Windy Weather: Kawau Island 36:25.5S, 174:50.2E

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Wed 7 Feb 2018 22:48

Our plan for February was to go out sailing, heading south to see the islands of the Hauraki Gulf around Auckland.  Just as we were ready to leave, the remains of Cyclone Fehi came down past New Zealand bringing strong winds and rain, so we delayed for a couple of days. On Friday morning we finally left Whangarei Town Basin with a reasonable forecast, aiming to anchor at the bottom of the Hatea River.  We were through the lifting bridge and on our way down the river when a new forecast was issued: a small but intense low was forming south of us bringing North East 35 knots gusting 45 knots (gale force) becoming southerly at the same strength.


We tucked ourselves into the anchorage called the Nook in Parua Bay, half way down the river.  Its quite shallow, so you don’t need to put out as much anchor chain, and protected from everything except westerly winds. We waited through Saturday, with the wind blowing from the west, but the gale didn’t arrive until the early hours of Sunday morning.  Sarah got up in the night to check all was OK, and saw a catamaran dragging its anchor past us.  Phil managed to wake them by sounding our fog horn and eventually they managed to re-anchor.


The wind continued into Sunday, so we stayed where we were and left at 5am on Monday morning in order to get to the bottom of the river before the tide turned against us. The forecast was for a gently breeze, dying out later, but the wind had died out already and we motored most of the 35 miles to Kawau Island only managing to sail for the last hour.  The anchorages in Bon Accord Harbour were quite busy with more boats arriving all the time – the 6th February is Waitangi Day and a national holiday marking the anniversary of the day the Waitangi Treaty was signed between England and the Maori in 1840.  


On Tuesday Helene and Tommy with their daughter Annie on Bonnie of Stockholm arrived in Bon Accord on their way to Whangarei. They plan to lift out there and also to borrow our car while we are sailing and have a look further south.


We woke on Wednesday morning to a forecast of 25-35 knot winds and knowing our anchor is holding well here we decided to stay another night.  The wind reached a peak of just under 30 knots in the night, however the forecast for today has been increased from 15 knots to 35 knots again, so it looks like we will be here for another day now.


Bon Accord Harbour before it got windy


Kawau Boating Club does breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a small shop, fuel and water.


The emergency helicopter landing pad is on a dock in the bay. There is probably no land flat enough


Getting ashore in Schoolhouse Bay


Ashore: gravel roads and holiday homes


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