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haiqu 10-10-2014 10:28 PM

Back in Wairoa, NZ
Well I've been back in NZ now for about 10 days and seem to be recovering from the trip. If you think air travel would be less stressful than sailing, you'd be thinking wrong.

Locked up the yacht in Sydney on Fri 26th Sept and slept in the van that night. Spent Sat 27th sorting stuff into my travel cases and making doubly sure I hadn't forgotten anything important, and again slept in the van. I had to park near the ferry wharf early Sunday morning so that I'd get a spot close enough to be able to drag my suitcase, which was laden with battery-powered tools destined for the house renovation project.

One ferry ride and one train and I was at Sydney airport. But I had arrived a day early because my flight left at 8:30am and there was no way I could get there in time on the Monday morning by public transport. So, after a few hours' fitful sleep on a bench at the airport we boarded for Rotorua.

Virgin Air had handed off the flight to Air New Zealand and I must say the service was awesome. Friendly, great meals and even got to watch the Footrot Flats movie "The Dog's Tale" on the inflight video.

Local bus to Rotorua central, The Naked Bus (tourist bus, booked in advance) to Napier and I spent Monday night at a packpacker hostel before continuing to Wairoa on the InterCity bus on Tue 30th. Finally hitchhiked the last mile to the house with a 5'9" blonde in a pickup truck, who had evidently just moved to Wairoa herself.

Four days of hard travel, I was beat.

haiqu 10-10-2014 10:53 PM

Pretty slow week so far. Still thinking occasionally about a conversation I had with a guy on The Naked Bus last week. He owns a radio network and was evidently trying to offer me a job, although I was somewhat unreceptive at the time.

I got the van through Warrant of Fitness and registered for the next three months then approached the council for a rates reduction based on low income. They were somewhat concerned that I hadn't been here for 8 months but eventually granted it. That's another $605.00 spare for renovations.

Spent yesterday ordering stuff on eBay and TradeMe then went to a local restaurant called The Saloon Bar because I was sick of my own cooking. Venison sausages, mashed potato, peas and onion gravy followed by raspberry and chocolate tart with fresh cream, plus a coke and a coffee - not bad for $25.00 I have only been there once before but still managed to run into a couple I'd met in January; it's a small town.

One guy there was a cray fisherman and I pumped him for information on river depths, since I'm considering bringing Shenoa over here. In fact I've applied to Hawkes Bay Regional Council for permission to moor her in the river. He tells me the bar has a clearance of about 2.5m at high tide and there's plenty of depth once you get through, just follow the moving water to stay in the channel. Sounds easy until you try it I suppose.

One of the few jobs I've done at the house so far was to clean and set the fireplace. I came home from the restaurant and set it alight, then sat looking at the flames before falling asleep on the couch. If life gets any better than this I can't remember it.

Off to Hamilton Monday to collect my airplane from storage.

haiqu 10-11-2014 04:32 AM

The past couple of weeks I've been reading Webb Chiles off and on. Shadows and Stories, The Fifth Circle, Storm Passage and today I finally finished The Open Boat.

What can I say? Wow. I'll be starting The Ocean Awaits tomorrow.

Webb is evidently off on yet another adventure, and I'll be keeping a close eye on his progress.

delatbabel 10-11-2014 08:00 AM

I met Webb in Apia, Samoa. He's an amazing guy and his current adventure, around the world on a 24 footer has all sorts of ups and downs. The current boat has all of its secondary power from flat solar panels on the deck. It has no inboard engine but he has a torqueedo electric outboard, which he is able to charge up from the solar. No shore power cables, no diesel. I'd be interested to hear where he is now.

haiqu 10-11-2014 10:35 AM

I was thinking you might have crossed paths. He's currently in Opua, NZ according to his logs.

self-portrait in the present sea Webb Chiles

Lots of good reading to download there.

haiqu 10-23-2014 10:35 PM

Picked up the airplane from Hamilton. The trailer was in need of major repairs before I could make the trip so my savings on council rates have been eaten up already. It needed five light globes, two new tyres, one safety chain, eight wheel studs and nuts (PO had simply welded standard bolts to the hub!) and two wheel bearings before being declared safe, and had to be registered as a new vehicle because the number plate didn't belong to it. Only in New Zealand!

