Tauranga and Great Barrier 36:11.014S, 175:21.761E
The third leg of our trip back north between weather systems. We stopped in Tauranga as there was another low pressure system hanging around on the east coast bringing with it strong winds and rain.
It certainly rained, with severe flooding in parts of the country
We stayed here for week as we were not in a particular hurry and saw no reason for being uncomfortable sailing. The marina was a handy place to be but a long walk from local shops and the town, also quite expensive by New Zealand standards. We did venture into town on one day about a 4km walk the first part alongside a busy road and over a long bridge then slightly better alongside the river.
Looking back toward the marina, which is on the far side of this road bridge
There were a couple of opportunities to leave but as we needed to leave the marina when there was minimal tidal flow, and wanting a mainly daytime passage, we decide to go early morning on Saturday. Dave from the marina was there with his dinghy to give assistance to help control our movement as we reversed into the last of the ebb tide and we were off. As it was slack tide this is also the time that there are major shipping movements in the port so we needed a good lookout and made sure that we stayed out of the main channel.
Clear of the port we headed north and picked up a good breeze to take us up toward Mercury Bay, this is where Cook observed the Transit of Mercury in 1769. A yacht race had left Auckland this morning heading for Tauranga and it was as we approached Mercury Bay that we met them coming toward us, actually it was quite a small fleet and well spread so didn’t cause us any problems. We had a westerly wind so as the race came toward us they were the stand on vessels and we would have to give way to them.
Night time saw us approaching the Collville Channel and with a decreasing wind from a more southerly direction and an increasing swell it did get a bit uncomfortable, poor Sarah was off watch at this time but didn’t get very much sleep. We came into Kiwiriki Bay on Great Barrier Island at 05.30 ready for a good sleep.
Now its only a final 45 miles back to the Hatea River and Whangarei, a days sail across and then a few hours motoring up river. We have arranged a berth for a few weeks in Town Basin from 8th April and have started planning the jobs we need to get done.
We have had 8 days on Great Barrier, along with our friends on Saga who have come over from Whangarei. A time to enjoy walks which we have done before share meals and watch some amazing sunsets, I hear there have been some amazing sunrises as well but we havn’t been up to see them. We also now know what the Little Blue Penguin sounds like. We have seen numerous of these birds swimming along the coast but it was not until we were moored in Kiwiriki this time that we have heard them. They make a most raucous noise quite out of keeping with their size as they swim along in small groups, especially as they come back into shore of an evening.
Sunset in Kiwiriki
Looking down onto Kiwiriki on one walk
Anchored in Kaiarara Bay at low water.
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