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s/v Code Blue – Whangarei Area January 30, 2015

Posted by steveandjudy in Code Blue 2015.
S/V Guppy,  Laura Dekker’s sailboat she used to solo circumnavigate the world starting at age 14 and completed at 16.  The youngest ever.  She keeps it here in Town Basin, Whangarei about 200 feet from our boat.  She has a book out she wrote, ‘One Girl One Dream’.

S/V Guppy, Laura Dekker’s sailboat she used to solo circumnavigate the world starting at age 14 and completed at 16. The youngest ever. She keeps it here in Town Basin, Whangarei about 200 feet from our boat. She has a book out she wrote, ‘One Girl One Dream’.

We bought a 1998 Nissan Legrand van, with 141,000 KM on it that seems to be in excellent shape for $5,500 NZD. It even has a TV camera for backing up. The previous owner had it for a year to do carpenter jobs and retirement travel and such, but now he has a good job and working where he doesn’t need the van. The seats lay down in the back and we’ve cut three ½” plywood panels that are 19” x 55” so we have a good flat base for our berth area that is 57” wide and about 74” long with the seats laid down. The plywood is short enough to lay them together in the back of the van crosswise with the seats up and don’t take much room. We bought a new propane stove for $40 NZ, it’s a three burner but about $30 cheaper than a two burner of the same make. We’re working on the 4” foam pads. Looks like Judy will sew up the upholstery material that we plan to get from Arthur’s Emporium. This is kind of a weird store with a lot of costumes and items for costumes with 200 styles of wigs, books, material for sewing, garden stuff, paint, tools, big sheets of tryboard (better than chip board, like multi-strand but smooth), camping items, gas motors, and you name it.

We seem to be in a not so good location with our boat for Vodefone and another company Spark the two biggest phone companies in New Zealand. The boat is behind a hill and at water level of course. Most everyone on our dock complains about the poor data connection on our docks on this side of the river. Usually our phones work but not always. Lots of times our data stick for connecting to the internet does not work. Last night I waited for over 60 minutes to talk to Vodefone due to our data stick not working. Previously I’ve called and waited over 45 minutes several times and gave up. It shows 4 or 5 green bars but after 10 or 15 minutes it disconnects from the internet and won’t work or only for a few minutes after many tries. Not far from here I can see the antennas up the mountain about 2 miles away. Finally, the Vodefone guy answers and connected me with a tech guy. I asked him about somewhere on their website there is a place to specify 2G and 3G only, instead of 3G preferred that I’ve heard about from other cruisers. The tech explained that the 3G preferred button selection does not work very well in some locations due to swapping back and forth from 3G to 4G. We set my data stick to 3G only. So far that seems to have done the trick. Oh, yeah, I asked when was the best time to call to avoid the 60 minute wait. He said after 11pm and up to about 7am, sometimes around 11am also. The phones are open 24 hours a day. I made the mistake of starting my call about 7:30pm. I also asked about where the antennas are, he didn’t know and the website does not show antenna locations but it does have a map for coverage. It shows good coverage for our location.

Not to leave things to chance the boat s/v Scott Free next to us has a Wirie WiFi antenna (Wirie.com) that Steve the owner says does great for WiFi. It has an Alfa antenna similar to mine but where I’m limited to 6 feet of a USB to mini USB cord, his system has a boat modem along with the Alfa in a waterproof box connected to a big 8db antenna 22” long and 25 feet of a 12 V power cord. He puts it up the mast part way and gets excellent reception. With the boat modem he can connect up several computers at the same time. Even next to him I’m reading his modem antenna at 98%. We’ve decided to order a Wirie Pro. You can put in a sim card and use your phone data stick and you can also use it to read regular WiFi signals. Some locations here in Whangarei offer limited free WiFi, but not many. One gives you ½ hour each day, another gives you 1 GB per day for a week but if you switch from the computer antenna to my Alfa antenna you get another week. Vodafone is 5 GB on a data stick for $50 NZ but they stopped that deal, but some are still available in stores. We picked one up the other day, as our first one lasted two months. Some bars and restaurants give you a coupon good for 30 or 60 minutes. But free WiFi is pretty limited compared to the USA.

I washed down my aluminum arch for solar panels. I plan to wax it today, but it’s sprinkling every so often. I also heard that Muriatic Acid is great for taking rust stains off of fiberglass boats and stainless steel. I took out my handy dandy toothbrush and started in with my boarding ladder connections to the boat. These were very rusty looking. Wow, sorry I don’t have a previous picture but a big difference and only took a few minutes. Next I did some lifeline rails, stanchions and then the BBQ. No damage to the fiberglass finish but way cleaner stainless steel. Next step is to wax when the wet stops. Not sure what to do about the BBQ as it gets very hot while cooking and I wouldn’t think wax would do much after it gets hot to BBQ temps.

An antique auto club had a meeting at one of the restaurants here. Thought I’d send some of the pictures of the 30 cars they had. Some other pictures I’ve taken recently. If you put your cursor on the picture words should appear telling about the picture.

Steve and Judy
s/v Code Blue


– s / j –



1. Marie & Greg - January 31, 2015

Looks like you will be there for awhile now that you have your camper van. Thanks for all the updates and photos. We do enjoy all your adventures and photos. Marie

2. Susan - February 3, 2015

Hey! Glad you guys are having fun! If Scott Free is a Catalina Morgan we met them back in ’09 at the guest dock in Oxnard. If so them hi for us though I’m sure they don’t remember. 🙂

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