We were given a berth in the marina on the courtesy dock, right outside Reva's restaurant which, again, was very reminiscent of many of the smaller marinas we stayed at on the Loop. The marina had great facilities, the management went out of their way to be helpful, and there was a large Pak n Save supermarket directly across the road where we could reprovision. We had already arranged that Charlie and Pauline would come and stay with us in Whangarei - this change made it 30 minutes closer for them and since they had done 400 miles with me when we took the boat from Florida to Savannah, I knew they would have to experience NZ's "Baby ICW" for themselves.
We stayed there for 2 enjoyable nights and I felt compelled to give them a good review on Active Captain, which I have been updating since before we did the Loop. If there are any Kiwi sailors reading this who don't know what Active Captain is, go to www.activecaptain.com and check it out. It is a "tripadvisor meets the RAYC coastal cruising handbook" and is an excellent interactive resource. It is extensively used in the USA and would be of great benefit to all boaties in NZ, if it becomes as popular here as it is there. AND IT IS FREE!!!! (so use it, folks)
It was grey and overcast when we left. Charlie and Pauline had agreed to come down the NZBICW with me, so Carolyn took their car down to meet us at Marsden Cove marina. We followed the advice of the Town Basin marina management (don't cut corners on the bends - and one in particular) and found much deeper water on the way down than we found in the shallow parts on the way up. It was still right on low tide, but we never saw less than 8ft. After a very pleasant trip down harbour and as we pulled into our allocated berth at Marsden Cove, I noticed something I had previously known about, but forgotten - this marina has a LOCK!. The Marsden Cove complex of marina and residential canal development was built entirely on land, and then opened to the sea. When they built stage 2 of the residential canal system it was far enough inland that they needed to be able to control the flow of tide from that stage, out past the marina. So they put in a weir to keep the canal at a uniform level and this, of course, necessitated a lock for the resident's boats. As far as I'm aware it is the only lock in New Zealand and, even though it can't begin to compared with ones like the Coffeeville Lock and dam or the Kentucky locks with their 80-90ft lifts (and you wouldn't get ONE 200ft barge in it let alone a bunch of them), it is still a lock and yet another element to remind us of the Great Loop in microcosm - all in l'il ole Whangarei!!
The weather forecast was looking good for our trip across Bream Bay the following day, and for the last legs of out voyage home, but you can read about them in the next and last instalment.