Tuatara our new boat
08 December 2008 | Bay of Islands NZ
7th December 2008
Bay Of Islands, New Zealand
Wow what beautiful weather we are having in the Bay of Islands. We are anchored in Omakiwi bay, our first foray away from our mooring in Opua with our new yacht, Tuatara. The sun is already hot for 9am in early December, there is a light breeze ruffling the bay, the forecast for the next few days is perfect. Perfect for sitting in the sun to top up our fading Langkawi tans but we want to go sailing, get the sails up and see what Tuatara can do, our pre-purchase test sail gave us a taste, we want a little more now but the wind is not co-operating.
We purchased Tuatara not quite a month ago (photo, Tuatara anchored off Urupukapuka Island Bay of Islands). Tuatara is bigger and older than we intended when we first started looking for another yacht. She is 26yrs old, (GRP but no plastic fantastic!) a Wright 51 built in Whangarei by a professional boat yard originally for a Dr , the project took several years. By the time it was finished I think the keenness to go offshore had diminished. He kept it for 8 years until a gentleman called Rune Holmberg bought her and sailed single handed around the world (1994) trying to beat or at least match Chichesters time. Rune left from Tauranga and was essentially sponsored by Tauranga people and the city. He was not able to match Chichesters time but it was still a good effort. He wrote a book about his circumnavigation, Sailing The Full Circle, Solo, which we have on board. Mike, who we bought Tuatara from, bought her from Holmberg in 2000. The boat was run down and needed a lot of equipment renewed. Mike has spent a lot of time, money and effort on Tuatara, so we have inherited a boat that is ready to go anywhere. Mike has sailed her across the Pacific, around NZ and to Australia and back.
Tuatara has older looks, not classic, but still nice. We have a very comfy albeit small pilot house, a lovely roomy aft cabin and we could have quite a good party in the saloon.
We have the use of a mooring here in Opua until May. A large number of the cruising fleet have passed our mooring on the way in to clear customs. We will be joining the departees in April/May next year.
Opua and the Bay of Islands is a nice place to spend the next few months, we plan to take Tuatara sailing around these northern waters over the summer to reacquaint ourselves with the area. It has been a while since we have spent much time in these waters. Hopefully we will have family and friends visiting from time to time. We don't have a lot to do on Tuatara, mainly fit a new (sail mail capable) SSB and antifouling although there are bound to be other things that occur over the summer.
Since I started this blog entry we have had a good sail from Deep Cove across to the Nine Pin then back across the bay to anchor off Urupukapuka Is for the night. This is a lovely time to be in the Bay of Islands, the flashes of early red pohutakawa flowers hang over seemingly empty sandy beaches. Looking closer amongst the shells and pebbles we can see tiny nesting dotterels the same colour as the stones. DOC has fenced off some of the nesting areas so human visitors and the odd sheep don't crush their eggs.
The black oyster catchers are also beginning to nest, we saw a pair today which didn't realize they should be nesting in that fenced off area, a ranger may have to come and shift the temporary fence to accommodate their sea view. The male oyster catcher took exception to our presence and stalked up the beach, hoping to scare us away with his bright orange beak pointed at our ankles. We left them in peace, a nervous dad is not a good dad.
It is now Sunday evening the sun is starting to sink behind Waitangi, the working boaties sailed off towards Monday morning thoughts a few hours ago. Here in Paradise bay, on Urupukapuka Is, we have the company of 3 yachts full of teenagers on what I guess is an end of year school trip. The late afternoon was full of happy sounds of swimming teens in 21 degree water. Not to be beaten Alan decided he had to have a swim too. His was a very quick dip quickly followed by a warm shower. The kids were still swimming long after he was dressed, obviously the exuberance of youth (maybe lost but not forgotten by Alan!) helped them overcome the cold water temperature.
Back to our Opua mooring tomorrow to organize some canvas work and a few boat jobs that cant be done while wandering the Bay , although while in Omakiwi bay Alan finished and fitted the new outboard bracket for our stern. We will also be thinking about our next sail, maybe up to the Cavalli Islands next time, we will have bought some fishing lines by then, so fish will, hopefully, be on the menu.