Saturday morning we left the Opua Marina at 0700 for a short passage down the coast to
. Had to skip Whamgamumu for now but hope to
visit there on our way back up next April and see the old whaling station. I developed a healthy respect for Whangaruru
Harbour Cape Brett
as we rounded out of the and started
southward. It was flat calm and low
winds except around Bay
of Islands , where the waves
were at least 3 meters and the winds gusted 20 knots. I was at the helm and decided that wasting 5
hours sailing way out so that we could tack and sail all the way back in to
start southward was a sailing purist attitude that we did not need to
share. So we furled in the genoa,
started the engine and cut straight across close outside the cape. Then we motor-sailed most of the remainder of
our trip down the coast. Winds were just
close enough to the bow that it was impossible to sail. We would have had to tack back and forth all
day long. Bill was feeling a bit seasick and I felt very
tired, which is the first indication of seasickness; and we wanted to reach our
destination sooner rather than later. Funny
how you can sail thousands of miles and feel perfectly fine and then one day
you feel seasick for no apparent reason.
So we motor-sailed on the direct course and arrived at Whangaruru at 1400.
We anchored at latitude 35.21.26S
longitude 174.20.89E and enjoyed the flat calm, almost-deserted
There was a tiny town on shore and a few houses here and there, a very pastoral scene. Our boat didn’t even swing on the anchor, just stayed pointed in whatever direction into the current. Did not see any of the spotted jellyfish that so heavily populated the waters at Opua. Birds we have seen so far in
New Zealand are
pristine and very pretty. We have never
seen birds with such perfect plumage. It
is as if they have no parasites or insects on their bodies at all. The gulls with brilliant red feet and beaks
and pure-white heads and bodies with black wingtips and tails are strikingly
pretty. They look so healthy compared to
the birds we have seen everywhere else in our travels. There are also several other type birds that
we can’t identify, but they are all pretty and very clean. A rather strange looking duck of some kind
paddled by our boat in the Whangaruru anchorage. The front part of its body was all white and
the rear part of its body was black and it had a brilliant yellow head and down
most of its neck. Bill the duck hunter
had no idea what kind of duck this was.
Here is text from an advertisement for a place tourists can stay in Whangaruru: “At The Farm we have one dorm room, three double rooms, one single room, a double en suite room and a large garden where you can pitch your tent. We have free milk, Internet, a fully equipped kitchen and a free pick-up service from Whangarei or Russell.” As you can tell from that ad, backpacking is popular in
And there did not appear to be much else to do in Whangaruru except
visit a farm.
We had forgotten how beautiful the stars are when anchored in a dark anchorage.
Sunday we again motor-sailed a bit farther south down the coast --- a whopping 21.7 miles. Bill didn’t feel seasick this day; he was back to normal. In fact, he read a novel in the cockpit while I manned the helm. We anchored in the small harbor at Tutukaka at latitude 35.37.005S longitude 174.32.072E with only 8 feet water depth under the keel at low tide. I do not like anchoring in water that shallow but this was the only place we could fit in this tiny harbor. Most of the harbor is so shallow that it is off-limits to any boat with a draft greater than 4 feet, and we draw 7 feet. It was a beautiful clear day and Tutukaka is a pleasant place to spend an afternoon. Our dinghy is still on the mizzen deck and the outboard engine is still mounted on the rail from our passage down from
Tonga. There was no reason to put the dinghy in the
water while we were in the Opua Marina.
Launching the dinghy just to go ashore in Tutukaka seemed rather silly,
so we opted to stay on the boat and enjoy the scenery. There is a small marina in Tutukaka but the
charts indicate that it is far too shallow for us to enter, so there seemed
little point in going over there in the dinghy.
We planned to stay in Tutukaka only one night and our anchoring spot was
in a good location for easy departure on Monday morning.
Tutukaka is a popular dive area for tourists and this area is quite popular with eco-tourists. Tutukaka is part of the Poor Knights Marine Reserve and the wrecks HMS Tui and HMS Waikato are supposed to be great dive destinations off the Tutukaka coast. (Personally, I cannot imagine diving in this cold water.) Kayaking is also very popular in
. The Tutukaka
Harbour are about 11
miles off the Tutukaka coast and are internationally recognized. These are the real reason for the tourism
popularity of Tutukaka and there are many day trips out to Poor Knights. The “young” (only 11 million year old)
volcanic islands offer a myriad of spectacular drop-offs, walls, caves, arches
and tunnels. The Poor Knights are touted
to be inhabited by an amazing array of underwater life. The islands are the remnants of ancient
volcanoes that erupted in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Poor Knights
The water depth around the islands is around 2500 feet and the entire area is a marine reserve. The island lands are a nature reserve and the breeding grounds for many species of birds are on these islands. The islands are on the migratory path of a number of species of whales, including orca, minke, Bryde’s and pilot whales. We have seen enough whales so this feature did not attract us to sail out there, although we admired the islands as we sailed by them from a distance of about 7 miles. Species have evolved differently on those islands and insects and plants have grown larger than on the main
The islands were declared tapu (taboo) by local the Maori almost 140 years ago after a bloody massacre. Over 400 people used to live on the islands, with pa sites, marae, and terraced gardens. Left to nature almost 1 ½ centuries ago, the archaeological remnants are now considered to be the most pristine in
From one of the guide books: “After the initial Maori settlement was abandoned in the 1820’s, and the island was rid of the remaining pigs in 1936, the native bush began to flourish as it once did. There are still stands of ancient forest, and the secondary bush has regenerated strongly from them. One of
Tomorrow we sail out to