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Sailing in New Zealand 2013

Sunday 24rd February: We had arrived on Waiheke on the Saturday afternoon and loaded Shanti with provisions for a week so we could be off early on Sunday. We were initially sailing with Kev so he could show us the new anchor winch. Beautiful clear sunny day. Swimming stop at Calypso Bay Motuihe Island. Collected driftwood. Back to wharf to drop Kev off then overnight at Rocky Bay. (10.5 nmiles) Rocky Bay needs care on entry, but the point on the left and the rocks on the right are clear. At the end of the bay is Whakanewha Bay, with its picnic and camping and protected dotterels, where we had walked earlier.

Monday 25th February: Out into Hauraki Gulf to look for fish. Wind on bow so lots of tacking. Only seemed to manage to gain one nm having tacked for 4. But at least there is progress. Moored under sail on the edge of Oranga Bay, Ponui Island, then motored in to our final mooring. Caught a pan size snapper.

Tuesday 26th February: Another beautiful sunny day. Out along Waiheke Channel, planning to go around Waiheke. Waves and wind too choppy. Lunch at Chamberlain's Bay in Ruthe Passage. At 1500 sea slight and it was only 10 nmiles to Te Kouma on the Coromandel. Off we set under engine. Very glassy water. One long large fish jumped alongside us ... kingfish or shark ? Approaching the Cow and Calf islands the wind was making a short chop on the surface, but no problem, and we joined 4 other boats in procession into Squadron Bay, a beautiful, almost enclosed bay with the main Te Kouma Harbour surrounded by high hills with cows amongst the trees a favourite mooring of ours and unfortunately many other people.

Wednesday 27th February: Off early while the weather was good. Started with engine but wind soon arrived and soon doing 6 knots and the second half of the passage probably averaged 7 knots. Under two hours to Ruthe Passage and breakfast in Chamberlain's Bay. Sailing onwards along Tamaki Strait looking for overnight mooring in SE winds. Decided to go to , but near the cliffs in Waihaorangatahi Bay. Always a bit rolling here and we decided it was because of wind versus tide, as well as the wash from passing ferries. Beautiful during the afternoon it started rolling when it was too late to bother moving. Fishing only produced small snapper, but we found a friend in a shag who came to help - we hauled up a line with a snapper and the shag firmly attached to the snapper's tail. The snapper was too small for us but when it went back into the water the shag was waiting for it. We watched it carry it round for a while then swallow it whole - quite a lump to go down a narrow neck, then shake itself before padding across to the beach. the day ended with a super sunset looking towards Auckland with the sun setting alongside the Sky Tower in a blaze of oranges and red.

Thursday 28 February: Promise of nice sailing breeze so off towards Rakino and then, as good weather persisted and forecast looked good for a couple of days we carried on to Kawau. Saw three or four penguins but there seem to be so few this year. Winds did not arrive so it was just a nice 5.5 knots with the engine. We decided to stop for lunch and moored at Motutara Island, joined by an narrow neck to Moturekareka where there is the wreck of the Rewa. The wind finally came up and we spent a while sailing around Kawau Bay trailing a troll until time to moor in Bon Accord Harbour. Lots of little snapper but nothing legal. We checked the weather before supper and found a big change so we decided on an early start in the morning as the winds were now due to rise to be SW 20 gusting 30 in the afternoon. We sat with the surface a mirror until dusk when suddenly the SWesterlies arrived and were howling in the rigging half an hour later.

Friday 1 March: Weather forecast predicted winds of 25 gusting 35 this afternoon so after an early wake-up to check the now-casting we had the luxury of a late morning and even later breakfast. Plans are that we will go back to Waiheke tomorrow, assuming the wind reduces to 20 knots are forecast. In the afternoon we had a sail round Kawau Bay over as far as Algies Bay. The whole of Kawau Bay is fairly well sheltered and the winds were not as high as predicted but it was still too late to head back towards Waiheke. Mileage to Bon Accord Harbour, Kawau was 102 nmiles on the GPS plus the 10.5 nmiles round Kawau Bay.

Saturday 2 March: Pete's Birthday and time for a nice sail back towards Waiheke as the weather had improved. We did not go directly but went round the North to looking at Carey and Garden Bays effectively circumnavigating Waiheke on the way back to the mooring. We had an interesting time as we ended up in the middle of the annual round Waiheke Race before mooring with a group of beautiful classic boats including some Logans in Man o' War Bay at the 'bottom end' of Waiheke.

Sunday 3rd March: In the morning we had the chance to admire all the classic boats as they put up their complex sets of sails and left.

Regretably our time was up as we only had a short stay as we were returning to the UK on the Queen Mary 2 and could not risk missing her by being caught in bad weather at, for Example, Great Barrier Island. So we had a leisurely cruise back to the mooring at Kennedy Point after a pleasant if unadventurous weeks sailing in the local area.

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