On Monday we caught the bus down to Auckand, had a cup of tea with Colin and Ana on Ithaka then went over to Birkenhead for a meal out with Tony & Claire who have been looking after Horace the Honda in our absence. It was great to catch up with them and to have cuddles with Ursa the Newfoundland, now fully grown - it's a bit like cuddling a bear!
The drive back to Opua included a stopover for lunch in Whangarei with Adam & Cindi of Bravo and a dash round the huge Pack n Save supermarket (more of a warehouse really); a bit of a shock even after the good supermarkets in Suva.
We are now focused on boat maintenance jobs for the next couple of weeks just to get them out of the way. So this morning was the oily jobs - changing the diesel filters and doing an engine and gearbox oil and filter change. Most of these jobs just have to be done but don't deliver any rewarding visual evidence of their completion, beyond a tick on the long list. However we have a few 'improvement' projects on the go and have just completed a couple that are very pleasing.
The first, mostly done in the wet weather in Suva, was to replace the old and tired halyard bags in the cockpit. These bags are designed to stow the ropes that haul up the sails and reef them down and, at nearly 17 years old, were definitely looking pretty tired.
Rather than just copying the originals we decided on some design improvements, to include some flexible plastic pipe sewn in to the edges to hold them open and a small pocket dedicated to the winch handles to prevent the old problem of the handles falling out (usually onto your toes) when you needed to pull out some lines.
|The new design - it has a mesh material in the base to let water drain out and double-thickness material for longevity|
|A surprisingly complex construction to include the dividers and the reinforcing pipes -it kept us quiet for a couple of days!|
|The old light fittings|
|The new light fitting - the LED is much brighter that the old ones and yet only uses about one third of an amp|
|The wood matches the speaker mounts almost perfectly.|