SPIRITS BAY TO HOUHORA HARBOUR

Spirits Bay is a beautiful place, well worth a visit but the weather must be settled.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get ashore as the surf on the beach was a little too high for a dinghy landing in comfort. 

I am just waiting for the South Easterly winds to reduce on the east coast so I can start heading south again.  The weather forecast appears to be at odds with the weather reports from the coast stations, I am suspicious something nasty is coming along and am eager to get going as soon as possible.  The fisherman who also uses the anchorage thinks we are in for a N’ly blow.  That being the case I want to be well clear of North Cape before that happens.

 On Saturday morning the tide was right to sail, the wind appeared to have died down further down the coast.  Time to get going.  Once out of Spirits Bay it was a bash into a light headwind, large swell and lumpy sea.  We skirted Tom Bowling Bay and headed around North Cape.  As we approached the Cape the sea got quite rough, wind had picked up against the tide, a three-meter easterly swell had also picked up giving us a roller coaster ride.  But we made progress, Mr. Yanmar once again punching above his weight.  Four hours after leaving Spirits Bay we were clear of North Cape and heading to the south. 

The forecast NE 15 knots was not happening, stubbornly remaining E’ly at best.  Fortunately, we had just enough of an angle to motor sail down towards Houhora Harbour, making good speed.

I expected the entrance to Houhora Harbour to be difficult with the high easterly swell running.  To my delight once we rounded the entrance to the harbour, Perpendicular Head, the swell died down and it was a straight run, in calm water, up the channel with the flood tide behind us. 

Just before dark I dropped anchor to the west of Tokoroa Island, happy to be in a safe anchorage as the wind was increasing and the weather looking nasty. 

The next day, Sunday, the wind blew even harder from the North West.  Rain and overcast all day.  Too wet and windy to go fishing, I made bread and scones and fussed around with housework all day.  Late afternoon I let out more anchor chain, no point in it sitting in the locker when it can be working.  The night was uncomfortable, strong wind gusts and wind against tide meant that we were windrode again, the anchor chain leading aft and the wind from astern. 

I was thinking again about Tom Bowling Bay.  In my travels I have come across a couple of Tom Bowling Bays around the place.  It must be an old name used by sailors from a past age.  I wonder if these bays are named after the character Thomas Bowling, from the adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett.

I think it’s a little too late in the year to be enjoying the delights of Houhora.  Time to move on again.

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