“Selling” Villa at Gulf Harbor

We pulled back into the marina and docked in what would now be our official slip, a tight spot where Villa just barely fit, near the end of a very long dock. Very shortly after we arrived, Matt and Katie showed up with our car, which they had been graciously holding onto for us in Opua (while theirs had its wheels put back together, long story). We took a little trip out for lunch, and then they drove off back home, laden down with all the long-term provisions we would no longer be using.

Before they went, we brought Captain out to re-meet Logan. It went pretty well; Captain is pretty tolerant of other animals, though he doesn’t really seem to understand how to play per se.

Our haul-out would begin early the next morning, so we took a trip out to the storage unit, and then stopped by Beer Spot to do some writing and wait for our laundry to get done next door. Huge thanks again to Paws Time for telling us about that power combo.

In the morning we putted over to the travel lift, and walked the cat around the marina while Villa got her bottom washed.

Then the surveyor arrived, and struck disaster with his tiny phenolic hammer. It turned out that Villa had a number of small blisters in her hull, places where water had gotten between the layers of fiberglass and caused them to separate. The dreaded “osmosis”!! We were annoyed, because we’d just had the whole hull sanded down to gelcoat and “checked” in Colombia the previous year. So either all of this was new since then, or the check had been… less than thorough. Anyway we managed to get a couple of quotes to fix it, while we were out of the water, and went ahead and changed the oil in the stern drive leg because you never waste the opportunity to do the otherwise-annoying maintenance when it’s easy.

We expected that finding osmosis would just be a financial loss; as the surveyor said, “osmosis never sank a boat; it only hurts you when you go to sell.” It happens sometimes, you fix it, and you move on. She needed bottom paint anyway, so this was going to add a couple of days and a couple of thousand dollars to that scheduled maintenance. We were shocked, then, when the buyer unequivocally pulled out of the deal. We’d had kind of a feeling that he was looking for an out, that he was just too far at the top of his budget to be comfortable, which is why we had kept working on the sale video. Still, we were pretty unhappy, especially since he opted not to finish the survey; we hadn’t known he could do that. Not finishing meant that when we found a new buyer, they would inevitably have to do a top-half survey, which would mean scheduling and delays and cleaning the boat yet another time.

So we decided to treat ourselves to some consolation beer and wine tasting, and a good wax. Pull all that negativity out at the follicle root.

Driving back, still feeling a little sour about New Zealanders, we witnessed this pinnacle of local fashion: crocs with pulled-up socks and a mullet. We found ourselves really, really hoping that this was not the style we were going to come home to in the states. We also invented a new form of marital compromise: yeah, maybe we only need one pizza worth of pizza, but sometimes one each is just a better way to keep everyone happy. Plus, more leftovers.

Jazz had scheduled an appointment to get her hair done in the city, so she took the ferry into Auckland. It turns out to be a very pleasant ferry commute. straight from the marina to the commercial district, quick and direct, at least when it’s actually running. She was surprised at how close other boats were willing to pass by a ferry that would definitely win the collision.

Also notable, this paddleboarder was hanging out in the absolute middle of nowhere, just chilling out. No evident supplies, no support boat, just out in the open ocean, miles from anything.

Other notable sights: a vendor selling awesome ready-made summer rolls, quick-grab and fish-sauce-free. Also, some sites she marked for a revisit, like the craft beer spot “Andrew Andrew”, and the maritime museum. Neither of which we would ever make it to, because the ferry almost never ran on days when it would have been convenient for us.

Meanwhile Andrew was at home, stitching together the for sale video. He also had a small adventure, but it was to the marina showers, which are not designed for human-size humans.

The next morning, with the sale video finished and very slowly uploading, we set off to explore some of the peninsula. It was low tide, so we figured it was a good time to go beach-hopping. First stop, Little Manly Beach, named of course for being in the town of Manly, and being smaller than Big Manly Beach on the opposite side. Naming here is very literal, which may have roots in the Maori language; Maori, of course, translating roughly to “language”, and Aoteroa to “the land of the long white cloud”, which was pretty much our experience (except on this unusually sunny day.)

We were turned away from the Glenelg Reserve by a big pink sign, apparently due to some cyclone-induced damage to the stairs down. Very cautious, this state. Our next stop, Red Beach, proved both open and popular, and we got a good chuckle out of “have a hmmm before you jump in” on the sign outside the surf shop. Also some regrets about having fire-sold our surfboard back up in Opua.

