Whangerei 35:43.5S, 174:19.6E
Tutukaka was a very sheltered harbour only open to wind and swell from the east and it was even possible to get protection from easterlies by tucking into one side. Our day spent here was very leisurely, we went ashore in the afternoon and found the a general store and a coffee shop these were both in a complex close to the marina and enabled us to top up with milk, fruit and internet.
The forecast for Tuesday was SE 15-20 knots, so to enable Serenity to point better and sail closer to the wind we set up the working jib, a small sail designed to go to windward. Typically, having done this the wind hardly reached 10 knots all morning and we found ourselves making very slow progress down the coast. The sea was covered with birds so I guess the fishing would have been good, apparently this is a good time for catching Red Snapper. We haven’t been tempted yet into buying fishing gear as to us it seems to be a rather expensive way of getting fish. People we know who do fish seem to lose rather a lot of their gear and when they do catch something it is so large that they are eating the same fish for a week, great if you have a freezer.
We spent the night in Urquaharts Bay just off the entrance to the Hatea river which we needed to follow up to Whangerei. During the evening we watched a motor boat trying to dredge for scallops lose its dredge and then a man on a canoe dive for scallops. He had a good catch and offered us some but being a bit iffy about shell fish we declined, he then had to throw half his catch back as the limits on amount that you can keep are very strictly controlled. Climbing back onto his canoe he then capsized and we think he lost the rest of his catch!
Its a long time since we have been any distance up a river so the 13 mile trip up to the town was interesting. The river is wide for most of the way and it would be possible to anchor almost anywhere, as the town gets nearer there is one narrow section where you need to follow the channel carefully. The bridge keeper was very cheerful and the traffic was stopped and the bridge opened at our request. In the marina we were moored next to two boats that we already knew, Matilda and Sagamo, Matt and Dagmar took our lines and helped us to secure in the berth. We had arrived at a good time as in the evening there was a party to welcome the cruising fleet to the town, laid on by the local maritime industries with a good supper and a drink for $20 each (about £10), a display of Maori song and dance from the local school and a chance to meet up again with the same people we had last seen in Opua.
Town Basin Marina. Our mooring is on the far side from town
But its a short walk across the Canopy Bridge to town. There is a crafts fair on the bridge on Saturdays
Whangerei Marina was very friendly and welcoming, situated in the town basin close to the shops and with a lot of marine services on the local industrial estate. The basin is a tourist area with cafes and restaurants but does not seem over priced. Phil has managed to have his eyes tested and sorted out some new glasses (Specsavers) to replace ones that have suffered in the salt atmosphere and I’m sure we will be getting other jobs sorted.
The Town Basin – cafes and gift shops.
A nice walkway alongside the river down as far as the lifting bridge we came through
Last night we ran with the Whangarei Hash House Harrier; well Phil ran and Sarah walked – have we mentioned that the trails here are very hilly? They were a friendly group, and we will have another couple of chances to run with them before we leave here.
Ready for Christmas. The Marina is lending cruising boats Christmas lights
so we can get in the spirit as well
Pohutukawa, or the New Zealand Christmas Tree is coming into flower everywhere.
The coast of Northland is said to be a blaze of red in December.