Our freezer has been fixed. Northfreeze may have been expensive but the repair man knew what he was doing. After a couple of attempts to use a vacuum pump to suction out the moisture and any oil out of the freezer system the freezer worked better than ever. The first vacuum pump nearly caught the cockpit on fire but luckily we were on board to see the smoke and unplug the machine. We spent a fine evening by the Te Pahi Islands with Rick and Kyra on Nyon (we met them in the Marquesa). It was a nice anchorage with just our two boats there. Click here for Google Map Link
We left Bay of Islands and motored to Whangaroa. Out first anchorage was in Rere Bay nestled among rock outcrops and cliffs. It gave us a sense of what the Fordland’s may look like. Click here for Google Maps link. The bays are narrow and it’s hard to imagine what this place would be like during ‘crazy busy’ cruising season. We could see the famous Duke’s Nose and planned to do the hike up the peak but Denny walked on something sharp and got a cut on the bottom of his foot while climbing to knob which overlooked our boat anchorage. We did take pictures and capture the spectacular scenery.
We spent an entertaining evening with a beautiful couple and their 4 young boys. Six of them on a 34 ft boat and you would think it would be chaos but not with those boys. They were funny, talkative, interesting, considerate and just all around great kids. We gave them a tour of our boats and talked a lot about how to prepare for offshore sailing which they would like to do in the near future. Maybe someday we will see them somewhere in the high seas!
We checked out the Whangaroa Harbour town, fueled up and disposed of garbage. There wasn’t much else here so we pulled up anchor and moved to Touwai Bay, a little bay near the Oyster farm. Click here for Google Map link . For the most part we were by ourselves except for the late night arrival early morning departure power boats and the many seagulls
that liked to hang around for the hope of some scraps. Denny of course checked out the Oyster farm and learned a few interesting facts and came back with 2 large oysters for sampling. They are harvested in June so the samples we were given were supposedly undersized. Denny shucked them ‘for his woman’ and it was the freshest, biggest oysters I ever had. Superb!!
Some facts that Denny learned about Oyster farming:
Oysters are grown in sacks attached to 2X4’s. Wild Oysters attach themselves to the posts as well because they tend to congregate and these are hacked off and also placed in bags for future but are worth less because of imperfections. Profit margin is very small and it’s hard work.
Our last stop North of the North island was Mangonui Harbour. Click here for Google Map link . On the way we caught a Kingfish and it took Denny 45 minutes to bring it to the side of the boat and then he got away. But we were sure that he was smaller than the legal 75cm legal catch. About an hour later we did catch a Skipjack Tuna which Denny easily brought it on board, cleaned it and cut it into nice Tuna steaks. Despite our fresh fish on board we still went out to dinner at the ‘world famous’ Mangonui Fish Shop. It was probably the best fish and chips we had in NZ and plenty of it as well. We sat next to a German couple who were touring NZ. Their goal in life is to complete all 6 world class Marathon races. So far they have completed 3 which included New York, Chicago and Berlin. It’s the Toyko marathon they are really looking forward to. Denny makes it a point to meet people and learn about their passions.
Today is Saturday, February 25th and we would like to wish our beautiful Allison a very Happy Birthday. Besides celebrating that very special occasion we are also starting our trek to the South Island. We will be leaving at 5pm so that we can round Cape Reinga in daylight. The weather window is not ideal for a sailboat and quite a bit of motoring is expected but we are anxious to get to the South Island. Hopefully we will be able to post our progress using our SSB. Denny replaced the cable while in Marsden Cove and it yet has to be tested. Other than SSB and a satellite phone we will be off the grid for probably a couple of months.