19 February 2014

Back At Great Mercury {Or Some More Wind & Walks}

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When we left Whitianga, another blow was forecast, so rather than try to get all the way to Great Barrier Island in one day, we decided to head back to Great Mercury Island to wait it out. Our time in Great Mercury was what seems to be the usual mix for us this summer of either hanging out on the boat waiting out high winds and enjoying walks around the island once the wind dies down.

Tuesday, 30 January 2014

Given the strong tidal flow in Whitianga Harbour, we timed our departure with the tides, leaving around 12:30 pm. Prior to that, we visited with a guy who is in the process of lovingly restoring an old 1940's boat, the Juanita. He and his wife have been at it for years and they are almost at the finish line. I really admire people who take on project boats - I'm not sure I would have the patience for it (or the money).

We ended up having to motor most of the 18 nautical miles to Great Mercury Island and there was a bit of a chop which made the last part of the sail less pleasant than it could have been. We dropped our hook around 4:30 pm in our favorite anchorage on Great Mercury Island, Huruhi Harbour. We love it because if you get far enough in (which we can as we have a relatively shoal draft), you are well protected from any swell and pretty well protected from most winds.

Our temporary anchor light.
When we went to put up our anchor light that night, we found that the bulb had burned out. But even though he isn't a native of New Zealand, I think Scott must have some of that Kiwi ingenuity in him as he fashioned a temporary anchor light out of some weird light that came with the boat and attached it to the boom with some bungee cords. Wasn't pretty, but did the trick.

Friday, 31 January 2014

With the winds forecast to rise to 25 knots, gusting to 35 knots, we decided to hang out on the boat. We caught up on our reading, Scott did some fishing (but with no luck) and we watched the other boats in the bay. We had a possible sighting of Fatty Goodlander on a boat from Alaska anchored near us (the same one we saw earlier in Islington Bay) - but that may have been our imaginations getting carried away.

Later in the night, we saw a poor guy single handing his boat come into the bay and try to pick up a mooring ball a number of times in the strong winds. We felt so bad for the guy, but there wasn't much we could do to help. Fortunately, he ended up picking it up in the end by tying another line onto it. I bet he was relieved to have finally gotten it and be able to take a well deserved rest. I know lots of people single hand their boats, but it is at times like this I bet you really wish you had some crew on board.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Crashing waves at Rocky Bay
The winds really picked up during the night and continued through the morning. Fortunately, by the afternoon they had abated and we were able to head to the island and go for a walk out to Rocky Bay. The crashing waves were incredibly dramatic along the reefs and cliffs and although Scott took some great pictures, you can never really capture the intensity of the water. It is moments like this that you really realize that it isn't a bad thing to have a respectful fear of the ocean. Mother Nature is the one calling all the shots out there and we're pretty insignificant in the scheme of things.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The white cliffs near Coralie Bay
We went out for two walks during the day. In the morning, we went to Cathedral Rock Cove and then walked along the road towards some of the residences. In the afternoon, we walked out to Coralie Bay and got some great views of the white cliffs. Great Mercury Island has an incredibly diverse landscape. Scott says if you look at parts of it just right, it reminds him of North Dakota. If you gaze at the forested hills with sheep grazing on them below the treeline, you might almost be reminded of the Alps. And of course, if you look out to the ocean and at the native bush, you remember that you're in New Zealand. 

After our two walks, we ended up having a big dinner. The first course was spaghetti with red sauce followed by a completely unexpected course of scallops. More on that in another post...

1 comment:

  1. I never heard any part of New Zealand compared to North Dakota before :) Great photos, especially the one with the waves and the rocks.


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