A Kiwi couple's cruising adventures on America's Great Loop and around the coast of New Zealand

Monday, 24 February 2014

What we done on our holiday #2

Marsden Cove is approximately half way to the Bay of Islands (usually referred to as just "The Bay"). We decided to continue the journey as before, with Charlie and I (and Woody) taking the boat North, while the girls continued by road. While it was possible to do the remainder in one day, it was a long way over open sea and the weather was not looking that good, so we reckoned on doing an overnight stopover halfway up the coast. From 10NM north of Kawau, around Cape Rodney all the way across Bream Bay to Marsden Cove, there are no sheltered anchorages so the trip has to be done in one hit. Further North, however, there are good sheltered harbours every 20NM or so, which is just as well because that coast is even more exposed to winds and swell than that to the south.

In keeping with the norm, the wind was forecast as 15-20 knot Southerly with a 2 metre SE swell, which was mainly on the stern after we had battled for the first hour in the big beam sea to get around the Whangarei Heads. We continued past Tutukaka Harbour as it was too soon to stop, but by the time we reached Whangaruru Harbour, we had been going for 4 hours and had had enough of the rock n roll. Whangaruru is a long harbour with plenty of small bays that can provide shelter from winds from any direction. We chose one on the N headland called Teparapara Bay and spent a calm night at anchor with another couple of launches. Later in the evening, a bunch of Game fishing boats cruised further up harbour and anchored for the night.

The next day turned out calm and clear, so we got underway early to head for the Bay. As we left, we joined the flotilla of game boats that were heading out for the day looking for Marlin. Most of them had come down from the Bay and obviously spend the night at Whangaruru so they can be close to the fishing grounds the next day. The trip was significantly different from the day before, with a gentle rolling swell and light wind. We rounded Cape Brett late morning and were in the Bay before lunchtime.
Cape Brett and Piercy Island, which has the famous "hole in the rock", that they drive big sightseeing boats through

Cape Brett lighthouse
We anchored in a small bay on one of the islands for lunch and then crossed to the Northern part of the Bay to the Kerikeri inlet and Doves Bay Marina, to pick up the Admiral and drop Charlie off. The Bay is quite a small area and has hundreds of islands (hence the name). Like Auckland's outer harbour/inner Gulf, it is a wonderful cruising ground with deep water anchorages that can provide shelter somewhere from winds from any direction - which turned out to be just as well as time progressed.

I will not put any tracks on the map of the Bay for the time we were there or it will get so criss-crossed with lines that you won't be able to see the detail, but I have put the names of the bays that we anchored in overnight. The first  night was spent in Omakiwi Cove, which is one of our favourites with a secluded sandy beach, sheltered from all winds except due West. This was a good choice as the weather was due to deteriorate as the remains of Cyclone June descended from the Tropics towards us, and we experienced our next issue with the anchoring system..........

But that's another story and you will have to wait for the next episode to hear about it.


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