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Published: November 17th 2008
After five days in the Opua Marina, we’d straightened the boat and had a thorough wash down to clean off residue salt. We started the process of acclimatising (brrrr) and felt ready to swing 'on the hook' again so headed to the nearby island of Russell, in the Bay of Islands. We'd visited by ferry on our second day in Opua and found it very appealing. This sleepy, quaint island houses 600 off-season residents but during the summer months an additional 5400 people descend. On hearing this we were glad to have arrived in the spring while the charm was still apparent. We called in on the Russell Radio operator who occupies a small office on the waterfront to obtain regular local weather updates as we were waiting for the right weather window before heading southeast.
After two nights; one spent soaking up live music and a roast lamb meal at the Russell Boat Club, we started the short passage (about 20 miles) to Tutukaka, where again we anchored out. The following day took us further down the coast to Urquahart, another 30+- miles. This is a bay nicely sheltered on the approach to Whangarei, which we’d visited on two
This Swiss lady plays for tourists near Opua
occasions by car. The town basic houses the marina and we'd called in to see Irene and Luigi from Va Pensiera (lobster catching friends from Minerva Reef). On arriving we met up with Shipmate Black Powder who offered us a mooring and we joined him the following day to Whangarei where I caught up with Inge and Ernest and Walter met up with the Brothers of the Coast. A couple of days here enabled us to soak up the countryside, stretch our legs and top up food supplies.
The next short passage (approx 30 miles) took us into Bon Accord Bay, Kawau Island where we anchored near the Yacht Club, watching a large number of Auckland residents arrive by powerboat and yacht. A group of volunteer firefighters were assembled for a BBQ together with a few local characters and it made for an enjoyable evening. On day two we visited the Mansion House grounds which extended to a disused copper mine. It was great to walk in the pine forest which houses a wallaby enclosure, although we didn't see them and haven't yet spied a kiwi as they're nocturnal.
From Kawau it was approximately 30 miles into the
Bayswater Marina; just a seven minute ferry ride across the harbour into the centre of Auckland which makes it handy for entertainment and exploring. This is where we’ve hung our hats so it will be home for a while.
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