Last Pass through Opua

We sailed out of Whangaroa on the only day with a break in the wind and rain. We left the harbor mouth motoring into confused seas, and all three of us, normally hardy and resilient, were feeling seasick by the time we rounded the corner and put up the sails.

But then we were sailing! At least until a sudden wind shift set the jib flogging, and a sheet whipped our last boat hook off the deck and into the water. It had been a little while since our last overboard drill, so we were pleased with ourselves when we were able to whip in a little circle and grab it out of the water. One advantage of the low bridge deck is that when we dip down, Andrew’s long arms can just grab things on the surface.

We came back into Opua and settled in for the night, in our now-familiar anchorage on the edge of the channel.

In the morning, we brought our weeks’ worth of laundry in, and joined Searcher for an errand run with a wine tasting stop. The grocery store was out of eggs, and they kindly put up with our multiple stops hunting for what, to us, are necessary provisions. We also came home with a wine box, which Captain promptly decided was the best of all boxes and belonged to him.

The next morning the rain started again, and we were happy to have those eggs.

We had some more unpleasant weather coming, so we tucked ourselves into some shallow water with what looked like the right wind protection, and settled in for some rain. Again. We had an awkward moment when a guy in a big trawler pulled up in front of us and… just stayed there for nearly an hour, drifting with his motor on and chatting with another guy (in a boat that was actually anchored, a more respectable distance away). It’s always uncomfortable having someone just hovering above your anchor, directly upwind, and more so with a storm brewing; we have to keep one eye peeled the whole time to make sure he doesn’t do something dumb and damage us. We mention this because we don’t think people talk (or think!) enough about boating etiquette, or the ways that their “perfectly safe” choices affect other people. There are no drivers licenses for boaters, which means there is no minimum level of competence you can assume about other people. Anyway, after wasting an hour of our morning, he motored away without incident, and we spent the rest of the day taking inventory in preparation for our sale. Captain helped, especially with all the computer work.

We made it through the wind and rain just fine, and then found that our friends had not! Over the weekend, some local kids had come into the marina, driven off with their car, and been stopped by police… using traffic spikes! Their car had thus been recovered, but was badly damaged in the process. So we came back into the marina (motoring through the muddy post-rain water), and drove them up to the yard to view the remains. Note also the broken glass on the ground near where we had been parking (not from their car); we’d figured that the area was dodgy, but were surprised that our friends’ car had been stolen out of the marina lot, with its cameras and nominal security.

That evening, we took Captain and Logan on a walk together. Captain turned out to be happy enough to share his walk with the cattle dog, as long as Logan stayed in front! Captain also ordinarily doesn’t eat treats while out, but he changed his tune after we offered his rejected treats to a delighted pupper.

Another reason for coming back to shore was to pick up some new sail sliders. Popping these on the main made it suddenly much easier to get it up and down; here’s a new one below, and the worn ones for comparison. And since Andrew has no self control, and was cranky about washing the aging bridle every time we upped anchor, we bought some new line and spliced up a new one.

We also had some visitors (potential buyers) come out and look at Villa, which was a bit of a pain because we timed the weather almost perfectly to have rain as we ferried them in and out on the dinghy. More so because they brought lots of moral support, including an eleven-year-old who was very complimentary about the boat and thrilled to learn about Shirley Temples. They were perfectly nice guests, but three hours of simultaneously showing the boat in excruciating detail and hosting a crowd is pretty exhausting. Here’s Andrew, grateful to be lifting the dinghy and done with that whole thing.

At this point we were chomping at the bit to start getting south, so we headed back out into the bay of islands to stage for a trip around Cape Brett and down the coast. We staged for the night at Urupukapuka island, where we were treated to an impromptu bagpipe performance over the water. Surprisingly (because bagpipes) it was actually very nice; three songs, well executed, and then done. The harbor had enough boats that we could hear a good amount of applause.

Sadly the wind didn’t align for the first part of the trip, so we were motoring. Every other sailor in the area apparently had read the weather the same way we did, namely that there wouldn’t be a better option for days, and we found ourselves approaching the Cape in a bit of a flotilla.

As we approached the cape, we saw the island we would be passing and thought, “OK, a rock”… and then as we turned the corner we realized that it’s actually quite famous; lots of tours come out to see the “Hole in the Rock.” It kind of looks like an elephant from this angle.

Once we turned the corner, and passed the lighthouse, we got to put up the spinnaker for a few hours.

We dropped anchor in Tutukaka, an objectively funny harbor name. In the morning, we took our dive gear in on the dinghy, and hopped on a different boat to jet out to the Poor Knights.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.