Sunday morning opened fine and clear in Spirits Bay, just a slight S’ly breeze to ripple the water.  The evening had been restful, the Cape Reinga light reassuringly flashing every twelve seconds away to the west.

I was in no hurry today, the forecast was for light winds so there was no need to run away from this exposed coast.  The anchor was aweigh by mid-morning and we motored around Hoopers Point towards Tom Bowling Bay.  There is an anchorage in Tom Bowling Bay, the last time I came this way the swell was quite high and the anchorage was not obvious.  Now its calm I will have a closer look.

As we approached the Bay I saw two boats at anchor.  Closer inspection revealed a quite sheltered bay with about eight meters of water fairly close in.  The bay looked good as an anchorage in easterly conditions, maybe I will try it in the future.

Moving on from Tom Bowling Bay we rounded North Cape in brilliant sunshine and calm seas.  It’s not always like this, certainly not the last time I came around here.

North Cape seen from the North. Photo Ray Penson
North Cape seen from the North. Photo Ray Penson

From North Cape I headed down towards Houhora where I planned to anchor for the night.  However, after a couple of hours motoring I decided to head over to Raupo Bay for the evening.  I had been to Houhora previously and fancied something different.  Also, the next time I go to Houhora I would like to spend some time there.  This cruise is coming to an end and I feel the need to move on towards home and not linger.

As the sun was setting we anchored in Raupo Bay just outside Rangaunu Harbour.  This is another harbour that I would like to visit and spend some time exploring.  But not this trip, maybe next year.  Yet another peaceful night at anchor, hardly a breath of wind all night and just a gentle swell coming into the anchorage to let me know we were still floating.

The next morning, after a leisurely breakfast in the cockpit I weighed anchor and headed towards Cape Karikari.  There is a passage between Cape Karikari and Rocky Island just offshore.  The passage is deep and perfectly safe in calm conditions.  However, on a previous occasion when coming this way an easterly swell was running, conditions between the cape and Rocky Island looked dangerous and I elected to take the outside route.

Once past Cape Karikari it was a straight run across Doubtless Bay to the Cavalli Passage and then along to Cape Wiwiki where I passed inside Tikitiki Rock and around to Whale Bay anchorage and familiar ground.  Once again, we anchored as the sun went down.  The night was calm and peaceful again with just a low residual swell coming around the corner into the anchorage.

Tuesday morning started with no wind again.  The big high pressure sitting over New Zealand is hanging on and providing calm everywhere.  I am not complaining, the wind may be lacking but the days are sunny and warm, very welcome this late in the year.  Today I have planned only a short run down the coast to Tutakaka where I will top up with diesel from the fuel dock in the marina.  First we motored across the Bay of Islands towards Cape Brett.  A slight breeze sprang up and we motor sailed for a while until the wind died as we approached the cape.

Passing Cape Brett is always a milestone when passing up or down the east coast.  It seems to separate the winterless North of New Zealand from the rest of the country.  Once around the Cape it was an easy run down to Tutakaka on flat seas with no wind but a lot of fish and bird activity around.

Cape Brett Light. Photo Ray Penson
Cape Brett Light. Photo Ray Penson

In early afternoon we rounded Tutukaka Head and ran into Tutukaka Harbour on the leading marks between the rocks to Starboard and the reef to port.  The tide was starting to ebb so I headed directly to the fuel dock and bunkered $100 worth of fuel.  Once the fuel was onboard I headed out to the anchorage, anchoring just after three in the afternoon.

In the late afternoon I recognised a yacht coming into the anchorage.  It was Legacy, an American yacht I had first met last year when locked down in the Marlborough Sounds.  Like many other foreign yachts they are covid refugees in New Zealand, just waiting here until the world opens up again so they can sail on.

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