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Southwest Bay, Rotoroa Island, Friday, 22 April, 2011

April 22nd, 2011 · 1 Comment

We’ve had a lazy day. Toasted hot cross buns for breakfast while watching the comings and goings in Issy Bay. Then we lifted the anchor and headed out. Some wind but on the nose so sailing was hard. Temperature has dropped and Rob was worried he’d get wet, but rain held off.

We dropped the pick at about 1:00 – damn chain going out woke me up because I’d fallen asleep reading. But woke up enough to heat some leek and potato soup for lunch.

We’ve never anchored in this bay before. Rotoroa used to be owned by the Salavation Army and they ran a detox facility and public was not allowed to land. I also suspect that as boaties are not the most sober lot they avoided the island in case they got contaminated by the teetotalers.

A couple of year ago we had a picnic and friends bought their bean bags ashore. I appropriated one for the day and it was great so decided to get one for Zinkwazi. Rob was dead against it – and pointed out all the problems of storage etc. etc. But I went ahead and got one – it lives on our aft deck when we we on the boat and on the forward berth when we are not, so that takes care of storage. All on the understanding that it was MY bean bag. But do guess whose arse it cradles most often?

Not mine!

For tea we had chicken casserole with green beans and couscous. Just the thing for a cold day that leaves us in no doubt that winter is coming. Very yummy.

Tomorrow we plan to head across to the Coromandel. We’ve never been to the Happy Jacks so might try to spend the night in Elephant Cove. But depends on the weather!

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Islington Bay, Rangitoto, Thursday, 21 April, 2011

April 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Islington Bay, Rangitoto, Thursday, 21 April, 2011

Hehehe we are out on the water. After a few weeks of packing, unpacking and cleaning new house it feels like we are skiving off – absolutely delicious!

We got away from Hamilton just after 5:00 yesterday and after stopping for bacon and egg sandwiches at Mercer were thinking we’d be out on the water by 7:30. But we’d forgotten about Auckland traffic! So after inching up the motorway and a quick stop for milk and then unloading wagon and loading Zinkwazi we dropped ropes and headed out at about 8:30.

It was a very dark and still night. Half of Westhaven is being repaired and looks very different with piers removed and we had to carefully thread our way out of the marina. Rob got to practice his swearing when I pointed out we were on collision course with a pole. But once we’d cleared the breakwater it was an absolutely gorgeous night. The city is spectacular at night.

The familiar land marks slipped by, tank farm, Princes wharf, Auckland harbor, North Head, Bean Rock, No. 11 Bouy, Northern Leading Light, Iliomana Rock and finally the port navigation light as we put-putted up the harbour. Lots of boats in Issy Bay but we found a spot and dropped the pick and settled in or the night.

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Hamilton, Sunday, 23 January 2011

January 23rd, 2011 · 1 Comment


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Touwai Bay, Whangaroa, Thursday, 20 January 2011

January 21st, 2011 · 2 Comments

Oh dear holiday is coming to an end. Whangaroa is emptying out with boats taking a run to BoI in the one day forecast to be good for sailing. Weather forecast has been very accurate, we would have done one leg south and then have had to hole up. So Zinkwazi will stay up here – we are booked into marina so she will be quite safe. Rob will come up and take her home so she is back in Auckland for Easter which is next long weekend.

We emptied waste and filled water tanks and arranged berthing for Zinkwazi yesterday. Were invited out for tea with friends who live up here, but were not happy with leaving Zinkwazi anchored off Whargaroa. Wind was getting up it is an exposed anchorage so we took a rain check and found somewhere more comfortable for the night.

I’m doing another round of Plants vs Zombies so between that and reading i had a busy day.

For supper we had a paella type dish and Rob even ate the mussels I put in it.

Tomorrow we go into the marina. Forecast is wind and rain so we might spend the day in the pub – beer and pizza are always good.

