While hiding out in New Zealand to avoid the tropical cyclone season, our plans were threefold: Attend to Moonshadow's refitting projects; travel to the States over the holidays to enjoy some time off the boat; and return to cruise and tour the country of New Zealand.
Moonshadow's refitting tasks required a haul out and that meant someone would be living aboard while "on the hard". Living aboard while out of the water requires dealing with no water, no toilets, no refrigeration, climbing ladders, and showers in the boatyard toilet. This is where Deb's superior ability to size up a situation and take decisive action kicked in. So while Deb returned to the states to reunite with family, John remained in New Zealand for "a week or two" to oversee Moonshadow's boatyard projects.
|Deb and her Dad, Ed enjoy lunch at San Diego Yacht Club|
|Deb and the boys|
This was to be our longest time away from Moonshadow so we needed a better solution for living accommodations than our usual couch surfing with friends and family. Our friend Susan came to the rescue, finding house/pet sitting gigs at places like this condo on the beach in Solana Beach.
From here, Deb was able to send sunset photos to John back in New Zealand...
...where the view from aboard Moonshadow was, eh, a boatyard.
But the time went by fast with multiple projects happening. Here, Steve is welding the keel.
The first piece to install was the replacement for the massive stem piece...
Then the skin was tac-welded into place
Just about finished with the new keel modification. We decided to convert this diesel tank into a fourth stateroom, adding glass up front so we can see coral bommies before we ram into them!
|Welder turned stowaway|
These guys are good.
Good as new!
Things can get a bit messy when there are multiple projects underway at the boatyard.
|It can become difficult to walk when multiple projects are going full bore! Can you see Moonshadow smiling?|
Besides the keel work, we dropped the rudder to fabricate and install a new custom rubber seal to keep the water out.
After leaving New Zealand, it will be a long time before we can find the kind of first class engineering skills we're benefiting from here.
|Circa turned this new collar on the lathe to hold a custom rubber seal between the rudder post and it's thru-hull tube.|
When the welding was done we had the tanks pressure tested, which revealed a leak. The culprit was a tiny pin hole in the 30 year old stainless steel suction pipe.
Unable to re-weld a new suction pipe to the tank in the confined space, our friends at Circa Marine came up with this solution: A specially machined 1/4" thick washer was welded to a heavy section of threaded pipe...
...bolted to the tank from inside...
... good for another 40 years.
While all this was going on, John had time to overhaul the Barient winches.
The story of Barient Winches is legend. Owners of two famous San Francisco Bay yachts, both big designs from the board of naval architects Sparkman and Stephens formed a company to build winches for their two boats and named it Barient after the two yachts Baruna and Orient. Barient went on to become the world's premier winch makers for decades.
So it was fun to get inside and see the intricate precision that went into making Moonshadow's primary electric winches. We'll have to go sailing to find out if John put everything back together correctly!
Five years of anchoring in sand and coral left our good ole Rocna anchor missing most of it's protective galvanization so we had it sand-blasted and re-galvanized...
... and now our anchor chain once again can tell us how much is overboard.
When the most important job left was painting the bilge, it seemed like time for John to join Deb back in the states.
At least that's what the luggage seemed to be saying. By now it had been six weeks since Deb had left.
Back in San Diego, one of the first things on the list was to go for a sail.
It was a special treat to sail aboard Ken and Linda Ruppert's 50 foot sloop, Cathleen. She was built by Driscoll Custom Boats in San Diego way back in 1959 to a radical design by Skip Calkins. Kathleen reminds us of Moonshadow in a lot of ways. She is long, narrow and light; easily driven without a cloud of sail, and fast. But unlike Moonshadow, Cathleen is a wooden boat. Meticulously maintained, she is an absolutely beautiful jewel box. And that's a fitting description because for decades, Cathleen could be seen sailing on San Diego Bay by her first owner, George Jessop, San Diego's premier jeweler.
On an absolutely beautiful December day, along for the ride was our dear friend Jamie Cooper...
... but like too many others, we left Jamie behind, now and forever an indelible part of the Pacific Ocean he loved so much.
Speaking of good friends, our three years cruising in Mexico has produced several new life long friends, like Jan and David. We met them at the La Cruz Shipyard where we were both "incarcerated" in 2014.
... it seemed only fitting to join Jan and David in La Cruz for New Years.
Back in 2014 when we met David and Jan, we had moved off of Moonshadow while she was getting painted in the boatyard. We lived ashore in a casita that was part of this beautiful old Mexican home on the waterfront at the mouth of the marina.
Marilyse, owner of the home we lived in, sold half her land to a developer who built a magnificent residential building. Jan and David now own the fifth floor.
The ride up the elevator opens onto Jan and David's living room where the view of the beach and our favorite marina is stunning.
From our perch on their balcony, we enjoyed observing the multi-generational families celebrating the long New Years weekend on the beach below.
And then there was the epic soccer game in the sand.
In the end, the tiny dog was the only one still standing.
Deb and Jan had some hilarious moments.
Unfortunately, John and David were nursing the flu.
On our return, we resumed life in the Solana Beach condo, house sitting for friends of friends who will be hiking the trails in Chile.
Our job is to walk their dog Coco...
... keep track of the sunsets...
...critique the surfers...
...spy on the paddle boarders...
... and... did we mention the sunsets?
It is a lot of hard work, but we must do this
so we don't get out of practice
when we return to Moonshadow.