Thursday, January 7, 2016

Where the Surf Meets the Turf

That's the slogan of the Ruakaka Race Course where we headed on January 6 for a day of fun at the races. It is a big annual event designed for the family that includes horse racing. We have taken in local horse events in various countries and this was quite "uptown" compared to the Vanuatu and Galapagos races! They offered free buses from Whangarei so that made the decision to go easy. Ruakaka is on the water with a beautiful sandy beach. The day was very windy so the surf was quite kicked up. The course was well appointed and we even scored seats in the shade. There is a hillside where hundreds of families set up tents and blankets and enjoyed picnics besides the racecourse. They had silly events like sack races, tug of war,which was local kids against the local Ruakaka "surf rescue" (lifeguards) and jandal toss. Jandals is the NZ term used for slipper/flip flip/tongs/zories.

We went with Sandy and Rankin (the GypseaHearts) and Alison and Randall (from "SV Tregoning"). Though there were no big winners (actually no winners at all except for the Alison and Randall who only made intellectual wagers and won!) we had fun day and another adventure.

More small projects are getting done on the boat as we waited for our mechanic who showed up as planned yesterday. He comes highly recommended by many other yachties and we have been mighty impressed so far. He says all the right things and really knows what he's talking about. He is also a great source of where to get things done in town and where to buy the various hoses and bits we need. The good news is he says old "Carl" Perkins 4-108 is in good shape (so far).. It started right up after not being run for many weeks and has all the right "stats" on the various tests he ran. He did take an oil sample to send off so "Carl's" "blood test" will also tell us more. We wait for those results. The alternator has been pulled and taken to a shop for a cleaning and testing and a new bracket for it will be manufactured. An air filter will be installed as well as a mechanical oil pressure gauge (Two things we didn't have) to help keep the old engine even happier. So that was a pleasant surprise as we expected something much worse. The other good news is that because we were delayed in getting started on the diagnosis, we were getting nervous about our guests that would be arriving in February and March. Now, pending the oil analysis, everything looks good for us to meet them with the boat in Auckland as planned.

We have settled into a comfortable time here in Whangarei. Town is close for shopping. There is a great walking path (the Hatea Loop) that is a great daily walk over three bridges and around the river. Lots of people walking, running, biking, skateboarding, scootering and dog walking use it. There is lovely art along the way – sculptures you can climb on, sit on or run through or just simply enjoy.

We will be happy to be out using the boat and dropping the anchor again after the engine check-up is completed. But for now we keep our fingers crossed and enjoy our time here.
At 12/25/2015 5:11 PM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 35°43.54'S 174°19.74'E

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