18 December 2013

Back On The Water

Map of our outing earlier this week. Skipper Scott would like me to point out that the lines I drew aren't accurate. He does know how to sail in a straight line and he doesn't run over rocks. Sourced from LINZ. Crown Copyright reserved.

On Sunday, after we got the mainsail patched up and did some initial cleaning up of the boat, Scott suggested we head out for the night to get back into our cruising groove. The night turned into two nights and a long day, but once we ran out of coffee, Scott was happy to head back in. Overall, it was a good opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with our boat, for me to (re)learn basic sailing skills and for us to think through some of the logistics of moving onto our boat full-time in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Bean Rock lighthouse in the Hauraki Gulf. It began operating in 1871 and is the sole surviving example of a wooden cottage style lighthouse in New Zealand. You can read more about it here.
We headed out around 5pm after chatting with our new boat neighbor, Jeremy. Jeremy is Belgian and first came to New Zealand as a child with his family when they circumnavigated the world. He has since moved here permanently with his family. He thinks starting off cruising in the Caribbean, once we head back to the States to buy a bigger boat, would be a good way to go. We'll need to pick his brain some more on his experiences in the coming weeks.

Good weather when we headed out - sunny and warm, flat calm and wind out of the north around 10 knots. We put the main up right away once we got out of the marina and headed over to Islington Bay, a popular anchorage between Motutapu and Rangitoto Islands. A couple of hours later, we had the anchor down and a gin and tonic in the cockpit. I wasn't up for doing complicated cooking so we just had old fashioned spaghetti with sauce from a jar and then toddled off to sleep.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Sunrise in Islington Bay between Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands
After a good night's sleep, Scott got up and took the lovely picture above and made coffee for me while I slept in. His way of getting me to wake up is to stand over me holding a cup of coffee and stare at me until I feel his looming presence and smell the coffee. Our cats used to do something similar, but without the coffee and with sharp claws instead. Needless to say, Scott is a bit of a morning person and keen to get going early, early, early. To convince me that an early start was a good idea, he even made me super tasty breakfast of egg and cheese burritos. And he did the dishes too! I can get used to this type of room service.

Woody Bay, Rakino Island. That's our tiny boat out there anchored up.
We then headed off to Rakino Island under motor due to lack of wind, which is to the northeast of Motutapu Island. We hadn't been there before, but knew that it was the former home of the famous Great Ricardo so we were keen to visit. We pitched the hook in Woody Bay, had a nice picnic on the beach, did some reading and then Scott was eager to do some more sailing. By this time there was a bit of wind so we were able to put the sails up. We had a very pleasant sail, even though we were fairly close hauled, averaged about 5 knots and headed over the top of Waiheke Island. Then we went down the east side and through the Ruthe Passage between Ponui and Rotoroa Islands. We anchored up in Southwest Bay in Rotoroa Island for the night. More spaghetti and red sauce from a jar and some cheap red wine. I'll definitely need to jazz up my cooking repertoire.

Southwest Bay, Rotoroa Island. The island has recently been opened up to the public. It was the former location of the Salvation Army alcohol treatment program, along with the neighboring Pakatoa Island.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013
Scott made breakfast for me again this morning! I think he is afraid I'm going to chicken out on this whole cruising full-time thing so he is pulling out all the stops with coffee and breakfast each morning. Another beautiful day out, sunny and warm (even too hot at times), but little wind and what there was was on our nose. So we motored on out and headed through the Waiheke Passage to continue our circumnavigation of Waiheke Island.

Putiki Bay, Waiheke Island. That's the Sealink car ferry coming in.

We headed up to Putiki Bay on the southern side of the island to look for a mooring ball that one of our boat neighbors offered up to us to use. (By the way, he is a super nice guy who has anything you could possibly need squirreled away in endless jars in his boat. He is in "later" years and is one amazing guy, rowing out to the pile moorings himself and single-handing his boat all around the Hauraki Gulf.) It was our first time in Putiki Bay, which is where the car ferry comes into Waiheke Island. A really nice, sheltered bay, which is mostly filled with private mooring balls, although there is some room to anchor up. We ended up not picking up the mooring ball because we weren't sure of the number, or the bay, or really anything. Parts of the bay are really shallow so we took the dinghy out for a spin to explore. I was hoping that we could find some ice cream. Which was really silly because I should have known that outside of the main population centers on the island, you aren't likely to find roadside ice cream stands. But a girl can always hope.

In the middle of this picture, you can see a little house which floats in the water when the tide is up. Quite cute.
After our dinghy expedition, we headed back out to Westhaven Marina. We were out of coffee so we really didn't have any choice. A morning without coffee on our boat isn't one that anyone should ever witness. Once we got back out, we put the sails up and tried to tack our way back in. No fun. No fun at all. Going against the tide, beating into the wind (which was gusting up to 24 knots) and not remembering how to tack (me, not Scott) meant that we I decided the motor isn't a bad thing after all. We headed into Islington Bay on the way back to take down the main, anchor up to wait for the tide to change and have some lunch. After our bellies were full, we headed back out, Skipper Scott went down for a nap and left me to it. I got to bash into the wind and waves, get a bit of a soaking and my hand got tired holding the tiller for hours. Once Scott woke up, he took over, put up the headsail and got us back into our slip.
66 nautical miles
Top speed 6.9 knots
Approx 5 hours motoring

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  1. Wow! Looks like a beautiful way to get re-acquainted with the boat!

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