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Date: 03 Apr 2011 11:34:00
Title: Heading North - Day 3 - Tauranga - 37 40.24S 176 10.64E

Good winds continued yesterday afternoon and through most of the night, going from south to southeast to east to northeast. The main was up with the southerly winds, but once they'd come round to southeast and well behind the beam, it came down and our 2nd genoa went back up, poled out once more. This really does give us good speed and we romped through most of to night making 6 to 8kts in 15 to 25kts of wind. The sea continued a bit rough and confused, giving us a good roll every so often, with white horses everywhere until well west of the East Cape, when it all settled down. With the wind moving round to almost northerly, at 4 in the morning, the pole had to come down to prevent the genoa from backing and we continued under one genoa, still making 6kts. With no moon and lots of cloud, the night, like last night, was pitch black - it was difficult to see the bow, let alone what might be in front of it. At sea it is rare that nights are this black. Once you get your night vision there's normally always some light getting through from stars or moon and you can make out the horizon. Not so last night. However, we did get some good phosphorescence with the white water we were creating turning into thousands of sparkling diamonds scattered like confetti in our wake. At around 6 in the morning it started to rain and not long after it had become a very heavy squally downpour, with strong gusty winds coming from all directions. So it was that one of us got very wet, reefing as fast as possible! After a couple of hours the rain eased and with 20 miles or so to go, the wind decided to completely desert the forecast and come from the west, dead on the nose, but now very light. So the engine went on and we motored the last 20 miles and arrived at the entrance to Tauranga harbour mid-morning. In total we had covered 340 miles on the passage from Napier.

Like Napier, Tauranga has a much bigger commercial port than we expected. In fact it's the largest export port in NZ. It has a huge wharf for general cargo and logs (loads of logs again), and opposite a big container port, with all the associated container handling machinery. The marina is at the back of the commercial port, so we had to go through the commercial port to get to it. All quite interesting. However, the marina staff strongly advised waiting for low-water slack before attempting to come into the port. We weren't sure that we really needed to, but decided we would just in case and had no problems getting in. How glad we were that we did when this afternoon the tide was gushing through the marina pontoons at 3 to 4kts. It appears that all movements here, marina boats and big commercial ships, take place at high or low-water slack. We will have to take this into account when we leave. We hope that will be in a couple of weeks or so, so we can see some of the North Island, but it does all depend on the weather.

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