06.01.2017

We're headed south

Engine is up and running, we're heading south to the South Island. Would love to sail to Nelson, but we probably won't make it because the wind is predicted to be westerly. That means we'll end up a bit more east towards the islands or Queen Charlotte Sound. We'll see.

Pix of today

What I forgot to mention: the screw was custom made. The guys found a screw with the correct thread (Gewinde) and then had to customize it. Thanks to Adam they found a guy who was able to do it. Drill two holes and flex the thread off on the top. Oh my god, what nervwrecking days.

Here is our fruit "platter" that was brought to us this morning from Adam.

Update 2

This morning at 8.30 a phone call woke us up. It was Adam telling us that the bots had arrived from Whangarei, but that he believes that they will not fit and we won't be happy. It was a try from Volvo Whangarei as they did not have the bolt on stock nor did any Volvo in New Zealand. He let us know he would come down to the harbour in about an hour to drive us around in the hope to find something.

I drove Marcus to the pier and was about to leave when he called me back. I turned around and couldn't believe my eyes: Adam was there with his next older son carrying a box full of fruits for us! This kindness of the Kiwis is incredible! His wife packed that for us to make us feel better. Corn, fruits, avocado. Just incredible. Thank god for them.

Marcus and Adam took off with a flare of hope. They first went back to the Diesel injector guy where we had been already yesterday. He had told us that he had seen a bolt like that somewhere, but he can't find it. For about an hour they took the whole workshop apart. Adam could not be held back from looking everywhere. They had to give up eventually.

While the guys were trying their best, Sibylle, Peter and I climbed up the viewpoint here, a steep hike and then climb along a chain up to Paritutu (or similar, can't really remember the name), I thin they also call it sugar loaf, because it's similar like Rio, just way smaller. As lovely hike and a gorgeous lookout.

We're up there enjoying the view and me praying for help when we receive an update through What's App: Marcus has got the bolt and is about to assemble the machine!! We would have loved to scream and celebrate, but we knew that just having the bolt does not mean the engine runs. We would have to wait and continue praying.
We decide to walk down and meet in the harbour before 4pm. While I did some grocery shopping for the unlikely event that we would leave tonight Sibylle and Peter hunted some more caches.

When I came to the port they were all already waiting for me. Marcus wasn't finished with assembling the engine, so still waiting. Bille had gone to get some cake while I went back to get some fish'n chips.
Back on Alita Marcus continued his work while I continue praying. The moment has come to start the engine. Marcus closed all doors and held the fire extinguisher in his hand just in case. It was quiet on the boat. You could just hear some wind making its way into the cockpit and the waves massaging Alita. I turned the key and: nothing. The ignition hardly turned.
Ok, let's think. Sounds like not enough power. Battery empty? Seemed like it. Emergency switch on so the starter is connected with the service batteries. Again. Nothing. Mixed emotions arise in each of us. Disappointment, destructed hope. I felt so bad for Marcus who spent the last 3 days in the engine room working his but off.
We were so disappointed we couldn't even cry. And we did not want to give up. The engine turned, but the compression obviously was missing. What can we do? Is there still air in the system although Marcus had already let the air out. He looked in to the manual again and went back to the engine. He said: one last try, then that's it. It took a while until he came up. I was sitting at the steering wheel (where the starter is), eyes closed, praying. Marcus came up and said: ok, our last try. I think I should turn the key to show Alita I love her. We did not dare to breath, staring out at the water without expression. Then it happened. The engine STARTED!!! That was at 5:45pm today, January 6. The engine has been running since. After one hour of running Marcus will do an oil change. Then the engine needs to start again and run for two hours. If it's still ok then, we'll head right out down to the South Island. I keep on praying! We're still not celebrating, but Marcus for sure has a smile on his face and had to let out a loud scream "YEAH".

05.01.2017

New Playmouth 2

Christmas tree in bloom

New Plymouth

Well, we need one single, small screw for the injector to put the engine back together and start it. One little screw. The guys from Volvo Whangarei sent one, but it's not the right one. They do not have the right one in stock. No one in New Zealand does have it. And we were hoping to leave tomorrow for Nelson. Now they sent another couple of screws to Adam, who'll bring them down tomorrow as soon as they arrive. But they would only fit by chance.
So now a tiny screw (bolt) decides how out trip will continue, how long we'll be stuck here, if Sibylle and Peter have to leave us here or not. One little screw. Go figure that.
Adam drove me and My friends around for at least an hour today trying to find that one little screw here. But no marine shop, no Volvo truck parts sellers, no engineers, no diesel mechanic has this one part for us. So we sit and wait and pray. I walked back from town to the harbour on that beautiful path and took some pictures - the only thing I can do at the moment. Enjoy and pray!

04.01.2017

Update

Here is an update to our status: 
It is still blowing cats and dogs out of the trees (as a Kiwi would say). No wind tomorrow. Both not good for us to leave for Nelson, so we're stuck here for a while. Unluckily that means that Sibylle and Peter are better off to continue their travel on land as we probably won't be able to sail them to Nelson in time for their flight back. We have to check the weather again tonight. 

Marcus has dismantled the motor. In the meantime, oil is back in and we started the ignition to let it turn so that the oil is distributed everywhere. A good sign was that at least this worked. Volvo Service mechanics from Riverside Whangarei, who's mal work is the cause for this whole dilemma, are sending some parts down to put the engine back together. But they are not willing to send a mechanic for help fix the trouble they caused…Thank god Marcus so far succeeded with the work. Let'S pray that the engine did not encounter any damage from the water. It had never run with water in it, so the water just sat in the pistons. Hard to imagine doing that out at sea with 3m cross sea - as Marcus had just read from a sailor. 

