Two weeks in the Bay of Islands

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Sat 23 Oct 2021 22:34

After celebrating Sarah’s birthday we spent another couple of days relaxing on Urapukapuka island with short walks ashore and some archery on the beach. Inge and Thomas have taken up archery and had invited us to have a go, their bow is very high-tech with sights that allowed Phil to hit the target, which was smaller than the archery targets of old. Sarah wasn’t able to pull the bow due to a bad back! It was interesting to try it out but I don’t think we’ll be rushing out to buy all the equipment. Thursday was a wet day and the wind was picking up and blowing into the anchorage, as we swung in the early evening the anchor lost its grip and the Serenity started to drag back toward other boats. We should have been more prepared. After a bit of hurried activity  we started the engine to keep us clear of the other boats, raised the anchor and headed over to Moturua Island for a bit more shelter. One of the beauties of Bay Of Islands is the number of different anchorages available, you can always find shelter somewhere from wind and swell.

On Friday, we were joined in the anchorage by a number of other boats so it was obviously the right place to be. In the afternoon we heard an alarm on board, checked to see if we were dragging the anchor again, no. Any boats on the AIS system about to hit us, no. Turned out it was Sarah’s phone which has an app. for emergency notifications, there was a threat of Covid in Northland and as of midnight we would return to level 3 lockdown. We are pretty isolated here, just occasionally you need to go grocery shopping and be near other people, so our life isn’t affected much. Recreational boating isn’t allowed but as we live on board we can move around the anchorages to stay safe. One possible problem, we were due back in Whangarei for a lift out in 12 days so that we could clean the hull and top up the antifouling. We waited to hear what would happen to the lockdown levels. Two women from Auckland had travelled to Northland, reasons unknown, they tested positive and although one was helpful to the tracing team the other was not, so the authorities did not know where the locations of interest were for contact tracing.

We anchored for one night in Parorenui Bay, sheltered from the south. We have passed this anchorage before and seen the For Sale signs for plots of land and took this opportunity to pop ashore and look at the sites, not that we would ever be able to afford to buy.

Land for sale

What the view would be

Anchored off Paihia we did some shopping, it was like a ghost town apart from the queue of cars waiting for the Covid testing station and two more boat couples shopping. Back on board we were able to order paint and other bits from the chandlery in Opua for collection the next day. Shops are not open for personal shopping but contact free collection of goods ordered on line is possible.

The daily reports on Covid had not given any more cases in Northland so we were glad when at the beginning of this week it was announced that we would return to level 2 on Tuesday. This meant that the boatyard in Whangarei would be able to start lifting again. We phoned them to see when they could reschedule our lift, this turned out to be Friday, a quick check of the weather and we made our plans to head back. Tuesday get as far south as possible motoring if needed then on to the river on Wednesday before the weather turned against us on Thursday with strong winds and rain. Anchor in the river then up to the yard Thursday evening to be ready to lift.

We are now in the yard having been lifted yesterday morning, it has hardly stopped raining so no work can be done yet, it is Labour weekend, so Monday is a holiday we have a relaunch date pencilled in for Tuesday but we will have to see what happens.

Summer officially starts this weekend!


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