Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 5 Feb 2020 22:56

Position:  35 44.37 S  174 20.97 E
At anchor Hatea River, Whangarei
Wind: S  F4,
Sea: slight   Swell: nil
Weather: cloudy, cool
Day’s run (yesterday): 8 nm

We got underway from Parua Bay yesterday at 1100 at the bottom of the tide so that we could make use of the flood stream to help take us the rest of the way up Whangarei Harbour. We had a nice SE breeze but the initial leg of the day’s short passage was directly into the wind over a sandy shoal. So we motored a little gingerly over that part before gaining the main channel and by then Kate had a batch of muffins in the oven so, given that we only had a few miles of open water in which we could sail, I thought it best to keep things on an even keel. I left the sails secured and continued to give the BRM a bit more of a run.

Once into the Hatei River, upon the banks of which the township of Whangarei is built, we motored up as far as Docklands 5 where we intend to haul Sylph out on Monday. We checked over the small jetty there but it was occupied and the channel was becoming alarmingly shallow so we decided to head back down the river to anchor in a spot just south of the Whangarei Cruising Yacht Club that Jon and Babs of Maid of New Zealand had recommended. From there we launched the dinghy and given the strength of the tidal stream and the wind, and the distance to the nearest dinghy dock, I fitted the electric outboard.  We made it ashore just in time to catch the 1450 bus into town.  Here we did an initial explore of what will be our home base for the next several months and purchased a few groceries from one of New Zealand’s major supermarket chains, “Pak’nSave” (OK, not really something to write home about). After a couple of refreshing beers at an Irish pub opposite the bus depot, we caught the last bus back to the CYC at 1815.

Back on board, I was intrigued by a small yellow junk-rigged yacht anchored nearby where two ladies were clearly enjoying a glass of wine in its diminutive cockpit. Now one of my inspirations in sailing has been a lady by the name of Annie Hill who wrote what I consider to be something of a classic in sailing literature, Voyaging on a Small Income, a book I read many years ago before purchasing Sylph. I knew that she was in this part of the world and had been in contact with her by email over the last few months. As Annie is something of a small junk-rigged boat aficionado, I wondered what were the odds that one of the ladies on board the small yellow junk-rigged boat might be Annie. So, while Kate was preparing dinner, I took the dinghy over to say hello. As I suspected, one of the ladies was indeed Annie who is building her new small junk-rigged yacht at Norsands, the boatyard opposite where we were anchored. The other lady was Shirley, and her boat the famous little Speedwell of Hong Kong. We enjoyed a good discussion about boats and many other things down below in Speedwell’s snug little saloon which I rather had to cut short seeing as Kate was no doubt waiting with great patience and tolerance to serve dinner back on board Sylph.

To be continued …

All is well.

Speedwell of Hong Kong:



Link to

Speedwell’s blog

Annie Hill’s blog