The Bay of Islands is a lovely setting. Lots of islands and anchorages to choose from depending on wind direction. We settled into Orakawa for a few days and then the wind shifted west than south than east so we jumped over a bay and ended up in Opunga. This is a popular anchorage for protection in easterlies and we were entertained daily by the comings and goings of lots of boats. A few stayed for a few days and others came and went daily. Meanwhile, aboard Astarte, we were sanding, cleaning, varnishing, and cleaning some more. Varnishing an interior is difficult at anytime – but when trying to live aboard at the same time it is a big challenge. But we have gotten some good systems in place now and wake up and dust, sand, dust again, clean and then varnish. The next morning the routine repeats itself. We are tackling sections at a time and getting on anywhere from three to six coats of varnish – depending on the usage of the area. It is looking quite nice.
After the varnishing routine, we are also getting some brass polished (can't put up tarnished brass with all this new varnish!) After time in Orakawa then Opunga, we made our way back to the Opua Marina. We are now toed up at the "breakwater" dock and Michael is tackling the Perkins 4-108 engine oil leaks. He ordered (and we got) new gaskets that he will replace. He is doing most of the work himself with a little help from a mechanic for the last lining up. We continue to varnish as well. But we do have decent (though costly) access to internet – so there are NEW PHOTOS! posted.
The other good news – the Opua General Store has ice cream! We treat ourselves to a cone when we need to escape the boat varnish fumes. Our new mainsail is scheduled to be delivered on Thursday; a rigging inspection is also scheduled for Thursday and we are waiting for some advice on the repair of the autopilot mount.
While we have internet, we are also downloading all the forms we need for travel to Fiji and will start watching the weather patterns. It is cooling down here – so fall is coming to New Zealand.
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