30 January 2023

Our time at Waiiti Bay has come to a close.  The weather forecast is for increasing easterly winds, although still only 20 knots.  I suspect that we are in for a bit more in the coming days as this unusual summer weather continues.  So, we are heading back into the safe embrace of Whangaroa Harbour.

Our sail back to Whangaroa was a relaxed affair under the yankee, in fact we sailed through the heads and up to the town wharf in light winds.  In the afternoon we went ashore for a walk and picked up some bread and eggs and took the opportunity to top up on beer and rum at the fishing club.  In the evening we anchored off the fuel dock in town (good wifi signal) and the easterly wind didn’t disturb us.

The following day we tripped ashore again and recycled the garbage.  Ngozi went for a long walk and I pottered about on the boat doing odd jobs and a bit of cleaning – in my happy space.  In the evening the wind picked up and was a gusty 25 knots.  The anchorage was OK and the wind not quite strong enough to make me consider moving somewhere else.

A different story the next day, the wind had gone N’Ely and gusty.  We were a bit exposed and after lunch we moved around to Waitapu Bay where we found good shelter close in to the shore and in six meters of water with good holding.  That evening we had drinks on board a friends boat and learnt a bit more about the excellent anchorages in Whangaroa Harbour.  Later that evening and into the early morning we had more wind from the NE, occasionally gusting to 35 knots.  Later I was told it was gusting over 60 knots at Cape Reinga. 

The following day we moved anchorage again, this time tucked in to a cove on the south side of Milford Island, a good place to be when the wind in from the NE.  Nothing much happened today, reading, sleeping and relaxing and the wind reduced all day to light airs and small gusts in the evening.  My logbook has the entry ‘Rain Again!’ as it seems to every day this year so far.  The next day we went back into town and also did some fishing.  The fishing was good, we caught heaps of small snapper, they took the bait as soon as it neared the bottom, they were ravenous, fortunately we caught a couple of good sized fish for the pan. 

This became the routine for the next few days, fishing, visiting town for supplies and finding good anchorages to shelter from the constant E’ly and N’Ely winds, thunderstorms and heavy rain.  A bit ‘Groundhog Day’.

On Saturday 30th Ngozi departed in the morning to return to Auckland.  I anchored off the town jetty.  Truce didn’t like this and went wind against tide on me with the anchor chain leading astern and grinding on the hull.  Then the heavens opened and it poured down.  With the wind, rain, tide and waves getting into the dinghy was not looking inviting.  I picked up the anchor and moved inshore just off the fuel jetty where I found better conditions.  Eventually, I delivered Ngozi ashore safe and sound and after a few minutes she had scored a lift into Kaeo where she was to catch the bus to Auckland.

I returned to Truce picked up anchor and headed back to Waitapu Bay.  The weather was miserable and I was soaking wet.  I left the engine running for longer than usual to charge the batteries and help dry out my sodden clothes.  After a while I had warmed up again and sat with a hot cup of soup, listening to the rain bouncing off the deck.  Alone again.


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