Sunday, May 08, 2011

Nearly off and away

Alasdair and Jim at Urapukapuka Island

Urapukapuka Island Anchorage Leaving the anchorage at Poor Knights Islands

At the moment we are in Opua finishing the last of the jobs in preparation for leaving NZ Friday or Saturday if the weather plays ball. We have had a predominantly NE flow for weeks now which is not what you want if heading NE towards Tonga or Raoul Island. There is a rally that has been waiting to leave for a while now and eventually left in light NW so most would’ve been motoring into a NE swell that would be unpleasant! Hopefully we have got our permits from DoC to visit Raoul Island after Elenya was inspected in Whangarei but whether we can actually land will depend on conditions when we get there. We left Whangarei over 2 weeks ago, originally we were going to hop up the coast but conditions were right to head out to the Poor Knights islands. We anchored at South Harbour near to some spectacular arches (which we didn’t manage to take a single photo of) in a deep and rolly anchorage. I went for a great snorkel in large schools of blue mao mao and 2-spot demoiselles and there were heaps of large snapper around the boat. We went for a dive the next day, anchoring the dinghy in a small sheltered cave. Great vis and nice fans. The next day we used the last of the SW to have a lovely sail around Cape Brett and into Deep Water Cove. We went for a dive on the Canterbury; a purpose sunk wreck, which is starting to get some nice growth with several different coloured clusters of jewel anemones. A moray eel had made its home in the wheelhouse. After a few days here we sailed to Urapukapuka Island and spent some time there before heading in to Opua. A friend joined us at Opua in pouring rain and wind. On Saturday we sailed back to Urapukapuka, conditions were quite choppy but just as we’d decided we had had enough of the rough stuff we were into the shelter behind Motuarohia Island and we had a good sail tacking our way up to Paradise Bay. We had a very windy night with gusts up to 50 or 60 knots. The next day we went for a walk enjoying the views of the wild exposed coast on the other side of the island. On our sail back we had just enough wind to keep us moving with 2m swells coming up behind us. Sat night we had some friends drive up from Auckland for the night and we had a nice lunch with them at Pahia. So three visitors already and hopefully more friends will join us at various points on our cruise. We will probably now be in Opua until we leave, a friend is coming up Wednesday night to join us for the trip north and we will do a final shop and hopefully use the forecast NW to head off.


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