We changed our minds yesterday morning and rather than going back to Motuihe we went to Oneroa Bay on the northern side of Waiheke Island (still only 7nm away but quite chilly as you can see in the picture above...). While the wind was still gusting in the 30s the sun came out shortly after we dropped anchor and we had a nice little excursion to the town and beach ashore. Very reminiscent of some of the pricier weekend destinations along the New England coast in the US. What used to be little baches are now houses priced in the million NZ$ range.
Spent two nights tucked in between Motutapu and Rangitoto Islands to sit out the passage of a trough/front last night. Now the wind starts to shift to the south (our only exposed direction) and we will move to the NE side of Motuihe this morning. It's been a while since we had rain like this - probaby a welcome change for the Auckland area where it hasn't really rained since Christmas.
When we were in Germany back in July last year, we brought back the "Knaurs Spielebuch" to Namani. It's a book full of games for children (and adults) that includes everything from board, card and dice games, games with paper and pencil, field games - you name it. The book was printed in 1953 and used to be my mothers. I remember using it as a kid myself. Nicky absolutely loves the book (the picture above shows him reading it in his bunk after waking up one recent morning).
Our plan to get an early start for the 50nm from Great Mercury to Rotoroa were fouled yesterday (Fri, 01FEB) morning when Markus' watchband was snagged by a line and went overboard while we were lifting up the dinghy on deck. Out came the snorkel gear again, and in we went to scan the bottom beneath Namani. Somehow the water always feels a lot colder in the morning... Luckily we were anchored in only about 4 meters of water.
We arrived at Great Mercury Island yesterday afternoon and stayed put today. Picking up right where we left off when we stopped here on the way south to Tauranga, we went to collect clams again and dove for scallops. All for a tasty dinner of clam chowder (New England - or rather New Zealand - style) with scallops in bacon as an apetizer. Now we look forward to another quiet night (our previous anchorages at Mayor Island and Slipper Island both turned out to be pretty rolly) before heading into the Hauraki Gulf tomorrow.
A slow sail to privately owned Slipper Island today. Better anchorage than yesterday at Mayor Island) (less roll). Also, some boats around that we recognize from Tauranga. Planning to move on to Great Mercury Island tomorrow.
After more than three weeks at the Tauranga Bridge Marina we slipped our lines this morning just before slack tide and sailed the 20nm to Mayor Island under sunny skies. We very much liked our stay in Tauranga. For one, we got quite a few boat projects knocked off the list (incl. some "long timers" - more on that in a separate post) and Tauranga was a great place to get stuff done (even though it invloved lots of longish walking to hardware stores and workshops).
While we were busy with boat projects here in Tauranga, Nicky made friends with Katie and William from the boat Alouette. Together, they created a little video documentary on "what's it like to live on sailboat". We got them started, but they did everything else: agreeing on a script, shooting the video clips with a little compact camera, editiing them and putting them together, and adding transitions, text and music. They spent a total of four days working on this together, and we think the result is well worth watching.
Namani's berth here in Tauranga makes for an ideal starting point for visiting the North Island's central plateau - specifically Tongariro National Park which includes three active volcanoes in a breathtakingly beautiful landscape. Not to mention that quite a few "Lord of the Rings" scenes were filmed around there...