Blog 14 NZ. Whangaparapara. 36.14.98S 175.23.48E

David Batten
Sun 26 Mar 2017 01:44
We motored to Whangaparapara in very little wind and had a perfect day with a pleasant evening walk from the Port to the campsite to watch herons, kingfishers, 9 Patekes, Dotterels, Caspian terns and rails on the mudflats at low tide.  The forecast was for south westerly winds on Tuesday, up to 20 knots, which we felt was reasonable for the 30 to 40 mile beat to Kawau or Gulf Harbour depending on the actual direction, so we elected to stay for Monday and do another hike.  Not a good decision as it turned out, but we did have a great and challenging 4 hour walk, allowing for the bird watching and then botanical stops up Withey’s Track, a short section of the Pack Track (the rest of Pack Track has been closed since a storm in 2014) and on to Forest Road before taking the easy downhill section of the Tramline Track to Whangaparapara.  Late lunch and long siesta required in a strengthening wind and a changing forecast, now giving 20 knots gusting 25 for the following day, i.e.Tuesday. 
Bird watching with a very calm sea yesterday afternoon.
French yacht leaving Whangaparapara today and this is before he got to the harbour entrance
March 21 2017.  So today we should be on our way towards Gulf Harbour, but it blew hard all night from the South West, not very restful and much harder than forecast by WeatherTrack or the local land forecast.  Whangaparapara is quite safe with good holding but the wind with any south in it tends to blow round the corner at either side into the bay, making it less comfortable.  With hindsight, we should have re-anchored in the cove on the south west side, which is what we have done this morning.  The Garmin anemometer is no longer working, the mast head part having been blown away in the Opua gale, so, it is hard to judge the wind speed, but we are all agreed the gusts are at least 30 to 35 knots, not much fun for going to windward.
The bird watching, in this case a pair of Pied Shags ......
...the botany, in this case the tiny baby cone and male flower of the Kauri that can grow to Tane Mahuta size.  These lying on the path as a result of parrot activity.
One of the more adventurous river crossings on Withey’s Track
...compared with the bridge crossings on the Forest and Tramline Tracks.
So many greens with the different trees and ferns against the red mineral deposits on the Forest Track
In the event, the wind increased from about 4.00 am onwards and this morning’s forecast was for 30 knots, gusting 40, not moderating until this evening.  Not suitable for us geriatrics to go to windward, so we are allowing tired leg muscles to recover and catching up with blogs, editing photographs, reading, etc.  Regrettably, there is very intermittent Spark or Vodaphone reception here, so the blog will be sent behind schedule as usual.  The forecast for tomorrow is for moderation overnight and a civilised 15 knots from the southwest, maybe reducing to 10 knots at times, so we are hoping for the best.