Great Barrier Island continued: 36:10.2S, 175:19.3E
Stocked up with bread and fruit from the Mulberry Cove store we have spent the rest of the week pottering up the west coast of Great Barrier Island, looking for anchorages that offered shelter and somewhere to walk. Great Barrier Island is a bit smaller than the Isle of Wight, with a population of 900, but a lot of land is owned by the Department of Conservation who provide walking trails – our challenge is accessing them from the coast without a car.
A gentle 6 mile sail with just the genoa set took us to Allom Bay on the southern side of Blind Bay. This was a lovely spot with plenty of space for us to anchor between the only other two vessels. There was an occupied property ashore, but it was round the corner up a stream and we couldn’t see its lights at night (the island has no mains electricity, so lights tend to be quite dim at night anyway) and we had a beautiful moon- and star-lit night.
On Tuesday we walked round the coast to Okupu at the head of Blind Bay – firstly along our cove’s steep and rutted access track (our guide to Great Barrier warns that road signs saying 4WD only mean it), across the beach and then along a pretty footpath with great views to the settlement. No General Store with coffee shop here, just a dozen houses and a council picnic site, complete with gas barbeque.
Our anchorage in Allom Bay
Looking out on Blind Bay from the footpath
The New Zealand Dotterel is an endangered species that nests above the tide line
Another quiet night and it was time to move on: a bit further this time so we hoisted the dinghy onto the deck, raised both the mainsail and genoa and with a gusty wind from astern made between 5 and 8 knots north on the 12 mile trip. As we approached the headland where we turned towards our anchorage we were joined by a pod of more than 20 dolphins who had a great time playing alongside and ahead of us. Their speed and manoeuvrability never cease to amaze and its always a joy when them come to see you.
The last of them left us as we rounded the headland to Port Abercrombie and the wind shifted to blow out of the bay, so we ended the sail with a great beat into our anchorage in Bradshaw Cove at Kaikoura Island. We nosed our way in and found a spot inshore of the other two anchored boats, who then went and left us with the cove to ourselves for the night. No population or lights at all here.
Today we walked along the hilly ridge of Kiakoura Island and then back along the perimeter track on the north side. The trail wasn’t made up as most walking trails are in New Zealand and the return path was unclear and overgrown with gorse – tough going in places, and not so many views due to the tree cover.
Looking south from the end of Kiakoura Island along the coast we sailed the day before
The view to Little Barrier Island from the end of Kiakoura Island
We will head back to the mainland tomorrow or Saturday, as there is a trough forecast for Easter weekend with adverse winds for the 40 mile passage back.
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