To Motiti Island, Bay of Plenty, North Island 37:37.0S 176:24.6E

Blue Hound
Phil Marks & Rosy Jensen
Mon 25 May 2020 00:20

Taking the Rough with the Smooth.

We seem to be following the old saying, 'take the rough with the smooth'. A rough passage across the Tasman Sea from Australia, followed by two months of smooth anchoring in the Malborough Sounds (with a few gale force nights) and then a rough passage to the Bay of Plenty!

Leaving South Island for the warmer North.

Thursday, 14th May was the start of Lockdown level 2 and we celebrated with the inevitable visit to the chandlers followed by a pub lunch – our first meal out since when? Here's a  chart of our South Island sojourn followed by one of our lockdown legs and locations:

Fishing Report

I failed miserably in my South Island quest for blue cod, but the spotties keep biting. Here's our latest haul for half an hour's work:

Onward and Northward

On Saturday we weighed anchor at Waikawa and headed for the Tory Channel, anchoring overnight in Te Rua bay, ready for the final narrow passage to the Cook Strait (the stretch of water between North and South Island) the next morning. First though, bleed the engine! We've been troubled by an air leak since Phil changed a filter recently and he hasn't got to the bottom of it yet.

The Tory Channel passage is narrower than the Needles Channel in width but defined by cliffs, and likewise imperative to monitor the tide - in this case also to avoid meeting the many ferries coming to and from Wellington. It was kind to us that Sunday morning as we passed out into Cook Strait.

Cook Strait has a fearsome reputation for strong tides and winds both funneled through the narrow 14 mile gap in the 1200 miles of mountain that is New Zealand. Check this short video which is enough to scare the pants off most sailors – including us!

But that day Cook Strait was kind to us and after a day of motoring east we turned the corner at Cape Palliser and after a quiet night of motor sailing the wind arrived with F7 gusting F8. Heading up the east coast of North Island we passed Portland Island near Napier (UK south coast sailors will see the resemblance in shape to Portland U.K. but without the fearsome races).

Then, on around East Cape into the Bay of Plenty, on past the volcanic White Island with its billowing steam.  21 people were killed here during an eruption last year.

Finally, after a 4+day passage and 510nm, we anchored in an open bay at Motiti, a flat island with 30 or so residents engaged in agriculture. It's 10 miles east of Tauranga, a big port handling sulphur exports and with 2 large marinas. We decided to postpone our haulout and do it in more attractive surroundings. Of Motiti the cruising guide said 'good fishing' but none of our 3 lines were successful!

A Change of Temperature

Phil has never ever sailed with 6 layers of clothing, but he did on this leg. My count was a long sleeved T shirt, 3 fleeces and waterproofs on top - and I mustn’t forget Phil's spare long johns! We don’t have heating (that’s a long story) but it’s great now to be 4 degrees further north (240 miles) in warmer weather systems.

Wildlife Report

Here are my latest:

Cape Petrel

These petrels were great fun to watch as they had a set flight pattern with a dozen or so of them landing alongside the boat and sitting there until we were a couple of hundred metres further on. Then they would take off, catch us up and land again. There was a lot of wind and a big sea running (hence poor photos) but their aerial acrobatics went on all day. The albatrosses were out too - three of them magnificent in their effortless circling as they searched for food. No pics today unfortunately.

A Walk with a Mission

At Lockdown Level 2 the bottle shops re-opened, which gave me a purpose for a 7.5 km walk from Waikawa to Picton along the hillside track. Gordons was out of stock but I am very happy with my purchase!

Cheers and wishing you the best of health!