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Waitepipi Bay, Whangaroa Harbour, Wednesday, 19 January, 2011

January 19th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Mad day today. Started by looking at a house, then breakfast in Whangaroa and then escape to Rere Cove where I caught fish. Lots of them, had to throw them all back because they were undersize, but at least I was catching. We moved around to Waitepipi Bay for the night and saw one of the oddest things I’ve ever seen:

Yep, a boat cat being taken for a kayak and enjoying it.

We had sandwiches for tea, pickled pork and roast beef. Then I fished, using baby kahawai as bait and hooked something really big – did not run so I think it must have been a stingray. Rob was very relieved when it broke my line because he would have had to gaff it.

Tomorrow we will stick our nose out the entrance, hopefully get a fish off Stephenson Island.

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Kowkairoa Bay, Whangaroa, Tuesday, 17 January, 2011

January 19th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Well the wind is blowing. Metservice were spot on in their forecast of 30 knots with gusts of up to 40 knots. Would not want to be out in open sea with sea stare of rough to very rough.

We anchored in Waitapu Bay and had cheese muffins for lunch. Lots of cheese, very yummy.

At about 3:00 the wind shifted and was coming into the bay, with gusts of 38 knots, so we shifted as well. With a north wester, we chose the western arm and got in as deep as we could, surrounded by nice high hills we have good protection and sea is calm. Although gusts in low-20’s are turning us around like a top.

After a bit of reading we got down to the serious business of the day – watching other boats anchor, and re-anchor, and try another spot and re-anchor, and drag and have to re-anchor. This includes admiration for the boats that do it well and lots of advice (which they can’t hear) for those screwing it up.

Anchoring is not hard, choose a spot with good holding, drop the anchor and reverse back till chain is laid out and anchor has set. Set is easy to feel, anchor chain gets taut and nose of boat swings round to line up with anchor. And then in bad weather put out loads more chain. Then put snubber rope on – this is a bit of thick rope with a hook on the end that connects to chain and is then tied off and takes the weight between boat and anchor so chain does not grind over roller and rope has a bit of stretch so reduces pull against chain. And finally, set anchor watch on GPS – this is a circle around our position when anchoring and if we move out of it an alarm sounds. OK so it is not as straight forward as parking a car, but if you think anchoring is hard, try come up against an old wooden wharf….

Roast beef, new potatoes, mushrooms and grilled corn for tea. Beef was a overcooked for me but still very good. Rob enjoyed teasing the seagulls with bits of the roast:

We usually head home in three legs. Whangaroa to Whangaruru or Tutukaka then to Kawai and finally a hop, skip & a jump to Auckland. So two long legs of 50-60 miles and a short leg of 25 miles. And I need to be back at work on Monday so need some reasonable weather for two days for the long legs and does not look like we are going to get it! Not worried about last leg – it is short, we know the waters well and while we would not do it in a full gale, would not be as prudent as we would on the longer legs.

We don’t usually have this problem because we normally head home earlier and would normally be at Whangaruru or Tutukaka by now and even in worst weather there are some breaks so we can take a run at next keg. And often there is some good sailing at night when the winds seem to drop. But we only had three and a half weeks and wanted to spend as much time up here as possible. So our options are:

Plan B: I jump ship and go home and either Rob single hands or gets a mate to crew for him (we’ve done this once and I really think this means that Rob single hands but with company because it did not sound like he let his crew mate do anything)

Plan C: We both jump ship, as long as we can leave Zinkwazi safe on a marina berth. Then we come back and collect her as soon as we can. Could do in a couple of legs – here to Tutukaka and leave Zinkwazi there until we can do next leg.

Plan D: We buy the Marlin and take to a life of running a pub in Whangaroa.

Plan E: I beg for a few more days leave. But no guarantee that weather will improve, although the longer it has been awful, the more likely we will get a good spell.

Plan F: We buy the Kingfisher lodge and tale to a life of running a fishing lodge.

