We have now made it to the beautiful Great Barrier Island and we are going to be here for a while!
We left Huruchi Harbour on Great Mercury Island on Monday on yet another windless day. We do seem to pick our days. We motor sailed the 25nm to Tryphena on the south west side of Great Barrier Island and found ourselves a nice anchorage. The next day we moved around to Puriri Bay to get an improved internet signal (always a priority) and just chilled out there. Pat spent the morning servicing all of the winches, so that they are all nicely greased and sounding good.
On Wednesday we decided we should get ashore and explore. We set off in quite changeable weather with a bit of rain. It was high tide when we went ashore and so we tied the dinghy so far up the beach that it was tied up to road sign! Then we set off up the road and carried on walking up and up and up. The weather cleared and so we just kept walking and ended up across the other side of the island at Medlands Beach. This is a beautiful beach on the east side of the island, but there is nothing there. No shops, not even coffee shop. So we had a nice walk along the beach and then turned around and came back again. On the way back we spotted a Kaka. This is a large and very noisy forest parrot which is fairly common in New Zealand but is not found anywhere else. Their total population is believed to be around 10,000 birds and they are classified as a threatened species due to loss of habitat. Unfortunately the one we saw didn’t hang around long enough to have its photo taken.
|On the road to Medlands|
|Medlands Beach - not a coffee shop in sight!|
|Back in Puriri Bay after 13km|
By the time we had walked back to Puriri Bay we had walked 13km. The legs were in shock until we found a genuine Irish pub run by an Irish family. The pub is called the Currach and is thoroughly recommended. We met our cruising friends Jo and Rob, from Double Trouble and Mike and Karen from True Companion there and had a fine time sampling the local ales and the guinness. I suspect we may be visiting again!
|Happiness after a long walk|
|It was so warm that Pat's pint was just evaporating!|
Then it was back to the dinghy and the realisation that the tide had now gone out and the sea was a very long way from the dinghy. We can just about carry our dinghy plus outboard motor between the two of us, but it is not easy, especially after multiple pints. Thankfully the sun had not yet set, as trying that in the dark would not have been funny.
|That's a long way to carry the dinghy|
Back on X-Pat we decided it was time for a nightcap and movie time, which has become a regular feature at around 8pm each night. We have downloaded a lot of TV series from Netflix and are working our way through them. We are currently enjoying Wallander, a swedish detective series.
On Thursday Pat woke with a mild headache and managed to swim it off fairly quickly. We have some more bad weather on its was over the next few days and so we have decided to accelerate our trip north and hide in the Port Fitzroy area which is a lovely sheltered harbour. So we hauled anchor and departed in some very dubious weather. There were some horrible squally showers on the way north but we passed through a lovely area of little wooded islands and then through the narrow Man O’War Passage to enter Port Fitzroy harbour.
|Heading north through the islands|
|Approaching the very narrow Man O'War Passage into Port Fitzroy|
Last night we anchored in Smokehouse Bay, which was very peaceful. It was so still and the sky so clear that Pat attempted to photograph the stars. However, despite the stillness the boat was still moving too much to get any good shots. This morning Pat went exploring in the dinghy and found a wonderful area that was set up for cruisers many years ago and has been gradually added to. The place is fantastic. It has freshwater there with showers and a bath. You can heat the water by lighting a wood fire. There is a book exchange library, a smokehouse where you can smoke your fish and a BBQ. There is even a sink for doing your laundry, complete with a mangle! We must go back.
|X-Pat at anchor in Smokehouse Bay|
|The house for smoking your fish|
|I knew we didn't need a washing machine on the boat|
This morning we moved across the harbour and are now anchored in Kaiarara Bay, which is very well protected from the wind from just about any direction. This is just as well as there is a big blow forecast from the SE for this evening and then yet another ex cyclone (Hola) is heading our way early next week. We have decided to ride this one out on anchor as we are a very long way from any marinas out here. Tomorrow is forecasted to be windy but fine so we are going to do a long bush walk through the hills here.