Though she's mostly stood up extremely well to what we've thrown at her this last 15 months, the interior oiled walls were looking rather forlorn. The problem started whilst crossing from Panama when not having any sprayhood (dodger) meant that whilst we were thundering along at 8 or 9 knots the occasional wave would break over the boat and soak the interior which was left open for ventilation. This then got much worse when we hit colder climes and suffered from condensation. Both these things will be resolved in time. We plan to make a sprayhood on our return to Impetuous next year and improve our insulation and add a heat source before we go to the next cold country.
The Marlborough sounds was a pretty area to stop and do some work. We still moved every few days. A short sail, a little fish and a change of scenery is a great refresher. The walking and foraging was brilliant too. We managed to find a few dry days and so gave the mast a light sand and two more coats of varnish. It was very pleasing to see how well the varnish has held up. Keeping on top of it this way should mean that a strip down won't be necessary any time soon.
We raised our anchor for the last time, got pulled out by the Waikawa marina travel lift and put up the road in Clint's yard.
We managed to get our rental down through negotiation to half price and we think she'll be nice and safe there.
Then it was time to set off again, travelling with boxes. Of course we still don't have any proper cases or bags for the plane. The bits and pieces we want to work on and fix from the boat, and tools to use on the boat in England all got crammed into cardboard and wrapped up in tape.
We hitched a ride to Picton where we caught the ferry across to the North island. Then we hopped on to an overnight bus to Auckland. We just had time to visit our one remaining friend in Auckland whilst most had already headed North towards Fiji or Tonga then got the bus to the airport. Then it was just a matter of a flight to San Fransisco, then another onwards to London before a bus to Bath.
A little dazed and confused after 65 hours travelling we staggered off the bus and round the back of the train station with our boxes to be met by our good friends Nic and Becs. It took a little while for the news to filter down into our addled brains that the 8 month old baby Becs was holding was in fact theirs. They had kept his whole existence a secret from us and everyone had been sworn to secrecy. What great news to be welcomed back with! And just the start of learning what has been going on and what has changed since we've been away.
We bought return flights from New Zealand so we are booked to return to our Impetuous voyages in March 2016. Our plan in March is to do some minor work on her including building the said Sprayhood, explore the Marlborough Sounds a little more and visit the Abel Tasman and Nelson. We will head North when the cyclone season is over around May towards Tonga, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Papau New Guinea and then on to South East asia. There is a lot of sailing to look forward to.
Until then our main priority here is to finish fitting out our narrowboat 'Seth' so that he can be a) a more comfortable home for us whilst in England working and b) hopefully be rented out so that someone else can enjoy him when we go away again next March. In the mean time we will also seek remunerated employment, though with the beautiful British summer breaking out all around us, we're in no rush!
We plan to carry on writing the blog whilst we're here in the UK, though we're going to be busy so it won't be too often. If you'd like to hear whenever we post an update rather than having to check the site, you can enter your email address in the space on the right. As far as I know you won't get any spam from this; blogger will just send you an email of any new posts we publish and you can unsubscribe easily by following the link at the bottom of the email.
We have plenty of stories we never managed to get around to telling from our travels and we may also write a bit about our lives here in England. If you'd like to hear more, feel free to get in touch. It's always nice to find out that we're not just talking to ourselves!