Search This Blog

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Feb 27 - March 3, 2009 – sailing to Auckland

In spite of the dire storm warnings and the fact that in some areas this gale was very ugly and destructive, we drew the lucky card in that the winds came from the (only) protected side of our marina's bay. It was uncomfortable for many hours but endurable, nonetheless.  Afterward, on February 28th the day of our scheduled departure from Tauranga, we discussed post storm sea conditions with Ian and Julia on Moasi and unanimously decided not venture out until the seas laid down from their 4 - 5 meter heights.  They were due to sail to Great Barrier Island (NE), and we were aiming directly north and somewhat west.  New Zealand's maritime weather gurus were discouraging any sea travel for a few days until the winds and seas settled and adjusted.  The morning of March 1st (despite maritime weather guru bulletins to the contrary), Frank announced that we were leaving around mid-day and that I should prepare for departure.  Of course I issued my string of protests that this would not be "pretty", and why not wait another day as discussed, etc., and so on.  He said he wanted to get to Auckland in time to meet Karen when she arrived, so..."plan on an overnighter".  This means of course sailing all night to get there before sundown on March 2nd.


We headed out at 1 PM, and the minute we cleared the protective waters of the bay Destiny began to roll and pitch violently.  The waves had not settled down much to be sure.  During the first 4-5 hours we had fair winds helping to push us along through the large confused waves.  When we cleared the point, however, and tacked more northward, the wind was directly on our nose.  I continued to voice objections to my captain as we motored, pitched, tossed, bucked and fought the current, wind and waves making very slow forward progress.  I let him know as many times as possible and feeling a lot like Gladys Cravitz admonishing Abner, although I didn't care how I sounded because I was not happy at all, that this had not been the best idea, and that Karen would have been fine with Melissa and Andy for a night had we waited one more day to do this thing.  He never admitted it but I know he agreed on some level.  We continued onward.  As dusk approached we both realized that this particular coastline had an inordinate number of large rocks jutting up out of the water that may or may not be marked or visible at nighttime, so Frank adjusted our course to veer well outside of the denser area of obstacles, adding several miles to our journey.  This still brought no large amount of comfort as we blindly navigated these waters using only our electronic charts and radar to guide us.  It was a very dark moonless night.  The current on our nose was some 5 knots.  The 18 – 20 knot wind was also on our nose, causing us to make between a 1.5 and 2.8 knot forward progress with the engine running nearly 2500 RPM.  During my last watch that night I observed the same light on shore in nearly the same position for most of that 4-hour period.  We had missed the window of opportunity to arrive at Bayswater during slack tide, which meant we would have a heck of a time getting berthed.  To add insult to injury our macerator was not working and the head tank was FULL, meaning that we would need to hit the pump-out station at Bayswater before going into our berth.  This required us to dock twice.  Ugh!  Not easy in these very strong currents and tide washes.  We radioed Andy and Melissa on Spectacle asking for assistance at the fuel/pump-out dock.  Thank God our bow thruster was once again operable.   


These two are always a sight for sore eyes!  When we had a visual on the marina, we noted Melissa jumping up and down on the fuel dock like a cheerleader, waving us in.  After great effort we got tied off and were able to empty the head tank.  Then Andy boarded while I disembarked to walk around to our slip with Melissa in order to catch Destiny's lines.  What a mess the current was at this time.  We had a heck of a time getting the boat safely into the slip, and in the process bumped a piling, jarring the BBQ grill nearly off the rail, but made it safely in.  We celebrated our successful arrival and then passed out from exhaustion. 


Bayswater Marina is located on the North Shore between the towns of Devonport and Takapuna, directly across the bay from downtown Auckland's waterfront and harbor.  From the marina we can reach Auckland in 10 minutes, via ferry, or in 30-40 minutes, via car.  Obviously we did not yet have a car to drive, therefore Frank got up early the next morning, taking the ferry to downtown Auckland in time to meet Karen while I finished tidying the boat from the trip up.  We got Karen settled in and then set about to familiarize ourselves with the marina and surroundings.
while at sea: (note:the sender must include the character sequence "//WL2K" in the subject line of the message.)
Skype ID: frank.barb.gladney

No comments: