Whales and scallops
21 November 2009 | Opua, New Zealand
Michael and Jackie
We left the Opua Marina after a somewhat hectic morning paying marina dues, collecting various parts and doing last minute shopping. We decided to head for the islands and test our new anchor. We headed for a sheltered bay where we found Jim and Cindy of Summer Sky, and to our surprise a small cruise ship. Jim and Cindy had had an embarrassing experience leaving the marina when they had been caught by the tide and jammed against a piling. Tides rush through the marina and had caused us some difficulty on arriving.
We had anchored at this bay last year when we were with Harmonie, and walked up to the disused gun emplacements. It seems strange to find gun emplacements in New Zealand, a remnant of the threat from Japan in the Second World War. the windlass worked like a dream except that the up and down wires had been accidentally reversed. Still it wasn't too much of a job to reverse them and get it working completely correctly
The weather was balmy, and we slept in, following that up with a cooked breakfast of bacon, toast, black pudding and eggs. It was good to be off the marina again. We lifted the anchor and went in search of scallops. We had a dredge which some people assured us was not in any way un ecological. Others, mostly divers are very much against. Anyway we caught a lot of empty scallop shells and sea urchins, but no scallops. The disappointment was made up for though by the whales. A large pod, about 8 or 9 whales came up to visit us while the boat was stationary. They blew off round the boat, dived and wheeled between the hulls, and even scratched themselves on the boat. It was quite an amazing sight. Consulting our whale id book we think they were false killer whales. The locals often call them Orcas but these are not true orcas hence the name pseudorca. They blow a lot and wheel gracefully through the water like dolphins. The spectacle continued for about 30 minutes while we just watched, until eventually the whales got bored and swam off into the bay.
We returned to our anchorage humbled by the experience and prepared for the sail down to Gulf Harbour and Auckland