35:50.20S 174:28.119E Marsden Cove Marina.

Thu 10 Nov 2016 22:29

35:50.20S 174:28.119E Marsden Cove Marina.

Built on what were once dairy farm pastures the marina is exposed to all the prevailing winds. Houses have been built around the waters, each with their own pontoon landing. The marina is home to local boats and the small fishing fleet. Alongside us aboard his boat, a fishermen separates the frozen blocks of squid ready to bait his long line. Look out seabirds.

During our trip down we had been amazed at the size of the tuna that jumped all around us. They were like small dolphin. No wonder our gear is too small to effectively catch any. The last attempt we made resulted in the lure and trace being taken leaving us with just the end of the line, so we gave up. What would we do with such big fish anyway, with no deep freeze on board? Back to the tin locker!

We were fast asleep that night when, at 00.46 (I remember looking at my watch) a vessel was entering the marina and passing us. “Allen there are no spaces alongside” his wife instructed him in a loud voice. We were immediately awake and Rob quickly dressed and went to lend them a hand mooring alongside us if only to stop her shouting and waking everyone else.

By the morning we noticed two others were moored infront of us and we didn’t have long to wait for Bruce from Customs and Mike, whom we had met in Vavau at the Blue Water Festival, from Bio-security to come a check us in. Bruce told us that New Zealand has a big problem with illegal drugs and they are using some of the most sophisticated equipment to xray containers for packages. Not necessarily in the storage area but in the hollow pillar corner struts of the containers themselves.

He noticed the photos of Toby and sympathised with us over losing him. He has a dalmation, “They are real members of the family aren’t they,” he said kindly.

Michael was very thorough and I had to re scrub our walking shoes to get the last traces of mud off. The only banned food stuff I had to relinquish was half a small red onion and a Schwartz box of Kaffir Lime Leaves. He said it is quite unfair sometimes, as they walk down the pontoon towards the waiting yachts and fabulous cooking aromas hit them as the last of the fresh foods are cooked into something tasty in lieu of their arrival and to prevent confiscation.

At last we could go ashore and have a nice glass of Hawke’s Bay Porter in the marina restaurant, expensive but worth it.

We have gales all around at the moment and the lows are tracking across the area much more briskly than normal, at intervals more like every 3 or 4 days instead of the normal 6 to 8 days. We hope our friends who are on route will stop at Opua which is further north and nearer for them.

It seems ironic that we had just the short delay across the ocean to get here but now we must wait for two days here at the mouth of the river before we can make our way the 11 miles up-river to Whangarei Marina. Never mind, we have done a big shop at the nearby supermarket in tiny Ruakaka and can start doing some of the many jobs that need attention on board.