First light in Whangaroa and it was hosing down, biblical style rain. I Let go of the mooring and motored down the harbour, slowly, the rain was so heavy visibility was reduced to just a few boat lengths. Once at the harbour entrance the rain reduced, replaced by a brisk NW’ly wind and lumpy sea.
After clearing the harbour entrance I got some sail on, double reefed main, staysail and yankee. I was able to motorsail, close hauled, to clear Flat Island and then bear off and sail down the Cavalli Passage. The going was good now, motor off, a favourable wind pushing us along and more sheltered waters inside the passage. Time for coffee, late breakfast, relax and to watch the scenery travel past.
On clearing the shallow patch at the south end of Cavalli Passage I shaped course for Tikitiki Island (Ninepin Rock) and the entrance to the Bay of islands. My intention, to anchor in the Bay of Islands for the evening.
But, Cape Brett was visible twenty miles to the east and the wind was fair and seemed to be holding. I had a cup of tea and some ginger nuts while musing over my options for continuing around Cape Brett and then anchoring in Whangamumu for the night. Seemed like a good plan and if the wind died, I could always motor a few miles south into the Bay of Islands for the night.
I sailed on in sparkling conditions, twenty knots of wind, towards Cape Brett. The wind held and the sailing was splendid, Mickey the wind vane doing excellent work in the steady wind conditions. By mid afternoon as we approached Cape Brett the wind started to go light, it always seems to happen around here.
By going a bit further offshore I hoped to keep the wind a little longer and get around the cape without resorting to using the motor. The tactic worked but took a bit of effort and was slow going in flukey conditions to make the last few miles down to Whangamumu Harbour.
Off Whangamumu the wind finally died away, I motored the short distance into the harbour as the daylight started to fade. Whangamumu is a well sheltered harbour from most winds but the north easterly swell does get inside somehow. It did today, but only low, gently rocking truce and I to sleep in the evening.
Last time I was here in January the anchorage was packed with boats, maybe around forty. But this evening I shared the anchorage with only one other boat, very quiet. It was a beautiful night, calm glassy water, low swell, waxing moon and a sky full of stars. There is no phone reception here, no distractions. Rum and coke in the cool of the evening followed by a hot pasta meal. Happy days.
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