Thursday, December 24, 2009

sitting in LAX

The eleven hour flight from Auckland would have been more enjoyable if I'd been less grumpy about all the futile phone calls I made to two airlines over three to try to get Brian's seat upgraded to a first class seat so he could keep his leg elevated. It all turned out fijne, though.

His surprise the day before we were scheduled to come home got all stitched up finally on Tuesday morning. They kept him in the hospital until Wednesday. It was a miracle no bones or nerves or tendons were cut. The hospital staff were incredible. They foresaw all we might need before during and after the trip. Then, we were on our merry way.
So, it's in a back slab from above the knee to the ankle to keep the stitches from tearing out of the muscles. He entertained airport goers by using his crutches as ski poles to push himself along in his wheelchair.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A new chapter

It doesn't seem possible that four and a half weeks have passed here in New Zealand. Of course, it still doesn't even seem real that two years have passed since Nomad left the Santa Cruz harbor. Our time here in the land of kiwis has been a good limbo time of packing Nomad away, enjoying our friends, taking a road trip, and pondering what next year might hold. We've both realized that cruising just for the sake of cruising was enjoyable but not as rewarding as we would like. We visited Marine Reach offices while on our road trip and spoke to them about using Nomad to deliver small medical crews or supplies to remote islands in the Fiji groups. They are interested and we plan to stay in contact while we're away. This breathes a spark of newness and renewed purpose for Nomad for us.

Another thing we've been working on is acquiring a third crew member for Nomad. With our crossing of the Pacific behind us and possible work with Marine Reach ahead in 2011, we felt it a good time to add a member to the crew. He/she is due to be born at the end of June. So, as one chapter of our lives is closing, a new one is beginning.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nomad getting loving care

Last week, we took Nomad over to Kawau Island again and tied her up to some posts next to shore during high tide. When the tide went out we (mostly Brian and John) got busy on her bottom. Two years of scrubbing algae and barnacles and other creatures off the bottom had left her anti-fouling paint looking pretty sparse. Some water blasting and a couple of layers of very expensive paint and she's ready to sit out the next year or so. Not only that we covered up the "white" waterline stripe that has plagued us by looking sort of greenish and speckled with the hull paint showing through. Nomad looks much tidier.

While the boys were doing that work, Annette and I polished stainless steel fittings all over the boat and removed rust stains with some near-miraculous enviro-friendly goo she brought. When the painting started, unfortunately, so did some rain. Annette was on the top of the boat plugging scuppers with rags and bailing out the collection areas so the water wouldn't run down onto the bottom where the boys were rolling the stuff on. I was down below, futilely trying to dry up the drips that escaped the scuppers. In between that, I was stirring paint and keeping roller pans filled. All in all it was an enjoyable team effort with a great result. We celebrated with burgers in the Kawau Yacht Club that evening while waiting for the next high tide to come in so we could get off the poles and back into the water.

Two days later we motored down to Gulf Harbour Marina a couple hours away. We needed some electricity for Nomad's next beauty treatment. Two years of pounding through waves and flexing from heat and cold had worked open some leaks. Not a good idea to leave a leaky boat unattended because it would make more work for when we return. So, we pulled out the leaf-blower. Yup. the secret to finding the leaks in the caprails and around fittings is a leaf blower. Imagine trying to find leaks in an inner tube. You blow it up so there's some air pressure inside and then you squirt the outside in a methodical fashion with soapy water. Where there's a leak, you see bubbles. That's exactly what we did to Nomad. We taped up the known airways and vents, hooked up the leaf blower on full blast and started around the whole boat with squirt bottles, rags, tape and pencils (for marking the leaks). This was an all day process but quite successful. I have never heard of any other boat owner attempting this so maybe Brian will patent his idea some day :) We have also cleaned out the water tanks and washed foul weather gear so they aren't grody when we get back. Brian has painted our anchor, caulked, moved outside gear for storage inside the boat among numerous other details.

Now we're back in Warkworth and Brian is getting in a few days of work with John while I wrap up paperwork and repair jobs on small boat parts. Saturday, we head off to Raglan for a camping/surfing trip.