Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

The final chat with Ithaka and another Stormvogel moment

This evening we had the last SSB radio conversation with Ithaka. After 42 days at sea they will reach Valdivia in Chile tomorrow and we feel privileged to have been able to talk to them each night since we left the noisy (in radio terms) marina in Auckland. Our latest radio conversation was at a distance of about 5,500nm, well over a quarter of the way around the globe, and our signals bounced at least four times off the ionosphere and the earth to reach them. Amazing for such 'old' technology.

Ithaka sailing in Tonga in 2013
Colin, Ana and their crew Lucas have done an amazing job and sailed a near-perfect passage. Lucas, originally from Argentina, was working in Canada when he answered Ithaka's call via an internet site which acts as a match-making service for yachts and crews. After an interview over Skype, Lucas was hired and he's turned out to be a great asset aboard the boat. Can you imagine, though, the risks for both him and for Ana and Colin? At least with an internet dating service, the worst case scenario is a boring evening meal with someone who bears no relation to their on-line profile; they had the prospect of living with each other for 42 days in a tiny space with no other human interaction apart from some strange conversations with a couple of English people in NZ!

It was whilst we were having these nightly radio 'scheds' that the latest in a series of frankly spooky Stormvogel / Maunie connections came to light.  About a week ago, a new voice called up at the end of our radio net and it was a chap called Peter Mott who has set up a new, private, NZ shore radio station (based in Russell, just across the estuary from here) called Northland Radio. Since then he’s called up each night and has been super-helpful in advising on best frequencies to use at the huge distances, so we invited him and his wife Angela to come over to Maunie on Tuesday.
Over coffee he said he used to be a sailing yacht man but moved over to a power boat and had a Nordhavn 47 which he bought in the States and brought to NZ. “Oh,” we said, “ we have great friends, Peter and Heidi, crewing on one of those across the Atlantic at the moment. It’s called Southern Star.”
“That was my boat!” he replied, “I sold it to Robbie (the current owner).”

Small world.

Back here we are about to get off Maunie for a week and, to be honest, we are looking forward to a little break from the boat work. Graham has taken a saw to one of the lockers and Dianne has been joining in the fun with some water pump maintenance:

The Fridge Project continues - more to follow!

Di accessing the nether regions of the water pump

We are driving south for what promises to be a fun weekend in Tauranga to celebrate Lionel (skipper of Kiapa) turning 60. After that we are heading into the wilderness for a 4-day hike, involving three overnights in trekking huts, around Lake Waikaremoana - it's one of NZ's "Great Walks" so we are looking forward to it, with a slight degree of trepidation.


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