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.
10 - in New Zealand
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...
Remember the movie "My Dinner with Andre"? Well, we had that, but we also had breakfast with Andre from E Capoe. He had flown down from New Caledonia to attend the wedding of Liz and Axel last weekend, and then borrowed Axel's motorbike to coast around the North Island for a week. He dropped by Namani yesterday to spend the night and we enjoyed a very nice evening and morning catching up on events since we had parted ways in Suwarrow last September.
Surprisingly, we had the bay at Te Kuoma to ourselves on New Year's Eve (the other boats had moved out when the wind shifted to the SW and we still had reasonable protection in our corner). So we toasted the new year on Namani under a starry sky and then left early on 01JAN to head towards Tauranga, with a stop in Mercury Bay. We arrived in Tauranga yesterday (02JAN) on the afternoon slack tide (4kn+ current in the entrance to the harbor at peak ...) and are now docked the Tauranga Bridge Marina.
Left Auckland on Friday morning (28DEC) and are now anchored in Te Kouma Harbour, on the west side if the Coromandel peninsula.
There actually is no harbour in sight, just a very beautiful little bay, which apparently is very popular with the local boating community.
When we looked across the Hauraki Gulf yesterday from a little here it seemed that half of the boats in the greater Auckland area were
converging on this spot here. In the end it turned out to be just 15 that stayed overnight.
... or at least felt as if they did ;-) We paid a visit to Auckland's Voyager Maritime Museum this afternoon. It's a great museum with a big section dedicated to NZ's role and success in yacht racing, themed around Sir Peter Blake. No surprise, the Americas Cup figures prominently in there, and in one corner they have this fun little sailing simulator, complete with grinding stations and all. The picture above shows Nicky as the tactician and helmsman, Nana as the foresail trimmer and grinder, and Markus as the mainsail trimmer and grinder.