Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nestled in Omakiwi

We left the dock FINALLY and are now enjoying the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. It is a group of lovely anchorages, islands, and bays on the North Island of New Zealand near Cape Brett. We left the dock on a rainy Tuesday morning and headed to nearby Russell where we anchored for the night. It was great to be anchored again. The good news is that the steering was so smooth, Michael thought it came undone again. There was definitely a problem and it has been resolved. The engine also was very smooth and the old vibration we had is also gone thanks to the new motor mounts (thanks again Richard). So Astarte is running well and happy to be off the dock. Michael did get in the water at the dock with the jellyfish to scrape the prop clean before leaving. Ick.

After a nice night in Russell, we left the next morning for a well protected anchorage. The low that was formerly Cyclone Evan and went over Fiji, is headed this way with a predicted Saturday and Sunday arrival. It is supposed to bring a big swell (3-4 meters) as well as heavy winds from the SE (30-40 knots). So we found a bay protected from the easterlies with "nil" swell. We were the first to get here and drop the anchor in less than 20 feet of water on a nice sandy bottom. After we got here, the boats started to pour into the place and now there are 13 boats here! It is a little bay, but it seems everyone has enough room to swing. One boat told us they were here in 45 knots once and all that happened was their anchor chain stretched out fully.

The bay is very pretty with hills on three sides covered with all types of trees including the Pohutukawa tree which is also called the Christmas Flower - a bright red flowering tree that blooms in December. So we have our Christmas decorations nearby! There are lots of bird singing in the trees as well, including the Tui which supposedly gets drunk on the nectar from the flowering trees. It is supposed to perform some acrobatic feats while "intoxicated" and make lots of noises along with its normal song. That could be entertaining! There is a nice beach and we'll probably go Pipi hunting one day. More on that if we catch any!

Yesterday we went on a hike. A boat here claimed they knew the trail to go over the ridge and see Whangamumu and a great view. They led us on a walk but they never found the trail to Whangamumu. It was a nice walk on a nice day. We'll explore more if the weather holds over the next few days. We're settled here through the storm and perhaps through Christmas. It is just nice to be on the boat at anchor and away from the dock. The weather is warming up a bit and we have lots of cleaning to do aboard after the many projects and being at a dock so long. So we'll tackle a few projects each day and then relax, explore, meet some folks and enjoy our time doing what we love. Oh, plus there will be some baking of Christmas cookies as well!

We hope everyone is enjoying their holidays and have a safe, happy time with family and friends.

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