02 May 2014

The Dudes Of Coromandel & Other Nonsense

We found ourselves "stuck" in Coromandel for several days due to the weather. Yes, the weather strikes again. So what do you do when you're stuck someplace? You go hang out at the local pub, people watch and take pictures of the interesting people walking by. Here are some of the dudes we saw passing by the window. 

Scott also takes sneaky pictures of me when I'm not looking - like this one. I'm responsible for the key to the outboard motor on our dinghy. If I lose it, I have to row us back to the boat. I don't really like rowing, so I make sure it is never out of my sight by wearing it on my wrist like a bracelet.

They have a sign outside the pub advertising $5 handles of beer. If you've spent much time drinking beer in New Zealand, you'll know that's a good price. When I went up to the bar to order a couple of handles, the woman looked at me quizzically and asked, "Are you sure you don't want to try some first?" She poured me a taste and after determining that it tasted exactly like the cheap beer you buy in cans when you're in university and can't really afford anything better, I promptly ordered two handles. We are on a budget after all and it is always fun to pretend we're young and back in uni. She looked at me with surprise and remarked that it was very popular with the locals. I'm pretty sure that wasn't meant to be a selling point for the beer.

We drank our beers and Scott took more photos. They weren't just of people - buildings can be interesting too.

After drinking our beers and spying on the folks walking outside the pub, we went for a walk up to the Kauri Block. It is a short walk (1.6 km), but there are some great views from the top of the old pa site. Pa being Maori for a village or fortification, not your dad. 

And of course, we got the usual shots of our anchorages. We anchored pretty much every night we were there in Te Kouma Harbour. Not only is the harbor pretty to look at, it is extremely well protected with a number of different anchorages so you can pick and choose based upon which way the wind is blowing.

Now the rest of this post is the usual log of what we did each day. I can barely read my handwriting in our log book, so I need to type it up while I vaguely remember what we did. Feel free to skip this section and go back and look at the pictures of the dudes of Coro.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

We had an engine free day today! The kind of engine free day which is voluntary, not because your engine has broken down. We sailed off the anchor from Ponui Island around 10:30 am and headed across the Firth of Thames to Coromandel. Then we anchored under sail at 2:45 pm in Name Bay in Te Kouma Harbour. And then the killer kingfish came. And they attacked our boat. Again. This is the fourth time this summer that this unruly gang has circled around our boat and bashed into the hull and our dinghy. They're starting to get on my nerves.

Friday, 21 March 2014

We left around 10:30 am under sail (again no engine!) and headed into Coromandel Harbour. We first anchored in Woolshed Bay under sail and then motored over to McGregor Bay to try to drop the hook and head into Coromandel Town. There was just way too much wind and chop so we gave up and headed over to Deep Cove Bay and dropped anchor around 2:30 pm for the night. A lovely little snapper gave up its life for our supper while we were anchored.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

We successfully anchored in Coromandel Harbour and headed into town in search of Coro Pies. Sadly, they were closed. We drowned our sorrows at the local pub, had the $5 beer and took pictures of the Coro dudes. We went for our walk, got some groceries and then headed to Te Kouma Harbour for the night.  We were attached by some killer kingfish again.That makes five times this summer. If only we were making movies, what a great franchise it would be. Imagine going to the cinema to see Attack of the Killer Kingfish Part V: Revenge of the Zombies & Vampires. Kingfish on they're own are a big selling point, but I'm sure if our movie had zombies and vampires in it, it would smash all of the box office records.

Sunday & Monday, 23-24 March 2014

Big fishing days! Scott caught so many kahawai that he lost count. I guess they're best eaten when they're smoked and as we don't have smoking facilities on our boat, Scott threw them all back with the exception of one unlucky fellow. He got turned into bait and his carcass got dragged behind the boat in the hopes that it would attract snapper and kingfish to our boat and onto the hook. Unfortunately, kingfish are smart. They'll eat any scraps you throw into the water, but not anything you put on a hook. I think snapper may be stupider as Scott caught a lot of them. Some great snapper dinners both nights. Skipper Scott even managed to "cook" dinner one night from the settee. That basically means he lies down and gives "advice" on how the meal should be prepared then tries to take credit for dinner.

