A week in Opua

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Mon 6 Nov 2017 07:16
We have spent our first week in New Zealand enjoying well stocked chandleries and supermarkets and decent showers. Although you have to pay for them, the showers are the best since we left Tahiti; a private cubicle with a dry area for your clothes and hot water!  The supermarkets are better than Carrefour in Tahiti; we wandered around in awe at the variety of produce, and had to stop ourselves from buying things just because we hadn't seen them for months, but we had to buy the parsnips - it's funny the things you miss.

We have had a list of jobs building up as we haven't been able to buy the parts we needed in Polynesia, so we have been in and out of the chandleries, a bit like the supermarkets. We have fitted a new toilet and a toilet light, replaced the VHF speaker in the cockpit, and ordered a new hot water tank. Phil has also reseated a fitting in the bow that was letting in water and wetting the cushions in the forepeak. Parts are generally more expensive here than the UK, and there are a couple of things it may be cheaper to ship out from Europe.

Between jobs we have walked the coastal footpath from Opua to the nearest town, Paihia. It is a lovely and varied walk, which goes along the beach, then up and down the cliffs though sub tropical woodland, with amazing tree ferns, and views over the Bay of Islands.

The Opua Cruising Club has a bar and restaurant and welcomes visiting yachtsmen. This week they held a very noisy children's Halloween party, and also celebrated Guy Fawkes night with fireworks on Sunday. We happened to be in the bar on bingo night, and for an investment of $2 Sarah won a bottle and a glass of wine. 

As the week has gone on, more and more cruising boats have arrived and the marina is filling up with friends from the last year of sailing. Talk in the bar is of what the passage was like and how long it took, with the shortest being less than 4 days for a big catamaran. Most people have made fast passages, with the weather up until this weekend having been unusually helpful; our 9 days was among the longest!

We are planning to escape from the marina tomorrow, to visit some anchorages around the Bay of Islands, but will be returning on the 15th for the 'All Points Rally', 10 days of events for yachts that have come in from all over for the New Zealand summer.

Huge tree ferns on the coastal footpath

On the foot path

Bay of Islands from the Lookout Point

We'd come across Blue Footed Boobies, but this Red footed gull came as a surprise.

The Boardwalk takes you round some of the coast.