Back to the Bay of Islands
25 April 2014 | Opua, Bay of Islands
We spent a night at Kawau managing to miss the Spirit of New Zealand, which changed plans and sailed past while we were eating our porridge! We headed to Christian Bay, a really nice little anchorage and had swims and cleaned up and spent a few hours fishing, happily catching and releasing undersized snapper (I’m not sure it wasn’t the same one a dozen times!). The next morning, we set off with the forecast of 15 knots and soon found ourselves on our ear in 35! However, the sailing was good and we dodged the squalls, which had heavy rain and gusty winds. We managed to miss most of them completely, enjoying warm sunshine. However, we did have our full waterproofs on as the spray was everywhere! We certainly did the sailor’s hokey cokey today with reefs in, out, in, out shake it all about! We sailed back into Tutukaka, this time anchoring rather than going into the marina. We averaged 6.5knts for the 56 miles we sailed. If we can keep this up we’ll be very happy! I haven’t had to cook on the stove, gimbaled to the max for ages and managed a cooked lunch without disaster. Poor Simon had to do more heads unblocking, this time from the sea with wetsuit on and rodding tool in hand…not his chosen end to a great day’s sailing!
The next day we headed back to Cape Brett and the Bay of Islands. The forecast was the same as the previous day, but we ended up motor sailing for a couple of hours due to the lack of wind! Back to solar showers on deck as we headed towards Cape Brett. The wind was on the nose as we rounded the Cape and stayed that way as we headed down the other side! A bit of tacking and a final bit of motoring saw us tucked up in Oke Bay, along with 12 other boats, out enjoying the holiday period.
We had arranged to meet up with Heather and Mike for the last, last supper (we have already had 6 last suppers but keep managing to catch up one more time) and so motor sailed and sailed in light winds to Opua. We went through Albert Channel, which was fun, winding our way between rocky outcrops and islands. We anchored next to Calypso, which is now on a mooring where she will spend the winter. We all had a run ashore in the afternoon, which was fortunate, as there had been some confusion with our marina booking, which we were able to sort. We went to Calypso for dinner and despite a corked wine issue (with some wine we had been saving for a special occasion) we had a lovely meal and a good few laughs. We said our final farewells as Heather and Mike flew back to Nelson the following morning.
The saga with the Sat system continues, with Skype calls to the US a regular morning occurrence. At midday we came into the marina and Simon skillfully brought the boat alongside, in a 3 knt tide. So far, we have sailed 976 nm since leaving Nelson. We sorted out paperwork at the Marina, did a couple of loads of washing and had our first hot shower in 4 weeks. It is the first time since we left Nelson that my hair hasn’t looked like a loo brush as it dries in the cockpit! A very well spent $2. We headed to the yacht club for dinner – Dory and chips-not the same Dory as in ‘Finding Nemo’, or at least I hope not. It is strange to be in the Marina with lots of other people of all nationalities, shore facilities and lots going on.
Today we handed in our intentions form to Customs and Immigration and began filling in all the departure information. We still haven’t finalized our date of leaving as today’s extended contact with the US has seen a new satellite system being sent to us and with today being a holiday and then the weekend, the part won’t leave Australia until Monday. So maybe…we will leave on Wednesday….
A day of chores with both of us ticking long-standing items off our ‘to do’ lists. Simon greased all the bottle screws and made an impressive boom preventer system. I finished the covers for the water tanks and need to do the same for the fuel containers. We had a good walk along the shoreline towards Paihia, circling back on the road and walking past a few banana plants laden with fruit. Its certainly a different climate here than Nelson!
Tomorrow we have hired a car from ‘Rent-a Dent’, to go to the Farmer’s Market at Kerikeri and then for lunch with friends Chris and Bernie at their new house. We have another list of things to get, so will take advantage of not having to lug things like gas bottles around by hand. There are certainly some advantages to being landlubbers again for a while!