Sailing Yacht SEA BUNNY

New Zealand 2003-5

Two summers and a winter, boat work, surgery and touring

This period was definitely not as planned and there was little sailing.  After checking in in Opua, Bay of Islands we headed fairly quickly back to Taurange.  After Christmas in New Plymouth a medical issue that had been troubling Richard for some years flared up and proved to be more serious than previously thought, necessitating major surgery, extended convalescence and a winter in New Zealand.  Once Richard had recovered Susan took the opportunity to have her bunions fixed, putting her in a wheelchair for several months.

We were also able to do some extensive land travels so much of this period is covered in the Land Tours section of the site.



We take a day off to visit Russell, taking a tour of the Pompallier House.

Opua to Tauranga

Opua to Tauranga

We are keen to get to Tauranga and get some boat work in hand so we only stay in Opua a few days before heading down the coast, stopping in Tutukaka, Great Barrier and Great Mercury. We leave in company with Dave and Di on Amoenitas, of whom we will see a lot over the next few years, but they take a more leisurely route.

Tauranga November to December 2003

A bus ride to New Plymouth reunites us with Susan's Aunt Riet, who has had our car in her garage. The car starts OK once a new battery is fitted and we return to Tauranga after a couple of days.

Having identified suppliers for our planned new boat windscreen, stainless steel work, sprayhood and cockpit covers during our previous stay in Tauranga we thought it would be a fairly simple matter to get the work in hand. This was not the case!

The screen people, who had done some work on the existing screen, making it more waterproof, took several weeks before telling us they couldn't supply the replacement (apparently there is only one importer of curved glass, and they won't sell it on). After this delay we went to this importer, removed the existing screen and delivered it to their works outside Auckland.

The canvas maker took six weeks to decide she couldn't, or didn't want to, do the work. It was two days before Christmas when we contacted her to learn of this bombshell. Again we had to find an alternative supplier.

Back in Tauranga January 2004

After our new year rest in New Plymouth it was back to work. The boat was lifted out for antifouling and other underwater work. We discovered the cause of the failure of the stern gland back in Fiji. The shaft had slipped back in the clamp connecting it to the coupling, causing the jubilee clip retaining the spare seal to chew into the working seal. Obviously the clamp had not been done up tight enough back in 2002!

Riet's friend Meridee visited with her parents, well into their 90s, who easily managed the steps up onto the boat. We all had an excellent meal on the Strand in Tauranga.

Medical emergency

The next morning Richard woke with severe abdominal pain, simlar to that which he'd had in New Caledonia. A visit to the doctor and various investigations over the weekend confirmed the diagnosis of excessively long large bowel, most of which would have to come out.

The boat was put back into the water and preparations made to leave it for two months or more.

As Richard was between tests we had a window of opportunity to take a shortened trip down to South Island.

Back to Tauranga

With Richard having to be in Auckland for medical tests we drive stright back to Tauranga after our South island tour. The next morning Richard has to get a split tyre on the car fixed before driving to Auckland. He makes it in time for his appointment though.

Surgery and convalescence

Richard has his operation in Auckland on 25 March 2004, is released from hospital some two weeks later, stays a couple of days with friends of Aunt Riet's in Auckland (where Susan has been staying while he was in hospital) before Susan drives him the 5 hour trip down to New Plymouth for two month's convalescence. Susan did not allow him back on the boat for this period, but visited herself to check everything was OK.

Shortly after we arrive in New Plymouth it is Riet's 80th birthday and a party in a local hotel for her many New Zealand friends. Susan makes the speech for family as Riet will be having other parties in the UK and in Holland.

More surgery - Susan's turn

No sooner has Richard reasonably recovered than Susan decides totake the opportunity for overdue bunion surgery. She starts with the right foot, done in Tauranga under local anaesthetic. As she is on crutches for the next two months, with no weight bearing we remain at Riet's, with it being Richard's turn to spend some time at the boat, checking on the progress of the various jobs that are in hand.

When Riet sets off on her visit to Europe we house sit.


Last Updated from One15 marina, Singapore on 27 November 2013

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