We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.
John F. Kennedy
After my first journey on our sailing boat ‘Odin’, we spend our next few weeks in Mount Manganui. The boat attached to a buoy, we spend a couple weeks there.
Falling asleep on my just body size wide bench in the boat, I felt exited to spend another proper night in the boat. Not counting the nights in Mount Manganui, since we were quite intoxicated. A gentle splash of the waves against the wooden hull of our boat, just 50 cm from my head, surrounds me, while I get shaken in a gentle way into a deep sleep. Thankful for the day and happy I survived my seasickness, I’m falling into the lands of dreams, while I watch the multiple colored curtains above me, shaking in the rhythm of the waves. Orange light is coming in through the windows, from the street lights. Covered by a thin blanked and my head on my jacket as a pillow, I am falling asleep. Ced and Flo sleeping next to the engine and Merv in the front of the boat. Recovered, I wake up to the same gentle wave sounds from the night before. Here and there are some bigger waves shaking the boat from side to side, resulting from an ocean giant, passing by 500 meters from Odin and approaching the big harbor (for NZ measurements) of the Mount.
I get up, first like in most scenarios and try to creep out of the boat, through the small ladder under the sliding roof. A challenge without waking anyone up. Outside everything is calm, I see the sun close to the horizon, a couple small clouds at the sky, and joggers on the shore 400 meters from Odin. I am wearing shorts, it is nice and warming up slowly. I check the view around, the small town bit, the harbor, the mountain, and the bay of the Mount, everything is peaceful and the town is waking up. A big cruise boat approached the harbor in the morning, that is now anchored at the cruiser dock. I take a deep breath of ocean air and grab some food from inside and have my breakfast on the front of the boat, laying down and watching huge boats cruising by and people at the shore. I am having mangoes, apples, bananas, nuts and oats with water, covered by a small amount of cinnamon.
After 10 minutes Flo, Ced and Merv joined in. Together we observe our surroundings and have a bit chitchat and speak about what we gonna do this week. The aim is to fix to boat, since we have to wait for a better weather period. Marie, a friend of Flo and Ced is joining us, she helped us a lot! and later we spend two weeks road trip together, and had a fun time. After a short swim and a poo into the water, it’s hilarious, figuring out the direction of the current and gently pooing into the water while swimming close to the surface, we boarded the dinghy to town while Merv cleans up the mess in the boat, since he bought to much bullshit food the last time, and get the boat nice and comfortable. The dinghy ride is always funny, since one guy is rowing and the rest is joking around and pushing the rower. It is especially fun when around eight people find somehow place on the dinghy surrounded by beer bottles, music and food, drunk and in a good mood, approaching the boat or the shore, nearly falling over the edge, with one leg in the water. I still cant believe no one ever fell into the water. It takes around 5 minutes to reach the shore with the dinghy.
We took of the bikes and started to explore Mount Manganui, cycling west. One guy on the bicycle handlebars and the other two driving on a bike each. I got some food while Flo and Ced got material to fix the boat. Driving along the main road, I am passing small restaurants and shops, until we arrived at a New World supermarket and got some food. The supermarket was quite big, and we found everything we need, except distilled water, for our batteries, since they lost a bit of their water, because they tipped over. From there we cycled through the small town bit to the Ocean. A beautiful small beach town bit with small stores, restaurants and bars. Very lovely. The people we met there are great and very friendly, happy to help out where it might be needed. After an hour hanging out we cycled back to the dinghy, that we attached with rope to wood, no one stole our dinghy, until Nelson. In Nelson some Idiot stole it from us. In general, things are very safe in New Zealand.