The instructor/inspector at the local aero club shares my concern that the wings weren't designed well, but declared that apart from that he'd have no hesitation in flying it, which is a relief. Bob is actually an interesting old guy, having flown cargo out of Tahiti to the Pacific Islands for many years. He's also a yachtie and amongst other things once set up a pig farm, during which he discovered an ancient steam driven timber mill on the land he'd bought for that purpose.

While we had dinner last night I was regaled with tales of how he dragged 100yo Kauri logs out of a creek with his D6 bulldozer and cut them into hull parts for a 60' yacht with a homemade chainsaw mill. They don't make 'em like that any more ... can't get the wood, you know.

NZ TV isn't much good but since there's so little entertainment here I decided to install a satellite dish. Bid on a package on TradeMe and was delighted to win a 60cm dish with LNB, satellite decoder with remote, satellite finder with 1 metre test cable, and a 15 metre main cable all for $28.99 plus shipping from Auckland.

delatbabel 10-24-2014 12:25 AM


Originally Posted by haiqu (Post 42188)
Picked up the airplane from Hamilton.

Good to hear it might actually fly one day. Sounds like you got some sort of bargain anyway.


Originally Posted by haiqu (Post 42188)
While we had dinner last night I was regaled with tales of how he dragged 100yo Kauri logs out of a creek with his D6 bulldozer and cut them into hull parts for a 60' yacht with a homemade chainsaw mill. They don't make 'em like that any more ... can't get the wood, you know.

Those stories should always start with "No s**t, there I was ...".

I've been giving the NZ pages on the wiki a bit of a refresh. You might like to add some stuff for whatever you've seen around the North Island. Getting on a boat in Bay of Plenty and going out to check out the volcano on White Island sounds like a fun thing to do.

haiqu 10-25-2014 12:27 AM


Originally Posted by delatbabel (Post 42190)
I've been giving the NZ pages on the wiki a bit of a refresh. You might like to add some stuff for whatever you've seen around the North Island. Getting on a boat in Bay of Plenty and going out to check out the volcano on White Island sounds like a fun thing to do.

Started adding some data about Wairoa recently but the connection here at the house is variable and mostly weak, even with a 44dB wi-fi extender. Haven't yet been up to the Bay of Plenty although I made it as far north as Gisborne on the last trip.

Whakatane is about 300km from here - four hours at NZ road speeds - so it would be a two day trip whether I drove or caught a bus. I'm not keen enough on volcanoes to make a special trip for that, but if I had another reason to go there it could happen.

haiqu 11-20-2014 11:15 PM

Wow, a long time since I updated this page. Here's what's been happening in the past month:

Paperwork to resolve the estate challenge ate up about a week of my time. I had to create a Power of Attorney for my sister to sign documents in my absence, but the bank was vague about which jurisdiction it should cover. I had the choice of four (QLD, VIC, CoA or NZ) and eventually chose Commonwealth of Australia after consulting every legal mind in town. At the last possible minute my sister remembered that we also needed to change the title, so lots of courier post costs. :-(

About four days were also wasted with a back injury. I lay flat in bed groaning in pain but eventually it went away enough to get some more work done. But not before discovering an aversion to paracetamol - you can't buy aspirin here without a prescription - which kept me up vomiting throughout the first night.

Patched the roof over the house proper (as distinct from the shed/extension) to get rid of minor leaks using wide self-adhesive aluminium tape. Removed the carpet in the lounge and fixed a hole that had been caused by the leaks, the chipboard flooring had turned into Weetbix and my foot went through! Painted the timber in the lounge; skirting boards, window frames, mantlepiece are all now a clean off-white.

