Sailing with Steve Maddren on the good yacht, Thistle Down.
Heading out to Mayor Island with a lovely 10 knot breeze, the kite up, a bit shy but going along nicely. Steve pops down, turns on the VHF and picks up the weather report that says the wind is going to be 25 knot south easterlies.
Within 60 seconds of that report the new wind hits us, wooo hooo the boat dives into a beaut broach and all hell break loose.
I yell to Steve to let the sheet go, the kite pole goes from horizontal to vertical and then the top rips out of the kite. Steve and I manage to get most of the kite down onto the deck and I tidy up the other bits and pieces.
Next step is to put a reef in the main and get back on course. Sail on all ok. Except for the red flag flying from the top of the mast, it used to be the top panel of the kite, now we're a pirate ship.
At Mayor Island.
I go snorkelling for the first time in my life (66 years) I had used a snorkel in a pool a couple of time but never in the ocean. I can't believe how amazing it is, there is this whole new world under the sea.
Steve started fishing but only managed to catch a black stingray, ugly brut. (the stingray)
Discovered a pair of seals in the anchorage.
The next day I managed to get a couple of metres from one of the seals, who suddenly lunges at the dinghy and gives a harsh warning bark. Ok I'll back off fella, but I got good photos of you anyway.
Steve caught a nice snapper which we had in a lovely fish curry that night, beautiful.
A nice trip back the next day, we sailed half way then the wind went cranky so we motored the rest of the way.
Fabulous four days.
Glossary of terms.
Kite - spinnaker sail
Sheet - rope to the sail
VHF - boat radio
A bit shy - wind coming from the side instead of the back
Broach - boat being knocked over by the wind
The next morning we were woken by mind and a swell coming into the bay, this was not forecast and we decided to leave then and have breakfast on the way. We headed South toward Tauranga and with all sails up we made good time across the bay.
Until we reached the halfway point and then the wind disappeared again.
We motored for the rest of the trip, with a lazy swell coming from the port side we had a rolly trip back to the harbour.
A big outgoing tide meant a slow trip around the heads and up the inside of the harbour but we eventually made it back to the mooring.
A fantastic trip with good company and just the right amount of excitement.
I got out the softbait rod and after losing the back end of 5 soft baits caught a good size snapper for dinner.
We then set off north of the island for a bit of a sail before returning to Southeast bay and a snapper dinner.
I went for a walk up the hill to find cell coverage to let Viv know I was sill alive while John took the dingy off to visit the resident seals.
We had a lazy morning and set out about 9am with the intention of sailing around the island and coming back to Southeast Bay for the night. But when we left the bay the water was so clear and the sea so calm we decided to work our way up the coast and visit each bay, what a wonderful way to spend the morning, we anchored in a small bay with an island in it and then go the dingy off and went off to explore the area, just stunning cliffs that were interlaced with obsidian glistening in the sunlight.
John was back in the water making up for the years he had missed out on, in not snorkelling before.
John took some convincing that it was warm but once he was in he wouldn't get out.
Eggs on toast for tea and then outside to watch an amazing moon rise out of the ocean. It was vivid orange and seemed to erupt out of the sea..
Off to bed to dream of fish and spinnaker...
We found Southeast Bay right where I thought it was and motored in to within about 50 meters of the beach and anchored in 6 meters of water, the bay was idyllic, native bush and bird life all around us.
I went over the side and had a look for the lure that had been dragging out behind us until we turned around to ancore, I found it wound around the propeller, I got that free and then enjoyed floating in 19.5 degree C water, watching fishes and the world go by.