A super nice Kiwi (as they always are), Adam, came by our boat yesterday - he saw our trouble. He offered help, shelter, hot shower, Stay overnight in his house etc. Just lovely they guys. I called him today and he picked me, Sibylle and Peter up and drove us to town so we could buy what we needed (Marcus needed a wrench; we needed bread). What a lovely guy. He said he always drives out to new sailboats as no one comes in here on free will but only if they are in trouble or need a shelter - because the winds here are bad. Right now Cook Street, which we have to cross borderline, has daily gale warnings, meaning winds of more than 8 Bft (34knots).

Here are some pix of outside damage…Poor Alita. She was beautiful for two weeks….



03.01.2017

Parengarenga dunes from above

Those little points on the top of the dune, that's us...


View south

There's a little dot in the river, that's Alita

View towards the entrance / exit of the river bay (to the right)

Charly Fotos

Just to cheer us up, here some pix I took out of the Videos of Alita that I made flying Charly. 

Leaving Parengarenga


Sailing with our Parasailor just past Cape Reinga (when we had wind for an hour)


Happy New Year

First of all: Happy New Year to all my blog followers, family and friends out there! Hope you had a good start - better than ours. 

Let me start by saying we're safe and tied up to a mooring. Just not in Nelson, but in New Plymouth. With a broken toilet (already repaired today), a broken motor (saltwater in the motor!) and some damage on Alita. I won't write too much, because I am still exhausted and have a headache, so just some information: 

After midnight New Year's the wind picked up, we put the sails out and stopped the engine. The waves got worse and worse, causing two of us to get seasick (including me of course - I prevented the worst with a pill just in time). As predicted about 16 hrs later the wind died and in my shift I wanted to start the engine - dead. We decided to continue sailing over Cook Street to Nelson because the facilities s are better there - and did that for a while against the wind which got stronger and stronger (more than predicted) and then decided to turn around and get into Port Taranaki (New Plymouth) which however took us another  many hours( til midnight) because under land the wind had died. We tried to motor Alita with the Dinghy but that would have taken us too long. After a while some wind came back and with a couple of tacks we managed to sail into the harbor where we wanted to anchor. However the harbor is full of moorings and boats tied up to them. Impossible to anchor. With the Dinghy Marcus pushed Alit from the side while I tried to steer and lookout in the darkness. In the end we had to go back out a bit more and take the next available buoy, but we could not tie up the way we need to because Marcus could not get the mooring chain up. It was ok for the night but we knew we had to change position in the morning. 
Marcus and I got up at 9 (we needed a rest) and tried to find someone responsible for the moorings without success. Finally via phone someone told us to find the Pilot boat's mooring T2 which was nowhere to find. in the meantime the wind picked up and we had to move. We prepared another mooring and wanted to push Alita the way we did the night before but it did not work as wanted. We started to drift, there was nothing I could do, not even time to let the anchor down. A french couple on their boat saw that. He prepared the Dinghy, put the motor on it and came over to help, but we still ended up on a fisherbooat and caught its mooring chain with our rudder. Peter, Sibylle and I tried to keep the fisherboat away from us as much as we could, but with the wave rockingg us like crazy it was impossible, to we encountered some damage. Not only on the top (newly painted deck) but also big scratches on the side and harm to the Anti-fouling. In my despair I called the Pilot / harbor master via radio for help and after a while a Pilot boat came. By that time and with the long line of the french guy that we had tied to a mooring and pulled in with our electric winch we had already freed Alita from the mooring of the fisherboat - but still needed to move to that Pilot's mooring PT2. The pilot boat came and took us alongside (in the still rocking waves) and pulled us over to that mooring that we tied up to. This whole time it had been pouring rain. 

As I am writing this the wind is gone, the pouring rain stopped and it is getting lighter outside. We're all tired and tight, our nerves need rest while Marcus keeps himself busy with repairing to not think about what happened. He just found out that the motor is full with salt water, we have no clue where it came from. So, we need a long and expensive motor repair (or replacement?) and Alita needs to get out on the hard again to redo the Antifouling and repair all the other damage to the paint that has occurred. If you ask me, that's going to be another couple of weeks. However we can't do it here. We have to sail to Nelson for that - and in order to be able to do so, we need to wait for good weather that will safely carry us down there - with no storm and no times without wind as we can't motor our way down. 

To top it all up we found out that the Genua needs repair (I just fixed the big cuts) although it has just been with a sailmaker whom we paid to check her….You can't rely on anything or anyone anymore. 

So, my mood could be better. Sibylle and Peter's vacation is ruined for now as well. We'll see how we continue. I feel sorry for them. It is not our fault that the weather did not permit us to drive down to Nelson, but it is sad. Now we have to wait a long time for the weather to change. 

The good news is we're all ok, Alita is floating and not taking on water - and we can still sail. 
And we had all day yesterday to see mount Egmont (mount Taranaki) in its whole beauty. It is usually in clouds and when we drover there 2 years ago to see it we didn't see a thing. 

So long, Michaela

Here are some pictures: 

White sand at Parengarenga


The „Mondfisch" (sunfish?)
Little bird hopping on the water

Cape Reinga

Mount Egmont / Taranki