all stemmed from one high pressure fuel pipe in the engine bursting open, but it was a pretty sucky day all in all. We had all the drama in the morning with refilling the fuel and bleeding the engine, then the pipe burst and we had diesel flowing into the cabin. Then when we thought it was sorted out, our fan belt blew and flipped over so the cabin stunk like burning rubber. Garth tried fixing it, but it just wanted to be upside down. My problem with this is that the last time the engine played up we went to buy new belts, bought the wrong one and then had to pay somebody to fix it properly because it was too stuffed for us. They replaced the fan belt when they did all the maintenance and we didn't get more. Because we're both forgetful and stupid. So no spare fan belt. I've read so many stories about how important it is to have a spare of everything, but we didn't have a spare.

So after the fuel pipe burst again, we lost almost all our fuel. There was one place on the whole coast that was supposed to have fuel so we headed there. We actually got some wind and started sailing for the first time, but had to end up motoring to make sure we got there in time.

Also, disregard what I said about liking motoring. As soon as we turned the engine off and the only noise in the world was the lapping of water on the side of our boat, I wanted to throw away the key and never turn on that blasted engine again.

Anyway, so we rocked up at the marina with no fuel, a half-fixed fuel pipe that was still slowly leaking, amid discussions of making a fan belt out of rope. We had to ask where to get fuel from and docked alongside a warf covered in oysters, which I then proceeded to slice my hand open on while I was trying to rearrange the fenders. After already dropping and retrieving one by leaning half off the boat.

So Garth wrapped me up in band aides and went looking for fuel. He called the Harbour master and was told he could get some for $2.69 a litre at 9:30 in the morning. It costs $1.50 from petrol stations, so we thought he was blatantly trying to rip us off. Considering we needed 150L, we left slightly panicked to anchor in the middle of a glassy bay, in one of most beautiful scenes I've ever seen in my life. The sunset was stunning, and we were completely alone in the huge bay aside from two kayakers who rowed out to take in all the beauty for an hour or so. So it wasn't a bad place to be stuck, but we were still stuck.

We went back to the marina this morning amidst discussions of hitch hiking to the nearest service station, which was 13km away. We only have 2 cans for diesel, which hold 40L between them, but if we did 2 trips instead of buying it from the marina it would save us $80.

The Harbour master was actually really nice, said he had misquoted us on the fuel and it was actually $1.65 (we did try to tell him he was being ridiculous the day before). So we fueled up, disposed of the bucket of diesel which had been sitting in the cockpit from when Garth pumped it out of the bilge, and even scored a berth for the day. So things were looking up. Though when we filled the fuel I took off the fuel cap inside as per Garths request to get rid of air bubbles so we wouldn't have to bleed it again, and ended up with a spurt of diesel through the cabin and all over the couch cushions. I decided this had to be the end of our bad luck, so we tied up without any more oyster attacks, removed the offending parts from our engine and started heading in what we hoped was the right direction for Takaka. To give the town credit there was one bus a day, which we missed by 10 minutes.

So we walked for about an hour in the hot sun before someone picked us up, and then a lovely lady gave us a lift to a magical engineering world where all broken engine pieces are brought back to life. Or they should be, because this place was awesome. If anyone ever gets stranded near the top of the South Island of NZ and needs engine parts, these are the guys. We only found them by ringing up the service station and begging for a fan belt, so it was pretty lucky they sent us somewhere useful instead of just telling me they didn't have any and hanging up.

They found us two fan belts (I wanted five, but at least we still have a spare), took our two broken engine pieces away and told us to come back in an hour or so. Which was perfect, because we were starving. We had a yummy lunch in Takaka and went clothes shopping in one of the loveliest towns I've come across in New Zealand. It has the exact same vibe as Byron Bay back in Australia. Everybody was chilled out, there was a guy playing a recorder, and the street was lined with hippie shops selling loose cotton clothing and jewelry covered in bells. I loved it.

Garth found some clothes (that had to be tried on over my board shorts, which he was wearing as underwear) and I stocked up on summer things to laze around in on the boat. Because what I need in Wellington is more wrap around pants and sarongs. It's not long before we're supposed to be leaving though, so hopefully they'll be useful soon. I couldn't help it, I've always had a soft spot for hippie clothing.

We eventually made our way back to the engineers, picked up our parts and managed to hitch a ride in a matter of minutes. Everybody is so friendly! Apparently there are benches everywhere that come fully equipped with a thumb sign, specifically for hitch hikers. Perhaps that might have saved us all that walking.
From where we were dropped off it was just a short walk home, so we got to take in the scenery. It's stunning! There's big rock cliffs everywhere next to wide open golden beaches.

Part of the road went through a tunnel that had been carved out of a big rock wall, and I think it would be a great place to explore.

Next to the road we followed a little track through the trees to some cliffs and found where the locals must go rock climbing. There were cars parked there earlier and we were trying to figure out why - there were no beaches nearby and they'd left their kayaks on the cars. Through the path there was a giant hammock strung out in the shade under the trees and people had dragged old car seats and couches in to sit and watch the climbers. Or wait for their turn I guess. It was pretty cool.

I managed to injure myself again, ripping a bit of skin off my toe this time. I'm slightly worried that I keep getting hurt, but last trip all I did was bang my head over and over until I had a headache every day and was in tears from all the eggs on my head. I'm not sure if wounding myself constantly is better or worse, but maybe I'll just slowly learn. I haven't hit my head once this trip, which is promising.

Garth fixed the engine pretty quickly, while I washed diesel out of everything. We met a lovely couple with two kids in the berth next to us, which was pretty cool. We don't generally meet many boat people and hadn't spoken to anybody at all in four days before arriving at the marina, so it was really lovely to have a chat. Their kids were crazy and we fell in love with them. The boy shimmied up the mast like a monkey and was cruising around on a little optimist (a dinghy with a sail), and the girl was running around with a net catching little shrimps and begging to be allowed a swim in the marina. I want our kids to be like that, though its probably inevitable that they will be, as the boy was exactly like Garth. Who was just watching the optimist with delight - he loves sailboats, and the little ones are cuter.

We found a really nice bay to anchor in tonight, but it got rockier as the tide changed. I started feeling a bit queasy so we went another hour to find a better place. At least we're closer to home now, and we got to sail for most of it. We went for a swim before moving shop and the water was deliciously warm for New Zealand. Garth rigged up our new spinnaker pole as well, which we swung out over the water and jumped off. We will eventually figure out a way to rig up our trapeze and hammock off it, once we actually get something on the mast to clip it onto.

So we actually had a really pleasant day, and I'm glad we got stuck in the middle of a paradise.