ANCHORED AT MANSION HOUSE BAY

After a couple of peaceful days in Whangarei whilst the wind blew outside I sailed this morning, passing under the lifting bridge at eight forty-five – the first opening after the rush hour.  I rode the ebb tide down the river, past Marsden Point and out the shipping channel, passing the fairway buoy three hours after departing the town basin.

The south westerly wind was blowing at fifteen to twenty knots and we could sail close hauled on starboard tack at between six and seven knots.  The sun came out around mid-day and we had a great sail down the coast past Cape Rodney to the north channel by Kawau Island.

Just after six this evening we anchored in Mansion House Bay on Kawau Island – good sheltered anchorage from the south westerly wind.  There are six other yachts sheltering here – there is plenty of room for everyone.

Tomorrow I expect to make the final hop down to Auckland, now less than thirty miles away.  As I write this I realise this is my last night anchored out and solo.  Tomorrow I should be sleeping ashore in a static bed.

WHANGAEI TOWN BASIN

Truce is tucked up in the Town Basin at Whangarei.  A secure spot right in the centre of town close to all facilities, bars, restaurants, cafes and shops.  This must be one of the best temporary stops in New Zealand.  He forecast is for high winds – I have put out a couple of extra mooring lines. 

Ngozi arrived just after nine and it was great to meet up again.  The last time we were together was early June in San Francisco.  We went up into town, had a nice brunch, watched a bit of the predictable match between the All Blacks and Argentinian Pumas, filled up my empty gas bottle and generally caught up on what’s been happening since I been away.

Later in the day the previous owners of Truce came by and stopped for a drink and a chat.  So, a nice social day in Whangarei.

Shattered jam jar
Shattered jam jar

In the evening, I was opening a glass jar and the whole thing shattered in my hand, cutting the top of my right index finger quire badly.  I used some steri-strips to close the wound, wrapped plaster around it to hold it all together with a finger stall on top.  Cutting that finger is particularly annoying – it’s the finger that does everything. 

The weather forecast is quite horrendous.  Very strong south westerly winds with speeds up to fifty knots.  I will hunker down in Whangarei until conditions outside are more favourable to continue down to Auckland.

STOP OFF AT WHANGAREI

I had a nice peaceful night at Tutakaka anchorage.  A low swell coming over the reef making Truce roll gently.  I had an early start, departing before sunrise, relying on the leading lights to guide me out of the harbour entrance past the outlaying reef.  My early start was driven by the forecast of south westerly winds later in the morning that would be on the nose as we headed down the coast.

Once clear of Tutakaka we motored down the coast in rain and poor visibility until around nine when the cloud broke and the sun made an appearance.  The sea and air around us was teaming with bird life – a sea lion surfaced alongside and startled me.

By ten we were past Bream head and heading up the channel into Whangarei Harbour.  The south west wind started blowing hard but by this time we were around the corner and into the shelter of the harbour.  Once we had motored past the refinery and commercial wharfs I anchored just past the Marsden Point Marina for lunch and to await the last three hours of flood tide to take us up into Whangarei town basin.

After lunch, I picked up the anchor and motored the remaining twelve miles up to Whangarei.  One obstacle on the way is a bridge which must be lifted to allow passage.  A call to bridge control on VHF channel 18 produced a positive response and as we motored towards the bridge it stated to open and we passed through without missing a beat.

Once past the bridge it’s a short distance to the town basin, a great mooring spot that’s sheltered and right in the centre of town.  Just after three in the afternoon Truce was secure alongside, the sun was shining and all was well.  I am looking forward to meeting up with Ngozi again tomorrow.