Tag Archives: wayne

A Sticky Situation: Vinyl

Last season we decided to change the color scheme of our boat from blue with red accents to gray.  A more modern and sleek color.  We converted a few things with the purchase of new canvas (sail bag, cockpit enclosure, dinghy chaps, cushions), and sails but we had to tackle the vinyl stickers.  We have loads of stickers on the boat.  Our “Sugar Shack” logo is on each bow and the port stern, our home port is on the starboard stern, Catana has 3 logos and we have 3 stripes that run along the 47′ of both the inside and outside of each hull.

It all had to come off!  We hired Vital Signs to recreate our new graphics.  Wayne came to visit us immediately after we were hauled out.  He showed us how to properly remove the stickers and adhesive.  Of course he made it look easy with the right tools.

Then Matt and I jump into the process.  It is a very painstaking process that requires tons of patience (which I have none), finger nails (gone), and proper tools (nope don’t have these either).  The first photo shows several of the vinyl stickers (Sugar Shack, red line, blue line, world, and boot strap blue line).  I use a small exacto knife blade to get under the 23 year old baked on stickers.

We use every method at our disposal, climbing ladders and platforms, hanging upside down, and sitting cross ways.

It was so sad to depersonalize our boat…

Then Came the Hard Part

As if getting the actual old vinyl stickers off the boat wasn’t difficult enough you had to go back and remove every spec of the adhesive!

This tested every bit of patience in my body!

The top photo shows the left over adhesive after the sticker stripe was removed.   But even if you cannot feel the adhesive on the boat it still remains!  Check out the bottom photo where you can barely see a light discoloration indicating residue.

Patience, loads of turpentine, lots of exacto blades later proved more successful.

After 5 days of scraping, moaning, and complaining, the boat is ready to be “cut” (or washed with an abrasive product) which will prepare the hull for polish and will remove any remaining adhesive.

The Design

We decided to make some changes to our vinyl graphics.  Instead of a small red stripe above the windows and a large blue stripe at the window line we are going to replace them both with just one larger gray stripe.  Instead of a large blue stripe and a small red one at the waterline we will replace them with one large gray stripe.  We will then replace the small “Catana World” logo with a logo Matt designed.

Because we have “Sugar Shack” on the stack pack (sail bag) and we have it on the stern we decided we did not need a huge logo at the top of the bows.  So, we incorporated it into the world which now represents more of the Pacific and the areas where we have sailed.

We head to Wayne’s office where he shows us a mock up of our design.  Now…you have to use your creative “eyes” as he takes an old photo with the old vinyl and overlays the new.  You can tell this is an old photo (maybe 3-4 years) as the bottom paint is red and the sail bag is blue.  Now our sailbag is gray and the bottom paint is black.

The Application

Wayne returns for 1.5 days to adhere all of our graphics.  We decided on 3m slate gray to match our canvas.  He is meticulous, effecient, and proficient.  I am shocked at how fast he is able to adhere all the stripes around everything.  

We especially love the black hole at the bow 🙂  The world is made up of 3 stickers.  The background, gray, then the white letters, then the black outlines around the letters. But the hole as is was pretty fun to see.

This is a fun photo which shows you the new stickers, the removal, and the old stickers on the back of each sugar scoop.

The before and after photos are remarkable. It immediately lifts our spirits to see our name back on our home.

We are so pleased with Wayne’s work.  We would highly recommend Vital Signs for all of your graphic needs.  They did an excellent job for a very reasonable price.  They are located in Whangarei, New Zealand.

Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual live events.  This blog post happened during the month of November.  We enjoy some Kiwi fun at a cabaret in our last blog post!

The Lost World

We are super excited and a little anxious to explore The Lost World!  The Woodlyn Park Lodge is right next door to Waitomo Adventures so it is a short drive to start our day.

We meet our guide who has over 2,500 abseils (rappels) under his belt.  He used to manage the business so we were in really in good hands.  It is just the four of us: Matt, Wayne, me, and Scott our guide.

