19 May 2023

Friday 12th May, departed from Auckland and headed North towards the Bay of Islands. Steven, my son is with me and eager to undertake his first offshore passage. In the early afternoon we took the outgoing tide from Hobsonville Marina, motoring under the Auckland Harbour bridge and then sailing with headsails up to Kawau Island. We anchored in Mansion House Bay in the early evening and had a quiet and peaceful night at anchor, awaking to flat calm in the morning.

From Kawau we had a wonderful sail with a southerly breeze up to Whangarei Harbour where we anchored in Urquhart’s Bay for the night. Once again, we had a calm night and excellent sleep. Then we decided to take a trip up to Parua Bay and pay a visit to the tavern. We met up with some friends and good night was had by all. The following day we used the new washdown hose to clean all the Parua Bay mud off the anchor chain before heading down the harbour and turning left around Bream Head towards the north again.

Our next stop took us to a small cove in Helena Bay called Taiwawe Bay. This bay provided an excellent anchorage in the settled conditions and is a delightful spot to call in. Yet another good night’s sleep and flat calm morning. We had a leisurely breakfast before sailing off the anchor and heading north on a building southerly breeze. We had good sailing up to Cape Brett where the wind went light and we resorted to the mechanical advantage of Mr. Yanmar who took us around to the Bay of Islands.

Once into the Bay of Islands we anchored for the night in Opunga Cove. There were four other boats there, far different to when we were here last in January – it was packed with boats, from trailer boats to superyachts. Another flat calm night, the high pressure is holding out.

Of course, this spell of high pressure and calm nights had to come to an end. There is a large tropical depression bearing down on New Zealand, this is the reason for our pedestrian progress up the coast. We are waiting for the nasty winds and rain to dissipate before heading offshore. The effects of the leading edge of the depression should be felt soon and after a visit ashore to Pahia we anchored for the night in Okokawa Anchorage, a good place to be in the Northerly winds that we expect to kick in soon.

The wind kicked in on the morning of the 18th. A strong Northerly and rain. Another check of the weather forecast indicated that this could last for a few days. Not wanting to be anchored and boat-bound for days on end we headed into Opua where we picked up a mooring just between the marina and Pine Island. The mooring has a four-ton block so should be good for a blow.

Yesterday we headed ashore in the rain and made use of the laundry and showers before heading to the Opua Cruising Club for refreshments and sustenance. Steven won the menu choice with Spare Ribs, a Flintstone size portion.

The dinghy ride back to Truce was a horrendous trip, the wind had picked up and the rain was lashing down. We arrived back at truce completely soaked and probably suffering mild hyperthermia. All the good work of a hot shower was undone.

We initially booked outward clearance for Monday the 22nd, but after looking again (and again) at the weather we delayed for another twenty-four hours and now plan to clear out on Tuesday. The Customs guy said they will be busy on Tuesday and most others had also cancelled the Monday departure. It seems there is a backlog of boats waiting to head north. So, until Tuesday we will sit out the storm on the mooring and head ashore in the weather breaks.


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