Christmas in Northland
29 December 2009 | 36 50.66'S:174 45.51'E, Via Duct Harbour - Auckland City
Well Christmas has come and gone and sadly so has our time with Matthew. :(
We drove to Auckland and picked him up at midnight on the 23rd and the next day we drove back to Opua via the scenic coastal route, a good trip with a nice stop for lunch of fish and chips.
Christmas day we went to the Opua Cruising Club where we had Christmas dinner. It was all organised by the cruising community and was themed as an International Christmas Dinner, we were the only Aussies among the 50 or so attendees who came from America, Canada, Germany, Brazil , France , New Zealand , and the UK. The food was plentiful & fantastic, Turkey, ham, mountains of mash and all sorts of salads and vegies. Desert was catered for by each of the yachts owners and was a taste of the type of traditional desert that they would have if they were at home. Leanne made trifle which was well received along with Pavlovas, brownies, cakes, chocolate moose, fruit salads and more, all of which was washed down with a few beers and some wine , needless to say we were all very full at the end of the evening. Everone that attended was required also to bring a gift. The gift however had to be an unwanted item from the boat. These items were wrapped up and put under the tree then eac h of us was given a number and we then proceeded to as our number was called go up and choose a gift from under the tree however you could choose if you wished not to pick a gift from under the tree but instead "steal" the gift from some-one who had already chosen one. If this was what you chose to do the person from whom you stole the gift then had to choose another gift from under the tree or steal some-one else's gift , lots of laughs were had as those who thought they had a great gift found that they didn't get to hold onto it for long , obviously those who went last had the advantage. We were in the last few to get our turn and rather than steal a gift I decided to get one from under the tree which turned out to be a electric lead plug - 110v and totally useless to us ! It was very entertaining to watch and was mostly done in the spirit of fun however there we a few who were no too impressed about having their gift stolen , no-one stole our plug so we gave it away at th e end of the night .
We headed off bright and early Boxing Day in Migaloo on our trip to Auckland (about 150nm from Opua) . The weather was perfect with light winds and smooth seas and 13 hours later (about 8pm) and having covered 100nm and enjoyed some spectacular scenery (see photo gallery - Opua to Auckland) we arrived at our planned stopover Great Barrier Island and anchored in Nagle Bay. Matt commented that this was the nicest place he had visited with us on the boat yet. New Zealand's cruising grounds are scenery are truly remarkable.
On the 27th after a sleep in we moved to another Great Barrier Island anchorage ( there are literally hundreds of them) Port Fitzroy where we went ashore for a look around and a burger for lunch before returning to Migaloo for a few beers ,dinner and a movie. Next morning we were up early and headed for Auckland (50nm - 7hours sailing) and our marina berth at "The Viaduct" right in the city centre. Soon enough having been visited by penguins and dolphins along the way we spotted the Sky Tower and were entering the City of Sails as Auckland is known. Auckland harbour is a busy place with lots of boats and ships coming and going. We travelled up river until we arrived at a small opening in a concrete and rock wall which we determined was the entrance to the Via Duct Harbour and in we went and were greeted by some friends on the yacht Wayward Wind , Aaron & Lauren from the USA who helped us locate and tie up to our berth. We had a few drinks once we were settled then we offered to take Matt out for dinner on his last night with us for a while, he chose a nice Italian restaurant overlooking the harbour and we had a great meal.
We told Matt that we would take him shopping for his Christmas and birthday presents when we got to Auckland so this morning (29th) on his last day here we went into the city where we found lots of bargains at the after Christmas sales and as a result Matt got some pretty cool designer cloths and shoes for his presents which he was pretty happy about and is looking forward to wearing when he goes out on New Years Eve. Not long afterwards we were saying goodbye as Matt got in the cab and headed for the Airport. It was as usual great to have him with us and the few days now seem like they were only a few hours and we are already looking forward to our next visit from him in June / July probably in Tonga or Fiji but it sounds like such a long time away, :(
We will spend New Years Eve here in Auckland city and are looking forward to the fireworks and celebrations then we intend to head back out in Migaloo and spend some time exploring the Hauraki Gulf area so that gives us a couple of days to do some exploring and wander around the city and the harbour. So that's it, your up to date with us - take a look at the photo gallery (Opua to Auckland ) if you would like to see some pictures that relate to this entry .
Hope you all had a great Christmas and that you all have a fun new year's eve and that 2010 brings you all that you wish for
John & Leanne