We drive 20 minutes to the location where we get geared up and dressed.  After a short 101, we head to the “testing” area.  They provide everything: helmets with lights, jumpsuits, and wellies (boots).  

They have a little area that they call “the testing center” which gives us an opportunity to test all of our gear while getting comfortable clipping in and out of the lines.  After the short diversion, we head to the platform where we will abseil 100 meters into the center of the earth – aptly called The Lost World.


The first thing you have to do is lean over the gap between the platform and the steel pipe.  I just kept repeating to myself “don’t look down, don’t look down.”  Yes we are tied in three ways to Sunday, but it still doesn’t stop your heart from jumping in your throat!

All 4 of us are clipped together.  So, if one person starts to fall they will be stopped by the other 3 people.  We each have our own abseil line and 3 connecting lines or safety points.

One by one we remove our feet from the platform and hang hundreds of feet above the cavern.

What am I thinking?  This is nutso.  Yes, I have a smile on my face, but trust me when I say I was a wee bit terrified!

To go down, you lift the line up.  For the men it was rather easy as their weight pulled them down.  But for me, I had to actively work at lowering myself and to keep up with the men.  

The boys were having a blast, releasing their hands, leaning back and just dangling. Where I had the vulcan death grip on both boys.

As we start to descend you feel the gravity of the distance below you.  But the beauty in the area takes your breath away and you can truly see why they call this the Lost World.

We make several stops along the way down to ensure we take in all of the splendor that the Lost World has to offer.

A Walk on the Wild Side

We finally make it to the bottom and my heart beat returns to normal.  We crawl over boulders, through the river, over rocks, and under huge limestone formations.  The sun tries to sneak in through the crevices giving us fun photo opportunities.

We continue climbing deep into the recess of the Lost World using our headlamps to light the way.

The Glowworms

We come to a massive cave where we pop a squat and turn off our lights.  And what do we see but a bazillion glowworms!  This time we actually get to see the glowworm up close (top right photo) and its beautiful silk threads (bottom right corner).  If you look closely you will see the glow of the blue tails, but it is hard to get us, in the dark and the glowworms.

Departing the Lost World

Now, comes the fun part (not), climbing back out of the Lost World.  We begin by scampering over rocks, boulders, and more large limestone formations, slowly heading high and higher.  

Then we come to an enormous ladder that reaches 100m into the sky.  You can’t even see the top part of it. It is wet, muddy, and hard to hold on to.  We are clipped in at three safety points and begin the climb one at a time.  Holy hell that was hard on my arms!

But we all make it out and have an additional 20-minute uphill hike to the launching area.  What a spectacular and remarkable adventure.  If you are ever in Waitomo, I highly recommend The Lost World tour with the Waitomo Adventures team!

  • Hotel: Trinity Hotel
  • Kilometers Traveled: 0 
  • Time Traveled: 0 
  • Kilometers Walked:  5.5km (couldn’t bring phone on Lost World)

Events from this blog occurred at the end of February.  Our blogs posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual events.  Be sure to read the first part of our trip in Waitomo in our last blog post.

Waitomo Glowworms

Waitomo is famous for its bountiful caves which are covered in beautiful glowworms.  I say “beautiful” loosely because the actual worm is not so hot looking, but its brilliantly bright tail is a spectacular thing to see when emersed inside a pitch black cave.

We arrive into Waitomo after a 2.5 hour drive from Auckland.  The journey was uneventful and kept us on a beautiful, proper 4 lane highway (that even had a shoulder)  for most of the trip.  We did get a lot of fog, but once it cleared it was stunning, rolling, green hills and farm lands.

Waitomo means “water” “cave” (wai=water) and (tomo=cave).  There are well over 300 caves that they know of – which means there are plenty more to be discovered.

Arriving in Waitomo

We make our first stop in Ortohanga, the neighboring town to Waitomo, to have lunch at the Thirsty Weta. We enjoyed some cold beer and pretty tasty food.  Then we headed to the Waitomo Caves Museum and Discovery Center.  Super informative, interactive, and informational museum where we learned all about the glowworm.

