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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.

17 February 2009

Tauranga to Auckland

Hello One And All

This is just a brief note as we laze our way through Summer. The weather has been wonderful since we arrived in Tauranga and we have spent quite a bit of time out sailing and fishing with family and friends. People are still showing an interest in the boat which is great and we are having a lot of fun showing it to them.
We arrived here on the 13th January and now after 18 days there we are on the move again heading up the East Coast. It was rather a sad visit this time as after five days here I had a call from my brother John in Napier to tell me that Dad had passed away very peacefully in the small hours of Sunday morning after being admitted to Hospital the day before. Murray Brigitte and a friend of Brigitte’s were with us with, so they drove back to Auckland to pick up our car and we drove back down to Napier. I was so glad we had that special time over Christmas, his 99th Birthday on the 27th where he came out on SHAMAL, and, the New Year in Napier. He was a wonderful man and we shall really miss him but what a wonderful life he had.

Some time has passed since I wrote the above and we have just arrived back in Auckland. I will write again in a couple of days with an update of our travels.

Hello Again

As I tap out this post we are now sitting back in the Westhaven Marina in Auckland after seven months away exploring the East coast of the North Island and the top of the South Island and what a beautiful coast line we have.

We left Tauranga and headed north on 30th January. It was a lovely morning and we sailed the 23nm up the coast before crossing the bar and into Whangamata. We picked up the visitors mooring just inside the harbour entrance then took the tender ashore to check out the town. A couple whom we had taken out for a sail on our trip south came on board for dinks that evening. Next morning it was on up the coast towards Tairua. Here we met up with a good friend – "Old Dark" – and his brother, who decided that fishing was on the agenda for the rest of the day. They headed off in their boat and we went off in another direction in SHAMAL. We met again in the evening to cross yet another bar and then on up the river to their section with its own pontoon on the very popular Pauanui waterways. Well the “Port Pilots” were in front guiding us up the river which they had navigated hundreds of times before, but, we were very soon to discover they were totally blinded by the liquid refreshments they had consumed that day, and their perception of the depth was quite different from what our depth sounder was telling us. Needless to say we reached a point where we had to stop and wait for the tide to come in a little more. The “Pilots” returned to their base as their vessel was "dry", but returned to continue their job about an hour later!!!! We eventually tied up just on dark but were then cooked a most beautiful meal of fresh fish and washed down with a very nice wine to finish a very eventful day. Thanks boys.

Two days later we left Tairua and sailed on up to Whitianga where we were invited to tie up at the pontoon of lovely English couple who have a house on the waterways there. Again hospitality was wonderful and we spent a

couple of nights there. It is just a magical spot and one we just may call home in the years to come.

We sailed out of Whitianga and headed out to the Mercury Islands. We are now in one of New Zealand’s most beautiful cruising grounds. There are Islands all around this area stretching to north of Auckland. We found a perfect little bay with crystal clear waters and a clean white sandy beach to drop the anchor then headed ashore to explore. It was just like you see in those adds of some Pacific Paradise Island. Next day it was off to a bay “Old Dark” had recommended with his scallop dredge. Just want to let you know “Old Dark” that it took us nearly 4 hours to get our 19 scallops!!!!!

But they did taste good. Can’t be too greedy can we. Think the bay had been well dredged over the Christmas New Year period!! Fun way to fill in the morning. That night was spent in another lovely bay. Next day it was on to Great Barrier Island. That was a lovely mornings sail of 22nm. We averaged 7kts in warm sunny conditions. Here we picked up a couple John and Heather Cunningham who were to spend the next five days with us. They are a couple who are looking at buying a boat sometime. We spent three days exploring the Islands and Bays sailing, fishing and swimming having a relaxing time then headed in to Kawau Island. This was another good run - broad reach - averaging 7.5kts for the 25nm trip. We anchored in yet another lovely bay and started fishing for our dinner. We woke in the morning to a very gently rain. The first we had seen in ages. We pulled up the anchor and motored and sailed back to Auckland stopping at Gulf Harbour for a coffee on the way. We managed to get our colourful Spinnaker sail up for a short run on this leg.

So as I said at the beginning we are now back in Auckland. It is time to start making arrangements for our big trip away in May. We will be gathering supplies, spares, and all those "things" one needs but hopes they don't have to use. At this stage we will be leaving New Zealand around the 23rd May from Opua in The Bay of Islands and heading up to Port Vila. We hope this last year sailing in New Zealand and the experience we have gained will stand us in good stead for the future.

Will keep you posted as to our little adventures as there is still some lovely weather around to keep us busy sailing close to Auckland.

This is The Admiral and Captain signing out

Lots of Love

Ann and Alec

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