March 2018

Thursday 1st

Parapara Bay, Great Mercury Island

We said goodbye to Waiheke Island first thing on Monday morning and headed north east to round the Coromandel Peninsula at Cape Colville.  The forecast was for about 10 Knots from the west but by 1000 we were sailing at 5 Knots in a 15 Knot breeze, delightful sailing.  Cape Colville was interesting with a lot of wind over tide so we used the iron sail and motored for an hour to get round it.  After that we were in the lee of the peninsula as we headed south into Port Charles where we spent two nights.  Not the best anchorage we’ve been in with some ground swell working around the point to make us roll a bit.  The sail from there to here wasn’t as the wind angle was too acute so we motored.  This is a brilliant anchorage and we are spending the day here sheltering from a strong easterly, there is also intermittent rain.

This shot was taken as we approached the anchorage, very Scottish west coast, I thought…

Sunday 4th


We have been in the marina here since Friday afternoon.  Provisions were low, water was low, diesel is low, the laundry bag was full and the engine needed some TLC so a pitstop was in order.

New Zealand is hot on bio-security and they work very hard to keep out unwanted visitors be they diseases, insects, plants or invasive marine species such as Mediterranean Fanworm.  When we arrived in the Bay of Islands last November we were thoroughly inspected by the bio-security team.  As EL had been hauled in Fiji the bottom was clean and apart from them confiscating our eggs we were fine.  Being aware that some parts of the country have infestations of Fanworm I took advice before we left the BoI.  Now who do you think you should consult?  I went for the Ministry for Primary Industries who the bio-security people work for.  I was told there were no problems and we could go where we wanted to, without restriction.  What they didn’t tell me was that we wouldn’t be able to go into many marinas unless we had been anti-fouled within the last six months or cleaned within the last month.  As our bottom is Copper Coated we don’t anti-foul at all, simply clean when we need to.  We hadn’t cleaned since Fiji, well over the one month limit.  So long story short we got hauled on Friday afternoon and spent a couple of hours scraping off barnacles and power washing the bottom.  We can now visit marinas without any issues, so I am told, we’ll see.

Anyway, we are now replenished.  I spent most of today working on the engine, the high output alternator drive belt had broken again and it now has a new, stronger one fitted.  The oil and filter were also changed.

Whilst here we had a good look around and came across this piece of community art on the beach…

Apparently up to eighty people had helped make it, mostly by collecting and placing shells. a pity that the next high tide would obliterate it.

Here is a shot of Whitianga Harbour…

Our plan is to leave tomorrow around noon and continue south towards the Marlborough Sounds.

Sunday 11th

katikati harbour

We arrived here on Tuesday afternoon after a night at anchor off Slipper Island.  The entrance to the harbour is across the Bowentown Bar, the largest bar on the east coast of New Zealand.  With virtually no wind there was little in the way of sea but the outgoing current was fierce and we struggled to make much more than three knots against it.  Once inside we turned south and anchored in the lee of Matakana Island. This low, pine covered island stretches some 25Km from the Katikati Harbour entrance down to Tauranga. It’s fringed by a lovely, soft, white sand beach…

We wouldn’t normally spend a week in an anchorage like this whilst we are on passage.  However, the next leg of the journey is east across the Bay of Plenty and then south west past East Cape, Gisbourne, Napier on Hawkes Bay and so on to Wellington.  The wind has been either non existent or from the east. Furthermore there is now a cyclone heading this way, Cyclone Hola, which is forecast to pass tomorrow. We will shelter safely here until its gone!  It looks like we might be able to continue on Tuesday.  In the meantime we have been getting some exercise walking on Matakana…

Sunday 18th


We were here last December with our daughter, Rachel, whilst touring the North island in a camper van.  I have to say the weather was better then than it is now.  The Napier Sailing Club is a wonderful place for a visiting yacht to stay.  We haven’t had a better welcome anywhere in New Zealand and they even let you park right in front of the club house…

Napier is the Art Deco Capital of New Zealand with many fine buildings erected after a devastating earthquake in the early 1930s.  Regrettably the light wasn’t good for photography but this one gives you a flavour.  












Saturday 24th


We spent St Patrick’s Day weekend in Napier and left for here on Monday, 19th March.  Two nights at sea and a bit too much excitement.  It seems we picked up some kelp on the propellor which turns when we are sailing at anything over about three Knots.  This caused the shaft to vibrate badly and damage the shaft seal allowing water to leak in quite badly.  This was compounded by yours truly leaving the bilge pump on so burning out the motor.  However, we carry a spare so no problem, well actually yes, problem, the spare failed as well!  It seems the well known empirical law of sod is alive and thriving in the Southern Hemisphere.  Fortunately by this time we didn’t have far to go to Wellington which we made safely and have since effected repairs.

Despite the leak and issues with the bilge pumps the cruise was good with a strong northerly speeding us south.  We past Cape Palliser late on Wednesday afternoon, the most southerly point on the North Island…

There were a LOT of Dolphins, probably more than we have seen anywhere on our travels…