Fun Facts:

  • A glowworm is not actually a worm
  • It lives as a maggot or larvae for the first 6-9 months, then builds a cocoon where it then turns into a fly with no mouth!  
  • The fly only lives for 3 days and their primary goal is to mate.
  • The larvae, which is about as long as a match stick, will build a small hammock that can slide front to back.
  • They drop between 30-40 sticky, silk threads that are used to catch their prey.
  • Their tails light up attracting moths, mosquitos, and other insects which then get stuck in their silk threads.
  • Females lay about 200-300 eggs in 20-30 clusters (all within the 3 days she has to live as a fly, find a mate, mate, lay, and distribute the eggs).
  • The first larvae to hatch will eat its siblings to get strength to build its hammock and drop its threads (charming).
  • The glowworms tail will brighten and dim in 24hr cycles with the other glowworms in its cluster (they are in sync) and will provide an endless luminescence. 

The museum also had bones from a really large and rare bird, called the moa.

Waitomo Caves

Waitomo is famous for its caves which is their primary tourist attraction.  Unfortunately, they do not allow any photography inside the cave.  

We start our tour out by descending 13 meters into the cave.  We are surrounded by stunning stalactites and stalagmites that are thousands and thousands of years old.  They have a strict no touch policy so we keep our hands to ourselves.  Tons of curtains, candles, and mounds hanging from the ceiling and slowly reaching for its partner on the ground.

After a 20-25 minute walk along these beautiful structures, we quietly board a small boat in the dark.  This is the part we’ve all been waiting for – the glowworms.  We silently glide in the water as the guide uses a pull rope to maneuver the boat.  It is breathtaking to see these bright blue lights dotted all over the ceiling and cavern walls.  The top left photo was taken in slow-mo by someone else, but it gives you an idea of what it looked like.

They did have a fun green screen for photos –  we got suckered into the purchase since we couldn’t take any photos on the tour.

And us in the caves…Matt and Wayne with a lion, oh wait, that is me with crazy hair!

Ruakuri Bushwalk

After our leisurely stroll through the museum we decide to follow one of the trails that leads to another trail called Ruakuri Bushwalk.  We were not really prepared for this long walk as we did not have any water, but the path was pretty flat and well marked.

The first trail started at the Waitomo Caves, connected to Johnston Memorial trail then to Waitomo Walkway before it connected us with the Ruakuri loop.  But the long walk was worth it as the Ruakuri trail was fabulous!

We followed the river and discovered loads of caves!  The trail even took us through several caves or tunnels.

We crossed over a questionable bridge, trespassed on a few farms, and climbed over fences.

The river was at times gushing and other times tranquil.

Even if you skip the original walk that brought us to the Ruakuri Bush Walk, we highly recommend the Ruakiru Bush walk – it was absolutely fantastic.

The Woodlyn Park Lodge

We took the whimsical route when we decided to stay at the Woodlyn Park Lodge.  You have a choice of staying in a train, a freighter Bristol airplane, a hobbit cabin, or an old war ship (ML430).  

We opted to stay in the Oceanic “suite” in the stern of the ship (primarily because everything else was sold out!).  As it turned out, it was super fun with a large outdoor deck overlooking the river.

Upstairs is the living area, deck, and kitchen area.  Downstairs is the bathroom, master bed room (thru the small door) and an additional room with 3 single beds.

It certainly was fun and a novelty for us all.  Stay tuned tomorrow as we go 100 meters into the center of the earth on the Lost World tour.

  • Hotel: The Woodlyn Park Lodge
  • Kilometers:  185
  • Travel Time: 3hrs15min
  • Kilometers Walked: 9.8km on 22 Feb and 8.7km on 23 Feb

Events from this blog occurred in late February,  Our blog runs 10-12 weeks behind actual events.  Did you catch our last blog where we visit the City of Sails?