Whangaroa - 35 01.343S 173 46.159E

Mike and Liz Downing
Mon 17 Jan 2011 10:26
Yes, we have left the Bay of Islands! But not for too long – just a couple of weeks and it’s back to Opua to meet Janice and Clive, friends flying out from the UK to tour NZ. We hope to show them some of the sights around the islands in the Bay, weather permitting. It’s currently raining with clouds down to sea level, so vis is very poor – hope we don’t get this when they arrive.
It’s about a 35 mile passage north to Whangaroa, but with wind on the nose as we headed out we had to tack back and forth making it quite a bit longer - it took 3 ½ hours just to get out of the Bay. Then we could ease the sheets and had a good sail up the coast, despite a bigger swell than forecast that made for a lumpy sea at times. It was a passage of about 8 hours and our first sail out to sea for a couple of months. The entrance to Whangaroa is narrow (280 yards) between a gap in the hills and it then opens out into a network of fjords with high wooded hills and rocky outcrops on all sides. It’s quite spectacular when the sun shines and we have had a couple of great days. The fjords give good protection from the winds and swell and are not deep, so there’s lots of protected places to anchor – just as well as the remnants of 2 tropical cyclones are about to arrive in the next 24-48 hours and gale force winds are forecast.
Peach Island, just inside the entrance to the fjord
Takahi Point (above and below)
The Duke's Nose. This can be climbed, but we've not yet found the way up!
Entrance to Rere Bay in the north-western branch of the fjord.
View from our current anchorage in Pararako Bay, one of the eastern branches of the fjord
Tree ferns are everywhere in the woodland. Just expect a dinosaur's head to poke through at any time!
Epiphytes on the rocks