North to Minerva
Due to the lack of wind in the centre of the High we are motoring, Zoonie sliding across the deep pile blue carpet once more beneath the celestial fire burning in the hearth of the heavens. Thank goodness diesel engines are happy to just plod on and on.
Last night I awoke to a loud mid pitch moaning from the propeller shaft/gearbox area. So Rob and I searched for a cause but established everything seemed ok, there was no excessive heat, smell or water ingress. The shaft bearings were getting their sea-water lubrication ok so I guess maybe it was just bored.
I tried to send two small photo files with the last blog but Mailasail was having none of it. The system is trying to download a big file which is blocking what we send to just short text emails. We cannot cancel the download because it is not ours. I will get them to you eventually.
We are over half way to Minerva Reef now and hope to arrive there on Tuesday ahead of the Low that is coming. Then once that is past it should give us nice southerlies off its tail end which we will use to cover the 3/4 days left to get to Fiji. Well that’s the theory.
It is getting warmer in the saloon, 25’ at the moment and thoughts are moving towards reducing the layers of clothing, it’s all good.
Before we left Marsden Allison arranged a six person hire car for a day and a half. Well after three weeks isolated in Marsden, miles from any significant urban life, (I’m not complaining mind) we were like children let out of school at the end of term. Off to various errands and all in to Pack and Save for another final victualling up. Then in the evening we went to Waipu hoping for a meal at the great Pizza Barn we previously visited with Jeannie and Merv.
Well of all the cheek they had closed up shop for the winter. However, a few doors down in typical Indian open all hoursness we came across the Madly Indian which did us proud with fine food and generous hospitality.
Next day we set off early to the Waipu Wildlife Refuge where we counted 23 wading and shore birds, but no Riverdancing Red-billed Gulls! Instead I saw my first Reef Heron, charcoal plumage with an orange beak and two lesser spotted mooring buoys, the only ones there.
Then on to Mangawhai Beach and headland for a short walk before revitalizing ourselves with an excellent lunch at the Mangawhai Historic Pub, opened in the 1860’s as a Hotel and still thriving on its idyllic location just above the estuary.
Dessert was by way of some home-made chocolate from Bennetts Chocolatier a short distance away in the town. My eyes fell upon some chilli chocolates, the thoughtful lady offered me a quarter of one, “Try before you buy dear.” Well somehow the chocolate brought out the flavour of the chilli a treat but it was a few moments before I could relay that message to the others. I bought six and we have all had a tiny bit and the rest are in the fridge for next time, if we dare.
So while Alison, Randall, Vandy and Eric explored the Kauri Museum which we have visited twice before Rob and I explored the little quay we couldn’t reach last time at Matakohe because there was a tractor working in the road. We found the quay where supplies and the post came ashore before the main road was built. There was once a tiny store there with a Post Office, complete with telephone exchange and postmaster’s accommodation at the back. It was moved up to the site next to the museum and restored. So we went in and arranged to make a call with the charming mannequin Post mistress.
On poking about the pretty area overlooking the sheltered Arapaoa River Estuary we found a little gem of a derelict two bedroom home opposite the quay. Someone has recently stopped the upward growth of ivy and replaced some of the wooden stilts, setting them in concrete. The old fireplace and chimney have gone, but they could be replaced couldn’t they. Some of the electric sockets are very modern. I just could not resist squeezing in through the hardboard across the door.
The last occupant had cats because two little upholstered bucket seats were scratched to shreds on the sides. The living room opened onto a nice terrace across the front with gorgeous views of the estuary. Places like that really set my imagination going. Rob was back at the car waiting when I heard voices nearby. Afraid of being discovered I nonchalantly walked across the grassy garden and slipped over the fence to respectability. I never saw the owners of the voices.