Our Campervan in New Zealand

We bought a campervan! One of our goals in New Zealand is to drive the whole country, north and south, and freedom camping is the way to go. We bought the campervan, a Toyota Hiace, within a week of arriving. It’s a little old so Brian did a lot of work sprucing up our campervan in New Zealand.

We haven’t gone campervanning since Iceland so this is going to be an adventure! But before we really hit the road, here’s details on our campervan in New Zealand.

Buying a Campervan in New Zealand

Yes, we could have rented a campervan, but bought instead because we will be using it for months. We want to drive all over the north and south islands over a few months, so buying seemed more practical and hopefully economical as we want to sell it when we’re done.

Because so many people want to drive around the country, there are lots of campervans here. When people arrive, they buy, and when they leave the country, they sell. As a result, there are many ways to find a campervan to buy in New Zealand. We found ours at the weekly Auckland car market. Other ways of finding cars and campervans are through numerous Facebook groups and Trademe.com.

car market, Auckland, New Zealand
Busy car market in Auckland
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Getting Sava Fixed

A trans-Pacific 30 day passage does a lot to a sailboat. Our time in the yard in Tahiti isn’t over! While resolving the known issues, we’ve found more problems with our twenty two year old boat. From sails and rigging to appliances, we’re getting Sava fixed so we can return to the water.

The Reasons We Hauled Out

Sava had water coming in through the stuffing box due to a vibrating engine. So we had to replace the engine mount and stuffing box and realign the prop shaft. We also needed to dry out and rebuild the rudder. After two weeks, we’re making progress on these jobs.

The engine mount is rebuilt and working. The prop shaft was straightened and realigned and is now installed!

Propellor on sailboat Sava
The propellor is improved and reinstalled

The rudder is dried out, refilled with fresh epoxy, and fitted with new rudder shafts. We know everything fits properly and will be reinstalled next week.

rudder on Sava
The rudder was rebuilt, refilled, and coated.
Rudder shaft being fitted
Ensuring the rudder shaft fits!

Sava has one coat of bottom paint and is waiting until just before she is ready to splash for the final coats.

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In The Yard in Tahiti

Sava is out of the water and in the yard in Tahiti. We’ve been having some issues the last few months and sailed to Tahiti a week ago to try to get stuff fixed. It’s taking longer than we thought but it’s okay because Sava’s getting better and we’re in paradise!

Sava in the yard in Tahiti
The ladder we have to climb to get onto Sava

Why We’re In The Yard in Tahiti

Initially, we hauled out to replace the stuffing box, which is where the prop shaft enters the boat. The stuffing box has been leaking seawater into the engine bilge whenever the prop moves, basically whenever the boat was moving. The leak began during our Pacific passage, and got worse the last couple months.

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Rafting Down The Rio Palomino

We spent a weekend in Palomino with a group of cruiser friends and it was my favorite of our adventurous getaways from Santa Marta. A laid-back beach town with a weekend tradition of rafting down the Rio Palomino, Palomino is a blast!

About Palomino

Palomino is a small town on the north Caribbean coast of Colombia, near the Venezuela border. An agrarian community, it is now seeing tourism due to its beautiful white sand beaches and chill vibe. The town consists of one main paved road, the road from Santa Marta, and dirt road offshoots to the beach, the river, and farmlands.

bird mural Palomino Colombia
Bird mural in Palomino. It’s got a mask!

We walked around the town a bit and it’s rustic and charming, with lots of restaurants, hostels, artisan shops and some cool street art. And, one of the top attractions is tubing down the river. No wonder backpackers are flocking to Palomino.

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We Made Our Boat Nicer To Live On

After almost two years sailing and anchoring in the Caribbean, Sava and her crew needed some TLC. Sava moved to Curaçao Marine for bottom paint and more while we moved into an apartment in town. We only took two weeks away from the boat, but it made a world of difference! During that time, we made our boat nicer to live on, which is good for all of us.

Improving S/V Sava

We’ve done a lot of work on Sava over the years, but we didn’t focus on cosmetics. Fixing the engine, batteries, watermaker and everything else was more important, but since we know how that stuff works now, we can make life on Sava better! While in the yard at the marina, we prettied her up inside and out! Since we made our boat nicer to live on, she’s like a new boat to us and we love her all over again.

S/v Sava
Sava didn’t look terrible when we took her out of the water
Getting a new coat of bottom paint on our sailboat
But the new bottom paint on S/V Sava is an improvement!

Cleaning Sava

We rented a one-bedroom apartment while Sava was in the yard, which meant a thorough boat clean. First on our list was emptying the boat: we took out all the food, defrosted the fridge and freezer, and scrubbed all the cupboards and storage lockers. We vacuumed the boat multiple times since we had shore power and did such a good job cleaning Sava I was almost sad to restock her!

Staying in An Airbnb

While Domino took a few days to get used to living on land, she eventually made herself comfortable.

Domino our cat on the pillows in the airbnb
Domino liked the bed in our Airbnb
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