03 March 2014

Cruising To Herald Island, Waitemata Harbour

Auckland Harbour Bridge
Most people go east in the Waitemata Harbour to head out to the Hauraki Gulf. We're not most people, so one day we went west to check out Herald Island. For some reason, I think I was expecting our trip to be something like how I imagine going down the Rio Dulce is. It wasn't. It seemed more like what I imagine the ICW is like - sometimes a bit boring, sometimes interesting and sometimes noisy as you often need to have your engine on. (The ICW, or intracoastal waterway, is approx. 3,000 miles long and runs along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. It consists of natural inlets, bays, sounds and canals. If we buy our next boat on the East Coast, it is how we'll head on down to the Caribbean.) I can't say that I would ever want to go back, but I guess that is part of cruising - you try out new areas. Some are awesome and some are just okay. In any event, it was an interesting day on the water.

As you cross under the Harbour Bridge in Auckland, you'll note an unusual sign advising that you look out for bungy jumpers.

Here is one who just finished his jump. There was a lot of screaming.

Once you pass under the bridge you'll see the Chelsea Sugar Refinery on the North Shore. It was established in 1884 and is the main source of sugar in New Zealand. Looking at it just makes you crave a chocolate bar. It has a deep water port where ships from Queensland come in with raw sugar about once a month.

5.25 nautical miles from the Auckland Harbour Bridge, you come across the Upper Harbour Bridge. The chart shows that there lateral markers indicating the channel you need to take. We kept looking around for the usual lateral markers - you know the red cans and green cones on posts in the middle of the water. Eventually, we saw this triangle on the bridge itself.

And then we saw this red square on the other side of the bridge. A new type of lateral marker for us. If you aren't familiar with lateral makers, they are navigational aids. When you are entering a port, you keep the green cone to your starboard (right) side and the red can to your port (left) side. When you leave the port, you reverse things - green to your port and red to your starboard. At least that is how it works in New Zealand and much of the world. In the States, the system is the opposite.

This is the Herald Island Boating Club.

The tide was out so you can see some boats resting on their keels on the ground.

A view of the area around Herald Island.
Very shallow water in parts of the Waitemata Harbour so keep an eye on your charts. There are three marinas in the area - West Park Marina near Hobsonville, Bayswater Marina on the North Shore and Westhaven Marina (where we used to keep our boat).
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