Finally! We made it to Great Barrier Island (GBI) or "Barrier" as the locals call it. We really like this place. It is about 45 miles off the mouth of the Hatea River that leads to Whangarei. We had to motor / motorsail the entire way on Thursday to get here unfortunately – but it was a beautiful, sunny day with just a half meter swell. We had expected it to be cloudy and drizzly so we were pleasantly surprised. We left at 0645 – in the dark and made it to Smokehouse Bay anchorage about 1530. There were 11 boats there already – we had thought we'd have the place to ourselves.
On Friday, we launched the dinghy and Michael went ashore to check out the facilities. Last time we were here the water tank had a leak so hot showers were not available. He cut some wood and checked things out and it looked like we were in luck for a nice hot shower! We took advantage of it, followed by two more boaties who did the same. It is a great place that is maintained by volunteers and the property donated by a family. It's fun to watch the comings and goings of this very popular anchorage or "bay movies" as we call them.
It's Saturday, and we decided to move across the way because of the predicted NE winds that would pick up as the day wears on getting to about 15 knots. We aimed for a new anchorage for us – Kiwiriki Bay. It wasn't very far (you can still see Smokehouse from here.) As we entered the bay, we were greeted by two dolphins - a very large mother and her calf. They followed us all the way into the anchorage playing in the bow wake and really checking us out with rolls and eye contact. It is always a warm greeting. We had a pod on Thursday greet as we approached Great Barrier as well.
We are enjoying the place – doing projects and relaxing. Some major cleaning and reorganizing of the forward head yesterday and Michael is cleaning the mast winch this afternoon. We may try our hand at some fishing for snapper here as well. We got a book from the "Gypsea Hearts" called "How to Catch Fish and Where" and we'll see if it helps!
At 3/30/2017 7:10 AM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 36°11.89'S 175°19.86'E
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