Plan G: We buy Whangaroa Houseboats and take to a life of running a bare boat chartering business – of all the buy option this is the only one we likely to be able to afford!

Oh well, these are good plans and one of them will come together.

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Whangaroa Marina, Whangaroa, Monday, 17 January, 2011

January 18th, 2011 · 1 Comment

I can’t remember what we did yesterday – slacked off and read I think. Ended up in pub for pizza and pool.

Up early tomorrow – going to look at a house. Then we’ll skive off and find a safe anchorage, gale coming on the back-end of a cyclone.

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Whangaroa Marina, Whangaroa, Sunday, 16 January, 2011

January 17th, 2011 · Comments Off on Whangaroa Marina, Whangaroa, Sunday, 16 January, 2011

OK several drinks at boating club then a few more at Marlin, snapper and chips for tea, in sheer desperation because my mojo is gone. And afterwards pool, which I play very badly, Rob tried hard to loose by sinking my balls and playing left hand but sadly he still won.

Laundry is half done, but now locked in laundry so we will need to finish in the morning.

There have been a few upgrades since we were last here the water buoy is now “Water Buoy”, used to be “Viagra Falls”.

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Touwai Bay, Whangaroa, Saturday, 15 January 2011

January 16th, 2011 · 2 Comments

We had a lazy day. Stuck our nose out of harbour entrance to empty tanks then anchored off Whangaroa so Rob could get coke & nail polish remover (chipped nail polish on toe nails is driving me mad). No problem with coke and as shop did not have nail polish remover the owner lent me hers.

Then we anchored up and I napped and Rob said he fished, but I think he got into his coke (with vodka & khalua) because he was very happy when I surfaced.

Pickled pork with polenta and salad (green bags are keeping my veges fresh) for tea. Rob was very delighted not to have share with my boys.

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Waitepipi Bay, Whangaroa Harbour, Thursday, 13 January 2011

January 14th, 2011 · 1 Comment

I fished last night. There is strong tidal flow in Mangonui but it was a very still clear night. GPS was officially on anchor watch butbI read late and was checking boat and the sea was alive with bait fish. So I could not resist, I caught a small kahawai (but too big to use as live bait) on bait rod, chopped it up and used as bait. Got some good bites, but did not manage to catch anything. Was hoping for a John Dory. Still, was very enjoyable, me in my pj’s and some bloke on the wharf fishing at 2:00 in the morning with bait fish plopping up so that it sounded like popcorn popping.

We had a lazy day, lunch in Mangonui and browsing in the shops. Rob particularly enjoys the arty shops and I can see he really pays attention in them because he will often ask “Why would anyone buy this?” or “We need to get [shells, resin, glass, wood, tiles, wire, etc. etc.] because I could turn these out and look they are selling for $120”).

When we got back to boat, forecast had worsened and was for 2m swells, sea state moderate to rough, 20 knot winds and getting progressively worse over next 3 days. So mid-afternoon we decided to leave, sadly turning south rather than north but if weather is turning bad we want to be in a safe anchorage and have time to get home. So south to Whangaroa it was. Not all bad – Whangaroa is still my all time favorite harbour.

Trip south is in open seas – nothing between New Zealand and South America – so we cleared decks, tied everything down, checked and double checked that everything down below was securely stowed. But after all that, trip was the mirror image of our trip up to Whangaroa where we had a very rough trip. Sea was gentle, wind a steady 10 knots and we romped down the coast and were happily at anchor under the Dukes Nose before 6:00 p.m.

I did want to leave anchor watch on because ripples were at least 2″ (some wind ruffles), but Rob said they needed to be at a little bigger to justify the electricity the GPS sucks up. Seriously we only set anchor watch if it is really rough, or if there is strong tidal flow, or we are not happy with set of anchor.

After lunch we only needed a snack for supper and having got some lovely fresh bread in Mangonui we had soup – our ever reliable Campbells potato and leek.

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