Whangarei Town Basin
We immediately like Whangarei. For me it is small enough to feel at ease but also big enough to get almost everything a sailor needs after having spent 10 months on the islands of the South Pacific.
A few corners from the Marina we find all the specialists we are looking for, there is the Canvas shop selling UV resistant zippers, several stainless steel welders, car shops, plumbing shops, etc.
Next to our cosy marina in the town basin is a large and cheap Pack`n Pay supermarket offering a huge variety and many good deals. Every time I have to hold myself back in not buying too much and to remind myself that I don’t need to provision for the next 6 weeks on some remote island… The Pack`n Pay is open 7 days until the evening hours, so there is no more risk to run out of beer, meat or veggies.
Searching for spare parts though we find out that it is worth to seriously compare prices, as some imported items are ridiculously more expensive than in Europe or US. The Jabsco toilet spare parts set (very important!!!) for example is EUR 40.- in Europe and EUR 80.- in NZ…
On many items on our „wish list“ we find out about the price, take a deep breath and look for a different solution. After taking everything apart, cleaning, greasing very often we get the things working again, like our stove, the sewing machine, the tiles pumps…
The larger job is the overhaul of our genua furler. We know a new one is about USD 3000!, so that’s not the first option.
We take it off the forestay, and start taking out the outer oil seal, that already takes almost two days. Then we face a series of circlips and purchase two circles plies, but of course the rather cheap ones. As a consequence we take a few hours in extracting the outer circlips…
After 4 days of work the fuller is back on the forestay, and we are proud and happy. Material cost for bearings and dealings about 100 USD.
Hiking and biking in and around Whangarei
Also for hiking and biking the area around Whangarei has a lot to offer.
From the Mount Parihaka lookout to the Whangarei falls or out at the Whangarei heads there are many shorter or longer trails, as always in great condition.
In the meantime the marina is full with friends, we have a lot of fun in good company.
In the third week in addition the marina teams puts up a new little pontoon with a bbq.
“An excellent idea”, says Reto, “now we can meet our friends and new cruisers and don’t have to clean up the boat between the series of projects…”
For the last few days we have to clean up nevertheless because we leave for a home visit.
Auckland City Visit
On Monday, the 11th of Dec we take the bus to Auckland for some sightseeing there.
Being our first city since Panama City we have first to get used to the bustling streets, the noise and the traffic..
We wander around town, visit the Sky tower and spend almost one day only in the Maritime Museum.
On Tuesday night we hop on our plane to Hongkong, where we arrive after a good sleep in the comfortable Air NewZealand Economy seats with foldable leg.
Hongkong City Visit
At 8 am Hongkong time we find ourselves looking around a bit puzzled in the middle of the morning traffic at Hongkong Central.
We decide to get on a Hop on Hop off Bus and explore the City the easy way.
Even though the clouds are deep and it is drizzling a bit first thing we head up to Victoria peak to get an overview- what a luck we find later when we see the crowds queueing for hours just to get up there.
Then we visit the Stanley market at the south side of Hongkong island and hop on a Sampan boat ride through the Aberdeen harbor.
On our way to the Man Mo temple the traffic picks up, the bus gets stuck and we decide to do the rest by foot.
In the first evening hours we admire the Christmas decorations from the other side of the bay.
Then our first jet lag catches up with us and we head back to the airport.
Around midnight again we take the plane to Munich, have another good sleep and leave the baggage hall at 5.30 am.
Not expecting anyone I know I spot my sister Gaby and her boy friend Markus, of course holding a welcome balloon and 2 cans of Calanda beer!
The surprise is enormous!
After two more hours we arrive in my home town, where we buy Pretzels, white sausages and of course Bavarian wheat beer. After some coffee and a hot shower we enjoy the first „Weisswurst -Frühstück“ (Bavarian breakfast) in more than two years…