Out with the wind, but how far will the wind take us?

Hi. Did you know what happened? 

We shrugged shoulders in oblivion.

Your neighbour hit Mehalah while you were away. 

What, when, where, how were questions that rushed out like bullets in an attempt to understand and digest the situation and its impact. 

Long story short our pontoon neighbour, who like many New Zealanders, is absolutely loaded had bought a brand new motor boat. Unfortunately he is completely hopeless handling his new toy. In the process of mooring it he hit poor Mehalah’s hull hard on. The numerous eye witnesses reckon a hard crack noise was heard. Very alarming.

On thoroughly inspecting the hull we concluded that, luckily, the damage was superficial. However, dealing with the culprit was not smooth sailing!

Sorin assessing inside out the damage caused by our pontoon neighbour on motor boat Argi

What followed kept us busy for much of the remaining lockdown caused by the Delta variant in NZ. We had to take Mehalah out of the water for the annual maintenance and repairs.

As boatyard life is both hectic and expensive, we would have had postponed the annual maintenance until mid year 2022 when we have hopes of crossing the ditch. But, given this unforeseen event we knew that the damage on Mehalah’s hull needs to be properly assessed and addressed before taking to the high seas, when resuming our circumnavigation of the Earth.

Mehalah, our much loved Oyster Mariner 35, is receiving her well deserved ‘belly shower’

Whilst we were in the Auckland boatyard getting on with the boat maintenance work and overcoming all sorts of unexpected material supply issues in ‘the city of sails’, the news of the lockdown caused by the Delta variant in NZ coming to an end on 3 December was received with much enthusiasm. Whoop whoop! We can be out with the wind again! 

Boatyard life is not easy. However this moment made up for it all:- the shifting colours of the horizon at moonrise ahead of the partial moon eclipse in the Auckland boatyard

We therefore pressed the throttle trying to get our Oyster yacht, Mehalah, ready for the launch before  the ‘liberation day’.

Cleaning Mehalah’s hull under and above the waterline, antifouling, seacocks servicing and rig cleaning – all in one week, whilst…
The boat builder and painter were fixing Mehalah’s ‘belly’

We launched a week before the end of the lockdown. In time to tick all the outstanding land bound to dos, much more straight forward to accomplish with easier access to land. We were again lucky to be helped by our willing pontoon neighbours with the shopping runs and other errands. Thank you.

Final shopping run before going out with the wind
Our beloved Oyster yacht, pampered from toe to top, and ready to say goodbye to boatyard life

Once having slipped the lines we will have to take it very easy. We have another 6 months to roam New Zealand’ shores, hoping to spend time in places we haven’t sailed to yet. Not many.

Some of our Auckland marina neighbours that will be dearly missed

With the end of the year celebrations approaching, for a long time we have been trying to work out some special way to mark the occasion. However having been stuck during this Coronavirus Delta outbreak in NZ for so long, we came to realise that only being able to roam the waters again is the best celebration that anyone in our situation – around the world sailors stuck during Coronavirus – can hope for.

Our enthusiasm for the prospect of our regained freedom was recently curbed by the news of the new Covid variant cropping up in South Africa. This leaves us slightly worried that our plan of resuming our sailing around the world next June turns into wishful thinking once more…

Oh well, let’s wait and see.

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