We just witnessed one of the most amazing natural scenes. Tonight we turned on the blue underwater lights that usually draw fish to the boat. We knew this bay was extremely healthy and full of fish but we had no idea of the scale that would be drawn under the boat. We went outside around 10pm and hundreds of fish were schooling under the boat, There were smaller schools around the boat that were just outside the blue underwater lights but were illuminated by natural bioluminescence. We watched in awe as the schools danced a ballet and the smaller schools would blow apart and come back together as they were hunted by predator fish. We extinguished our lights and continued watching in awe as the captivating bioluminescence fanned out into ever smaller schools as the fish very slowly dispersed. One of the most magnificent natural events I have ever been fortunate enough to witness. And the icing was the glassy conditions, kiwis calling from the hills, the clear sky and thousands of stars, as Great Barrier Island is a dark sky sanctuary.
I think we will stay here a while longer. We summited Hirakimata (Mt. Hobson) yesterday with new friends Ben and Ashley (s/v Nahoa) and there are a few more trails to conquer. Oh, and those natural hot springs are calling our name..
22 March 2018
Port Fitzroy Harbour, Great Barrier Island, Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand
After months of hard work, late nights, stress, tens of thousands of dollars and heaps of sweat-equity, Quixotic is back in the water and ready to sail north back to the islands. She just spent the past four months in a specialized catamaran boatyard undergoing some repair and upgrades. We had our fair share of challenges, triumphs, setbacks and achievements but in the end more things went right than wrong and last Saturday we lowered her keels back into the Whangarei river in New Zealand and order was restored.
We are now enjoying our first night at anchor since lifting out in November; it feels amazing to be swinging on the hook again! Our view has been transformed from boatyard to lush green rolling hills set above glistening turquoise water framed by white sand beach. Tomorrow we sail for Great Barrier Island for some much-needed and well-deserved rest and exploration. We still have some items on the never-ending “to-do” list, but we can now chip away at a more relaxed pace than the unsustainable pace we set in the boatyard.
Quixotic is in the best condition she has ever been in. We completed an extensive refit and made some structural and safety upgrades to her hull and rudders. We also completely upgraded her charging and electrical system with help from Scott at Empower Electrical and his apprentice, non other than Laura Dekker – the world record holder for being the youngest person to sail solo around the world! It was really cool to have her aboard and get to know her. While the list of upgrades is extensive and would fill multiple blog entries, here are just a few I can recall off the top of my head:
Drop rudders, cut open and fully-inspect shaft and internal stainless, re-install and re-grease
Inspect and weld stainless skeg heel fittings, grease and re-install
Reinforce skegs with multiple layers of new epoxy and fiberglass
Clean, and rebuild props and change zincs
Install new stainless swim ladder
Upgrade block for boom crane
Replace all bearings in main traveller
Install new scoop intake thru-hull for watermaker
Seal access ports on swim step
Remove stainless water tank, weld new floor, re-install
New LPG regulator, pigtails and tanks
Epoxy seal and paint port engine bilge
Epoxy seal and paint around both rudder quadrants
Epoxy paint starboard engine room
Sand and apply five new coats ablative antifouling to bottom
Re-seal entire rub rail with 3M UV4000 sealant
Replace hose into starboard water heater
New port water heater
Re-bed liferaft hatch
Re-bed portlight in port forward head
Remove sails, take to loft, inspect and minor repairs, new bolt rope and new battens
New fresh water pump
Install new 300AH Lithium battery bank with BMS (Battery Management System) (Sinopoly Cells with Orion Jr. BMS)