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November 2017: Shamal is on the hard in Guatemala.Mum and Dad are home in New Zealand till Jan. 2018. *ATTENTION PLEASE* if you are still interested in receiving the posts, could you please subscribe to the Blog following the two step process in the right hand column, so that new posts are emailed to your inbox. As of next year the reminder emails that are being sent out will cease. Thanks to all of you for following our Adventures.

14 January 2009

From the Marlborough Sounds to Tauranga


Well it is some sea miles ago that I last wrote so for a bit of an update as to what we have been up to.

It was early December when we left the South Island and headed north again. We motored to the edge of the Marlborough Sounds and dropped anchor just inside in a sheltered bay for the night so we could catch the out-going tide in the morning. We had the inter-Island Ferries passing all night which look like floating hotels going by. At 6.00am we were up anchor and off out into Cook Strait. It was a little lumpy but we had a good wind and made the crossing in 4 hours. We then spent 2 weeks in Wellington catching up with family and friends, doing the rounds of all the local yacht clubs with our SEAWIND info packs, visited the Wellington Museum to see “The Colossal Squid” – a 4.2 metre long squid weighing 459 kilograms caught in the Southern Ocean last year. Don’t really want to come across one of those in our ocean travels thank you, and, I even managed to do my Christmas shopping with Brigitte’s help as she flew down from Auckland to join us for the next leg up the coast. We met another lovely couple on their catamaran who were making it ready to do off shore passages. Hope we cross paths with them again in warmer waters.

On the 21st December after waiting for a sort of decent weather window [it is almost impossible to get a good weather window for the whole of the 200 mile trip from Wellington to Napier as it is a very exposed coastline with no ports to call in for shelter. Also you are still below 40 degrees south. It is not called the “Roaring Forties” for nothing!!] we headed out of Wellington with a good 20kt southerly and a very lumpy sea. Going out through the heads we joined 10 other yachts in the North to South Island yacht race. One turned back due to the conditions!! We were joined by dolphins again who stayed with us for over three hours. Once around Cape Palliser at the bottom eastern tip of the North Island we were heading north again and we could take the 2nd reef out of the sail. Brigitte did part of the night watch and the only thing with that was when Alec took over from her we were about 21 miles out to sea. That was OK but when Alec got her to change tack to bring us back on course we were heading back to Wellington again!! No problem they had a laugh over that and were back on track in no time. The further north we got the winds got lighter and lighter and we motored into Napier the following afternoon.

We had a lovely Christmas with family. For Dad’s 99th Birthday we took him out on SHAMAL . It was a lovely day and we had a beautiful sail but with Dads eye sight being so poor he was unable to see how the sails looked etc. He did take the wheel for a while but again could not quite understand the motion as she sails quite differently from a mono hull like he had owned.

For New Year we took my brother John and his lovely wife Noelene out to Cape Kidnappers for a fishing trip for the night. And yes we ate fish. John did very well. We also set the Cray pot again and YES this time we struck lucky – well kind of – 15 in the pot but only 2 were the correct size. We decide to put it down again with the two correct size ones in and bring it up for lunch with hopefully more inside. What’s that saying – when all’s going well don’t chance it differently. Went back to get our lunch and Alec ran over the Cray buoy cutting it from the rope!!! So lunch was stuck on the bottom. There was no way we could get it which concluded in another trip out to Cape Kidnappers a couple of days later with a diver to retrieve it. He did and it had another 4 crays in it BUT they had all been eaten by octopus!!. Least we had the pot back and we did catch more fish.

We left Napier on January 6th and headed up the coast to Gisborne spending a night anchored at Mahia Peninsula on the way. I pulled in a lovely big Albacore Tuna on the trip there which was a lot of fun. We set the Cray pot again and this time we got crays to keep. Also I caught another Blue Cod. We spent three nights in Gisborne where Brigitte and her friend joined us for two nights, and then we were off again. We headed for Tolaga Bay on the remote East Cape. Anchored there for the night with a big swell rolling in getting up to 3mts.. The anchor held and SHAMAL rode it well but we did not sleep to well. Next morning we headed up to East Cape. The NZ Coastal Cruising Guide says, “Passages around East Cape should only be undertaken by well-found yachts equipped to offshore standards and manned by experienced crews!!!” Well Alec is pretty good and with him giving the Admiral her orders we managed the Cape. Here the wind and seas got up and we reefed down again. We were in 4mt seas with 27k winds. Rounding the Cape the seas were very confused but Shamal handled it like a pro. In saying that we have full respect for the ocean and her moods and don’t take any risks. SHAMAL is really comfortable and I still made cups of coffee and lunch in these conditions. That night we were to anchor at Hicks Bay but the seas we too big so we rounded Cape Runaway and into the calmer waters of Waihau Bay. The next day we motored sailed to Whale Island seeing our first shark quite close to the Island – no swimming. We anchored for the night at the Island and in the morning we were on our way to Tauranga. We passed dolphins and say another three sharks. I caught a skipjack tuna about two hours out. That went back into the sea as I caught three the day before. Then about midday all excitement broke out as I hauled in a 4 ft SHARK!!!! Not the sort of thing one really wants to have on board. Alec held him with the gaff on the boarding steps while I got the long nose pliers to remove the hook!! Notice who got the job close to those snapping jaws!! I did manage to remove the hook and then we let it go. He swam away with rather a sore mouth I should think but they are survivors. Ten minutes later I caught a small king fish. As it was under size that too went back into the ocean. Craig, Alec said to me about half an hour before I caught the shark that they only take live bait not those lures you made up for me? Well I can tell you they are really working well thank you.

We will be in here in Tauranga for about ten days catching up with different people and maybe doing more test sails.

OK one and all this is all from the Admiral and the Captain for the time being.

Lots of love

Ann and Alec

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