Guest blog from Kathryn Sobocinski
The anchorage in Putiki Bay afforded a much better night's sleep! We all slept in a bit, in hopes of staving off or recovering from illness. But once we were awake, Barbara cooked up some delicious blueberry banana pancakes and with full bellies we were convinced we needed a day's adventure. We had picked up a "Walks of Waiheke" pamphlet while in Oneroa, and luckily, a few departed from our side of Putiki Bay. We chose to dinghy over to Dead Dog Bay (of course) to begin our walk, #6, Te Whau Coastal Trail (we later learned it is pronounced "Te Fau"). After getting the dinghy up on the grass, we were welcomed by a reader board saying, "Shhhh! Rare Wildlife." That's right, we were shushed by a sign. And we didn't see any wildlife, rare or common. We set out up, up, up the track (a pathway, well maintained and well marked) through a forest and then onto a road where we went up some more. We passed our first winery, but decided it was too early in the walk to load ourselves down with bottles. We did enjoy the view of the island from the ridge though!
We carried on through a mixture of roads and trails (and saw a Tui and a few other birds of uncertain identification in one forest reserve) and ultimately got to Kuakarau Bay (in the next major bay to the east from Putiki). Here the trail picked up along the shore in a never-ending series of up-down-up-downs along various little points of land. It was a beautiful walk, with views of neighboring bays, Waiheke, and Auckland. By the time we popped out onto the road at the end of the coastal trail, we were very glad Barbara had forced us all to eat extra pancakes! Here we came across our second winery, Te Whau, and decided we were close enough to the end to have a look around and see if it was worth bringing home a bottle. Upon entering, the proprietor remarked that it looked like we'd "just trekked in from the Himalaya." We were a little riff-raffy at this point, but stuck to our guns, got a seat, and then decided to just taste some wines. It was an interesting tasting, with a rose starter followed by 4 different vintages of their flagship wine, a red blend. They were very different and very good! I liked the 2009 the best, but at $70, a little steep for my wallet! So, we chatted with the owner, finished the tasting, and headed on our way. Now it was back down, down, down from the ridge. We passed some alpacas, some olive trees, a few very nice views of Astarte, and made it back to Dead Dog Bay, sweaty and ready for a few snacks!
We got back to Astarte, and while I was busy cleaning myself in the salty sea (not as cold as I thought!), snacks were produced and we recharged (Mark by sleeping, the rest of us by snacking). We relaxed and when the cold wind chased us inside, we enjoyed a delicious chicken curry made by Barbara and a little more chit chat. A nice end to the day.
Highlights of the day:
Barbara: "A wonderful hike with some of my favorite people, ending in a glass of wine."
Michael: "Coming around one of the points on the 1,700 ups and downs and being able to see Auckland."
Mark: "Spending 17 hours in bed...not necessarily a highlight."
Kathryn: "A nice hike, followed by some tasty wine, and then a dip in the coolish water!"
Today, we did a short walk in "town" before hoisting the anchor and heading to Rangitoto Island, where we are now at anchor in Islington Bay. We will climb the volcano in the morning! Better rest up!
MEK: Birds of note: a tui, a kingfisher, oystercatchers, herons (maybe white faced?), and shags...but no blue penguins yet!
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