MIDWINTER MINI CRUISE

07:00 and flat calm, not a breath of wind as Ngozi and I let go from the marina at Hobsonville.  Slowly we made our way out of the marina and over the shallow patch into the marked channel.  Then a bit more speed as we opened up the throttle and hit seven knots.  What a beautiful crisp morning, the crescent moon reflecting on the water as the sky lightened in the east. 

As we motored down channel with the tide behind us in the twilight we could see a large fog bank ahead before the harbour bridge.  Soon we were in thick fog off the Chelsea Sugar Factory and the radar was on, picking out the moored boats and navigation buoys, the harbour bridge showing as a big black smear on the radar ahead of us.  Suddenly the bridge appeared just ahead and above us, we had judged the opening correctly and slid under the centre span with the sun rising beyond the bridge over Takapuna, quite dramatic.

With the sunrise the fog quickly disappeared, Auckland City showed itself, the radar was closed down and we carried on at good speed down the harbour, around North Head and up the Rangitoto Channel heading out towards Great Barrier Island.

The wind was favourable from the South West for the crossing across the Hauraki Gulf but unfortunately only about five to ten knots, not enough to sail at a reasonable speed and enable us to reach our destination before nightfall.  So, we motor-sailed, doing about 2000 rpm on the engine.  The passage across was made in glorious sunshine, lounging around on the foredeck (away from the engine noise) soaking up the warmth from the sun.  We anchored in Kiwiriki Bay at five in the afternoon as the sun was going down.

There is only one other boat in the anchorage, I thought there would be more.  Well, its only a few days after the winter solstice not really the boating season.

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