Thursday, December 4, 2008

Never Underestimate a Bus Driver

Parua Bay Whangarei New Zealand - Photo Alden Smith - Note the new jetty, the old one was destroyed by a number of yachts that either broke free of their moorings or dragged their huge mooring blocks in the last big storm here in Northland NZ.

This nice looking double ended yacht in the foreground of the picture was recently launched here at Parua Bay which is about 15 Kilometres as the crow flies from Whangarei city.

The yacht was built by our school bus driver over a number of years. He is an experienced yachtsman who both designed and built the boat himself. Amateur yacht building is a bit of a tradition in New Zealand - its heyday was in the 1970s before the world went completely barmy, a time when people worked only 40 hours a week for a living wage and had time to indulge their passions and interests in building and creating. These days we are a society that seems to live to work rather than to work to live. More is better in all things is the clarion call to all this madness.

When the yacht was launched she was found to be out of trim - she was floating down at the bow. Unperturbed by this our bus driver took the boat out, took off the four or five tons of outside lead ballast and re - positioned it in the correct position after having the lead recast. " I thought the original calculations were correct" he said with a wry smile - "Was it a bit frustrating having to do all that extra work? " I asked him. "Not as much work as building the boat itself" he replied in a rather matter of fact way - bus drivers are like that, practical and down to earth - I have never been asked directions by a bus driver yet. They know what they're doing.


martin said...

Hi there, I notice you have a copy Of Sailing All Seas In The Idle Hour. I too have an old copy, however I am missing pages 15/16.I wonder if I can in any way obtain cpoies of these pages. I,m in Whangarei, cheers Martin.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alden

Victor and Ngaire Hopwood here owner of the Castanet would also like to obtain copies of Carmen Plans. Have you had any success obtaining any in NZ or overseas.
We look forward to hearing back from you.
Our email is

Regards Ngaire and Victor Hopwood

Alden Smith said...

I don't use this blogsite very much and its almost a year since you posted this - email me on and I might be able to help you.