Blog 71. Whangarei.

David Batten
Wed 3 Aug 2016 19:09
August 4, 2016. After much discussion, we decided a bigger travel lift and time out of the water was the priority, so it had to be Port Whangarei for laying up. Sad, cos Venetia and Anthony had just found a great place to say at a very reasonable rate and we did like Opua. So on Saturday 30 July, we left the marina berth at Opua, filled up with fuel and were on our way to Whangamumu Bay some 25 nm away by 09.00 with a bit of a dodgy local forecast, i.e. gale warnings, but winds all off the land and not forward of the beam. In fact we had an easy sail and a lovely day. Whangamumu Bay is beautiful and well sheltered and there are some lovely walks from the head of the bay. We were joined by another yacht and a fishing vessel and had a very peaceful night with only a coup,e of strong gusts.

Sunday, 31 July and another nice morning, but thermals definitely required. We left Whangamumu at 07.30 with in theory less wind forecast than the previous day, but with Anthony not feeling very well. He had injured his left elbow during the trip to New Zealand and what had appeared to be a minor infection was suddenly becoming more serious, so he was put to bed with antibiotics while we sailed the boat in increasing winds down the coast to Whangarei. By the time we got to final headland, it was gusting up to 40 knots over the deck with the apparent wind approx 60 degrees off the bow, so we had a very unpleasant beat in a gale force wind into Bream Bay past Marsden Point and into the estuary. Then it was a long motor against the wind up to Port Whangarei where it took three attempts to get the anchor to set satisfactorily. Anthony had a rising temperature and was clearly in need of more potent antibiotics. A taxi ride to the hospital and an intravenous dose of something appropriate with oral backup has sorted the problem and we were very lucky that we were here and not hundreds of miles out at sea when he started feeling ill.

Since then, the boat has been lifted out, in very strong winds again that made getting into the travel hoist dock a bit of a challenge, plus as it is a 100 ton hoist the straps are so far apart that getting them in the correct position was not so easy. The yard has a huge area of Tarmac for parking boats and Alcedo is clearly small fry by their standards. The hull has had a very thorough power wash and she is well supported in a cradle with a very smart set of steps up to deck level. Very posh!

We have moved out to a motel with self catering facilities and central heating, as living on the boat and trying to lay up in the middle of winter with 4 on board was just too uncivilised for us at our time of life. We are getting to know Whangarei and to learn about the area, the weather patterns and the retail opportunities here, which are quite something, if somewhat spread out. Our home for the last seven months is being cleaned from bow to stern and the maintenance list is growing as always, but she has done us proud and taken us thousands of miles safely and comfortably. This journey from St Lucia to New Zealand has been absolutely amazing and we feel very privileged to have been able to visit some truly wonderful places and in the company of some very special people.

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