Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Kawau Island to Auckland

April 15, 2009—We moved over to the main bay on Kawau Island on Friday, April 10, and found a nice spot in Schoolhouse Bay. This was the beginning of a four-day Easter weekend, so things were a bit crowded. We dropped the anchor and were setting it, when the shifter linkage slipped, and, therefore, the boat was not responding to my commands for forward and reverse. We were securely anchored, however, so we cut the engine and then Steve went to work on the problem and in no time had everything fixed.

We took the dinghy across the bay to the Kawau Island Yacht Club because we had heard that they had delicious burgers. We each ordered a venison burger, which came with BBQ sauce (more like catsup), sliced beets, onions, lettuce, and mayo. It was as delicious as we had heard, and it was an enjoyable lunch in an interesting place. A couple was working there, and the man had taught rugby in several places on the U.S. east coast.

Next we went to the Mansion House at the mouth of the Bay, which was rebuilt from an earlier structure by Sir George Grey, a former governor of NZ, who purchased the island in 1862. We really enjoy going through these old homes and looking at the furnishings and accessories.

We returned to the boat to just enjoy the late afternoon and were treated to a lovely sunset. We watched the Regatta from our boat since we had decided not to participate. I think that we both just wanted to take more time to relax and not do much of anything. Racing can be a lot of work!

The next morning we headed to shore and took the walking trail over to the other side of the island where we walked along the shoreline, and since the tide was going out, we were able to find some fresh oysters for dinner. We then arrived at the Kawau Island Copper Mine, or I should say the remains of it. There was an old smokestack still standing and a rusted boiler in front of the main entrance. We were able to go into another entrance, but the shaft was closed off by iron bars. We completed the circle route and returned to our dinghy just as it started to rain. That evening we enjoyed a delightful dinner of shrimp and oyster chowder.

On Sunday morning we left Kawau and went to Tiritiri Matangi Island. This island is predator free and is home to many endangered native birds. Unfortunately, the weather was not good enough for us to dinghy ashore to walk around the island. We did, however, anchor just a short way out and fished for red snapper. We caught about a dozen (Steve caught most of them); however, only six were big enough to keep. Cleaning these fish is not easy because of their spines, so Steve was very happy to have only six to clean.

We left Tiritiri Matangi and found ourselves pounding right into the wind and waves. We decided to find a closer anchorage for the night, and when we spotted a bunch of masts at the north end of Motutapu Island, we diverted to head that way. We dropped anchor just off Billy Goat Point among about 50 other boats--the Kiwis do an amazing job of cramming many more boats than we thought possible into an anchorage. We ended up enjoying a very pleasant evening there.

On Monday morning we headed in to Auckland. There were small fishing boats all over the place because of the holidays. We were reminded of our entrance to San Francisco Bay on Labor Day weekend. We arrived at West Haven Marina at 11 o’clock and easily found our slip. Unfortunately, in the middle of Steve’s turn, the current and wind took us past it, so we had to turn around in the fairway and make another run at it—that was exciting. This time we pulled in with no problem and got the boat secured.

Tuesday found us tracking down boat supplies. We checked our EPIRB (locator beacon) and found that the battery was dead even though it supposedly good through November of this year. There were only a few other things that we needed as well as some groceries, so we got that done in the morning, and then I did laundry in the afternoon.

Steve took off to downtown this morning while I stayed to do one more load of laundry. It is amazing that it took me three and a half hours to do two loads of laundry. Tomorrow we plan to do some sightseeing, and tomorrow night we will have dinner with Chris and Jamie from sv Morning Light. It will be good to see them again and catch up on their latest adventures. We plan to leave Auckland on Friday morning to find an anchorage close by.

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