People usually don’t close their homes or lock their bikes, but if you get into bigger cities it is good to pay more attention to your things, and lock your bike. Another reason I prefer the towns to cities. Back at the dinghy we row back to Odin, the current with our direction, lucky. Sometimes I had to swim with my dry bag all the way to the boat, because someone took the dinghy to the boat. Always a good exercise. It is funny when you are the one on the boat, with the dinghy and someone is coming to the boat through swimming and you shout and motivate the guy that is swimming. After usually a long swim, hopefully with the current, I heaved myself up the boat, which takes quite some skill, because the flat bit of the boat is half a meter or more out of the water. Good we have a “Spencer 30”, with a wide hull so I can pull and push myself up. Before I joined the crew, we had a ladder on the back of the boat, but because some guy crashed without telling is in the back of the boat we had to get some welding done and remove the ladder. So yeah, that bit and some wet spots were about to get fixed and replaced by us in our time in Mount Manganui. Also we had to fix the rudder system of the dinghy and later in our journey we even had to fix the engine, that was a pain in the arse, but more to that later.
Back on the boat, Merv did a goof job cleaning up, we hung out, swam, rad and started moving stuff, sails buoys and anchors from he back of the boat into the front to lifted the back up, so there is less water touching the broken area. After detaching the wooden benches, we realize there is more and more work to do, the more we detach things. We will have to cut a big hole into the back of Odin, scared that we might take water. The sun now in its zenith, we installed our suncover and prepared the boat all day, with some short swimming, reading and hanging out breaks. Sometimes watching an Ocean giant passing by or laughing about our drunken ‘Pirate crew’ neighbors, with their exceptional loud motorized dinghy. Later in the day, after having prepared most of the boat, for its coming fix-up, we stopped working, to see the amazing peaceful sunset, and row to the shore to make BBQ at the free BBQ spots! (so, so good) at the beach. Potatoes, onions, eggs, bread, salad, fish sandwich towers and a beer and wine, meeting strangers and having fun.
Mount Manganui Gallery:
Around 10, 11 pm we row back to the boat and get shaken in a gentle sleep, looking forward to fix the boat the next day.
Most of our days were spend like this with variations of hanging out on the beach or hiking the mount, meeting more people, getting drunk in bars, training kite surf. At one point even Lorna, Kate and Trin, came to us and spend a couple days with us. That was great. In the end we got everything fixed, and Odin was more beautiful than ever and in working condition to hit the east cape. But before that we went on a crazy road trip, and had a really good time for two weeks away from the boat.
Only Merv stayed on the boat, after a week of a bike trip north of Mount Manganui. He thought about sailing alone, but it turned out to be to hard of a challenge. 2 Weeks later when we came back and realized our bikes were stolen and the boat smelled of petrol, with exhausted batteries, that was when I realized that everyone on the boat, has to love it like your home, and not just a temporary fun experience, because everything has to work, and everyone has to make sure everything is doing well and everyone is doing their best to support this, otherwise the team chemistry is gonna be bad, less fun as well and the whole journey is in danger, or expensive.
We gave him some jobs and he failed in not a few, so we didn’t have bikes anymore and had to fix our batteries. There are heaps of situations where you can joke and act fun or do stupid stuff, like using the buoy of strangers for a month so we don’t have to pay, painting the hull of the boat, setting up a pirate flag, washing dishes, jumping, swimming, diving, rescuing things from falling into the water and just having a fun time. But you have to know where there is the border between fun and risking the whole journey. To get all the work done on the boat we had a battery power tool, that we charged in the library, and lots of useful good materials to fix things waterproof and long lasting.
The next time I will tell you about our road trip. That was an amazing time and what we saw and experienced, from my first rock climbing to Kiwiburn festival and beautiful national parks, campsites and people.
Now writing here from the lovely little library in Maleny, near the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Maleny is a lovely town, with hippy flair, and not to touristic. From here there is the opportunity for breathtaking views over the national parks, surrounding this elevated place. After a great time in Noosa, I moved on and gonna join a family in an hour, that I will support for a week, in their garden or where there is a hand needed.
Maybe get a week without any meat consumption, and see how you will feel. Maybe you will like it and eat less meat afterwards. You help the environment and your purse.