At last, finally and not a minute too late Truce is sailing again. The days leading up to departure were quite hectic, getting final stores, provisions and odd jobs completed. On New Years eve Ngozi and I moved on board Truce at the pile mooring in the Tamaki River. After seeing in the New Year and a bottle of bubbly we slept well until morning.
The lose plan this year is to sail down the east coast of the North and South Islands to visit Stewart Island. Then, cross over to the West coast and work our way north through Fiordland before heading up to Abel Tasman. With Ngozi onboard for the first part of the trip I will be taking it easy and trying not to sail in anything red on the predict wind map.
On the first of January we let go from the mooring and motored over to the Panmure Yacht club jetty to pick up Jessica and her boyfriend Gabe. Once they were both onboard we took the ebb tide down the Tamaki River in glorious sunshine and a light wind.
Once clear of the river we shaped course to the east down the Tamaki Strait, a light breeze pushing us along under headsail at 3 to 4 knots and Auckland City dropping astern. Soon we had full sail set and headed out into the Firth of Thames for a sparkling fast sail over to Te Kouma Harbour. I had forgotten how well Truce gets along on a clean bottom. At 18:00 we were anchored in Ranger Bay in Te Kouma Harbour and ready for sundowners.
The following day we stayed in Ranger Bay, nobody had the energy to leave and we just enjoyed the peace and tranquillity, with brief trips ashore for a bit of fossicking around. Over the next couple of days we headed around to Coromandel Harbour for a trip into town.
On the 4th January we dropped Gabe off onto the Auckland ferry as he had to return to work. I was sad to see him go as he had actually turned out to be quite useful onboard. With Ngozi, Jessica and myself onboard we headed up to the pretty Ngohitanu Bay to anchor for the night.
The 5th January was a calm day and we motored around the top of Coromandel through the Colville Channel and down to Great Mercury Island, no wind just motoring on calm seas. At 15:00 we anchored in Peachgrove Bay on the south of the Island. In 10m water depth I could see the anchor on the bottom, the water was very clear. In fact the water was so inviting I went for a swim (well I got full immersion) which is a very rare thing indeed. I firmly believe water is designed for fish to swim in and not humans.
Unfortunately Jessica had to depart back to Auckland so we headed into Whitianga Marina early on the 7th January to drop her off. Whitianga provided a good pit stop for fuel, water and doughnuts from the local bakery. Then we were on our way again, this time the crew reduced to Ngozi and myself. We headed out for an overnight sail to Hicks Bay close to East Cape. This was the first time Ngozi had sailed overnight and she was a little nervous.
At 14:00 the next day we were anchored safely in Hicks Bay. The weather overnight had been mixed with a lunpy sea, not ideal sailing conditions and a bit uncomfortable at times. Ngozi handled it well but refused to stand watch or be alone in the cockpit during darkness.
Hicks Bay once again turned on the dull wet weather, I have never been in this place when its sunny and calm and never been ashore here, I am sure it must have its moments, but I have not experienced them yet.
We are now over a week into the trip and just starting to settle down, our visitors have gone and Truce is getting back to being shipshape again. Having Ngozi on board is resulting in a big improvement on my usual single handed diet. I have no chance of coming down with scurvy or losing weight.