The Maori name for GBI is Aotea (White Cloud). It is home to vast beautiful beaches, diverse vegetation and wildlife, and a fisherman's paradise as well. It is also (we were told) the only place to find the indigenous Brown Teal. We arrived at Port Fitzroy in the early afternoon and were stunned at the panorama. It is so pretty that we just could not take a decent photograph to do it justice, nor could we begin to describe the magnificence that we felt just looking up and around from our boat. This anchorage is said to be the safest and most protected in all of NZ. The guidebooks should also say the loveliest, but then again so are many others.
We rented a car the next day to explore the island. We hiked up to the top to a place called Windy Canyon, which boasts brilliant panoramic vistas – all true! Then we hiked into the middle of the lower bush area to the natural hot springs. We explored the island from end to end, and walked and oohed and aahed until we were spent.
That afternoon while returning to Destiny in our dinghy, our neighbors on Lady Leah waved us over. These guys were 4 Kiwi buddies on their annual fishing trip, from Stillwater, just north of Auckland. They handed us a bag of fresh Snapper fillets and invited us over for cocktails. I happily let Frank drop me off at Destiny with the fish and sent him back to Lady Leah to have some "guy time". Frank and the boys (Scotty, Rod, Mike and Pete) became fast friends over the next couple of days. We feasted on their fresh catches and had them over to Destiny for an evening. Before we weighed anchor tohead into Auckland, they handed Frank a bottle of their homemade rum – called "Sump Oil" then we all traded personal info and vowed to stay in touch. The boys insisted that we come to visit their yacht club when we head back north in April. We shall indeed.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
We had a wretched journey over to Whangaruru from Opua. It was like riding the mechanical bull at a CW bar in Texas. No rhythm to the waves and wind but it was worth the bucking we got on the way there. The bay was large and picturesque. So calm you could water ski there, with large mountaintop homes and little islands dotted throughout. We were just going to stay overnight and then move on to see some other anchorages but had heard a NZ weather forecast predicting an oncoming gale for the coastline with gusts of up to 50 knots. Although well protected and in excellent holding, we felt the rage of the storm around us for 2 days. Destiny twirled on her anchor and danced around but held tight. We sat right there through Tuesday AM, watching movies and reading books and just thanking God we weren't "out there"!
Early Tuesday morning, the 25th, the wind and seas died down to a dead calm. We had a heck of a time getting the anchor unstuck from the mud in Whangaruru. Apparently there was so much rain that the run-off from land buried it quite deeply. Finally it loosened bringing up chunks of muddy bottom and away we went, heading to Great Barrier Island (GBI).
while at sea: firstname.lastname@example.org (note:the sender must include the character sequence "//WL2K" in the subject line of the message.)
Skype ID: frank.barb.gladney