Ah! Astarte is hanging on the anchor in Smokehouse Bay gently rolling in the breeze (or gusty wind depending on the time of day). We left the river out of the Whangarei area on Friday morning, bright and early and motor-sailed the 48 miles to Great Barrier Island. We arrived into the Bay mid-afternoon where there were about eight boats anchored including our friends Sandy and Rankin on "Gypsea Heart." They had been cruising around the Harauki Gulf and the Mercury Islands for awhile so it was good to see them. We were delivering some much needed supplies for them – crisps (potato chips) and peanuts!
We found a nice spot and dropped the hook in about 10 meters of water and settled in. It was good to be at anchor again. A trough or ridge or something was passing over the North Island so the weather was quite changeable – sunny and bright blue skies one hour and cloudy, rainy and gusty the next. But the holding is good here and on day one – so was the direction. The wind has shifted more to the easterly quadrant so we are on a lee shore – but at least there is no longer wind warnings – and the winds should die as the week goes on.
We did some major cleaning aboard – getting rid of the yard dust below decks with wipe downs. We also put up some better offshore "bookshelf security" to keep the books on the shelf in rough seas. This looks much better than our styrofoam pads we'd stick in front of the books.
We enjoyed two nice evenings with the Gypseas – one to enjoy a tasty fish they had caught. We also got to shore yesterday for a short walkabout – but the trails were a bit muddy after the rain. Michael and Rankin however made it further than Barbara. Met a few of the "locals" who seem to call the Bay home aboard their boats. We are the "youngsters" here as most of the other boaters are in their 70's. One boat pulled up to the "grid" - a set of pilings that you can tie your boat up against and wait for the tide to go out. You are left standing on your keel against the pilings and can clean your bottom of the slime and barnacles. He was cleaning the bottom with a scraper attached to a PVC pipe and scraping them off. The tide comes back in and you can undo the ties and get out again. Much easier than swimming or diving in the cold water to clean the bottom holding your breathe (or with a tank). Luckily for us, we have a very clean bottom and don't have to do that for awhile!
Today is hot shower day! Smokehouse Bay has a wood heated water heater and bathtub on shore where you can take a hot shower if you cut the wood! They also have laundry tubs with ringers so we'll get a small load of wash done as well and hang it on the clothesline provided. This is a great place!
It sure is nice to be out of the yard, have a lot of work behind us and in a really lovely place. Ah!
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