We are hoping to untie the lines that keep us in the Opua Marina so that we can start exploring the Bay of Islands area here on the North Island of New Zealand. The good news, is that Michael did a FANTASTIC job getting the steering back in order. After much heartache with getting all the cables, conduits and ends for the job to us in Opua: some parts getting here, others not getting here, the wrong lengths, the right lengths, the right ends, ends not attached quite tight enough etc., the job is completed! It was a big multiple day project with lots of crawling in and out of small spaces, bruised knuckles, bad language and tools borrowed, the job is done. The steering is so much smoother (at least sitting here at the dock) and it was something that - once all the old pieces were out - was a project that definitely needed to be done. So another big one off the list - and off the Santa list as well. The other good news is the engine seems to be in order as well. The injector pump was pulled, shipped to Whangarei and repaired (there was a problem) and shipped back and re-installed, along with the tested injectors, and after much non-starts - the old Perkins coughed into life and is humming nicely. It was a costly project but again, one that was critical to get done. The new ignition and tach are also now installed so that project is also done. Again, while at the dock, all things seem to be working great - we hope we'll be able to say the same once under load!
Before we leave the dock though, Michael has to go into this cold, icky water (with these very large dark colored, long tentacled jellyfish and not much visibility) and get the prop scrapped and the thru hulls cleared so we can be on our way without causing any new damage with overheating.
Now it's time to leave the dock. We have done some last minute grocery shopping to get the boat stocked up for the holidays. Our goal for the next few weeks is to find a great place to drop the anchor and settle into a nice spot for the holidays. Unfortunately, most of our good friends have headed elsewhere this holiday season, so we'll hope to be in an anchorage and meet some new folks, hopefully some local New Zealanders, with whom to share the Holiday spirit. We're actually looking forward to that.
We also are now looking forward to having guests Dave and Lorna who will arrive in early January. Spare parts, new computer, camera and things like fuel lines are already being shipped to them. Plus, Carol has sent on some boat paperwork and our new rain gear. So we'll have Christmas aboard Astarte when they arrive for sure!
For now, we are getting the final bills paid, showers taken, water tanks filled, boat prop scraped and we'll hopefully be off the dock in the next day, We are also keeping our eye on the cyclone that is damaging Fiji right now. It is predicted to then head towards New Zealand as a Tropical Storm...so we'll want to find safe anchorage to snuggle into as that passes.
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