WINTER SOLSTICE NEW ZEALAND

 21st June and the shortest day of the year.  Its wet and cold in Auckland and work on Truce has declined to a snail’s pace.  My casual job at Burnsco, travel for Marine Consultancy work and the short daylight hours all conspire to keep me off the boat for days at a time.

From now on the days will get longer and hopefully more productive.  I have a long list of maintenance jobs I want to complete this winter before my next summer of adventure.  The boat needs painting inside and out, the mast needs refurbishing, the rigging needs replacing and there are a thousand and one small jobs on the radar.  One of my major tasks is to skim off the top layer of the deck and apply new epoxy and glass fibre cover.

To keep the decks dry and protected I have put a plastic shrink wrap over the boat.  It cost a few hard-earned dollars but is a lower cost option than hauling out into a shed and allows me to work on the boat at the dock.

Inside Shrink Wrap. Photo, Ray Penson
Inside Shrink Wrap. Photo, Ray Penson

Boat Cover and Access Door. Truce.nz
Boat Cover and Access Door. Truce.nz

So far this winter I have refurbished the toilet area or head to give the correct nautical description.  Everything looks nice and clean with crispy new white paint and sanitation pump.  I am also in the process of painting the inside of various lockers and cupboards, a very time consuming, messy and convoluted process.  A small leak in the filler hose for the Dickenson cabin heater had caused the outside of the ply tank to become saturated with diesel.  I will replace the old tank with a new aluminium one and the previous lingering diesel odour in the wardrobe will be no more.

Refurbished Head. Truce.nz
Refurbished Head. Truce.nz

 Next week I will be travelling to Saudi Arabia for a short job, it should be quite warm and put some heat into my old bones.

 After that I am looking forward to getting stuck into the refurbishment and planning for the next seasons trip to the South of New Zealand.  At the moment my idea is to sail up the East Coast and around North Cape before heading down the West Coast to Golden Bay.  From there to Fiordland and Stewart Island before returning up the East Coast to Auckland.  My plans are pretty sketchy at this stage but one thing I don’t want to happen is to have any deadlines or schedules – just go with the flow.

BEAUTIFUL BARKLEY SOUND

The West Coast of Vancouver Island is turning out to be one of the best parts of the trip down from Alaska.  After leaving Ucluelet this morning I headed over to the Broken Group of Islands in Barkley Sound.  Many of these islands form part of a Marine Park and are much used in the summer months by Kayakers and Campers.  The islands have sheltered coves, bays, sandy beaches and protected waters for kayaking, a beautiful area.

Clarke Island in Broken Group Barkley Sound. Photo Ray Penson jpg
Clarke Island in Broken Group Barkley Sound. Photo Ray Penson

I anchored at Clarke Island for lunch, just off a sandy beach in glorious weather.  The Canadian summer has been turning on the charm in the last week.

In the afternoon I picked up the anchor and headed over to Barkley, a small town clustered around an inlet.  As you enter the inlet one of the first things you see is the store / Post Office with its own float out front.  So convenient to tie up the boat and get stores, no long distance bag carrying.  I took advantage of the opportunity and bought a few treats, fresh fruit, tomatoes and blue cheese.  So good to see home grown fruit and veg in store and not the long life, everlasting, tasteless variety that persists up north.

I also made a contribution to Stanley Park in Vancouver, one of the best city parks in the world.  I bought some Stanley Park ‘Windstorm’ pale ale.  Part of the proceeds from each sale goes to support the park for future generations.  The beer tastes good as well, so it’s a win win situation.  Total voyage distance 1,001.2 miles.

A DOCILE WEST COAST DAY

Today was one of those days when nothing much exciting happened but it was a really nice day.  The anchorage at Bawden Bay was very peaceful and the morning was calm.

I motored out of the anchorage and down towards Tofino through the various channels and islands, a very scenic trip.  Tofino looks like a really good place to visit, lots of tourist activities going on and beautiful sand beaches.

After passing Tofino we headed out into the Pacific and started moving down the coast.  The weather was very docile, just a breath of wind but not sufficient for sailing.  So it was motoring all the way down to Ucluelet where I have anchored for the night in Port Albion.

The trip down the coast was pleasant, great warm weather, a low swell and good visibility of the shoreline and mountains beyond.  A couple of yachts passed heading north and a few fishing boats, that was the excitement for the day.  Total voyage distance 981.6 miles.