Hurry up and wait - Pareanui Bay Orakawa Peninsula. 35:15S, 174:11.7E
The weather can change quickly in New Zealand and last Tuesday, after our last blog, the forecast changed from a fairly benign one to strong head winds from the following afternoon. Our plan for a leisurely trip anchor hopping to Bay of Islands therefore had to change, and with a leak in the exhaust water lock needing fixing we left our anchorage at Woolley Bay before breakfast on Wednesday morning heading for the marina in Opua.
Compensation for an early start – sunrise over the Poor Knights islands
Mornings usually start calm here so we motored for a couple of hours then got sailing under full sail. Within 10 minutes we had to reef as the wind increased and then we had a great windward sail, mostly able to point for Cape Brett, the headland at the southern end of Bay of Islands, and making between 5 and 7 knots. Just before midday we appeared to come into the wind shadow of the headland and lost the wind so we started motoring again and passed through the gap between Cape Brett and Motukokako island. We continued motoring into Bay of Islands until we could bear away to the south west and get the sails filling, then we had a great beat, tacking across the narrowing bay and eventually sailing right up the Kawakawa River to within a mile of the marina, where we tied up at 1700 after sailing 50 miles. Time to go ashore for a shower and then to the yacht club for fish and chips!
Aiming for the shortcut between the land and the island
On Friday all was looking good for our departure to Fiji – our new credit cards arrived from the UK (thanks Maggie) and the engineering workshop had welded over the holes in the water lock – so with a good forecast for a Tuesday start we handed in our notice of departure to customs and started our final preparations. Then over the weekend a tropical depression developed north of Fiji, driven by unseasonally warm waters, and started heading south creating the possibility of strong winds along our track and effectively slamming our weather window closed. The weather guru down here is fond of saying that weather is a mixture of pattern and chaos – we are now in a period of chaos and will have to wait for pattern to reestablish itself. Hopefully that will be over the next 10 days and when the trough that is expected at the end of May has gone through we will be able to leave on the south westerlies that follow it.
Evening in Pareanui Bay
In the meantime we are taking advantage of the calm weather to anchor out for a few days and motored to this bay this morning. During our week in the marina we caught up with some friends we hadn’t seen since we first arrived in New Zealand 18 months ago and celebrated Phil’s birthday (at the yacht club again – there isn’t much choice in Opua). We also visited a local couple – Murray and Rosemary Wilderspin – who we also met when we first arrived in New Zealand. Sarah’s maiden name was Wilderspin and it is unusual enough that when Phil spotted Murray’s name on the list of past Commodore’s at the yacht club we made contact. It was lovely to visit their beautiful home over looking Bay of Islands, but we still haven’t established a family connection.
Murray and Rosemary
Sent from Mail for Windows 10