Tuesday & Wednesday, 25-26 March 2014

These couple of days made me think of the old Ultravox song, Reap the Wild Wind. If you know the song, it means you too are middle-aged and had really bad taste in music in the 80s. Your hair was probably really big and you wore shoulder pads. You are now my new best friend. We have to stick together when people start mocking our musical taste. People like Skipper Scott. 

Anyway, when the winds kick up and you're stuck on your boat, you start to think about song lyrics which talk about the wind. And then you sing the song in your head and then before you know it you're singing it out loud and the skipper is looking at you strangely. That's about it for these two days. We pulled anchor on Wednesday morning to go out into the harbor to try to get VHF reception and an updated forecast. It wasn't good news so we headed back in and dropped the anchor. The wild wind really didn't want to reaped that day.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

This was the day of one of our dinghy misadventures. You can read about it here. I really don't want to relive it. All I can say is, "It's the tides, I tell you. They're either for you or they're against you." The good news is that we finally escaped Coromandel. We originally left at 5:45 am and tried to get to Great Barrier Island, but that all went pear shaped, so we ended up spending some time in Coromandel Town and then made the crossing to Waiheke in the afternoon. 

Needless to say, the wind got wild as we were making our way to Waiheke. At the worst possible time. Scott had been dragging a lure behind the boat and just when we were sailing quite close to a reef, the wind starting gusting somewhere in the region of 23.5 billion knots and a fish decided that it would be the perfect time to get on the line. What a nightmare. I struggled with the tiller while Scott managed to cut the line off. No idea what kind of fish it was, but my money is on a kingfish. They're evil little creatures and it is just their kind of idea of fun to mess with us in the strong winds near a reef. After that little drama, we made it through the northern passage and anchored at Man O'War Bay around 7:00 pm.


Total nautical miles = 97
Number of night hours = 1.75
Number of fish suppers = 3
Number of dinghy misadventures = 1
Number of $5 handles drunk = 2 (okay, maybe 4)
Number of nights anchored in Te Kouma Harbour = 5
Number of Coro Pies eaten = Nil (they were closed both times we tried)
Number of killer kingfish episodes = 2

Linked up to Travel Tuesday with Bonnie, Kaelene, Sammy & Van.


  1. Ahhh! We spent a lot of time in Coromandel and Te Kouma -- even went there for our honeymoon! I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying reading your blog and reliving some of our travels. I honestly hadn't realized how much I miss New Zealand and am surprised at how happy that revelation makes me. :)

    BTW, Rotoroa Island was still being operated by the Sallies when we were there, so it was really cool to see what we missed . . . along with that fantastic picture looking towards Waiheke Island and Man O' War Bay (we spent a few Christmases there gathering cockles on the beach).

    1. Rotoroa was really interesting to visit. You guys are going to have to come back to NZ now so you can see it!

  2. I just love people watching! :D
    And your pictures of the harbour are lovely!
    Though I think I would feel quite uncomfortable being stuck at sea when the weather is bad.....it's frightening! But you probably enjoy the calmness right?! ;)

    1. Trust me - there have been times when I've been more than a little uncomfortable. We have had some pretty rough nights on the boat when the wind has picked up and you worry about dragging anchor. But that kind of comes with the territory when you live on a boat. You take the good with the bad. And the good are those amazing views of anchorages and harbours, and people watching from the pub :-)

    2. Yeah I know what that feels like. I've been on a ship in the Barents Sea twice in autumn and the weather was just like you imagine it to be in the Arctic. Even though it was a big cruise ship, I felt uncomfortable but being on a sail boat must be even more frightening. But then again you get to see the whole coast of New Zealand. That's definitely pretty awesome!

    3. We are very, very lucky people to have had this opportunity to see NZ from a boat. Now we're off to the States in a few months to get a new boat and set off to explore more of the world from there.

  3. Love that your keeping a diary of your time at sea. Those harbor views are beautiful.

    1. It's fun to look back and see what we did day by day. Good reminder of the interesting things we've been up to.

  4. People watching is the greatest sport of all time! How relaxing to have a beer at the same time!

  5. haha love the styles of the people! And gorgeous pictures really!

    1. These dudes certainly did have their own particular style!

  6. Great advice! Go to a local pub and people watch when you get stuck in a place...or maybe when you're not stuck, too. Thanks for sharing!

    1. True - I might have been known to people watch from the pub when I wasn't stuck there :-)

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