Mermaids and Waterfalls on Great Barrier Island

The title of this post just described the recipe for a perfect day on Great Barrier Island.  A 7km hike up to the natural hot springs followed by a hike up a treacherous trail with very slippery mud and moss to reach the ultimate payoff: a secluded picturesque waterfall.  Despite the freezing cold water, and the fact that we didn’t even get in the hot springs, we both jumped in for an invigorating dip under the falls.  The afternoon came to a close with a stroll back to Great Barrier Lodge for an afternoon dessert on the patio overlooking Quixotic riding peacefully to her anchor.  What an awesome day!

Reluctantly sailing back to Whangarei tomorrow for some last-minute repairs and to buy some additional spares before sailing north back to Fiji in a few weeks.  It’s been amazing out here and it won’t be the last time we visit.

Stay tuned for an incredible video of dolphins riding our bow wake and for passage prep updates!

Lew & Lyss

Whangaparapara Bay, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

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Bioluminescence Ballet and Exploring the Barrier

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

36°12’13.7″S 175°20’26.0″E

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New QUIXOTIC hats and logowear for the 2018 charter season!

Splashed!! QUIXOTIC 2018 Refit Recap

After months of hard work, late nights, stress, a pile of cash 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)
  • Install twin Balmar 614 smart alternator regulators and valeo alternator upgrade kits
  • Install new Balmar “Centerfielder II” to balance twin engine charging
  • Completely replace and upgrade all main battery and charging cables with tinned marine-grade 70mm cable
  • New charge and discharge bus bars with auto ON/OFF remotely controlled by BMS
  • Pull all old wires behind nav station
  • Replace DC cables for inverter and install inverter auto cut-out switch controlled remotely by the BMS
  • Remove all genset wiring (with 250A charge capacity, who needs a noisy, smelly, genset!)
  • Install fuses to all main busbar wiring
  • Install Yanmar wiring harness amplifiers
  • Fabricate a new stainless emergency steering tiller
  • Aluminum weld line chalk on boom and main grab rails on swim step
  • Replace engine belts
  • Rebuild engine raw water pumps (bearings, seals, impellers)
  • Replace engine air filters
  • Replace saildrive fluid
  • Inspect 316ss anchor chain
  • Service and grease all seacocks and clear intakes
  • and many more items that we are now forgetting…

Time to string the hammock and ease back into the good life.  That “to-do” list can wait until mañana :)

Lewis & Alyssa

-Urquharts Bay, Whangarei, New Zealand

She was a painting machine!
She was a painting machine!
One of the many coats of new antifouling paint
One of the many coats of new antifouling paint
Scott from Empower Electrical installing the new lithium battery bank
Scott from Empower Electrical installing the new lithium battery bank
The famous Laura Dekker; head buried under our nav table installing the new charging system
The famous Laura Dekker; head buried under our nav table installing the new charging system
New rudders all greased up and ready to install
New rudders all greased up and ready to install
Lifting her up to fit the rudders
Lifting her up to fit the rudders
Installing the starboard skeg heel fitting
Installing the starboard skeg heel fitting
The Mermaid carefully installing the rudder heel fittings
The Mermaid carefully installing the rudder heel fittings
New rudders and heel fittings all installed and ready for action
New rudders and heel fittings all installed and ready for action
New QUIXOTIC hats and logowear for the 2018 charter season!

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Ahhh....back at anchor!
Ahhh….back at anchor!