Showing posts from February, 2018

Fumeroles, Volcanoes and Dolphins

On Tuesday (20th Feb) we hired a car and took a leisurely drive to Rotaroa, the centre of the geothermal and volcanic area on North Island. We had a look around the local park when we arrived, which is littered with hot springs and fumeroles. It’s quite weird to just see steam and sulphur emanating from a hole in the middle of the park!  Keen to see more we then headed for the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal park for a look at the geothermal features there. It’s an absolutely amazing area with hot lakes, steaming rivers and the heady smell of sulphur. Well worth a visit.
Debi found us a nice old hotel in Rotarua called, Princes Gate, just next to the government gardens. The hotel was built in 1897 in Waihi,  about 150km north of it’s current location during a gold mining boom. The hotel went through a number of booms and busts in Waihi until in 1917 it was decided to move the hotel to the expanding tourist town of Rotarua. So nail by nail and board by board the hotel was dismantled and transport…

To Leave or not to Leave?

We left the lovely Peach Grove Bay on Saturday and had another long windless day. We managed to sail for a little time with the headsail up but the rest of it (45 nm) was pure motoring. We anchored in Omapu Bay on the south side of Mayor Island at 5pm. We had attempted to go into an adjacent bay (SE Bay) which seemed more sheltered but it was quite busy in there and the weather was forecast to be light so we opted for somewhere which had a bit more space, but was a bit open.
Yesterday we had a chill out day at anchor. We had intended to go ashore on Mayor Island, which is an old volcano, but Debi swam to the beach and came back to report that there were big signs saying “landing prohibited”. Many of these islands are wildlife sanctuaries and they struggle to keep invasive species at bay, so we thought we should obey the signs. So we basically swam and chilled out. Over cocktails on the deck in the evening we reflected on the fact that our boat is our home, it is on the absolute beachfr…

Escape from Alcatraz (well Gulf Harbour Marina)

Yes the weather finally improved and after a five nights at Gulf Harbour marina we left on our journey south bound for Waiheke Island on 12th February. We had a lovely sail on a beam reach for a few hours before the wind died as we approached the Rakino Channel. So the sails came down and the engine came on and we motored around to Putiki Bay on the south side of Waiheke to rendezvous with our friends Jo and Rob onboard Double Trouble. A pleasant and not entirely alcohol free evening was had by all!
Then of course came the 13th when it rained and rained and rained. So we spent the day on board X-Pat, surfing the internet, fixing things and surfing the internet again! 
Thankfully it dried up for Valentines day and we managed to escape to the shore. We got ashore reasonably early and caught a bus to go and buy a bus pass. Yes that’s right! There is only one place on the island where you can buy a one day bus pass, so we went there. Then armed  with our bus pass we walked back to Oneroa…

Weather, weather, weather ....

It’s supposed to be summer here but you wouldn’t believe it looking at the weather. The story for the last ten days has really been one of dashing between locations between the storms and taking advantage of the odd good day to do some walks.
We ended up staying in Tutukaka two days longer than originally planned. On our last day there, the lighthouse which we had visited a few days before recorded wind gusts of 52 knots! We may have been bored but we were glad to have been in the marina. 
We finally left on the 2nd February and made a dash for Urquhart Bay which is opposite the Marsden Point port and oil terminal. Despite what you may think it was quite a nice anchorage, which was just as well as we were then stuck there for three days waiting on strong winds passing through again. We even had to resort to playing scrabble!
We finally departed Urquhart’s Bay on the 5th and made a dash for the beautiful island of Kawau. Of course there was no wind at all for the journey and so we ended u…