Previous owners had removed a structural wall, so I had a local engineering company make me a 60mm gal post and bolted that in for support. I can now walk on the roof to repair the corrugated iron without fear of falling through.

Spent several days installing a video alarm system for a neighbour in her new clothing shop. When I volunteered for this I thought she wanted me to install a simple alarm with a few motion sensors, not six video cameras and a HDD recorder with an internet monitoring link. Wow, complex. Neighbour gave me a huge square of carpet to replace the rotten stuff I removed in the lounge. The colour is an awful beige but better than bare flooring.

Repaired and primed the garage, which took me about a week. Most of the timber had warped and nails were rusted away. Some timber was beyond repair and needed replacing. Also painted the roof's top cap which was showing surface rust.

Removed about a metre of rotten, borer-ridden floorboards on the inner end of the verandah and repair of the substructure is in progress. More important is the other end of the verandah, which has subsided about 80mm and is threatening to collapse and take down a wall with every earth tremor. Big job, I'm still considering how to achieve it safely working alone.

Installed the satellite dish on the chimney and repositioned the wi-fi extender so that it actually works reliably.

And of course there's the the inevitable jungle. I bought a brush cutter and have so far managed to remove about 70% of the metre-tall grass that had regrown since January. Seems amazing that I did the whole thing in a day last time, I've had about six goes at it now and become exhausted after about an hour each time. Also borrowed a chain saw and took down a few branches and a small tree that had grown onto my property from next door.

Best thing about being here? I have orange trees. And an open fire. Oh, and not to forget Friday night dinners at The Saloon Bar. Last week I ate curried lamb pie with tamarind chutney, kumara mash, cucumber and mint salad and shredded beetroot, followed down by homemade feijoa ice-cream and ginger snaps. All for $20.00!!

delatbabel 11-21-2014 01:08 AM

Good to hear you are able to help out the neighbours. Pity they haven't reciprocated with offers to assist repairing the rotten floorboards although the carpet was a useful bonus.

I went through much the same process on verandah floorboards on my place in Christchurch (one of the episodes that convinced me to never own a house again, at least not a timber one). In the end I called in a local builder to assist but the process involved jacking up the joists with acroprops and working forwards from the good wood nearer the house to the rotten wood at the outer edge of the verandah. I wish I knew then what I know now about timber treatment in a marine environment because I'm sure that the joists could have benefited from some coats of marine epoxy and I wish I'd used a decking oil rather than a lacquer on the boards themselves.

Hearing someone extol the virtues of a dinner for $20 makes me feel a bit guilty when I go out for dinner here in Saigon and get change out of $2. Only a little, though. :)

haiqu 11-21-2014 09:41 AM

Neighbour with the shop is the mother of the young lady who was kind enough to let me use her shower several times last January. She asked me to quote on the job but I refused the money. I figure having someone opposite keeping an eye on the place while I'm away is worth gold.

First time I came to NZ in the '80s I could get a packet of cigarettes, an ice-cream and a coke and come home with change out of $2.00 but things have changed. It's generally not a cheap place to live now.

I looked for acroprops but they're not available to rent here. If I need to prop the roof up for repairs I'll have to do it with timbers. Did manage to fix part of the collapsing wall today and confident that when I level it and insert a few more nails it will be secure again. Hard work but easier than I expected, I really didn't think it would stay upright while I replaced the main corner support beam. Vines growing within the wall cavities were the main complication.

haiqu 12-02-2014 01:58 AM

As if life wasn't compicated enough. My brother just sent me a scanned email from Hunters Hill Council entitled "Notice of Intention to Impound Abandoned Vehicle".

Evidently some local asshat reported my vehicle has been parked in the same spot for two months, so they're treating it as abandoned DESPITE the fact that it's registered, operable and legally parked. Yes, local council bylaws allow them to do such crazy sh1t.

F*&k. F*&ckity f*&k. I really hate government.

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