Auckland to Opua 2004

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Day sailing north from Auckland to Opua, Bay of Islands took us four days.  Our anchorages are indicated on the map below - click on the boxes if you wish to jump directly to that section.

April 27, 2004 - Day 1 - Auckland to Whangaparoa

Sequoia is just to the right of the boat with the blue awning, Gulf Harbour MarinaAfter leaving Auckland harbour, we ran into a series of squalls through Hauraki Gulf making the passage rough and wet in the 25 knot winds and heavy rain. We had to reef the mainsail, and furl the Gib, so we decided mid-afternoon to cut the day short.  We headed for  Whangaparoa, and docked at Gulf Harbour Marina. We're only about 15 nautical miles (nmi) north of Auckland, but at least we are on our way.

Gulf Harbour is obviously populated by some rich people.  There are some huge boats moored alongside Sequoia, and here I thought she was a pretty big sailboat!  In the above photo, you can find Sequoia moored just to the right of the boat with the blue awning...should you wish to do some size comparisons.

"Whang" should be pronounced "fang" when any New Zealand place name such as Whangaparoa, Whangarei, or Whangaruru is encountered.

April 28, 2004 - Day 2 - Whangaparoa to Urquhart Bay, Whangarei

Today was the first day I stood a couple of watches, albeit with supervision from Craig and Barbara. We had to motor sail most of the way, however for the last hour there was enough wind to sail. What a relief to turn off that diesel engine! Total distance about 55 nmi.

Our course today took us past: Tiritiri Matangi Island, Leigh Harbour and Omaha Cove, both near Little Barrier Island (where Graeme, my cousin Cindy's husband works his fishing boat from),  Mangawhai Heads - rocks at the headland & cliffs down to Langs Beach, Hen and Chicken Islands (I saw the chicken-like rock up on the ridge of the island nearest us).

Mangawhai Heads - rocks at the headland & cliffs down to Langs Beach
Mangawhai Heads
rocks at the headland & cliffs down to Langs Beach
Hen and Chicken Islands
Hen and Chicken Islands

The point opposite Marsden Point as we entered the outer part Whangarei Harbour has an old gun emplacement up on the hill. There is a beautiful beach on the seaward side of the point. We anchor in Urquhart Bay, a pretty little anchorage not far from Whangarei.
 

April 29, 2004 - Day 3 - Urquhart Bay, Whangarei to Whangaruru Harbour

Today we wanted to get about halfway up to Opua and then put into a safe harbour. Whangaruru Harbour was our choice, since it will take us to within 31 miles of Opua. Total distance about 45 nmi.

Rocky points along the coast
Rocky points along the coast
Sunset and an anvil-shaped cloud, taken from Whangaruru Harbour
Sunset and an anvil-shaped cloud,
taken from Whangaruru Harbour

 


Barbara decided to make sourdough bread while we proceeded
up the coast of the North Island.  I didn't realize just how long it takes
 to make sourdough - several days!
When New Zealanders replant trees, they plant them in neat rows - Whangaruru Harbour
When New Zealanders replant trees,
they plant them in neat rows - Whangaruru Harbour


April 30, 2004 - Day 4 - Whangaruru Harbour to Opua, Bay of Islands.

After leaving Whangaruru Harbour, we sailed for awhile, but were only making about 4 knots, so we motor sailed up to and around Cape Brett. Once we turned into the Bay of Islands we sailed the rest of the way.  It was a lovely sunny day, and the Bay of Islands is such a beautiful place. Total distance today about 31 nmi.

Approaching Cape Brett - look for the hole in the rock
Approaching Cape Brett - look for the hole in the rock
Cape Brett Lighthouse
Cape Brett Lighthouse
Bay of Islands, Opua
Bay of Islands, Opua

Opua is the place for yachties. I hadn't heard the term yachties before, but I understand it is not derogatory. The marina where we are docked has several hundred boats, although most are locally-owned.  Still, there is a significant contingent of foreigners docked here.  It is a welcome relief to have lots of hot running water again - showers and laundry.  Craig soon finds the chandlery, and Barbara and I find the Internet access.  Each of us have our priorities!

We stayed moored in Opua for several days, since there were strong northerly winds blowing outside the sheltered waters of the Bay of Islands.  Our passage to Fiji takes us on a northerly course, so we must wait for some moderate easterly winds before starting our passage over the open ocean.

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