"Good water, good life; poor water, poor life; no water, no life" Sir Peter Blake

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas Coromandel Break

Sorry I haven't written on the blog for ages!!  We've only just got internet here,  but it's all up and running now so there is no excuse!!

Finally, summer has arrived, and we cast of those squeaky lines at the Viaduct and headed out toward the Hauraki Gulf for our 'first' family Christmas break!!!  We've been living on board since February 2012, but actually last summer wasn't really what we defined as a "New Zealand Summer".  It was more like a winter, blowing a gale every week, and sun that didn't really want to make appearances.  On the dock we decided to clean the drum rudders - a lot of bystanders were intrigued at what we were doing with half of Craig disappearing down the hole in the stern.....

See any fish down there??

Our first day out was with a lovely reach down to Putiki Bay, Waiheke, where we anchored for the night.  The car ferry made an appearance every now and again to the excitement of the kids.  After towing lures all the way over, we tried fishing at anchor, but nothing.

Our previous weekend we had spent re-aligning the engine shafts and doing the general 100 hours maintenance like changing filters, oil etc.  It wasn't until we inspected the starboard engine bay at anchor that we noticed salt water in the bilge (not the place it should really be), and after running the engine, we found the culprit.  The shaft was fine (we thought it might be dripping a bit after it's re-alignment), but it was actually the water trap that connects inline through the exhaust system.  Fortunately it was an 'off the shelf' thing that is sold at many chandlery stores, including Burnsco at Half Moon Bay, so after ringing my ol mate Phil (branch manager), manage to secure two of them for us to come and collect.  So the next morning instead of heading out the Barrier, or somewhere afar, we decided to back track to Half Moon Bay, and get the engines sorted.  It was somewhere I hadn't actually been before, so it was exciting even for me!  We anchored just off the moored boats, and the kids and I went ashore and found water traps and ice creams.  It's such a great set up marina, with everything within walking distance and very posh I must say!

YUM!!  Slushies and water traps - a perfect combination!

So with two water traps (one for the engine and one spare), and ice creams we were all set once again.  We ventured through the narrow channel to the starboard side of the channel after watching the car ferry and launch go plowing through, then hoisted sail and enjoyed a 15knot breeze slightly cracked off, and enjoyed a speedy sail through the Motuihe Channel.  We then eased sheets a bit, put out the prod and hoisted the geneka!  What a great sail, scooting along doing 10knots in 15knots of breeze!  Kids loved it too, and were excited by the 'pretty sail'.
Cruising along at 9-10 knots (even though it doesn't look like there is much breeze)

The Crew relaxing on deck

Of course we spotted a boat on the horizon that we targeted to catch, and we certainly made some ground on it before getting more of a N wind, having to drop the geneka and sail around Kauri Point into Opopo Bay to catch up with friends.

We decided to try fishing off the point in the morning, as that was where all the fishing boats were, but STILL no luck.. I even tried chicken.  Nothing.  After our uneventful fishing expedition we decided that we would sail to Coromandel and go somewhere different.  Hoisting sails and towing lures we headed across, and yet again found another boat to gain on.

After trying to catch 'a' fish in the work-up by the Cow outside the entrance to the harbour, we decided that it was going to be more of struggle and lots of diesel to try and catch these mysterious fish, so decided that we should find an anchorage.  Anchored in Woolshed Bay, in behind Whanganui Island for the night.  A very picturesque bay, with lots of boats in, and a view of the sun setting out through the entrance.

A coromandel sunset...

Now that's what I call "Territory".

Mazuran enjoying her evening sunset, Cormandel Harbour

The morning was stunning, absolutely crystal clear, and the water was so tranquil.  The bbq got used again for bacon and eggs (typical holiday breakfast) and decided that we would scrub the bottom of the boat by braving the elements.  The water was certainly NOT tropical, and the wetsuits were still used.   I found that my flippers that my parents had bought me when I was about 13 have finally decided to break down in the UV.  I am stoked to now realise now I can say to the kids "these are older than YOU!"  (just like my parents used to do to me)....

Good morning Coromandel!

Bacon and eggs anyone?

The water babies, Freya and Craig trying to feel 'tropical'.

Friends came over on their launch and had a get together.  They then headed off to the Barrier, as the weather was supposed to blow a bit the next couple of days.  The kids liked how they 'parked' their dinghy!

'Cool Change', Coromandel Harbour

Craig and kids went to the beach for the afternoon while I had a rest and came back with entree!

Kiwi kids are Pipi kids!! you better get in quick as they are disappearing fast!!

Kids playing at the beach, Woolshed Bay, Coromandel

After spending 4 days at Coromandel we headed back toward the city and went via the long way round Waiheke.  We started off with about SW10 which was a lovely trickle over to Gannet Rock, then the wind went V5 which meant that we just trickled around doing about 3 knots and very sleepy.

Freya "two-toe" helming, leaving Coromandel Harbour

Blake setting up camp on 'his side' of the cockpit.

We even tried towing lures, stopped and jigged, and even tried bait on the bottom but still no luck.  Around the Noises by Rakino we came across a large pod of dolphins, some babies included which was a great sight for us all. There is nothing like having dolphins zooming along with you on the bows, and then checking out your rudders!

 Even dolphins can blow bubbles underwater!!!

 Craig trying to 'tickle' the dolphins belly - it was turning over and over as though it did want it's belly tickled!

 Dolphin "home schooling".. this is how you play with Catamarans

 The water was so clear, it was amazing how far down we could see them.

After heading into Islington Bay for the night we had a lovely sunset, and counted 104 boats all squeezed in the bay!  It was spilling out the sides even after dark when others turned up.  I didn't do a re-count.

My view from the galley.  Not bad at all.

Heading back to the city we did catching something.....a plastic bag!!!! I just HAD to take a photo of it, and at least there is now one less plastic bag in the ocean. 

The best catch of the trip!!

The new "helm hog"... 

On our way back to the Viaduct Harbour, we spotted a work up of fish so headed over to investigate and see if we could at least get ONE fish for our holiday.  Just where the work up was it happened to be the same flight path two ferrys that went zooming past straight through the middle of it.  Unfortunately for a little blue penguin it was hit by one of these ferrys, and instead of trying to find fish, it wasn't swimming well and looked to be quite weak.  We only spotted it as a side glance back to where the fish were, and were able to 360deg around and pick him up in the net. So with some TLC from the kids (also a nature study for them), we had him all snug in a towel in the arms of Nurse Freya.

Nurse Freya with 'Happy Feet'.  The penguin was amazingly well behaved and didn't try 
to struggle or bite, so obviously knew it was going to be rescued.  

 "Happy Feet" takes a bath.

Blake making sure the penguin is warming up after its bath - their body temperatures are 42degC!

Now it's back to dock, back to work and back to the pools for a shower!!!


  1. Read through you adventure in one breath :) Looking forward to new ones ... nice penguin :)

  2. ...and that was only 7 days! Good to see you found the blog. ;-)

    1. well it was once you've deciphered the hieroglyphs :)
      btw. my blog is here - http://bpestblog.blogspot.com - this is for fun, in Czech but with some videos from our travels and photos.
      and my webpage is here - http://www.exhibitiondesigns.eu - this is work so no big deal :)

  3. Fantastic!! Thank you for your company in Auckland, it was great to meet you both :-) Hope to see you again sometime! Safe travels and good luck with the precision of your skating.