Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Auckland stay

Rani arrived a week ago in Auckland where I met her downtown at the ferry terminal/bus station. Earlier that day I had moved Ladybug from the anchorage near the Bay bridge into Pier 21 marina. This small marina is adjacent to the downtown and I was lucky to secure a slip whose owner was away for a few days.

In the following days, while Rani recovered from the 35 hour trip from the UK, we explored Auckland and re-provisioned for the voyage north to Whangerei. We visited the Auckland art gallery and museum - both of which I would highly recommend to visitors. The museum has a particularly impressive Maori/Polynesian floor with thousands of artifacts, masses of detailed information, and two large reconstructed houses. Entry is by donation to both facilities.

We found Auckland to be a delightful city with pedestrian shopping areas, many small parks, and a well thought out waterfront that blends working industrial areas with public spaces, restaurants, and walk-ways. On Saturday, we were walking through an area of grain silos on the waterfront where we came across a crowd of people sitting on blankets and in folding chairs. It turns out that each week a movie is projected for free on one of the grain silos - this week's screening was "Top Guns".

We also did some work on the boat including fitting a new head (toilet). The old one had a difficult to fix leak and a cracked pump housing. Replacement parts for the housing and a service kit would have come to nearly $700, so I opted for a new $250 Jabsco head. Few projects on a boat are straight forward. Because the new toilet has a different shaped base with different spaces between the bolt holes, this required me to redrill the stainless steel support plate. (This plate raises the head above the waterline, making an anti-siphon valve unnecessary). Stainless steel is very hard and hence difficult to drill. I was completely unsuccessful in doing this with my own drill and bits. Borrowing my neighbors drill and two sets of bits from other boaters was equally unsuccessful. Fortunately, our marina neighbor, Grant (whom I met out on Great Barrier Island) knew of a local machine shop and convinced one of the workers to let us use their drill press. The holes were still difficult to make, even with a large, slow speed drill press, sharp bits, and cutting oil!

We left Auckland a few days ago to visit Rangitoto and Kawau Islands en route to Great Barrier Island.

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