Friday 13th December 2013
Distance run: 12 nmiles
Woke around 0900 and looked out to find the source of the unpleasant smell – the pontoon we tied to seems to host dozens of pied shags who leave huge white deposits. I realised that when I had stepped off the boat last night to tie the lines, I had been walking in it! Fortunately it was dry, but the fresher stuff was really quite pongy. There were no birds there when we arrived, but this morning there were loads of them. Strangely, they only seem to use this one pontoon.
The guano-covered pontoon in Marsden Cove. The birds who leave their pongy calling cards.
We moved the boat over to the fuel dock, and as it was self-serve, took a few minutes to work out how to get the diesel pump working. Once the credit card had been read by the machine in the centre of the dock, the pump happily switched itself on and we topped the tanks right up. This is a very useful setup as it means that fuel is available 24 hours.
We popped into the office to let them know we had used their pontoon and ask if we could stay another couple of hours till the tide rose – we needed it to be at least half-tide as the river up to the Town Basin where we were to moor is very shallow, and we were not keen to get stuck in the mud. They were very friendly and helpful, told us where to move the boat to from the fuel dock and didn’t want any payment for our short stay.
We set off again at 1330 and motored the 12 nmiles up river to the Town Basin. Although it got quite shallow at one point, with less than a metre under the keel, we didn’t touch bottom and by 1600 we were safely tied alongside the townside dock. By coincidence, our lines were taken by Sue & Bob from Mawari, whom we had last seen in Cuba. They had just flown back into NZ the previous day and popped down to the marina to see if there was any post for them (Mawari is currently in a local boatyard). They joined us on board for a cuppa and catch-up on news.
The office, loos, showers, laundry & lounge at Town Basin. S-F tied safely alongside the townside dock.
The Riverside Drive moorings at Town Basin.
It is very comfortable here, with the town just a few minutes’ walk from the dock, and all the necessary amenities in the marina building just up the ramp from the pontoon. Quite different from Opua marina, as it is in the heart of Whangarei town which is quite a busy place. We like it.