Our final nature stop was the Alice Eaves Scenic reserve, most of which was also closed. But the semi-flooded lower trail did still allow access to its most famous landmark.

On our trip home, we stopped to pick up cat food, which turned out to mean also picking out cat outfits, because we all deal with trauma differently. In Jazz’s case that means buying more clothes for Captain, and in Captain’s case it means waiting in resignation for the treats that always follow.

The next day we’d made plans to meet up with the former crew of the now-sold Waterhorse. We had planned to visit Sheep World in the morning, but, already running late, Andrew took the wrong exit out of a double roundabout and nixed our chances of seeing the sheepdog show. Since that left us some time to fill, we stopped on the way at a Sunday market. This was very much what you’d expect, with vendors selling a mix of food and crafts, and musicians scattered throughout. But we were not expecting to run into a man walking a pair of huge sheep on a leash.

It was great to see Chae and Annelise, as always. They offered a sympathetic ear for our boat-selling woes, and a number of beers to drown said sorrows in. They also treated us to the rare pleasure of ordering the “yes”, i.e. one of everything on the menu (plus a couple of revisits later on.) We also give their choice of restaurant, Hallertau Brewery, a resounding yes of its own.

Most of the next day was devoted to planning our get-away to the south island. We had grabbed the last available ferry some weeks ago, hoping to be traveling after the sale, but with the ferry having troubles and heavily overbooked, we found we had no option to change dates. So we booked out hotels, and crossed our fingers that we could get something sorted before we left.

In the afternoon our new friends from Waiheke stopped by the boat, with pizzas and a bottle of Woodford in tow, and we had a lovely visit. This left Andrew and Captain pretty tired.

By this point we had a couple more viewings set up, so we set about cleaning the boat to an extremely thorough, showable level… again. Here’s Andrew giving the port water tank a quick scrub. We were outside later, cleaning and polishing various things, when Andrew left an inspection plate open and Jazz stepped right through it, banging up her foot and leaving a nice long scrape-bruise along her thigh. This put her pretty much out of commission for the rest of the cleanup, and nixed our hopes of doing any long hiking in the near future.

In between viewings, we took Captain to the vet to make sure he had all the shots he would need to be able to leave the country. He was not best pleased about the needles, and needed much comforting.

Knowing how stressful boat showings can be, our friends on Searcher sent us the gem on the left. We have seen some cringe names in our time, but only had one on the dock that really spoke to us.

This series needs no explanation; where there is a box, there is also a cat.

We had another showing, and intended to follow it with a trip to the local brewing company (which we would later learn does not actually brew beer, and has an amazing CIA-trained chef). On our way out of the marina, we stopped at Kitchen Door for an ice cream; the local pie restaurant is run by another absurdly overqualified immigrant chef, a Brit who had cooked in Michelin-starred restaurant before leaving to pursue (and achieve!) pork-pie perfection. Sadly, on this occasion, Paraoa was closed, so all we got was a picture with all the taps.

So we drove a little further and found the Browns Bay Brewing Company, which did actually brew beer and had pretty good food to boot. Most of the crowd was sitting outside with a view to the distant beach, but we see water all the time and opted to sit inside on the more comfortable chairs. Especially because Jazz’s leg was continuing to develop an impressive bruise.

We came home in reasonably good spirits, having had a couple of good showings, and set about prepping the boat for some time away. Perhaps too good, because we were a little liberal about feeding Captain some human food, and he didn’t quite make it to the litterbox to throw it all back up. Better than the rug, little buddy.

By this point Andrew was doing a lot of the moving around, due to Jazz’s mobility being reduced by a combination of this bruise and a correspondingly swollen ankle. This led to a fridge-de-icing error: the photo on the right is the correct setup, as opposed to the way Andrew left it, with the shelf left directly below the freezer element and redirecting all the melt-water past the basin and out onto the floor. She caught it before it got too messy.

Speaking of messy: we had just booked our final hotel for the south-island trip when we received an email from the ferry company that our booking had been canceled. Since the reservations were nearly last-minute, they were mostly non-refundable, so we called the ferry company with a certain amount of desperation. After only a little more than two hours on hold, and an hour after their nominal closing time, we were able to talk to a human and get rescheduled onto a ferry a day earlier. This would cut a day out of our trip to Wellington, and add one in Marlborough, so there was a little bit of re-engineering to do, but at least we would still be going to the south island!


    1. Miss you guys too! We’re trying to walk the line, keeping positive about things without erasing all the bad parts. πŸ™‚

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