Friday, April 18, 2008

April 17, 2008 - Whangarei Wrap-up

We've had a really good experience here at Dockland 5. Charlie, Doug and Sharon are terrific. We've had such a fun time with them. We have to stay on our toes to keep up with Charlie's sense of humor. He's a shocker. Doug has been so helpful. We loved the days that he would bring his big yellow lab, Dyna, into work with him. On those days we couldn't stop humming "someone's in the kitchen with Dyna, . . ," and you all know the rest. Sharon realized early on that we are all about the food (and wine) and made it her mission to introduce us to such Kiwi delicacies as feijoas, feijou wine, scones, scallops, pipi fritters, hangi, green-lipped muscles and macadamia nuts fresh off the tree. Its not for nothing that we call her "Sharon Scone." We are going to miss them all.

We had mostly positive experiences with the local trades. Trevor, the stainless guy, is a national treasure. Neil Shaw Automotive Engine Reconditioners did a great job rebuilding our generator head. Tim, an Aussie cruiser on a boat called Intercept, currently hauled out in Dockland 5, gave us a mastercourse in gel coat repair - at least the first chapter. We had a poor experience with Whangarei Spars and Rigging. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that there is a better option in town.

The nearest chandlery, All Marine, is overpriced and has a limited selection in stock. But it is convenient. The good news is that they just changed hands. The new owner is awfully nice and means well, so maybe things will improve. We had much better luck sourcing stuff in town at Arnold Frank (hose, tubing, fittings), Wynn Frasier (paint, sandpaper and varnish), Bunnings (hardware), Donnovan's (general industrial supply), Repco (oil), Supercheap Auto (filters), JA Russell (electrical), Lusty & Blundel (electrical), Snow Brothers (electrical/alternator rebuild), Ray Roberts (Yanmar parts), the plastic place next to BinInn (gasket material) and at Ross Insulation. We also had a good experience with Calibre Sails - they delivered on time and met their quoted price. Avon Industries regalvanized our anchor and chain. We got replacement foam for our cockpit cushions from Neil McLeod. He does top notch upholstery work for Friendship Yachts and was fun to work with.

This afternoon, Charlie and Doug put Mata'irea back in the water. While we were in the Travellift slings, Nell, off of Storm Along, stopped by with some parting gifts for us - tortillas, wine and romance novels - the girl knows me too well! Late in the afternoon Charlie, Doug, Sharon, and Martin off of Dingo, gathered in our cockpit for sundowners. It was awfully nice to be gently rocking at the dock, watching the sunset, and enjoying a last round of drinks with good friends.

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